Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brushing Up On My Canning Skills

I have decided that because of these uncertain times and with a possible recession looming, that I need to get out all my old canning and freezing books and brush up on my food preservation skills. I grew up in the country and putting up our fresh vegetables was just a part of life in those days, but as time moved on and I got older I got away from all that. Several years ago we moved outside of town to our "80 acre homestead" and even though I usually had a garden, I didn't get too serious about it. I'm a great fan of The Backwoods Home magazine and especially enjoy reading Jackie Clay's articles on gardening and canning. She is great about giving step by step instructions on canning what she calls "meals in a jar." So I went down to my greenhouse and dug out my old faithful Mirro pressure canner. And I loaded up my little yellow wagon with fruit jars to be washed. And now I watch the meat sales at my local supermarket and take advantage of bulk sales. I bought 10 lb rolls of ground round as well as chicken breast in bulk. Now when ham comes on sale, I pick up several at a time. This is not the time of year that canning jars and lids are readily available--at least at my local Wal-Marts, so I have been hunting down jars wherever I can find them. So far , I have canned roast beef in a thin gravy, spaghetti sauce with the hamburger already in it, sliced ham, chicken breast, vegetable soup, corn chowder, white chicken chili, ham and beans, 15 bean soup, hamburger in beef broth, BBQ Brisket, chili, and even potatoes. Again, my daughter watches me and rolls her eyes with that "here we go again look". She is very good at giving me that look. She comes from the generation that is sure that people who can are going to poison all the rest of their family with botulism poison. Canning is not rocket science and is perfectly safe as long as you carefully follow proper guidelines. Everyone should have the latest Ball Canning Guide and relax and enjoy the canning experience. My daughter chalks most things I do at this time in my life as mid-life crisis or something like that. But I figure how can you lose by putting up canned food? If the economy levels off, you have lots of good food to eat and can save on the grocery bill for a good long while. And I enjoy the sense of accomplishment you get from canning. Makes me feel like a real pioneer woman. One of my grandsons and I watch The Waltons every chance we get. I tell him my full name is Nana Walton and John Boy Walton is my brother. He believes every word I tell him. I like that. Makes up for his mother's eye rolling problem. I can't wait to tell her that our next project is to clean out the old root cellar so we can store all those hundreds of potatoes we are going to grow!


Noel Wright said...

I love reading your blog! You write about the things I like to read about and enjoy doing myself too. Keep it up!!! You've inspired me to get busy canning meats, soups and more too.

Debbie said...

Nana, Can you please give me your white chili recipe for canning? I love your sense of humor! My email address is