Sunday, November 13, 2011

Canning and a Few Tips

Yes I have been canning again.
This is what I worked on yesterday.  8 pints of chili and 16 quarts of vegetable stock.
I put up the chili in pints as then I can easily take one to work for lunch.  I usually empty a jar into a glass Pyrex bowl with a rubbery lid, those are wonderful to use with no plastic heated in the microwave.  This chili does have some beef in it but I also bulked it out with some oatmeal, that's why it is more orange than red.  If you need to thicken or stretch a soup then just add a handful of regular oatmeal.  It takes on the flavor of what you put it in and can make a thin soup into a hearty stew that is even more healthy for you.
The vegetable stock I made with the leavings from juicing veggies.  My juicer sorts the fiber into a container out the back side, it is very dry and pretty much macerated.  I froze it in quart size Ziploc bags and this batch is from 2 bags boiled in water in a huge stock pot.  You see varying amounts of sediment in the jars as I was scooping up more as I got to the bottom of the pot.  This has beets, carrots, parsley, kale, spinach, onions and tomatoes in it.  I added some garlic to the stock pot too.  Now I can just open a jar and add whatever other veggies and/or meat I want and have soup ready to go.  All while saving whatever it costs to buy it in the store and I know what is in it, like nothing I can't pronounce.
You may have noticed I said I canned 16 quarts of stock but you only see 15 in the photo.  One jar did not seal so it is in the fridge.  It was an older jar and may have had a nick in the edge I missed seeing.  I collect jars from all over, mostly thrift shops.  Some of these were my Mom's or Nana's.  The pints I actually had to buy at Walmart last week as I have used all mine and could not find any more.  The only jars I have left not being used are 3 quarts, 5 pints and a good supply of half pints (don't use those too much).
I love seeing the different labels in the glass, Kerr, Ball, Presto, Golden Harvest.  And the different glass designs you sometimes get.  There are some really pretty ones new in the store but it is fun to find them in the thrift stores.  I have a nice assortment of blue jars and older odd jars I use to store dry items like beans & rice in the pantry.  Either they have nicks in the rim or I just don't want to take a chance on them breaking during canning.  Some of the old ones may not be able to take the pressure in the pressure canner since in generations past everything was canned in a water bath.  These days it goes in a pressure canner unless it is high acid like fruits and tomatoes (which are technically a fruit).
I always remove the bands from the jars before storing to make sure there is no rusting or trapping of anything that might cause the jar to unseal.  It is always good to wash your jars before storing to remove any particles that could compromise the seal.  And if you have hard water as I do and your jars look a bit mucky as they come out of the canner, wash them with soapy water with a glug or two of vinegar. I wash the rings as well so they are ready for the next time.
All that's left is to mark the date and what's in the jar and store.  But I still need to make some more wood shelves so these may sit on the counter for a few days.

1 comment:

Debra Spincic said...

Looks ambitious & nutritious!

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