Saturday, December 10, 2016

Canning Marathon

This week found a couple of pretty good sales at my grocery.  My order included four family-size packs of chicken thighs and three boneless chuck roasts, weighing about 4 lbs. each.  I also ordered potatoes, carrots, onions and two 1 lb. bags each of corn and peas.

The chicken went into a couple of stock pots and were boiled until they were falling-off-the-bone tender.  Once they cooled, I stripped the meat from the bones and chopped it into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces.   While the chicken cooked, I chopped the potatoes, carrots and onions into 1/2 inch pieces.  All the vegetables were put into a large bowl and mixed.

I put 1/2 cup of chicken in the bottom of pint jars and added 1 cup of mixed vegetables to each.  I covered that with broth from cooking the chicken.  There wasn't enough broth, so I got three quarts from my shelves that I had canned last year, to finish filling the jars.  I pressure canned this at 10 lbs. pressure (for my altitude) for 75 minutes.  I wound up with 31 pints of chicken vegetable soup, having one jar that broke during the canning process.

I had leftover vegetables, so I packed them into pint jars, added water to 1 inch below the rim and processed these for 55 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure.  When canning mixed vegetables, the vegetable that requires the longest processing time dictates how long to process.  In this case, the corn required the longest time.  I got 16 pints of mixed vegetables.

The beef was cut into about 1 inch cubes and packed into jars.  When canning raw meat I don't add any liquid.  That is a personal preference.  Liquid, either water or broth, can be added.  I just like the taste and texture better when I can raw meat without.  If the meat is cooked before canning, then it is necessary to add liquid.  I got 10 pints of beef cubes from the three roasts.

There was some chicken left over, so I packed it into 3 half pint jars and added broth.  The chicken was processed right along with the beef at 10 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes.  The smaller jars of chicken, when drained, make good sandwiches.

I also got a dozen bell peppers that were on sale.  Those I cleaned and cut into about 1 inch pieces.  They went into the dehydrator.  I have found that the skin on bell peppers doesn't rehydrate well - it stays sort of tough.  So when dry, I will run the peppers through the food processor, turning them into powder.  I can add the powder to various dishes to have the flavor of the peppers without the bothersome tough skins.

We have snow in the forecast for this evening and tomorrow.  I wanted to get this canning done before, even though the forecast is for only 4 to 6 inches of the white stuff.  But here in Minnesota, you never know.  This same forecast has brought only a few flakes or it has been known to bring a surprise blizzard.  Whatever happens, my canning this week is done and I can sit in my rocking chair by the window, coffee cup within reach, a good book in hand, and green fuzzy blanket snuggled up to my neck.  Do whatever you want, Mother Nature.  I'm ready.  :)


  1. Thanks for this post! I can really visualize the process from your writing. And from your other post - so glad you like doing this. Enjoying what one does makes all the difference.
    It's not that I don't want to do pressure canning. I have everything I need - pressure canner bought years ago, jars, etc. I even helped friends can salmon a few years ago. I just need to get past the fear of doing it myself.
    Funny story about the canner - I was in a favorite local hardware store that was closing and saw the canner at 75% off. I bought it because I just knew some day I'd want it. Or need it.

    Say, have you ever used Tattler lids? I can't remember if you've ever talked about them or not. I have some in my long term preps, again bought on deep discount, but have never tried them. Yet.

    As of this morning, the snow is just over a foot and starting to fall again. The snow from our Monday never melted and then we got this newest storm yesterday. According to the news, the 'big' storm isn't even supposed to be here until Monday. The traffic is horrible. The two newest bridges in the area are closed or partially closed due to ice falling from the cable supports (really stupid design, imo, for this area) The only bridge fully open is the old one scheduled for replacement, go figure.
    This amount of snow is unusual for our area. It hasn't snowed like this in 5 years or more.
    Cheers,SJ in Vancouver

  2. SJ...You are welcome! There is nothing to fear. Just follow the instructions to the letter. Many folks are afraid the canner will blow up. I have never known that to happen. There are safety features built in that prevent that. I will say that if your canner has been sitting on the shelf for several years, you might want to get a new gasket that fits in the lid. Unless the canner is an All American brand, and they don't have a gasket. The gasket dries out when it isn't use, and when it is used, it will wear out. I need to get a new gasket for my small canner as it is worn out and allows steam to escape. I replace gaskets every few years.

    I would like to follow you around to the sales - a canner for 75% off - Wow!

    I bought some tattler lids a couple of years ago, just to try them out. There is a bit of a learning curve, but they worked just fine for me. I like that they can be used again and again. But I keep going back to the old standby metal lids. Old dogs and new tricks, I guess.

    Yep...Maybe your bridge planners need to rethink their design. Not only do you have to contend with snow and slippery roads, now you have to worry about getting beaned by falling ice!

    I checked out weather reports and now they say we could get up to 7 inches of snow. The forecasters are talking more about the bitter cold headed our way. I take the forecasts with a grain of salt! And I don't have to leave the house until Tuesday. Works for me.

  3. As usual, you've been one busy lady. I read where one home-canner said that beef without water added tastes like beef. Beef WITH water added tastes like dog food smells.

  4. Gorges...I guess it is all a matter of personal taste. I have canned beef both ways and to me, beef canned with water has that dog food quality about it. Most pre-cooked meat is canned with liquid, but I can hamburger cooked, without water. Comes out looking and tasting like you just browned it in a frying pan.

  5. Hi Vicki, I was sent here by BW Bandy and his blog... I've added you to my RSS reader and I look forward to reading more. I like what I've seen so far. :)

  6. Thank you, Steve...for stopping by. And for the kind words. I enjoy BW's blog very much. His photos take me to interesting places.

    I took a little trip over to your Google + site and found, to my delight, your train posts and videos. I come from a line of ancestors who had made their livings in what they called "railroading." I look forward to more of your posts.