Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home Canning and Leftovers

It's relatively easy to can your leftover soups and stews, even cabbage rolls and other yummies can be preserved as long as they don't contain pasta. Potatoes will sometimes go to mush, but carrots and celery usually hold up very well. I have a problem with zip sealing everything and throwing leftovers in the freezer. Then a year or so later I find all this food and need room to put in more fish or moose. The solution: Home canning. You must have a pressure cooker with a gauge. Get this at a hardware store or other department store. You will need canning jars (appropriate sizes, lids and bands), a metal jar lifter and bubble remover and a magnetic lid thingamabop (these items can usually be found in a canning kit). The county Extension Office is a huge help and will even check your seals every year and provide tips, tricks and recipes. I can everything from vegetables from our garden, blueberry and raspberry syrups and jellies to dog food made of salmon scraps for our four-legged beauties in the winter when they need more protein in their diet. First and foremost it is imperative that all equipment be sanitized with boiling water.

1. First bring your pressure cooker filled 3/4 full of water up to a boil or just under a boil.
2. Bring your leftover soup up to a boil on the stove then turn down to simmer.
3. In a separate pot, bring more water to boil (this will be a hot bath for your lids and rings.
4. Fill hot sterilized jars with hot soup.
5. Make sure the rim of the jar is wiped clean and is free of food or debris.
6. Place a sanitized lid on top and screw down the ring (not overly tight).
7. Carefully place jars one at a time in the pressure canner and secure the lid.
8. Wait for the pressure relief valve to pop up and allow steam to escape for 5 minutes.
9. Put on the pepcock and immediately turn the heat down to about 2 or 3 (low).
10. When the gauge reads 11 psi set the timer for the following:
Pints = 1 hr. and 15 minutes Quarts = 1 hr. and 30 minutes.

Keep practicing and soon you will have leftovers that can be taken off the shelf, reheated and enjoyed without taking up valuable freezer space.

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