Canning Anxieties Revealed

These jars of carrots lost a lot of liquid while in the electric pressure canner.
These jars of carrots lost a lot of liquid while in the electric pressure canner.

Yesterday was my day to can carrots, which I did, but I had some troubles that weren’t entirely unexpected, and then learned, from people who know better than me, that I shouldn’t even be using my new (sort of) electric canner. This is proof that after more than a decade of all this homesteading stuff, I still make mistakes like a gullible virgin! Let me explain.

Vegetables like carrots have to be canned with a pressure cooker. I am entirely comfortable with a water bath canner, but have had repeated trouble with loss of liquid from jars in my pressure canner. I read up on that and found out that if the jars are sealed it’s still safe, if not as attractive. But then, once, when I canned some cubed sweet potato, I found the canner itself completely empty of liquid when I opened it after processing. Now that scared me a little! I wondered what could have happened if I had left it going for another few minutes. Now I have realized that that’s when I walked out on my cook top canner in a moment of irritation. I turned my back and went on an expensive dutch date with a brand new electric canner. That turned out to be a big mistake. And I don’t know why I was even so sure that it would solve my problem (it didn’t) anyway.

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Planning for Canning

Should I use tarragon or rosemary? It’s hard to decide.

I don’t have a master plan for canning in the summer and fall. If I did I wouldn’t stick to it because that would probably be impossible. Generally, if it’s piling up then something has to be done with it before it spoils. That’s the long and short of my master plan. Some foods last for awhile though, especially if refrigerated or put into cold storage. Last year I kept my carrot crop fresh in a refrigerator drawer for a long time. I finally grated what I had left and made a couple of quarts of fermented carrots that I kept in the fridge for salads and ginger carrot salad dressing.

It is late October now, and I still have about six or seven pounds of carrots. A few days ago I decided to can them instead of fermenting them. The first step was to look for a recipe. I decided to try one from the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Canning Guide. But their Rosemary Carrots recipe requires chicken broth. Well, I have a quart of smoked turkey broth in my pantry but no chicken broth, so like any honest homesteader I had to make my chicken broth first. Since I had frozen several bags of chicken gizzards and other parts when we butchered some of our chickens in the spring, (no master plan for those either,) I decided to make broth with those. But I didn’t have time to tend to a pot of chicken broth on the stove top, so I made the broth over night in the crock pot.

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