So yesterday Youngest Daughter made a grocery store run for me. Strawberries were on sale and she brought me 6 quarts. Five of those are hulled, cut in half and in the freezer. I am leaning toward making strawberry jam with them, but I think I will wait and see if they go on sale again before using them. The other quart is in the fridge, minus a bowl I ate last evening. I love fresh strawberries.
Hamburger was on sale as well, and she brought me 18 lbs. This morning I browned all of it, drained it and packed it into pint jars. One pound of hamburger fills one narrow mouth pint jar. When I first started canning hamburger I added liquid - either beef broth or water - to each jar, but I wasn't happy with the results. It sort of reminded me of dog food and that's where most of it wound up. But canning it without adding liquid gives me hamburger that looks and tastes like I had just cooked it. All 18 jars are merrily bubbling away in my pressure canner.
Note: If you are thinking about starting to can your own food, and you are looking to buy a pressure canner, get the biggest one that you can. I am told that the best brand is the All American. The big advantage is that the All American doesn't need a rubber gasket where other brands do. But for me, the price was prohibitive.
The first pressure canner I bought when I started canning again about 4 years ago, was a 16-quart Presto, bought at Walmart for around $60. It has been a workhorse and I have had no problems with it. It holds 9 pint jars or 8 quart jars. For Christmas last year, Oldest Son gave me a 22-quart Mirro that holds 18 pint jars or 8 quart jars, having a divider that makes it possible to stack two layers of pints. When I have a large amount of food to can and am using pint jars, this cuts my time in half. It is getting a workout, and so far, I really like this canner as well.
Being housebound does have its advantages. In the winter I rarely go out by choice. This chubby old woman just doesn't ice skate as well as I used to, and the thought of slipping and sliding on ice covered sidewalks is not pleasant. And the cold isn't much fun, either. Add being housebound part of this spring and summer and I have the perfect opportunity to see just how much of my food storage I had used between Christmas and the present. I had taken an inventory the first of the year, so I know what I had. I know what I ran out of and what is running low. And now I know how much of each item I need for one years worth, which is my goal.
Tomorrow morning I will wash the jars of hamburger, label them with the date and add them to my shelves. Every little bit is one step closer to having what I want to have put back. Eighteen jars of hamburger may not seem like much, but it's a start.
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