Search results for: 'canning'

  • I remember hot summer afternoons back in the 80’s, feeling sticky and tired from pushing piles of peach skin and pits off the counter. I can see my mom’s red cheeks, puffing with exertion and her hair all frizzed-out from laboring over the pressure canner. I also remember the stress and frustration; Mom yelling “be careful it’s hot!” and “¡Rapido, rapido! ¡Apúrate!” I know, it sounds like that wouldn't be a cherished memory, but it is.

     

    903 All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner

    Come fall my dad would pull out the pressure canner and put on the juicing adapter as I washed grapes in the sink. I’d stack the fruit inside; he would fasten the lid. Then we’d wait until the purple gold pushed its way into the Mason jars. “Stand back just in case it splatters,” he’d warn me, and I’d wish I was one of those farm kids who get to squirt milk straight in their mouths from the teat.

     

    I remember, months later, wrapped in a sweater on gray winter evenings, digging into soft, sweet peaches and feeling the warmth of summer shine into every corner of our tiny kitchen. Nothing, and I mean nothing, tasted as good as cottage cheese running with sugary peach juice. The grape juice was saved for special occasions like somebody’s birthday, or Thanksgiving, or a Sunday dinner when my dad thought we should celebrate for no particular reason.

     

    I learned a lot in those days; how to keep a sink full of soapy dishwater to clean as you dirtied dishes, how working now meant pleasure later, and how important precision is. These are lessons that I use as an adult; and it all came from my mother and one little machine.

     

    Pressure canning is still one of the most reliable ways to preserve food, especially produce. Preserve food and precious memories—get an All-American Pressure Cookers, and take a look at our pressure canning accessories. A pressure canner is a great gift for moms* who want to store their fresh produce for later. If you've never preserved food before, read up on Home Canning Methods, Canning Basics, Canning Tips and Tricks, and get some canning recipes before you start.

     

    ~ Steph

     

    *And dads, of course. But Mother’s Day is May 12th, so we’re just dropping some hints on behalf of the mothers in your life. [Nudge, nudge]

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, skills, emergency preparedness, Food Storage Tips, home food production, canning, home food preservation

  • Last month we wrote about raising rabbits as food storage. We noted that you’ll quickly have a lot of rabbits on your hands. Do you have plans for those rabbits? Here’s a post about canning rabbit (and chicken) meat. You’ll definitely have enough meat to eat fresh and to store.

    For ideas on how to prepare rabbit, check out Food.com's rabbit recipes. Livestrong.com also recommends rabbit as a tasty, lean meat. Click here for recipes on how to bake, barbeque, or stew rabbit meat.

    For putting up your own rabbit meat, you might consider salt curing, brining, smoking, or pickling the meat. Or you can try one of these more common techniques:

    Can it

    Granny Miller has a lot of information on how to can rabbit and other small game. Step-by-step instructions give you background, and then walk you through the process. She also gives you some good tips like this about what to do with giblets,

    "can the livers in their own jar because the liver taste will transfer to the other giblets. I always save the livers, kidneys, hearts and other bits when processing harvested animals. Even if I don’t eat those parts, my dogs and cats will."

    Make jerky.

    Backwoodsbound.com has a brief post on turning rabbit meat into jerky. You’ll need a food dehydrator, or a reliable oven that will maintain a temperature of 150-200° F for about 8 hours.

    Freeze it.

    You should probably use frozen meat within a few months; it might last longer if you vacuum pack it. Here are some guidelines on "shelf life" of frozen meats, from eHow.com.

    "Label and date each package with a permanent marker. Then practice FIFO - first in, first out - which reduces the risk of freezer burn and spoilage. Plus you'll know what's in the package. Even when properly packaged, frozen meats have only several months of shelf life. For quick reference: chops, 6 - 12 months; ground meat, 2 to 3; roast, 6 to 12; steaks, 6 to 9; and stew meat, 2 to 3. A whole bird will keep up to 12 months; pieces up to 9 months."

    We’re interested in hearing about your experiences preserving meat. What kinds of meat do you preserve, and what method do you like best? Let us know in the comments.

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: dehydration, Meat storage, freezing, canning, rabbits

  • Meet Stephanie

    Hi Folks,

    I’m a new copywriter/blog editor at Emergency Essentials and I’m pretty enthusiastic about prepping. My parents have always followed the core principles of preparedness, like staying out of debt and keeping food storage. My dad toughened up his kids by taking us hiking and camping, making us sleep on the ground (UGH!) and feeding us MREs. I’ve learned a lot of habits and skills from them. Every summer I would spend a week in the mountains learning bush craft like lashing, fire building, cooking, first aid, and orienteering. (Incidentally, even though Sarah’s an Urban Girl now, she did this too.)

    I’ve lived in Honduras where I took bucket baths, India where the electricity went out frequently, and Bulgaria where people lived off their summer canning. I’m no stranger to thriving in a difficult environment. I’m interested in gadgets and gizmos, delicious food, and eco-conscious approaches to life, so I’ll likely be blogging about the coolest (and latest) prepper technology, recipes and rotating your food storage, and how to recycle-reuse-reduce.

    I love post-apocalyptic movies and books – not because I enjoy disaster, but because I LOVE the ingenuity that humans show during tough times. I know that the stories are fictional, so that’s why I’m eager to hear more of your first-hand experiences. I think problem solving and coming up with low-tech, affordable solutions is exciting.

    Having said all that, when I finally built up my food storage a couple of years ago, I ended up with 4 cases of tuna, a three-year supply of personal toiletries, 5 gallons of water, a tarp, a mosquito net, and 25 feet of rope.

    I have a lot to learn.

    Stay posted to read about things that I learn, cool stuff that I find, and other emergency essentials. I want your input so don’t hesitate to comment on posts!

    Looking forward to our interaction,

    Steph

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • I always get so excited when I see the fruit on my trees begin to ripen and weigh down the branches or my grapes begin to get that deep purple color. These are the unmistakable signs that jam- and jelly-making season is just about here. Jam is also a great way to get started if you are new to canning. It is very simple and the processing times are much shorter. The basics for canning apply here but these are some specific tips to making perfect jam and jelly.

      1. Always use the best fruit; slightly under-ripe is better than slightly over-ripe. Pectin levels are higher in slightly under-ripe fruit.
      2. Table sugar is just fine for making jam or jelly. Preserving sugar is only necessary if you choose not to use pectin. Fruits have naturally-occurring pectin and will set on their own, but it will need to be boiled much longer (sometimes over an hour). This lengthy process can cause the fruit to taste scorched; it will also look darker.
      3. I always use store-bought pectin. This one little box will ensure that your jam or jelly sets perfectly and decreases the amount of time that you need to boil your fruit.
      4. Dissolve the sugar completely. If you don’t, the jam or jelly will be grainy. You can test this by stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon then pull it out and look at what has coated the back of the spoon. If it is clear and you don’t see any grains of sugar then it has dissolved completely. I usually do this a couple of times just to make sure.
      5. Only make one batch at a time. Never double the recipe, the fruit will not set up.
      6. When your fruit is boiling a foam or scum will form on the top to keep this down just add a walnut sized pat of butter and it will disappear. Skimming the scum works but you end up losing too much of your fruit.
      7. Let your jam settle before bottling for about 15 minutes. This will prevent the fruit from rising to the top.
      8. Jams and jellies tend to spatter when cooking so wear an apron or old shirt and always use a long handled spoon for stirring.
      9. An easy way to test the “set” on your jam or jelly is to keep a couple of spoons in a glass of ice water near you. When you have boiled your fruit for the suggested time drop a teaspoon full onto one of the cold spoons. If it gets wrinkly or forms a skin on top then it is ready. If not just boil for 5 more minutes and test again.
      10. Like any canning you do, be sure to have everything you need together before you begin. Also read your jam or jelly recipe entirely before you start just to make sure you are ready; once you start cooking you can’t stop or walk away.
      11. Always process in a water bath canner. It only takes about 5 minutes but will make sure that your jam or jelly is safe to store.
      12. Last but not least, always remember that if your first try doesn’t quite work out a thin jam or jelly always makes a great topping for ice cream, waffles, pancakes or a little something special to add to a smoothie.

    Making jam and jelly is one of my favorites. I just love seeing all of those jars filled with beautiful colors lined up on my shelves. It’s food storage gold!

      <p >--Dawn

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Kosher Dill Pickles

    4 Cups White Vinegar

    1 Cup Kosher Salt

    3 Quarts Water

    Pickling Cucumbers

    Fresh Garlic

    Fresh or Dried Dill Sprigs

    Place 1 clove of peeled garlic and 1 Dill Sprig into the bottom of each jar.  Pack cleaned and dried Cucumbers into each jar.  Make sure they fit snugly.  Set aside.  My family likes hot pickles too so for some of the jars I will add a jalapeno or Anaheimpepper.

    Place water, vinegar and salt into large pot and heat over high heat until boiling.  When the brine comes to a full boil it is time to fill your jars.  It is important to keep the brine boiling while filling jars.  Place a canning funnel on the jar and us a two cup measuring cup to pour brine into the jar.  Fill jar with brine leaving ½” headspace, wipe the top of the jar and put on a lid and ring.  When all jars are filled process using a water bath canner for 20 minutes after the water in canner returns to a boil.

    Pickles need to sit for about 3 months before they are ready to eat.

    I usually make pickles in small batches since I can only get enough from my garden for a few jars at a time.  Any left over brine will store safely in a container either in your pantry on in the refrigerator and can be used for your next batch.

    --Dawn

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Hi, all! Dawn is sharing two of her go-to canning recipes with us today!

    First up, this delicious-sounding salsa.

    Salsa

    12 Cups Tomatoes – peeled, cored, chopped and drained

    5 Cups Chopped AnaheimPeppers (I leave the seeds in but you can take them out)

    5 Cups Chopped Red Onion

    2 Cups Chopped and Seeded Jalapeno Peppers

    4 Cloves Garlic, Minced

    3 Tablespoons Cilantro, Minced

    3 Teaspoons Salt

    1 ¼  Cup Cider Vinegar

    1 Teaspoon Cumin

    Heat all ingredients in large pot. Allow time for the mixture to cook down and thicken to your liking. Prepare jars, lids and rings.  Bring salsa mixture to boil, reduce heat to simmer and fill jars leaving ¼ inch head space. Wipe rim of jars and put on prepared lid and ring.  Process salsa in water bath canner for 20 minutes (after canner returns to full boil) – remember to adjust this time for your altitude.

    Helpful Hint – When chopping and seeding peppers always wear gloves to prevent your hands being burned.

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • TOMATOES-CRUSHED (with no added liquid)

    A high-quality product, ideally suited for use in soups, stews, and casseroles. This recipe is

    similar to that formerly referred to as “Quartered Tomatoes.”

    Quantity: An average of 22 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 14

    fresh pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 17

    to 20 quarts of crushed tomatoes—an average of 2-3/4 pounds per quart.

    Procedure:

    Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip in cold water, slip off skins, and remove cores. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions and quarter.

    Heat one-sixth of the quarters quickly in a large pot, crushing them with a wooden mallet or spoon as they are added to the pot. This will exude juice. Continue heating the tomatoes, stirring to prevent burning.

    Once the tomatoes are boiling, gradually add remaining quartered tomatoes, stirring constantly. These remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed. They will soften with heating and stirring. Continue until all tomatoes are added. Then boil gently 5 minutes.

    Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars. See acidification directions on page 3-5. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired. Fill hot jars immediately with hot tomatoes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process. (Acidification is still required for the pressure canning options; follow all steps in the Procedures above for any of the processing options.)

    This recipe is from the USDA’s Complete Guide to HomeCanning.

    Are you going to give this one a shot? Hope it goes well!

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Are you ready to try canning for the first time? Today we'll be posting some great recipes throughout the day to get you started.

    This recipe is from the USDA’s Complete Guide to HomeCanning.

    PEACHES—HALVED OR SLICED

    Quantity:

    An average of 17-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of

    11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to

    24 quarts—an average of 2-1/2 pounds per quart.

    Quality:

    Choose ripe, mature fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking.

    Procedure:

    Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins. Cut in half, remove pits, and slice if desired.

    To prevent darkening, keep peeled fruit in ascorbic acid solution (see page 1-11). Prepare and boil a very light, light, or medium syrup (see page 2-5) or pack peaches in water, apple juice, or white grape juice. Raw packs make poor quality peaches.

    Hot pack

    —In a large saucepan, place drained fruit in syrup, water, or juice and bring to boil.

    Fill hot jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Place halves in layers, cut side down.

    Raw pack

    —Fill hot jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add hot water, juice, or syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

    Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process.

    Processing directions for canning peaches in a dial- or weighted-gauge canner are given on

    pages 2-31 and 2-32.

    Ready to give it a shot? Let us know how it goes!

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Now that you know some of the basics of canning, it’s time to get started. Deciding what to preserve and when are really important. Make a list and check when each item will come into season in your area. It is so much easier to spread your canning out over time instead of buying everything at once and not leaving the kitchen for a month. When you want to begin a canning session, you should have everything you need clean and available. Double check before starting, because you don’t want to be in the middle of filling your jars and realize that you forgot to buy mustard seeds for your pickles.

    Jars of Pickles

    Below is a list of my favorite canning tips. They have simplified canning for me and prevented a few mistakes along the way.

    Canning tips and tricks

    • Never set jars directly on the bottom of the canner; they will burst. Always use the wire rack that comes with the canner.
    • Make all preserves, jams and jellies in small batches. This will ensure proper jelling. If you double or triple a recipe it just doesn’t work.
    • Most new varieties of tomatoes are not as high in acid as older varieties. To continue to use a water bath canner you must add an acid. I use lemon juice. Add 2 TBS per quart jar or 2 tsp. per pint jar. Just put the lemon juice in the bottom of the jar prior to filling. This amount doesn’t affect the taste but if you are concerned you could always add a tsp. of sugar to compensate.
    • Processing time starts when the canner has returned to boiling after adding the jars
    • Clear Jel® is the only thickener (i.e. pie filling) considered safe by the USDA for canning. Do not use flour, cornstarch, rice or pasta.
    • To prevent darkening of peeled or cut fruit use commercial ascorbic acid (“Fruit-Fresh”). Follow the directions on the package and prepare a bowl of cool water with the ascorbic acid added, then simply put your fruit into the water as you peel or cut it.
    • Any jar that fails to seal can be reprocessed in a clean jar with a new lid.
    • After processing tomatoes through a food strainer or sieve, pour off the water that collects on top. This will help keep the bright red color of the tomato and cut cooking times in half when making salsa or catsup.
    • Use soft or filtered water to pack vegetables. This will prevent cloudiness in the jar when storing.
    • To remove hard water from jars, soak them overnight in a solution of 1 gallon water and 1 cup white vinegar.
    • Jars should always be added or removed from your canner one at a time. Never lift them out using the internal rack. It is only designed to keep them off the bottom of the pan and prevent them from bumping into each other during processing.
    • Do not make modifications to recipes, especially in a water bath canner. This can lead to spoiling and bacteria growth. Canning recipes are very specific and tested to ensure the safety of the food for storage.
    • Adding “pickling lime” to your pickling brine keeps pickles crisp in storage.
    • Never use any jars larger than 1 quart. Due to the density of the food in such a large jar, home canners can’t reach a high enough temperature to process foods safely.
    • Only fill your canner about half full with water. When you begin adding jars the level will rise. I keep a tea kettle with boiling water ready so if the water level is too low I can add enough to cover the jars by about 1 inch. If the level is too high I just use a measuring cup to scoop some water out.
    • Use a long handled thin rubber spatula to remove air bubbles from inside the jars after filling. Just run it around the inside edge and through the middle. This makes sure that your jars are filled properly and all of the air can escape during processing.
    • Preserve meat! You must use a pressure canner but it is just wonderful. It can be packed with either water or broth. The meat becomes so tender and recipe ready during processing, it is simply amazing!

    These helpful hints should get you well on your way to “putting up” your harvest or bulk buys. You will find that it is a little work but nothing beats the feeling of being able to serve your family something that you have canned yourself. Canning will also help bring you one step closer to being self-sufficient and is an excellent way to increase your current food storage.

    For more canning tips, information, and recipes, refer to the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html

    We’ll have some recipes posted tomorrow so you can put your new canning skills to use! Good luck!

    --Dawn

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Let’s talk about preserving food at home—specifically, canning. Canning is my favorite way to store local, seasonal fruit and vegetables. Purchasing seasonal produce in large quantities—or growing your own food— and canning it is very economical and it provides my family with their favorites year round.

    I also love how eco-friendly canning is. All of your canning equipment, including jars and rings, can be used for many years. The only thing you throw away after use is the lid with the rubber seal. It’s a great feeling to know that you are helping to conserve natural resources by canning your own food.

    Before we talk about the steps you’ll take when canning, let’s go over the equipment that you will need to get started. Here is a list of basics:

    • A Canner – Water Bath and/or Pressure Canner
    • Jars - These come in several sizes and designs, just be sure you choose jars that are designed for canning.
    • Rings and Lids – These can be purchased as a set or individually. The first time around you will need sets. After that you can just buy new lids.
    • Wide Mouth Funnel – This will allow you to easily fill your jars.
    • Magnetic Lid Lifter – A great little tool that makes it easy to get the lid from the pan of hot water onto the jars.
    • Jar Lifter – This tool is a giant pair of tongs that lets you grab the jar from the lip just below the threads and safely put it into and take it out of your canner.

    Once you have all of your equipment together it’s time to start thinking about what you want to can. In a water bath canner you can preserve most acidic foods, such as most fruits, tomatoes and pickles. If you want to can vegetables or meats you will need a pressure canner. When choosing food to can, be sure to pick only the highest quality available. My mom always had the rule that “if it isn’t good enough for your table then it isn’t good enough to can.” You want to choose food that is ripe but not over-ripe. Be sure to discard food that has any bruising, insect damage, or disease.

    You have so many choices when preparing food for canning. Food can be peeled or not, chopped into large or small pieces, packed with water, syrup (for fruits), or broth (for meats). Most fruits and tomatoes will need some acid (like lemon juice) added to each jar. It's very important to use recipes specific for canning and follow them exactly. Following these directions and processing times exactly will ensure the safety of the food by removing oxygen, destroying enzymes, and preventing the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and mold.

    You'll also have the choice to “cold pack” or “hot pack.” Cold packing is done by putting the cold food into the jar and then pouring hot liquid over it to fill. Hot packing is done by heating the food and liquid together in a pan and pouring both into the jar to fill. (When is cold packing better? When is hot packing better?)

    When you're ready to begin, start by sterilizing your jars and washing your lids and rings. Keep your jars and rings covered with a clean dishtowel until you're ready to use them. Fill your canner to the proper level with water and begin preheating it. You'll also want to put your lids in a small pan with just enough water to cover and put them on the stove with a low heat. They don’t need to be hot. You just want the rubber seal to be soft. Now it’s time to prepare your food for canning—again be sure to follow the recipe instructions exactly.  Filling the jars should be done fairly quickly, so make sure that your canner is ready before you begin.

    Take a sterilized jar and fill it with food; be sure to leave the proper headspace (specified in the recipe) to allow for boiling. I keep a wet dishcloth handy to wipe down the top of the jar and the threads. After cleaning, put a lid on top of the jar and twist on a ring. You only need to hand-tighten the ring. It does need to be tight, but don't over-tighten. Quickly fill all jars for a single batch in your canner. Do not add them to the canner as you fill them. Wait until they're all filled, then put them all in at the same time. This will ensure that the water in your canner stays hotter.

    Once you have all of your jars in the canner, you just need to wait for it to reach the proper temperature, pressure, or begin to boil (based on the recipe and type of canner you’re using). Set a timer to make sure that you have processed your jars for the correct amount of time. If you want to do several batches in one session just begin preparing the next one while the others are processing in the canner. When they finish, carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel on the counter to cool. Before you add the next batch to the canner make sure that the water is still at the proper level. If you need to add more water, you'll have to wait for the temperature to rise before putting in your next batch of filled cans.

    As your jars cool, you'll hear the ping of the lids as they seal. Once the jars have cooled completely, remove the rings and wipe down the jars to remove anything that may have seeped out during processing. The rings are not necessary for storage, but you will need one to keep the lid on the can once you open it. If you misplace things easily, it might be best to keep a ring on each can. All that’s left is to label your jars (don’t forget to date them) and put them away to store.

    It's a wonderful feeling of security to have your harvest safely stored away. These canned foods have some other benefits as well. Fruits and vegetables that are handled properly and canned promptly after harvest or purchase are often more nutritious than canned food purchased at the store, they don’t require refrigeration, and will store about two years at room temperature. No thawing is required, these jars are recipe ready!

    So, do you think you’re ready for your first canning recipe? Check back here in a couple of days—I’ll have some additional tips and a few great recipes for you.

    --Dawn

    Posted In: Uncategorized

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