DIY

Canning & Preserving

So. We currently live in the city limits on property not suited for anything but a very tiny garden or windowsill herb garden. I could grow tomatoes, peppers, maybe a few stalks of corn, things of that nature. Anything in a “row” or bigger things like squash, watermelons, beans, etc. just aren’t possible. Every year I say how much I can’t wait for local vegetables to come in at the farmers market downtown so we can have some garden veggies for a few short months. This year however, after realizing that it takes a solid $450 a month to feed all of us and my kids aren’t eating any less as they age, I decided that canning would be a smart idea. We have a Food Saver vacuum sealer as well, and intend on buying a small chest freezer in the upcoming months to be able to freeze some fruits and meats that aren’t suitable for canning. My fiancé plans to kill at least two deer this fall that will supply us with enough meat for most of the winter, and we hope to have enough canned vegetables to supply us until next spring as well. I also plan to can some beef and deer meat pieces that aren’t “cuts” of meat like backstrap, tenderloin, roasts, etc. As luck (or Divine intervention, as I was getting desperate) would have it, I happened upon a lady doing a massive cleanout of canning jars and lids. I capitalized on a killer deal and bought about eight dozen jars. I got a dozen half gallon sized ones, and the rest are quart. Now, eight dozen jars doesn’t sound like a lot for seasoned canners, but if my math is correct, that’s 96 glass jars. If we eat a jar a day that’s over three months worth, which will get us through most of winter here in the South. I grew up around some amazing women who canned everything possible, and I firmly believe the process of canning and sustaining your family from food preserved by your own hands is a truly remarkable and humbling thing. The only real issue I’m currently having is storage space. Though I suppose the cases the jars came in would be fine for storage as well, it’s just inconvenient since I can’t see through them and will have to shuffle them around to get what I need as they’re stacked head-high. First word problems y’all. I would love to make a shelf in my utility room, which may be a future DIY project blog post! Hang tight for pictures of said canning, and I’m open to any tips and tricks in the comments section!

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6 thoughts on “Canning & Preserving

  1. I’m in the same situation…a postage stamp sized yard with little space for a garden. I have ended up with three pressure canners, a boiling water canner and a kerosene stove.

    All were garage sale finds.

    I can lots of jams and jellies, turkey broth and home grown Serrano peppers.

    I like to say the turkey broth is “good food made from what most would consider garbage”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would LOVE to find another pressure canner at a garage sale! How do you do your turkey broth and what do you do with it when canned? I use chicken and/or beef broth/stock almost daily, but I’ve only ever used turkey stock for gravy at Thanksgiving. I’m sure it would probably be as good as chicken though in soups or gravy, right? How do you do your peppers? Pickled or water packed or what? I love hearing about people’s canning methods!

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      1. I use turkey broth where ever chicken broth is supposed to be used, and so far, I’ve not been able to tell that “I’m cheating”. Simmer the bones overnight, strain into 1/2 gallon canning jars, cool, then refrigerate, skim the fat off, rewarm and can according to the USDA Home Canning Guide.

        Most of my recipes use broth in 8 ounce increments, so I use 12 ounce jars. The pint jars hold around 14 ounces, the 1/2 pint jars hold about 6-7 ounces and the 12 ounce jars hold around 10 ounces…..

        The Serrano peppers. I slit them with a razor, pack them in 1/2 pint jars, cover them with a simmering hot 3/4 vinegar – 1/4 water mixture and process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. The “Juice” is amazing for a salad dressing and the pepper’s heat is calmed a bit by the processing.

        https://cj3a.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/turkey-broth/ shows my canning setup.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I bet it’s delicious in soups! I cook rice and potatoes in broth or stock sometimes to give them some flavor, and I bet this would work great for that too. That nice, rich bone broth is so good for you!

    That’s a very neat stove setup! It’s ideal for outdoor use, which I’ve never considered. Canning accidents are rare, but they do happen. Doing this outdoors would make that risk all but non-existent.

    Greens are a big thing around here in Georgia-collard, turnip, mustard…people love ’em. Specifically, they love ’em with hot pepper “juice”, and I bet this would be a hit! Thanks for the idea!

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  3. I the same kerosene stove at a garage sale for $10. It lasted for quite awhile, but the tank rusted out. Kerosene floats on water and I’m guessing condensation was the problem. I liked it so much that I ended up with a new one. I now drain out the kerosene when I’m not using it and it’s been fine. The only thing I have to remember is to fill it up the night before so the wicks can get saturated with kerosene.

    It’s perfect for canning–about 3/4 of full power gets the canner to 15psi or a 33 quart water pot to a full boil. 1-K kerosene (the good stuff) is “stink free” while the unit is running. The smell at start up and cool down reminds me of the smell from an old style cigarette lighter.

    Any hot pepper could be used but I’m partial to the Serrano. It’s midway up on the heat scale, but after it sits in the vinegar for a month or so, the “juice” is tangy but not deadly (my opinion..your opinion may be different)

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    1. I really like the idea of outdoor pressure canning! I’m definitely going to look into that option more, especially since I have two little ones always underfoot in the kitchen.

      Serrano peppers are delicious when they’re used in tex-mex cooking, so I imagine they’d also be amazing pickled on salads and whatnot. Thanks for the info and tips!

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