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Nice Cans

The time is finally upon us.  Time to break out your pressure canner and make good wholesome magic for your family.  One of the best things about this ritual is that all winter long you will to enjoy the fresh tastes of summer. Your dishes will pop believe me.  A fun addition to feeling like your grandparents is a lower carbon footprint.  With all the draught and heat we have had this season you know getting food to your table will cost more.  Now more than ever is a wonderful time to take advantage of any local resources you may have in the way of tasty harvest.

Canning isn’t rocket science its really quite easy. However it will require you to have a great deal of patience if nothing else.  Oh yeah a mind for paying attention to detail works to ones advantage while preserving food.  I can recall not long ago when finding supplies for this lost art was a chore. Now it seems we are seeing more and more of these reappear in hardware and grocery stores.  It could arguably be one of the more positive things about losing annual household income. In recent years as the economy tightens so have of our minds keen on getting the most for our family on what we can afford.  Canning done right can be an investment in your winter season. I still marvel in the simplicity in pressure canning and how it takes no preservatives what so ever to preserve natures’ perfection

 Here is what you will want to do.  Sterilize 14-16 quart ball jars.  In a separate pot boil water and drop in the lids.  I canned corn this time which requires a pressure of 11 at 55 minutes.  This applies to those at 2000 feet or lower.   You will need to invest in a pressuer canner as hot water bath will only work on fruit and tomatoes.  I have been using the same Presto one I bought at our local Hardware store.  For the 90 bucks it pays off for sure.

Shuck, Blanch, and then cut corn off cob into a bowl.  Then ladle in corn leaving a solid 1-2 inches. Then pour water from the blanching into the jar a cup plus is good here.  Be sure to use a knife or something to run the air bubbles out and ensure you have enough water in the jar.  Be sure you have covered the goods with water.  Not doing so will result in a real bummer come February trust me. No one likes corn the color and taste of dirt.  When you tighten the bands on the lids go easy and let the pressure canner do it’s thing.  So just a quick snug no need to be He-Man here. 

Once you’ve hit you’re the 11 P.S.I. start to back the heat down.  After about 45 minutes turn off the heat and watch the pressure drop when the tab drops be careful and lift lid AWAY from you.  You need canning tongs (in Pic with cans)to remove jars so be sure to acquire these prior to attempting this.  Let sit on a towel over night, they are done.  I love the sound of the jars sealing Tknock! Times 7 so sweet a sound! 

Next up Tomatoes!  Hope you enjoyed the photos from our local farm.  Buy local, save farms, eat well and as always Have Fun!

Canning the colors of summer

While holding my daughter yesterday we were looking out the window when we saw a wonderful red cardinal in our back yard.  His bright red color and sharp black markings cut an almost high definition scene against the pure white, glitter snow beneath him. It’s March here in New England and it is the first time we have had snow in our yard all year or at least since the 14 inches in October that nocked our whole area dark for over a week.  Super fun by the way with a 7 month pregnant wife.  

Watching the cardinal, it made my mind drift to summer and all the colors that go along with some of my favorite activities. Growing, canning and eating food, delicious fresh food, like the cardinal we humans need the real thing too. Watching him forage for something to eat it had me remember simple fresh ingredients make the BEST food.  That’s my cardinal rule.  

So it’s March with snow on the ground Daddy A.  What Gives?  I tell ya what gives…Canning it gives all year long my friend. One long day or so in the summer will result in the best tasting food all winter long.  Want to smash your carbon footprint to pieces? Try canning; just imagine the resources it takes to bring that can of imported tomatoes from Italy to your table.  The fruit from the sun of your back yard or local farmers market will be better I guaranty it.  You will want to start with a bushel or maybe just a half to get your feet wet, and cans too.  Tomatoes, apples, can be done with a simple hot water bath.  Anything else you will want to invest in a pressure canner.  I have a great one I got at ACE for under $100.  It will allow you to do other foods that require more pressure and time. 

The smell that envelopes your home when you crack one of these cans in the dead of winter is like pure summer sun.  We can a bushel of sweet corn every year and when we make our corn chowder it pops with that summers’ sweet corn flavor. Nice!

 There are no real preservatives associated with canning.   It is just water and a little salt, or lemon juice. That’s it.  As far as healthy eating goes, and saving money over all on excellent food.   I haven’t found a better way to nourish my family.  I also get to take pride in being a local hero supporting our local farms.  No Farms, No Food.  No Food?  Oh No!

So I think I am going to start planning out my garden, come up with a good plan for doing something more with all the other stuff I grow.  Hey what are you going to grow?  Why not think of canning this year?  Now is a great time to start.  I will do a follow up with some step by step, but until then feel free to ask any questions on the subject.  

The cardinal flew away looking for his mate with the bright beak, but not without leaving us with his little gifts…The cardinal rule.  Be grateful for what food lies at your feet!