Posts Tagged With: pressure canner

The Last of the Garden: Potatoes!

I was a little late in harvesting my potatoes this year… I got busy trying to get into a new routine that included beginning homeschool for my preschooler!  I didn’t make it out to the garden for over a week, and in that time the potato vines went from “dying” to “dead”.  It wasn’t a big deal, the potatoes were fine for the most part, although they were beginning to get molested by some sort of bug or fungus.

Potatoes are fun to grow.  Have you ever tried growing them?  I didn’t grow nearly as many as I intended to this year.  I completely forgot to even plant sweet potatoes, and I wish I would have at least doubled the white and red potatoes that I planted.   They are so easy to grow, and require absolutely no attention while they grow besides weeding.  As an added bonus, come harvest, you get to dig in the dirt and search for them!  It’s fun for all ages!

This is the first time I’ve ever “preserved” potatoes.  I know I could have stored them in the basement long term just in a brown paper bag, but for one, I didn’t have that many, and secondly I was a little concerned about some of the potatoes that looked like a bug got to them.  I wasn’t sure if they would store well or rot quickly.  Lastly, I actually purchase sliced canned potatoes (*gasp!*) because my husband makes the most delicious fried potatoes with them.  The canned kind cook up so much tastier than a fresh potato sliced does, too.  So anyway, it made sense to me to slice and can my potatoes instead of storing them in the basement and hoping they last, while still purchasing canned potatoes.  Right?  🙂
This was pretty easy to do…once you get all the potatoes peeled, that is.  But after you get through that, the rest is simple!

Sliced Canned Potatoes

What you will need:

  • Food Processor
  • Colander
  • Stainless Steel Stock Pot
  • Peeled white potatoes (I forgot to weigh mine!  The Ball Book says you’ll need 2-3 lbs per pint if CUBING them.  Eyeballing my pile, it looks like around 6-7lbs, and I got 3 quarts of slices out of that.  Don’t quote me on it though.)
  • Boiling Water

Directions:

  1. After you peel each potato, put it into a stainless steel pot filled with cold water to prevent browning.  Once all the potatoes are peeled, drain them into a colander, rinse them, and fill the pot back up with fresh cold water and put the potatoes back in the water.
  2. Using your food processor with the slicing attachment (or a sharp chef knife and careful fingers!), slice each of the potatoes, putting the slices immediately back into the water to keep them from browning.  Once you have sliced all the potatoes, put the full pot on the stove and begin to heat the water.
  3. Begin heating clean jars in your pressure canner on the stove, and lids in a separate pan.  Fill another pot with water and bring to a boil.  (I actually just used my teapot for easier pouring!)
  4. Heat the sliced potatoes until they are hot through.  You don’t need to boil them.  Just pull one slice out with a tongs and check if it’s hot.  Once they are hot, you are ready to fill the jars.  Drain the potatoes back into a colander, then fill the hot jars.
  5. Fill jars with boiling water to a 1-inch headspace.  Using a plastic tool, slide it between the potato slices and the jar, releasing air bubbles.  Adjust headspace if needed.
  6. Wipe rims and place lids on jars.  Tighten rings, and place back in the canner.
  7. Vent 10 minutes, set gauge to 10lbs psi, and let pressure build.  Once 10 or 11 lbs psi is achieved, process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes.
  8. Turn off heat and allow pressure to return to zero naturally.  Once it reaches zero, wait 2 more minutes, then remove gauge and canner lid.  Wait 10 minutes for jars to acclimate to your kitchen temperature, then remove jars to a towel on the counter.
  9. Let jars cool completely, clean lids, label and store up to 1 year!

    Don’t they look kind of neat stacked up in there?

Ty’s Delicious Fried Sliced Potatoes

There’s no specific recipe for these.  You basically just heat some oil and butter in a fry pan, add the potatoes, a little  red wine vinegar, lots of salt and pepper, and some more butter.  Fry them, stirring minimally, until they are brown and the outsides are crispy.  Serve them with a perfectly grilled medium-rare steak.  That is an order!  (I had a picture of these, but for some reason I can’t get it to upload.  Computers are weird when they’re selective.)

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Categories: Canning, Low-Acid, Potatoes | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Preserved Garlic: Delicious Meets Healthy…Maybe

Why preserve garlic? 

Garlic is one of Nature’s most helpful foods.  Besides warding off pesky vampires, it’s also renowned for preventing and treating colds, the flu, and cold sores.  I found this quote very interesting, although I admit I did not follow up on the source to see if it’s true or not.  This source seems to back that up, though.

“Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs’.” (Source)

At any rate, there is some speculation that garlic loses some of it’s antibiotic qualities once cooked.  It does not, however, lose any of it’s delicious, delicious flavor.

And isn’t that what eating should be about?  Flavor?  Enjoyment?  What a treat it is to find a food that is all a food should be.  Flavor.  Enjoyment.  Nutritious.  Guilt-free.

Well you aren’t gonna find the latter here, because we are about to smother the former three adjectives in sugar, oil and alcohol.  Guilt, you can come pop a squat right next to this cellulite!

Preserved Garlic (Because it might be good for you…  )

What you will need: (Makes 4 half-pints)

  • 2lbs whole garlic, about 5 cups
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • pressure canner

Directions:

The first thing you need to do is peel the garlic, if you were a big enough sucker to buy whole garlic instead a jar of pre-peeled cloves.  *Ahem*  Let me just tell you that if you have never peeled 2 lbs of garlic by hand on a sweaty afternoon with two small children begging for attention, you just haven’t lived.  I can however, offer some tips on how to “quickly” peel garlic.  There’s three ways:

  1. Watch this video.  It’s some kind of magic trick.  I couldn’t get it to work, but I think it’s because I’m not a 250-lb super strong man.  I also don’t have two large bowls the same size.
  2. Cut off the large end of each clove, then rock the flat edge of a chef knife over the clove and the skin should fall off fairly easily.  Be careful with your pressure though.  It’s okay if the clove gets a little smashed, but you want the clove to remain as intact as possible.
  3. Soak the cloves in water for at least 1 minute, then peel.  This is the method I used, and it took me about 2 hrs to peel 2lbs.  (Now you know why I put quotes around the “quickly” up there.) I did take several breaks though to address my children.

I eventually got an assembly line of sorts going on: Separate the cloves, Soak the cloves, Cut off the ends, Peel, Admire.

I got this recipe from this blog, and while most people would be grateful enough just for the amazing recipe, I am also eternally grateful for this different, much easier way to sterilize/keep the jars hot.  I struggled to sterilize them on the stove because my back large burner doesn’t work, and the pot is too large to place over a small burner.

Anyway, here’s how you do it:  Turn your oven to 220 degrees.  Place 5 half-pint jars (it’s always good to prepare an extra jar just in case) in a pan or on a baking sheet and place in oven until ready to use.  (He also said you can sterilize the lids in the oven, but I chose to heat them in simmering water on the stove.)

*****UPDATED****** I don’t do this anymore.  I got a new large burner for my stove, and now I just heat the jars in the canner while I’m preparing recipes.  You can use the stove method, but it’s not recommended in the Ball Book of Home Preserving because ovens have inconsistent temperatures and there is a chance that the varying temperatures can cause breakage when you go from the oven to the hot water.  (I never lost a jar doing that, though.  So whatever.)

Meanwhile, prepare pressure canner with 3 inches of water.  Heat over medium heat.

Now for the garlic:  In a large saute pan, heat the oil then cook the peeled cloves over medium heat.  Add the salt.

Beginning to brown…

Once the cloves begin to brown, after about 10 minutes, add the sugar and cook 3-5 more minutes or until they begin to caramelize.

Sugar added, caramelizing…

Add the sherry vinegar and turn the heat up to medium-high.  Cook for about 2 minutes.

Adding the sherry vinegar…

Remove jars from oven and fill with cloves and sauce, leaving a 1- inch headspace.

I used 2 half-pints, and 3 jelly jars (process all for 10 minutes)

I added a little extra oil and sherry vinegar (a few drops of each) to each jar so that the garlic was almost covered.  Wipe rims with a vinegar-soaked paper towel, add lids and rims, tighten, and place jars in canner.

Allow canner to vent 10 minutes, then set to 10lbs pressure.  Once pressure is achieved, cook 10 minutes for half-pints, 20 minutes for pints.  Allow canner to return pressure to 0lbs, then remove vent and lid.  Wait 10 minutes, then remove jars to a towel on the counter and let cool completely.

Okay, I confess:  I didn’t wait for them to cool completely.  We had company over for dinner that night and I was in the mood for some serious compliments.  I served these over perfectly grilled steaks (grilled by my grill-master hubby) with a glass of full-bodied red wine and smiled nonchalantly at each exclamation of delight.

This is why you preserve garlic.  Because they so good that when you are sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night for a snack, you eyeball the jar of them and seriously consider choosing preserved garlic over M&M’s.

And because they might be good for you 😉

Categories: Canning, Low-Acid, Vegetables | Tags: , , , ,

Wild Sockeye Salmon…For Breakfast!

Yesterday while grocery shopping I happened across a beautiful slab of wild-caught Sockeye salmon.  (Alaskan Red Sockeye) I practically stopped in my tracks because they are pretty hard to find around here except for commercially canned versions.  I’ve been on a salmon kick lately, due to this AMAZINGLY addicting recipe, and I’ve been hankering to try canning my own.  But I have looked high and low for fresh Sockeye salmon, and had not been able to find it anywhere!  oh, there’s plenty of farm-raised, color-added stuff out there, reasonably priced, even.  But I wanted the good stuff!  It was frozen, but in Ohio, that’s about as “fresh” as I’m gonna get!

You can understand my excitement at finding it!   It was $9.99/lb, which seemed a little steep to me, but never having had the privilege of buying it before, I didn’t have much of a frame of reference.  So I bought it on faith, and looked up prices online when I got home.  Fresh fish is always market price, so it’s hard to find local prices online.  I did find a few online stores that sold frozen Sockeye, and they were around $15.00 – $18.95/lb!  For commercially canned Sockeye, the best price I found online is around $0.72 per ounce, if bought in bulk.  (My Sockeye was $0.62 per ounce.)

So go me!  Turns out I found an incredible deal!  I’m going to tweak our budget a little and go back to Giant Eagle and get another slab!

I researched online and read a few forums on the best way to can salmon, and ultimately decided to just follow The Ball’s instructions.  I was a bit thrown when it said not to add any liquid, but Ol’ Ball hasn’t done me wrong yet!

So without further ado…ok, maybe just a little more ado…

Canned Salmon (or any fish, except tuna)

What you will need:

  • 2lbs Salmon, your choice.  I obviously prefer Sockeye
  • 1/2 Cup Canning Salt
  • 8 Cups of Water
  • 10 Half pint or 5 pint jars, no larger*
  • Pressure Canner and supplies

*Because seafood is very low in acidity, you must can them in half-pint or pint jars.  Heat penetration of larger jars may be inadequate to destroy bacterial spores.  (Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, page 394)

Directions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. In a large stainless steel bowl, create a brine by dissolving the salt in the water.    Slice the salmon into pieces that will fit into your jars.  (I did 10 pieces – 2 per pint) Soak salmon in the brine in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Prepare pressure canner and lids 30 minutes before you are ready to pack the fish into the jars.  Wash jars, but do not heat them since you will be raw-packing the fish.  (Putting chilled fish into hot jars could cause breakage.)

3. When the fish is done soaking, drain and rinse for 10 minutes.  I don’t have a picture for this step because I forgot it.  The step.  Not the picture.  If you skip this step accidentally too, don’t worry.  I don’t think it affected the salmon much, if at all!

(Mmmm…suddenly I have a strange craving for sushi…)

4. Pack salmon into jars, with the skin side out.   Leave at least a 1″ headspace.  DO NOT ADD LIQUID.  (I know it’s weird, but trust me!  The oils pulled from the fish during processing will fill the jar about halfway with liquid.)  Here the Ball Book says “Remove any visible air bubbles.”  That part made me laugh a little…isn’t the whole jar a giant air bubble if there’s no liquid in it?  But just for good measure I swished the plastic tool around a little bit, releasing imaginary air bubbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Put a little vinegar on a paper towel and clean the rims of the jars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Remove the lids from the simmering water and seal the jars.  Tighten rings.

7. Place jars in canner, adjust water depth if needed (As long as you had at least 3″ in there to begin with, you’ll be fine).  Lock lid, allow pressure to build and vent for 10 minutes then close vent.  Set gauge at 10lbs, and once pressure is achieved cook for 100 minutes for both half pints and pints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Turn off heat and allow pressure to return to zero naturally.  Wait 2 more minutes, then open vent.  Remove lid, wait 10 minutes, then remove jars to a towel and let cool.  When they are completely cool, check lids for resistance and store for up to 1 year.  Although if you’ve tried this recipe from Keeper of The Home, they won’t last 1 month!

That’s it!  I think so far this was the easiest canning adventure I’ve ever had.  In fact, it was so easy that I kept thinking “What did I forget?  What did I miss?”.  Turns out I did miss step 3, and I fretted for awhile that the salmon would turn out too salty as a result of that, but it is great!  I also think next time I’ll either pack more into the pint jars or use half-pint jars for the same amount (around 5-7 oz in each pint).  I think it’s fine how I did it, but it seems like a waste of space to me.  (And admittedly, aesthetically it’s kinda bugging me…)

So I wanted to be able to tell you how it tasted and show you pictures of the finished product, so I went ahead and opened one this morning.

 

 

It looks a little unappetizing with the skin on, but  I scraped the skin off easily and flaked it up.  It flaked the same way commercially canned salmon does.  The salmon aroma was very pleasant, not as fishy as I’ve smelled before.  (Although if you’re not a salmon-lover, it will probably smell pretty fishy to you.)

Nice color, eh?  It definitely is a few hues lighter than it’s original beautiful red, but I was impressed at how pink it still was after canning it.  Now it’s time to taste it!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually wake up thinking, “Mmm, how about some salmon for breakfast?”  Nah, I’m more of an eggs and toast or yogurt kinda girl.  However, I already had plans for lunch and dinner, and really wanted to get this post on here today.  Plus I really was curious about how it would taste!  A quick Internet search for salmon suggested omelets or quiches, which sounded pretty good to me.  But Ty wasn’t interested in broadening his breakfast taste buds past cereal and I didn’t really want to go all gourmet just for little old me.  So I chopped up a potato and fried that up with oil, butter and rosemary, then scrambled an egg with about 3 teaspoons of salmon and 1/4 tsp of dried dill.  I topped the scrambled egg with a slice of mozzarella/provolone blend, added a little drizzle of hot sauce on the potatoes and YUM!  That was a delicious breakfast!  (Ha, ha, Ty!  Sucker!  Hope that cereal was everything you thought it’d be!)  

The Verdict:

I am THRILLED to report that the salmon turned out excellent!  I will absolutely be canning my own salmon whenever possible!

Categories: Canning, Low-Acid, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Canning Dried Beans

Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So eat your beans at every meal!

Any post with the word “toot” in it has to be a good one, right?  I for one, love beans.  I would work them into every meal if my husband would allow it, but alas, beans are permitted only once a week or so.  Regardless, I buy a lot of beans.  I eat chickpeas in my salads, sneak white kidney beans into soups and pride myself on my bean-packed homemade chili.  (“Homemade” = opening cans of tomato sauce, beans, and a spice packet.  Yeah, I’m amazing.)  Well, recently I have become aware of the existence of BPA in canned foods, and am working towards eliminating canned foods in our home.  I took a “before” picture of my pantry, and I’m hoping that by this time next year, my “after” picture will contain only canned-in-jars food!  Beans is a big step towards that, since one whole shelf is dedicated to them!

I chose to can red kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas this time around.  I’ll hit up some other varieties at a later date.  The process is the same for any dried variety, so feel free to shake it up!

Canning Dried Beans

What You Will Need:

  • 4 lbs Dried Beans = 13 Pints
  • Pressure Canner (beans are a low-acid food and MUST be pressure canned.)
  • Canning tools
  • Canning salt – optional.  I did not use any, but I will tell you how to use it if you choose to.

Directions:

Wash and sort your beans.  Discard any discolored or diseased-looking beans.

Place beans in a large pot, fill with water and bring to a boil.  Boil 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and let soak while you wash your jars and sterilize them.

How to sterilize jars:  In a 20-qt pot or your pressure canner, sink your jars in enough water to completely cover them.  Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes.  Let the jars sit in the hot water to keep them hot until you are ready to fill them, one at a time.  

If you have a dishwasher, just run the dishwasher to clean and sterilize them and leave them in your dishwasher until you are ready to fill them.

Out of my 4 burners, only my two little ones and one of the big ones works, so I had to sterilize my jars on the burner that worked before I could start heating up my canner.  If all 4 of your burners work, add an inch of water to your pressure canner and start heating it up.  Once your jars are sterilized and you begin to fill them, you can use the hot water from that to add to your pressure canner so you have 3-4 inches of water.

Meanwhile, get a kettle of water boiling in your teapot or another pan.  You will need this to fill your jars.

If you are as slow as I am, or as distracted by children as I am, this has probably taken you a good hour to get your jars ready.  That is good timing, because your beans should be pretty well soaked by now!  Drain your beans, rinse them one more time and set near your filling station. (A towel on the counter next to your pressure canner.  Keep all your tools handy on the towel.)

One at a time, gripping your jar firmly with the jar lifter, remove the jar from the sterilizing water, dump the hot water into your pressure canner, and set the empty hot jar on a towel.  Ladle beans into the jar.  You’ll probably want to use a funnel to keep the beans from making a mess.  Or maybe you are more coordinated than I am…  I needed the funnel.

If you want to add canning salt, this is the time to do it.  1/2 teaspoon to each pint (1 tsp to quarts).

Fill the jars with hot water from your teapot to a 1″ headspace.

With a plastic knife or tool, carefully stir the beans to make sure any trapped air bubbles get released.

WIPE YOUR RIMS.  Don’t forget this very important step!  If you don’t wipe your rims, and somehow a particle of bean is left on the rim, your lids will not seal correctly and you will have a jar of rotten beans!

In a small pan, bring your lids and some water to an ALMOST boil.  Just so the water is hot, not quite boiling.  It’s ok if you are just now doing this step, your bean-filled jars will stay hot while you do this.  Once your lids are hot, use your magnetic lid-lifter to lift them out of the water, place them on your jars and screw the bands on.  Fill your pressure cooker AFTER making sure you have at least 3 inches of water!  (I played it safe and put in 4″)  If you have a pressure cooker like mine, you can do 2 layers of pint jars.  I have been dying to try this out!  I think it’s the coolest thing ever.

At this point, I was completely ready to lock my canner and crank up the heat, but I still had a ton of beans left!  (I had only started with 9 pint jars)  So I found 4 more pint jars and quickly washed and sterilized them (while keeping the other jars hot with the lid on the canner)

Anyway, YOU won’t do that, because YOU are learning from my mistakes.  4lbs = roughly 13 pint jars.  Obviously the teeny tiny black beans won’t take as many jars as the big kidney or chickpeas will.  Next time I will just wash and sterilize 14 pint jars, which is all that will fit in my canner anyway.  If I don’t use some, no big deal.  At least I won’t have to scramble at the last minute like I did this time!

Processing Dried Beans

(Yes, I am boiling more eggs!  Those pickled eggs were awesome!)

On medium-high heat, allow the canner to vent for 10 minutes.  Process pint jars 75 minutes at 10lbs psi, and quart jars 90 minutes at 10lbs.  Allow gauge to return to zero, (this could take an hour.  Be patient) then wait 10 minutes, remove weight, then remove the lid.  Place jars back on the towel and allow to cool.  Stick around to listen for the “pop”!  Once the jars are cool (at least an hour later), remove the rings and test the seals.  Just use your fingers and apply medium pressure.  They should not budge.  If any failed to seal, refrigerate the beans and use in the next few days.  You *can* reprocess them, but it’s not recommended because it alters the flavor.

I have to tell you, my jars of beans have been sitting on my counter for three days now because I’m so satisfied with myself and I just like looking at them.  I’m no longer dependent on canned beans!  I don’t have to try to remember to soak beans the night before!  Muwahahaha!  I feel powerful, which is a little ironic since my actions are actually a regression from technology and convenience.  But that’s okay.  My homemade canned beans cost about a third of store-bought canned beans and I’m not getting any nasty toxins.  It’s worth it to regress!

Categories: Beans, Canning, Low-Acid | Tags: , , , , ,

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