Thursday, January 9, 2014

Canning dreams

One of the dreams was to grow and preserve whole foods. I haven't grown anything yet, but I have been canning.
I found some whole cranberries on clearance at the grocery store and wanted to make a jelly for Thanksgiving. I researched recipes and made one with jalapenos. Cranberries have natural pectin, so it was really easy. I didn't use enough jalapeno to make it hot, but it tasted pretty good. I canned it smallish jars and put it through a boiling water bath. And it worked. That was the first taste of success, so to speak.
My friend Joyce has a pressure canner that she got at a garage sale and let me borrow it. I put it through the tests, then got started.
I always make my own chicken/meat/vegetable stock. I keep a stock bag in the freezer and make stock whenever the bag gets full. Sometimes it's more chicken, lately it's been more vegetable. Kale has a very distinctive flavor. :)
So the first thing I canned was meat stock from a roast I made. Then I canned the roast itself, then some vegetable soup, then some chicken stock, then some more vegetable soup. When I have time, I like to cook, so making this all ahead and canning it lets us just pull from our own stock of good food to eat. The soups and meats can just be opened and used. I usually just freeze stuff, but our freezer is pretty small and was getting overcrowded. Right now I have 22 cans of stuff.

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