Adventures In Canning (part 2)

By this time, I want to try everything. Like this soup which turned out pretty good. I’ve made better since though. Seems that something is altered – the spices perhaps – due to the length of time it cooks under pressure. It was my signature soup, but not. If that makes sense. But it was gobbled up just the same. We were surprised at how well the meat and veggies held up. What a great way to use everything left over in the fridge. No more waste.

That is the last time you’ll see my canned soup next to Campbell’s. What a shame. The clumpy stuff at the bottom is due to using table salt. I thought, “What’s the difference anyway?” Well, table salt contains impurities and just doesn’t can very well. It won’t hurt you, it just looks funny. So it’s canning or kosher salt for me from now on.

FYI: Though just about anything can be canned, you have to know the rules. Soups and stews will do well as long as they don’t contain flour or any other thickener. Dishes that are naturally thick (like pea soup) need to combined with extra water (about 1:1 ratio) so the center of the food is safely sterilized. All meats need to be pressure canned for the recommended time – no exceptions – usually 70 minutes or longer. Follow a good recipe and when in doubt, freeze it.

This is a picture of the first granola I made. I know, I know. That ain’t canning you say, but it just looks so good I had to talk about it. I bought a 25 lb bag of oats from Bob’s Red Mill online and I found the walnuts at a bulk/health food store in town. You just can’t beat food that not only is good to eat, but you know (for sure) that it’s good for you.

My husband decided that he should now focus on working on another bathroom at this time. But wait! Not before you finish my pantry. I was just getting started.

One day, this pantry will have lower cabinets and get a paint job. Can’t wait. But I won’t stop filling it with dry mixes and my own canned foods. I now live online at Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur Flour and Penzeys Spices, desperately seeking the next recipe to make and store. I tell ya, this pantry is like my cell phone, how did I ever get along without it before?

I put together the Nestle cookie mixes for my son who can’t get enough of the sweet stuff, so when he’s itching for dessert he doesn’t have to wait on me anymore. I’ll try this with pie fillers too… I wonder if canning an apple pie filling would work? I’ll let you know. (Extra info: I learned that a pie filling works okay as long as you leave out the thickener and add it when it comes time to make the pie. Good deal!)

Well, I want to try everything and so the adventures continue. Before I buy it in the grocery store I will ask, “Can I make this myself?” And then you’ll see it here if the answer is YES. 🙂