(Originally posted last summer, and I have since gotten WAY more confident with pressure canning so I felt like I should update this to share some of that confidence with you guys!)
So today’s adventure is in pressure canning! I’m a little nervous, I’ve been doing the water bath canning for years. Lots of salsa, jam and other high acid things that are just fine for some easy water bath canning. But this year we really wanted to be able to can the bounty from our CSA including veggies. So here I am sitting in my incredibly hot kitchen hoping I don’t screw up to badly!
I’ve read everything I can get my hands on:
And I gleaned a pretty good understanding of what’s supposed to happen. I’ve had my eye on this pressure canner for a while,
but can’t justify spending the money until I really feel comfortable with this whole thing. And got it for Christmas!!!!
I am incredibly lucky though that my grandparents live in the area and are expert level canners! Seriously when SHTF they will be set! This year they decided to scale back because they have SO much in their pantry (How cool is that?!) and so they are taking it easy on the garden and the canning this year and I have been the incredibly lucky recipient of much of their excess cans, gardening equipment, and knowledge.
I am the only one of the grandkids who cans and gardens so they love sharing that information with me. Might I recommend that you all learn everything you can from this generation of canners! They won’t be around forever (sadly) and all that knowledge would be lost.
If you’re grandparents aren’t near, able, or willing (doubt it) to share their knowledge check with people at church, the local senior center, or neighbors to see if they know anyone. You will never get the same information from the web or a book that you can get from standing with someone who is canning. Anyways, off my soap box!
So today I stopped by, got their pressure canner (sweet baby from the 1970’s with the original instruction book they still use) and a whole big box of jars (and garden fresh broccoli, be jealous I understand) and came home to our 10 pounds of beans safely canned.
As I’m sitting here writing this I have 8 pint jars in the canner and I am waiting for the control to jiggle. It’s incredibly nerve wrecking. I will cry if I screw this up, seriously that’s a lot of beans! And I hate failing. So please keep your fingers crossed for me. My biggest fear is overcooking the beans. I don’t want 8 pints of mush, so I am waiting to see how this batch goes before I do anything with the rest of the beans.
First thing I had to do though was get the beans ready! And that mean a lot of time sitting and snapping, seriously 10 pounds is a lot of beans. But they’re definitely easier to prep than most veggies. Once the beans were nice and clean and snapped into fairly equal sizes I put them in the cans.
You do not want to fill them up to the very top, be sure to leave plenty of headspace. I then added my seasonings. I did some with just salt, pepper, and onion powder. The rest I did with couple different spice mixes. While I was doing all this I had a big pot of water boiling on the stove.
Add the boiling water to the cans and then use a cloth to cleaning off the lip and threads of the can and put the top and ring on your cans. Screw the ring on firmly but not overly tight. Then put them in the canner. Make sure they’ve got space around each can, and that none of them are touching each other or the sides.
If this works I’ll be so happy stocking up my pantry, if it fails I’ll be back to the books to really really study up, and probably be on the phone with my grandparents to figure out where I went wrong!
What do you can? This year I will be doing beans, peas, salsa, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, corn, and maybe tomatoes. It’s a learning year and I am looking forward to having a pantry as beautifully stocked as my grandparents!
Update: they turned out beautifully and I am very happy that I finally took the plunge into pressure canning! This summer I’ll share some more tutorials for how we pressure can veggies, chili, and more!