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Hello Guest!
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There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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The Great Challenge - Your Fears Pressure-Can-Along

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AtlantaMarie
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Post  boffer 7/7/2015, 10:29 pm

@happycamper wrote:No need to boil jars used in a pressure canner.  The pressure canning process kills microorganisms...

Thank you HC. I know the experts are always testing canning safety issues, and upgrading advice as needed. I bet we were using an old textbook we have for canning instructions.
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Post  CitizenKate 7/7/2015, 11:01 pm

@boffer wrote:I have two single burners for the same reason you like two burners.  I got single burners because I wasn't sure if  a double burner would be wide enough  to center  the large pots over the burners.  I liked being able to put empty pots on them to adjust the spacing before I secured the burners.

The propane burners are also a good back-up for our electric stove when the power goes out.
Hmmmm...  thinking

I tried water bath canning for the first time in 2012, and have done it every year since.  In 2013, my sis gave me her used pressure canner, and I immediately jumped in to pressure canning and put up batches of chili and beef stew.  I was scared of it, but we have a saying in the IT biz:  RTFM.  (Read The Friggin' Manual.)  Everything turned out great, and I'm hooked on it.  I love having homemade food that will keep into the winter months, not to mention during power failures and other unexpected events, such as weather disasters.

But I, too, noticed how tough it was for the A/C to keep up while the canning operation was in progress.  The kitchen was like a sauna.

Setting up a canning station outdoors seems to make sense.  It's hot outside that time of year, but you get hot in the kitchen anyway.  Does your outdoor canning setup include a place for chopping and cooling the processed jars?  Or do you take them inside at that point?

What I would really love to learn how to do is retort canning.  Anyone know much about that?  (All I know so far is [$$$].)
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Post  boffer 7/7/2015, 11:40 pm

@CitizenKate wrote:...Does your outdoor canning setup include a place for chopping and cooling the processed jars?  Or do you take them inside at that point?...

I had already built a kitchenette in my wife's shop: cabinets from a kitchen remodel, deep sink, and fridge.  When I made the burner stand, I also put in an over-size overhead range vent to minimize heat and moisture.

I've been trying to visualize how Kay would use her she-shed.  I'm thinking she might do all the food prep in the house.  For that matter, she could probably fill up the jars in the house too.  A small table or a shelf or two in the shed would hold the jars for cooling.

(CK, thanks again for posting about spider mites.   I gave you a shout out here.)
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Post  sanderson 7/8/2015, 2:53 am

Kate. Chili and beef stew have oil/grease in them., yet you canned them? Where did you find the recipes?

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Post  Scorpio Rising 7/8/2015, 7:27 am

Sounds terrifying.
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Post  NHGardener 7/8/2015, 8:21 am

Come to think of it, I also have a pressure cooker I have never used. I remember growing up, my mother would have that thing on the stove and it would start whistling. I believe you can cook beans really quickly in them. But it's still in the box in the cabinet. Probably just a little too intimidating.
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Post  sanderson 7/8/2015, 10:33 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Sounds terrifying.
?? What sounds terrifying? Very Happy

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Post  CitizenKate 7/8/2015, 1:37 pm

@sanderson wrote:Kate.  Chili and beef stew have oil/grease in them., yet you canned them?  Where did you find the recipes?
The beef stew recipe I used was from the Ball Blue Book.  They also have it on their website (http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes/beef-stew).  The chili recipe was in the manual that came with the pressure canner.

I also cross-checked the instructions with the USDA Home Canning Guide (http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html).  Any discrepancies I found between this and any recipe I find, I change the recipe to comply with the USDA guide, or just don't use it.

Basically, for canning foods containing meat, they recommend

  • ONLY use a pressure canner
  • ONLY hot-pack, and
  • processing times are quite long - 75 minutes or more.  Older recipes call for 15 minute processing times, but the USDA now recommends much longer.

There are also some ingredients they recommend not including in the canning jars at processing time.  For example, do not use corn starch to thicken the stew, or beans in the chili.  Not sure why, but until I find out, I'm following that recommendation.  You can always add the thickener to the stew, or the beans to the chili, while heating it to serve.

But that's what I know.  I am interested in knowing more about your concerns.
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Post  walshevak 7/8/2015, 5:25 pm

@NHGardener wrote:Come to think of it, I also have a pressure cooker I have never used. I remember growing up, my mother would have that thing on the stove and it would start whistling. I believe you can cook beans really quickly in them. But it's still in the box in the cabinet. Probably just a little too intimidating.

According to all I've read a pressure cooker is not a pressure canner and cannot be used.

Kay

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Post  walshevak 7/8/2015, 5:39 pm

@boffer wrote:
@CitizenKate wrote:...Does your outdoor canning setup include a place for chopping and cooling the processed jars?  Or do you take them inside at that point?...

I had already built a kitchenette in my wife's shop: cabinets from a kitchen remodel, deep sink, and fridge.  When I made the burner stand, I also put in an over-size overhead range vent to minimize heat and moisture.

I've been trying to visualize how Kay would use her she-shed.  I'm thinking she might do all the food prep in the house.  For that matter, she could probably fill up the jars in the house too.  A small table or a shelf or two in the shed would hold the jars for cooling.

I need a bigger shed and I don't even have it painted yet.  As luck would have it, I have a piece of restaurant equipment - a refrigerated prep unit sorta like you might see at Subway.  But it would take up half the shed.  I also have a restaurant flame grill.  Wonder if it will boil water?  But the only water to the shed area is the garden hose, so I expect the prep will be in the kitchen.

I planned to set up the gas units on cinderblocks outside when actually in use and a folding table can be used for the jars.

Well, per Plantoid's advice I called ahead to set up my order for peaches.  Good thing I did.  The farm I usually use has no peaches this year due to the late frost.  Sad  I'm so bummed.

Kay

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Post  plantoid 7/8/2015, 5:49 pm

@NHGardener wrote:Come to think of it, I also have a pressure cooker I have never used. I remember growing up, my mother would have that thing on the stove and it would start whistling. I believe you can cook beans really quickly in them. But it's still in the box in the cabinet. Probably just a little too intimidating.


Of you are able to please put up a picture of your  " Pressure cooker "  so we can see if it really is just a pressure cooker and not a pressure canner ."
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Post  Scorpio Rising 7/8/2015, 5:54 pm

@sanderson wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:Sounds terrifying.
??  What sounds terrifying? Very Happy
Just the whole pressure thing, like it could explode or implode or some 'plode.....I don't know....just unfamiliar and requires an unvarying, precise process.
pale
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Post  boffer 7/8/2015, 6:01 pm

SR, to quote one of our young members from a couple years ago, 'If I can do it, you can do it!'

I bet if you asked around you would find a friend or family member that would be happy for the company if you asked to watch them do their canning.

Or look for a Continuing Education canning class or classes taught by local government agencies.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 7/8/2015, 7:02 pm

@walshevak wrote:
@NHGardener wrote:Come to think of it, I also have a pressure cooker I have never used. I remember growing up, my mother would have that thing on the stove and it would start whistling. I believe you can cook beans really quickly in them. But it's still in the box in the cabinet. Probably just a little too intimidating.

According to all I've read a pressure cooker is not a pressure canner and cannot be used.

Kay

You are correct, Kay.

I tried to post last night, but was unable... 

It's only scary till you try it.  It took me 3 years of looking at the pressure canner I bought before I got the courage to try it.  Now I love it.

Yes, you have to stay near it all the time it's on.  It's amazing how fast the pressure can build.  Or drop!

If anyone wants to call me before you start, please drop me a PM & I'll give you my number.
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Post  NHGardener 7/8/2015, 9:30 pm

Oh! No, I didn't mean use a pressure cooker to can. I'm just saying the pressure utensils in general are a little scary.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 7/9/2015, 8:17 am

Agreed, NHG!  They are!  At least, until you finally try it...  Very Happy
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Post  sanderson 7/9/2015, 3:06 pm

Kate, Found the recipe. Thank you. I swore it was for freezing only, but here it is under pressure canning! Very Happy

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Post  CitizenKate 7/9/2015, 10:20 pm

The Great Challenge - Your Fears Pressure-Can-Along - Page 2 3170584802
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Post  mollyhespra 7/10/2015, 4:22 pm

OK, I'm going to take the plunge!

I've been reading the manual again and I'm going to give it a go sometime this weekend.

(BIG BREATH)

By that I mean that I am determined to get the contraption out of its box and onto the side burner thing on my grill and fire her up empty (not dry but with no cans in it) as a number of you more experienced pressure-canners have suggested and just watch the dials go up to the right pressure, stay there for x amount of time and then watch how long it takes to go back to zero.

I think I can manage that much.  happy smile
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Post  sanderson 7/10/2015, 7:43 pm

Molly,  We're with you girl!  Maybe I'll join you. hiding

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Post  AtlantaMarie 7/10/2015, 8:36 pm

Go, ladies!  And let us know how it goes...!

You'll be fine.  Really!
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Post  NHGardener 7/10/2015, 10:12 pm

The side burner on a gas grill is a great idea.

So hmm. Now I need to get one of those. Smile
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Post  mollyhespra 7/10/2015, 10:22 pm

@sanderson wrote:Molly,  We're with you girl!  Maybe I'll join you. hiding

Yes, do!  The more the merrier!!!      bounce   The Great Challenge - Your Fears Pressure-Can-Along - Page 2 1666079590 happy turtle
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Post  boffer 7/10/2015, 11:05 pm

@NHGardener wrote:The side burner on a gas grill is a great idea.
So hmm. Now I need to get one of those. Smile

Just so you're aware: the side burner on my grill says, "Max load 10 pounds". A full canner would easily exceed that. I would guess there are grills that carry more weight, but it's something to watch for.

Generally, side grills don't put out a lot of heat (BTUs). They'll work, but slowly.

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Post  NHGardener 7/11/2015, 4:24 am

@boffer wrote:Just so you're aware: the side burner on my grill says, "Max load 10 pounds".  A full canner would easily exceed that.  I would  guess there are grills that carry more weight, but it's something to watch for.

Generally, side grills don't put out a lot of heat (BTUs).  They'll work, but slowly.


Oh. Darn.
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