Canning Adventure

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    A peck and a half of green beans, 2 generations of women who have no clue what they're doing, tiny kitchen and 2 babies to chase........ Well, it was NOT boring by a long shot.

    I asked easy child the night before if she wanted to pop the beans. I've popped beans since I was like 2 yrs old......I know how long it can take to pop that many. She kept insisting it wasn't necessary to do it beforehand. ok Then she wanted to do the left over corn. Really GOOD corn by the way.....would be wonderful to have canned....but I'm thinking probably not a good idea to try 2 things at once when you're just learning the process. But ok.....

    So we start off by popping beans while the babies played in the front yard. Nice day, porch to pop them on. No sweat. Only it's 2nd nature to me......and easy child discovered she's s l o w at it. lol Then Brandon wanted to help. I suppose he didn't do bad for his age. Then Darrin came home and Nana enlisted him, he didn't do too bad either.

    Everything is prepared. easy child has researched and we're both pleased bacon can be added with no issues. So, easy child pulls out her turkey bacon and starts frying it up. I'm like honey, that is NOT bacon. She insists it is, just healthier bacon. I'm like no.......you're defeating the purpose of the bacon. lol

    Then there is the pressure cooker. I've not used one since I've been married and that is nearly 30 yrs. They look little like the ones I used. So we're following the cooker's instructions....double checking with "how to can grn beans" instructions, glad they match up. Then we wait. My cooker you're supposed to let it heat up...then set the thing on so the pressure can build to where you want it then reduce the heat to keep it there. Now this would be great on a gas stove. easy child has electric......It didn't do bad, but our green beans were canned at 14 lbs of pressure instead of 11. lol She turned the heat all the way down to low but her cook top was so hot from all the cooking that it wouldn't really cool down enough to bring the pressure down.

    We may have soggy beans....that taste like turkey. lol

    But they sealed like they were supposed to. We got 16 pints of green beans. The corn got cooked but nixed as far as being canned.......that will be our veggie this week until it's eaten. Doing the green beans took too long as we started late and the whole popping the beans part easy child thought would take maybe 5 mins. lol

    We never did get the bread started. easy child has this issue about multi-tasking. Drives me crazy but I've learned not to fight it. I'm a do one project at a time type of gal myself. :sigh: So this afternoon will be bread baking.

    I told her the next canning session will be here at my house, started early in the morning with sister in law to watch the boys. It wasn't too hard, but you do need to pay attention to what you're doing.

    We're opening one and tasting the results with dinner. :)
     
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Sounds like despite all the obstacles, it was a fun day. The funnest part of having a garden was always the harvesting and canning part for me. I miss it. I'm thinking I may plan a small garden for next year.

    Good for you!
     
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    You are a braver woman than I! I've never tried canning. Don't think I have the patience right now...
     
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I freeze stuff... I can do applesauce, but...
     
  5. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I am with the freezing crowd. Pressure cookers scare me
     
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Actually.........it was pretty easy. Instructions were clear, simple to follow.

    My thing was my Mom, all the time I was growing up, would always say watch it or it will blow up. (nice huh?) Well, the type she had......yeah, you had to watch it. But they're not made like that now. You have to keep an eye on it to make sure the pressure is right, but otherwise......you're good.

    So, we're waiting for what I assume is the water to heat to a good rapid boil in the cooker........with the valve cover off so we can see steam that is supposed to "pour" out.......only we watch the wrong valve.......and it's not steam it's basically water. lol Worries us. We're supposed to put the valve cover back on once we see the steam pouring out.....then the other valve thingie is supposed to pop up and stay there and "seal" the pressure. Ok. Only it kept doing that sputtering water thing. So we moved back wondering if we did something wrong and it was gonna blow........and waited, and waited, and finally it popped up and all was right with the world. :rofl: So I'm guessing the sputtering water thing was normal......but it sure would've been nice had they bothered to mention that in the darn book.

    Before putting it into the pressure cooker, we just blanched the grn beans, filled up the jars and that was basically it. Not hard at all.

    And I already know I like this cooker better than my moms by far. lol
     
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I love my pressure cooker... It's about 15 years old and works great.

    But I don't know about using it for canning...
     
  8. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Lisa,

    I think I'll have to do the freezing, I am afraid I'de miss a step and kill the whole family with botulism or something. My adhd might kick in and we'd all be dead. What does everyone freeze and are there some things that should not be frozen. Step, can I have a recipe for your applesauce?
     
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know despite my fear of my pear debacle everyone loves it! Keyana wanted to eat it straight out of the plastic jar as if it was applesauce...lol.
     
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I tried my hand at canning back when we had a garden but freezing was really more my style. I did make some jellies and preserves but that was as far as I got. Pressure cookers scare me half to death!

    If you know how though, it's possible to can almost anything. My grandparents had a huge garden and all kinds of fruit trees and grape vines. My grandmother canned EVERYTHING! Their basement walls were lined with shelves full of hundreds of glass jars. They also raised chickens and my grandmother would can whole stewed chickens in the broth! They could get through a whole winter without ever going to the grocery store more than once a month, and then it was mostly for staples.
     
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thats what Tony wants me to do. Ha! I tried to plant a garden once with peas and beans and then I went to the grocery store and figured out I could buy a bag of the same thing for $1.25! By the time I planted the darn garden, watered it, picked it and shelled the stupid beans...I wasnt saving a darned thing. I was perfectly happy to pay a buck twenty five...lol.
     
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I think I would still rather freeze things than can them, but back when my grandparents started doing it, canning was all there was. Their garden was so big that they also kept the families of all six of their children supplied with fresh produce and my grandfather took a lot of his corn, tomatoes and other things to be sold at the grocery store. They had a huge cherry tree in their back yard, way before they came out with the littler versions of the fruit trees. When the cherries were ripe, the younger, skinnier grandkids would climb the tree and pick them. She made tons of jelly and canned lots of them to make into pie fillings. My grandparents were definitely "old school".
     
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, the first time around you do have the expense of the jars and equipment. And that can be rather steep. It's helping that easy child and I are sharing the cost of jars as most of our canning is being done together anyway. My mom paid for the pressure cooker so I didn't have that expense.

    And for the garden.......it usually yields far more than you ever put into it. I use rain water for most of the watering, if it needs watered. My Dad always did it that way as he thought it better than what came out of the hose. And again, first year will be the big expense as the area has to be tilled, fenced ect. My dogs would be worse than rabbits or other varmints lol A garden fence will be necessary. After the first year, you pretty much toss the seeds in and go for it.

    I'll be prepping my garden area as soon as husband's retirement funds show up, so it's ready in spring when I want to plant, just till the soil again. easy child is also prepping a garden, and no small one at that....and we'll have to do something will all that fresh food. lol

    I want to do the freezing too, and may need too with the stew I make, same with the soup. husband and Travis would pout if I prepared it and they didn't get at least one meal out of it......which would reduce the amount I could can from it.

    I expected this long drawn out complicated process. But honestly it wasn't. Figuring out how the cooker worked was the high point, the rest was easy.
     
  14. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    My grandmother used to can her tomato sauce - the pot was so big you could have taken a bath in it- I remember jars and jars and jars of it in the basement. And twice a year she used to make spagetti from scratch. I remember the whole dining room table was covered in cheese cloth, and she had a round stick about 4 feet long she used to roll the dough out. It was all hand cut with a small knife. she used to use pizza boxes to put it in, then put them in the freezer. I never tasted store bought spagetti till I moved to Ca. She made all the Ravoli from scratch as well - I remember those little metal things that looked like ice cube trays - put in the dough, then the filling, then more dough and seal them off with a fork. It seemed like it took forever but they were good

    I just bought a KitchenAid Mixer and am going to get the attachment for noodles and have a go and making them. SO brought a hugh unopened box of canning jars from storage but I just am too much of a space cadet to be canning - Its all over if I have to stand there for any period of time :)

    Marcie
     
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It soundsl ike you had a great day together. I agree with you that turkey bacon is NOT bacon - a little bit of bacon for seasoning goes a LONG way and i would vastly prefer that to fake bacon. It gives a huge taste boost with a small bad fat/whatever increase. But I am glad you got it figured out! I know people who swear by pressure cookers, but having used one when we first got married, it just seemed like a real hassle to me.

    But I admire you for figuring it out and making it work!!!

    As for applesauce, I just cut the apples into pieces (roughly quarters or eights or using one of those gadgets taht cuts them into wedges, doesn't matter what shape or size as long as they are roughly the same shape/size) and throw them into the crock pot with a bit of apple juice or water. I do not take out the core or the skin. The skin gives a lovely pink color if you use red apples, which I like. The core bits come out easily when you are done and you don't waste nearly as much as if you cored them. Once they are fully cooked to the point they are really soft, I run them through the foley food mill, which is an awesome tool to make tomato sauce, applesauce, and many other smooth textured things. IF you don't have a foley food mill, you can use a colander or sieve and a big spoon and force the apples through there. The food mill just does it easier and faster. As you run each portion through the food mill/colander/whatever, the skin, tough bits and seeds should stay in the food mill and the applesauce goes through to a pan or bowl. Once all is processed this way (be sure to push firmly to get all the usable apple off the skin/core if you don't have a food mill), taste again and add your cinnamon and/or other spices (or no spices). Put it into airtight containers and freeze , or if you are canning, can it.

    If you like your applesauce to be chunky, don't process all of the apples in the food mill. Or peel and core them before you cook them and then mash them with a potato masher or fork so that they are more in pieces than mashed into applesauce.

    There isn't an exact recipe because the amt of sugar depends on how sweet the apples are and how sweet you want the applesauce, ditto the cinnamon. You don't put the cinnamon or sugar in earlier because there is no point to sweetening the skin/seeds. Plus if you have the cinnamon in the crock pot for hours you will lose the flavor - it is best to add spices at the end of cooking in a crock pot for the most part.

    If you want an AWESOME treat - healthy and super yummy, try freezing applesauce (sweetened to taste and with cinnamon if you like it that way) in popsicle molds. It makes the BEST popsicles and they are FAR FAR FAR healthier than ones you buy that are highly colored sugar water. My kids go nuts over these. I often just get a big jar of unsweetened applesauce from the store (store brand or generic) and use that. (Have you ever compared calories and grams of sugar between sweetened and unsweetened applesauce? The amt of sugar in sweetened applesauce blows my mind - it is FAR more than you would add if you sweetened it yourself!).
     
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