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I am officially hooked!

Posted by eaglesgarden 6b sePA (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 30, 10 at 9:43

I grew up in a BWB canning family. My grandmother used to can a bunch of stuff that way when I was a kid (some of which is no longer recommended). Some 20 years later, I made my own jalapeno jam in a BWB. It was the best I've ever had (mostly because all the peppers were homegrown). I gave some away and people are asking for more. So, I retraced my steps and found that if I truly wanted to be serious about canning, I would need to get a pressure canner. For Christmas this year, I got my PC. It's nothing exotic, a 16 qt Presto machine. It will only PC quarts, but doubles as a BWB for pints or half-pints. I canned up some ham broth and had a blast doing it. Now I am starting to think of how many different things I will be able to can, what I can grow in my own garden for this purpose, etc.

I am also starting to think about where I can store all the stuff I can! My grandmother had a basement that everything was stored in. She never had a shortage of space. I on the other hand, have a crawl space. :( I also have a fairly small home, so storage space for EVERYTHING is fairly limited.

It will be a learning process for a few years, figuring out how much to can each year to have enough to get through the whole year with as much homegrown produce as possible.

I grow tomatoes, peppers, beans, amongst other things. Is there a place that lists what veggies can be canned? Can you can cabbage, for example, in any form?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I am officially hooked!

Look at NCHFP - the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Also pick up a Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP


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RE: I am officially hooked!

Welcome to the addiction!! :)

It will only PC quarts, but doubles as a BWB for pints or half-pints.

Of course it will also PC pints and half pints. ;) It just won't BWB quarts.

Take care with those pepper jellies when it comes to making up your own recipes. Keep in mind that they are low-acid. And when gifting, it is generally recommended to stick with only tested and approved recipes. NCHFP has a great section of info on safe gifting issues.

I agree with pixie lou that NCHFP is THE place to start. It is jam-packed (no pun intended) with all the info you need to know about canning, recipes, what may and may NOT be canned, and how to do it safely....like cabbage is normally only canned as sauerkraut.

Dave


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RE: I am officially hooked!

Some products are not canned because, though it's hypothetically possible to do so, the result would be unappealing.

Cabbage would be an example. That's one food that would suffer from canning - strong flavors and unappealing textures.

Carol


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RE: I am officially hooked!

I agree, cabbage gets so strong and not appetizing.
Buy a Ball Blue book and I suggest So Easy to Preserve from the Univ. of Georgia for safe recipes.
You can also access the Univ. of Georgia website for the same info as the book, plus more. Wonderful site !
Same site at Pixie posted for you.


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RE: I am officially hooked!

Dave,

Of course, it will PC pints and half-pints. I assumed folks would pick up on the fact that I bought a PC. :)

Secondly, when I said that I made my "own" jam, I meant that I put the ingredients together. The recipe came straight from the box of pectin I purchased (Ball brand, I believe). As a science teacher, I am well-acquainted with following proper procedures. I look at canning as a really fun science lab practicum. I am certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything, just have some fun and preserve what I grow in my garden, so that I can enjoy it for as much of the year as possible.

For me, it is mostly about the challenge. I have read countless articles about the proper procedures for canning. I read the entire booklet that came with my new canner, and followed the instructions to the letter. The first thing that I "canned" was some ham broth (very weak, not according to my normal method for broth making). These are just a trial run. I figured rather than doing pure water, doing something a little more difficult would be more fun and educational. If the ham broth has a funny smell, I will recognize it more readily, I believe.


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I bought one a year and a half ago. With good intentions. It hasn't been out of the box yet. I'm kind of afraid of it actually. Boom! There goes the kitchen.


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RE: I am officially hooked!

There really is nothing to worry about! Follow the directions and the safety precautions, you'll be fine.

Are you afraid of driving in your car? There are far more accidents related to cars than pressure cookers/canners. The reality is that unlike driving, YOU are the only one that is going to cause a problem. If you do the right things, the right way, there is really no cause for alarm. These things are built safe.

Read the manual and relax. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. (I stole that line!)


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RE: I am officially hooked!

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 30, 10 at 20:31

Denninmi....no boom. They have a pressure relief valve in the lid that would pop out and release the pressure - the lid won't blow up or off. :) Under what circumstances that valve would have to release pressure, I'm not sure, mine's never had to on either of two canners in many years.

I don't know if I was ever nervous with mine, but the first time I used one and before having my own, a friend came over with hers and we did tuna so I had someone with me the first time I canned. I do not recommend tuna for a starting project like I did, but all worked out well in the end.


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Well, my parents dropped off about 4 dozen old Mason jars. Obviously the rings and lids will need to be replaced, but what are the odds that the old jars will still be good? These jars are at least 15 years old (haven't been used since my grandmother passed away, 15 years ago) but who knows how many times they have been used before that. I figure they are still the proper size, but will they hold up to pressure canning? I suppose I could can some colored liquid with them to see if they hold up rather than using them for food and have them fail.


Any thoughts on this?


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RE: I am officially hooked!

Of course you can can cabbage... What do you think sourkraut and kimchi are? canned fermented cabbage :) Ya just have to ferment it before you can it. Or one in our family is spiced red cabbage. That cans up nicely and looks lovely too, sort of like shredded beets. I wouldn't try canning raw cabbage probably, but fermented and cooked cabbages are good canned eats :)
I do like canned potatoes too. Great for making a quick kraut and sausage casserole.
I've seen the whole chicken in a can, ick.. grosser than that, I saw an eating challenge where a guy sat down and ate a half dozen of them in one sitting :(
Most disgusting thing I've ever eaten from the can (well jar) gefilte fish.. I understand they can be good fresh, but canned fish meatballs is just nasty.


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RE: I am officially hooked!

Of course you can can cabbage... What do you think sourkraut and kimchi are?

Yep, as already discussed above. But then you are canning sauerkraut, not cabbage. ;) Trying to can fresh cabbage is a whole other can of yuck!

ON the jars question - many of us routinely use jars that are much older than 15 years or more. Personally I have some jars that are 35-40 years old.

As long as they are a heavy weight canning brand jar like Ball, Mason, Kerr with no nicks in the rim or obvious cracks or flaws they should be fine. I do keep my old Atlas and other brand long-out-of-production jars for BWB only but I know Carol and others have even used some of them in the PC. The forum search using 'old jars' pull up some discussions about using them if interested.

Dave


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RE: I am officially hooked!

  • Posted by bcskye 5 Brn.Co. IN (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 3, 11 at 15:37

Wonderful, wonderful! So glad another one is being bitten by the bug. Can everything possible this year and pass what you learn on to your children, if you have any. Its fun, its sometimes hard work, but its so rewarding. I have heard of people stacking can goods in closets and some put them in shallow boxes, one layer, then store under their beds. One of the members on here stored boxes of canned products stacked (original jar boxes) in the livingroom then covered with nice cloths so they looked like end tables. I think it was Annie.

Denninmi, don't be afraid of your canner. They really are safe and you'll wonder why you didn't start using it right away.


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