Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Canning: Stepping it up!

on November 3, 2012

As you know, I’ve gotten back to canning my food to preserve it over the winter. The water bath canner I have was fine for high acid foods but won’t work for low acid foods like chicken broth. For that I needed a pressure canner. My friend Cat has a really fancy one that cost a couple hundred dollars. I don’t have the much bankroll and I needed it TODAY. (Yeah, I suck at planning ahead sometimes.) So I went to Wal-Mart and got a Presto 16 quart pressure canner. My mom and grandmother both used Presto so I know they work well.

The normal temperature of boiling water is 212 degrees but that’s not hot enough to preserve low acid foods. A pressure canner works like this… Once the temperature inside the jars reaches the same temperature as the pressure canner, usually around 240 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, no air is present in the jars. So there is only heat and water vapor being conducted on all sides of the jar. This kills all the bacteriaand gets rid of all the air in the jars, thus resulting in the process of “canning,” and usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes for a batch of jars.

Read more: How Does a Pressure Canner Work? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4922706_pressure-canner-work.html#ixzz2BCd1YM1a
I’ve got a bath of chicken stock I made up a few days ago that I wanted to can, thus the need for a pressure canner. So after much gnashing of teeth and driving halfway to Kansas, I finally found the canner. It was NOT the one I wanted. I wanted the 23 qt canner with a radial dial instead of the weight on top. However, NO ONE had it available and I didn’t want to wait until sometime next week for it so show up. The 16 qt will let me can quart jars under pressure, it’s just not big enough to double as a water bath canner for quart jars. I settled for buying a 21.5 qt water bath canner. Eh, it all takes up more space but will get the job done.
Once I finally got back from the end of beyond (ok, it was Pleasanton) I stopped at 99 Ranch and got some chicken bones, carrots and celery; got curly mustard greens and fresh parsley from the produce stand; and finally made it home to make stock. I roasted the bones and veggies, adding onions and potatoes from my stash. Once it had roasted for about 15 minutes at 475F I tossed it all in my bigggest stock pot and it will simmer all night. Tomorrow I’ll put it in jars and can it. Today I’m canning my smaller batch of stock.
I got five quarts of stock out of the small batch I already had cooked. Following the instructions for the canner, I put three quarts of water in the canner, loaded the jars of stock and locked down the lid. After venting out the air (letting the water boil while venting the steam) for 10 minutes I put the weight over the vent tube. For stock I need to use 10 lbs of pressure to reach an internal temperature of 240F and hold it for 25 minutes. One thing the instructions don’t warn you about is this… it’s a NOISY process lol. The weight rattles on the vent pipe and the steam hisses while the whole pot shakes. My cats are all in hiding.
It makes me think of a story from my childhood. I was probably about 9 when my mom left me home to watch the smaller kids while she ran to do an errand. She had her pressure canner going on the stove and warned us not to stand too close to the stove. My little sister got so freaked out by the noises that she made us leave the house in case it exploded. So my mom came home and wanted to know why we were all standing around the front yard. 🙂

One response to “Canning: Stepping it up!

  1. […] I already mentioned making my chicken stock in a post about canning. I mentioned the things I tossed in the pot but didn’t really give much of a recipe. This […]

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