I took long enough to start Water Bath canning! I have mentioned before that I found canning to be like soap making... I was intimidated because of things I had heard. When I confronted my fears and tried soap making I was like pppfff! it was so stupid to have worried as it was so easy and fun. The only serious danger is that you will develop an addiction to soap making. (oops too late...)
Water bath canning was the same. All my worries turned out to be basically ridiculous and it was fun to do and interestingly also addictive!
But Pressure Canning still remains in the "this is scary" category for me!
Actually it has been in the "this is scary and we might die" category! haha!
Talking to Vicky who has so much experience here has changed my mind. You can win my interest if something will save me money, stock my pantry, keep necessities on hand in times of scarcity.... and Vicky gave me many examples. Then one thing she said got me...
World wide the have been shortages and dramatic price increases in butter. Vicky asked if I knew if you are able to can butter?
I was already interested in this. Since freezing isn't always a long term safe option I had found canned butter online. I even emailed a New Zealand company to try and find out where I could buy it but they never even replied. I found several companies that make it but no where to buy it... and it was expensive. But I think like soap, sugar, fabric.... in a downturn or crisis some canned butter would be worth more than gold! You can also buy powdered butter but I think canned whole butter would be much nicer.
So over to Vicky ....
Last time we talked about water bath canning and the foods we are able to put up with that method. This time let's look at pressure canning. This method uses steam and weight and the pressure canners themselves vary some have a weight that rocks, some have gages and some are self regulating which I find the easiest. Water boils at around 212 degrees and steam is around temps of 240 and 250 degrees. The steam rises and the weight forces it back down to basically vacuum seal the jars. Pressure canning uses less water, but usually requires more processing time. The foods we pressure can are low acid which is why hotter temperatures are required to ensure that if any bacteria is present it cannot survive and enables a long shelf life.
Things that we are able to add to the pantry by pressure canning are numerous and after the initial investment saves us a lot and helps reduce waste, saves freezer space, builds the pantry and is great for emergencies or power outages because you can just open and heat it quick or eat it right out of the jar.
What do we pressure can? Carrots, potatoes, green beans, dry beans, meat and wild game, soups, stews, veggie combinations for soups or stews, peas, corn and cubes of squashes or pumpkins and more.
We can have a good variety in the pantry if we choose and know exactly what's in it and where it comes from.
It can be a little scary the first time or two you pressure can, but it's really not that hard.
I know many are afraid they will explode. That doesn't happen as often as you think. My husbands grandma did have one explode, but she admitted she had left it unattended. Pressure canning does require attention.
And there a few things to remember like if you are canning ingredients like soup for example and if you have ingredients that could be water bathed, but ingredients that have to be pressure canned as well you always pressure can. And we can get away with reusing jars from jars of mayo or whatever from the store, but do not put them in a pressure canner. There is a higher possibility they will explode under the pressure.
And once you are confident in your canning and get past any fears that you will poison your family there are things you can as well. Like butter! Did I say butter? Oh yes I did! You can also can cheese and cream cheese.
Just think if there are shortages, rising costs or you plan to go off the grid there is a way to have butter on hand or ghee if you prefer.
Stay tuned! The next canning post will be on canning some butter.
Thank you Vicky! You opened my eyes to a new possibility! So I can't wait until next week.
As a result I am now reading up further and have decided I want to start with pressure canning.
I am reading this lovely blog The Iowa Housewife. Look how good these carrots look! So I am planning carrots. And butter of course. I very often see cream on good deals. If I find these I am going to make my own butter then can it. Ok wish me luck.... and help from Vicky who is actually canning butter this week especially to photograph the process to teach us step by step!
Now for my challenge this week:
The cotton fabrics I got from the op shop saved me at least $50.
The mattress protectors each saved me around $20 and the ones that tuned out to be a pure wool filled quilt and a pure wool fleece underlay were both worth around $200 each even if I am conservative! You bet I am counting these as savings as they will be put to use and upgrade woollen bedding supplies.
I will say I saved $20 on pizzas I made and $10 on jars of pesto.
I did all the usual stuff like cook at home and make lunches and so on. Also I did my hair colour and trim.
It is so satisfying to see savings adding up. Much of my savings are being channelled into my cottage project which I consider an investment. Other savings go towards adding to the pantry and preparedness. Due to the current virus situation Andy and I ordered two new spare pumps for our water tanks. This is because Australia gets almost all pumps from China and a shortage would be very bad for us. So now we will be ahead with spares. It pays to be very watchful!
How did you save this week?
If you have any tips or success stories on pressure canning please share.
Also if you have questions I am sure Vicky and others will be happy to help you!
I am hoping this is an area that I can begin to use to stock up my pantry and also save freezer space. xxx