Home Canning

Good morning guys, and welcome back to Coverin the Bases, in Miz Judi’s Kitchen. Thanks for coming and it’s good to be here this morning!

Saving Up For a Food Dehydrator:
Let me start off saying thanks to everyone who wrote in to us with all the great comments, opinions, and info in regards to Deb and I purchasing a food dehydrator.

Deb won’t be here with us this morning. I dropped her off last night about ten miles from the house, and told her to start picking up cans to help offset the purchase of our new dehydrator. Anybody happen to know what aluminum is bringing at the junkyard these days?

She hadn’t made it home as of yet this morning, so she’s either hit the “mother lode” in regards to her can pick-up, or she’s asleep out there up under a tree somewhere…I’m hoping for the first!

Seriously though, we do appreciate your response and you all were a great help! Thanks again…you guys are great!

Well, today we finish planting our three raised bed gardens. We’ll also finish our landscaping of the area we put the garden in. I’m assuming this, but it all kinda depends on when Deb finally gets back home. She knows I wanted her to finish up around the garden today too!

She is home, but nowhere close, right at the moment…can ya’ tell?

In the three beds we ended up with 16 tomato plants, 16 bell pepper plants, 12 cabbage plants, 8 banana pepper and 8 gypsy pepper plants, 4 eggplants, and about 50 yellow onion sets. Not too shabby for three backyard beds, I wouldn’t think.

Talking about the vegetable plants, have ya’ll noticed how quick the stores are selling out of these things? That’s one reason we didn’t finish the planting last Saturday. Everybody had run out of the plants we were needing.

That’s a bad thing in regards to us wanting to finish our beds, but in reality it’s a good thing too. This tells me that more and more people, are now realizing the potential of these back yard gardens, and I think that’s just great! Keep it up!

So for all you people out there who haven’t been gardening in the past, or haven’t been attempting it because of lack of space, you can now see, it really doesn’t take a lot of space. Not only that, but I believe most will be surprised by the production these little gardens’ put out, and in today’s times, every little bit helps!

Let me say once more, and you guys may be tired of hearing it, but please, if you start little projects like this…get your children involved. We feel this is very important, because remember, they are our future!

Home Canning:

Okay guys, I’ve been talking about canning your fruits, vegetables, meats, soups, and even cakes for a while now. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you are beginning to wonder if we even know how to can? The answer is yes we do, but I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to share what little we know with our readers.

Just describing it, is one way, and when you buy your pressure cooker it does come with a “how to booklet,” that covers the basics.

I, for one, though am a guy that likes to “see it” versus reading about it, so when we start in depth on this subject we’ll probably add a few pictures and maybe a video too. I personally feel, this will help you to understand the process better, but if ever you have any questions, just ask, and if we can’t answer it, then I’m sure some of our friends can. So don’t ever be bashful, just ask away!

Deb and I started canning again, about three years ago. The reason simply was the economy, and we felt we needed to begin some type of food storage program, and this was our initial priority. Once more, what works for us may not be applicable for your own needs in many things, but we both feel canning, literally, can be a help to all.

Quickly this morning, there was another reason we first started canning.

I remember back when I was 5 or 6 years old, I used to go with my Granddaddy and work in the orange groves. Yes parents, 5 or 6 years old! Work hurts no one, and the earlier you can get your children involved in some type of work related projects, the better it is…for the child. It teaches responsibility, a work ethic, and the realization that you in fact have to pay for things you want…through earning it. Myself personally, I loved it back then, going “to work” with my Granddaddy!

I wasn’t forced to go, or was it demanded I turn out a day’s, work like a grown man, but I did pull water sprouts, and even played around in an attempt at hoeing the little orange trees. I was raised in this way, and Deb and I raised our children in this way. At least when Red hadn’t wrapped himself up in Ace bandages! (See yesterday’s story about ambulance rides!)

Honestly, we always had a great work ethic, and both Josh and Mark did as well. This is one respect that we never had to worry about. This being, that if something happened, God forbid, to Deb and I, we knew in our hearts that both boys would be fine! They could and would, take care of themselves, they’d been taught to!

Anyway, my Granny used to send me and Granddaddy a pint jar of canned soup apiece, or stew she’d canned for our lunch. That dad-gum soup tasted as if it were fit for a king! Granddaddy and I would “pile-up” under one of those orange trees in the shade, and eat that stew with a couple a big ole “cat-head” biscuits apiece. Like I said…fit for a king! It just didn’t get any better than that!

So, by my remembering the taste of those canned soups and stews, I told Deb, “We’re going back to cannin’ our groceries,” and we did!

We started off slowly, by canning our peas. At that point, we then progressed into meats, then soups, then chili. We started canning jellies and jams, along with just fruits themselves. Then I read you could can cakes, and sweetbreads.

I’ve told the story earlier, of the time I’d read how to can cakes. I decided I’d do some, and impress ole Deb! You know, show her that in regards to providing, she’d surely got herself one good catch…ME! LOL! Whether she feels the same this morning after picking up cans all night, last night…well, I ain’t so sure!
Anyway, I canned us a couple cakes in them Mason jars, and I gotta tell you, those dern things turned out nice…Real Nice!

Except for one small misstep…I’d canned them in “small-mouth jars!”

Those who’ve canned before are probably busting a gut laughing right now, but for the benefit of the ones who’ve never canned, let me let you in on this joke.

You use large-mouth jars, canning cakes. This way after they’ve cooked, they’ll slide right out of the jar for you when you’re ready to eat one of your cakes. Well, me being a dummy, as I said, I’d used small mouth jars.

I have to say, those cakes did turn out great,. They were pretty, moist, etc., but you couldn’t get them outta’ the jar…the cake had cooked up larger than the opening to get them out! We had to dig em out with a fork, or spoon, when we got ready to eat one.

Deb did hug me and tell me, that I am a good provider…just not a very smart one! I’m still trying to figure out today whether that was indeed a fine compliment to me, or in fact, an insult? Let me know what you guys think.

This coming week, we will start showing the ones of you who don’t know how, the basics for canning. We’ll start off by canning a cake or two. Very simple, easy to start off with, and best of all…snacks in the pantry just waiting for you to pop open a jar!

I thought today, I’d show you guys a few pics of some of the products we’ve canned.

The first picture is of soup we’d canned. It’s vegetable beef and pictured in a pint and a quart jar. The quart is plenty for Deb and I. We serve it over rice, or just heat it and have a slice of cornbread with it. Good stuff! This soup was canned in Oct. of 2008. Tastes delicious!

In the picture on the right is chicken and potatoes, along with a pint jar of chicken only. Deb will make a pot of rice, or do chicken and dumplings with this. It’s very convenient because the chicken is already cooked. It also makes great chicken salad!

The chicken and potatoes were canned in Oct. of 2008, and the plain chicken in June of 2010.

Soups (left) Chicken & Potatoes and Plain Chicken (right)

Plain Beef and Plain Pork (left) Hamburger Balls and Green Beans (right)

The picture is of pint jars of beef, and beside it, pork. The beef was canned in Oct. of 2008, and the pork in June of 2010. Same thing with these as well. Use these two meats and serve over rice or mashed potatoes with gravy. Good as beef tips and rice too.

You can put them in a small pot on the stove, pour a little barbeque sauce in with it, and have hot, barbeque sandwiches. The canned chicken can be done the same way.

I forgot to mention that we can these (most meats) in pint jars, as once again, the pints are more than enough for Deb and I.

Something we tried, and actually they turned out really good. These are hamburger balls. Deb balled them up, and fried them just enough to brown them up. We then added water to the jar and pressure cooked them. You can see they held together well. They’re perfect to put in gravy, and serve over rice and potatoes. She also uses them to put in spaghetti sauce and serve over spaghetti, or make meatball subs. These were canned in April of 2009.

The other jar in picture four is green beans and potatoes. They were canned in July of 2010.

Peas (left) Greens and Potatoes (right)

The peas out of last fall’s garden. Again our large garden is only a 50’x100’ and we canned right at 200 quarts. Man, we made some peas last fall. They were canned in Nov. of 2010.

The greens in the pint jar, and potatoes in the quart jar. The greens were canned in Jan. of 2009, and the potatoes in April of 2009.

Onions and Banana Peppers (left) Apples and Plums (right)

Above picture is of onions and banana peppers, canned in June of 2010. The canned apples and plums. The apples were put up in Nov. of 2009, and the plums were put up in Oct. of 2008.

So as you can see everything will store very well. Deb and I have gotten to the point we look forward to doing some canning every so often.

You guys have a great day, and we’ll see you next time! Thanks for coming and God Bless!

Keep your eyes open, and your nose in the wind!
Dub and Deb

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