Friday, July 4, 2014

It's a Start

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.


  1. Do you rinse the hamburger before you can it?

  2. Jess...Nope. Just brown it, drain off the grease, and can it. After it is canned and cooled, there usually isn't more than a quarter teaspoon of grease in each jar. I can live with that.

  3. Canning is something we need to learn. The hard part is getting the wife to go along. Canning is the only way I see for long term storage without freezing.

  4. We went to SAM'S club and hit a humongous sale on strawberries from California. And here I am in Florida. It figures. I pour white vinegar in the sink with water (about one cup of vinegar to twelve cups of water), and place all my fruits and veggies in it for several minutes, then dry them. It stops mold in its tracks.

    I also hit a lucky sale on hamburger and fried all of it up yesterday. Might as well have one huge mess instead of lots of smaller ones.

  5. Rob...I figure that if my electricity goes out, for whatever reason, I stand to lose whatever is in my freezer when it thaws. Home canned food of any kind will last for years. That's why I can lots of meat as well as soups, chili, etc. Look for the "Ball Blue Book" on canning, put out by the company that makes Ball jars. (Walmart) There is a large book that is kind of spendy, but there is also a smaller book that will tell you, step by step, how to can. It has some good recipes, too.

  6. lotta joy...Thanks for the tip on stopping mold. I learn something new every day!
    When I'm doing my own shopping, I buy lots more of a sale item than just 18 lbs. of hamburger. I am more likely to buy 50 lbs. and can it all. Daughter has a bad knee, so I hate to make her climb stairs too much. I am the same as you. I would rather have the one mess than many small ones. Or maybe not. You should have seen the condition of my kitchen after I finished canning the 10 crates of peaches Son showed up with last year. Or the 75 lbs. of tomatoes. It wasn't pretty.

  7. 10 CRATES? And you have problems getting around? Honey, you should be the poster girl for CAN DO attitude! Peaches+sugar+heat= MESS!!!

  8. lotta joy...I think it's just stubbornness. Took me a couple of days. It was a huge mess. But oh, those peaches tasted good over the winter. Son bought them, so he took a bunch home and I still have about 40 pints left. It was well worth it.