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Guess who bought a pressure canner?

May 3, 2009

Me!

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So, it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me, I’m not a huge fan of Walmart.  People can do what they want, but I don’t like ’em all that much.  It goes with my whole “trying to buy local” sort of thing. Plus, their food scares me.  Sorry, it does.  I don’t trust it one bit.

However, I do end up in there occasionally, usually because I can’t find something I need in a non-chain store.  Case in point was today, when I went to go buy pre-made wooden plaques and dowels in order to make seed markers.  Yes, I probably could have gone to the local hardware store and made them myself.  However, I’ve needed to make them for awhile and I didn’t want to waste anymore time making them…so since Walmart was on the way to the auto part store, we dropped by.

Found the wooden things easily, and then I decided to take a gander at their canning stuff.  We’d been looking for it since the end of last year, after giving away lots of jam that depleted our mason jar supply.  Plus, we’ve been discussing buying a pressure canner for awhile, but K thought one would be too big to fit on our stove. However, in all of the local hardware stores and local grocery stores, we’d yet to see any canning supplies.

I rounded the corner and was struck by the sight.  Mason jars in all shapes and sizes, pectin, both powdered and liquid, freezer jars, everything you could want – and then – the pressure canner! We hadn’t seen a pressure canner in person either last year or this.  It was 16 quarts, big enough to pressurize quart jars, but small enough to fit on our stove.

Canning supplies

Canning supplies

I went into overdrive. I wanted to buy everything. I think K actually told me to calm down.  I kept protesting, “But who knows how long they’ll have all this stuff, maybe it’ll all be bought out!” But finally he agreed to let me get the pressure canner, since we really hadn’t seen one the entire time we’ve been canning – and hold off on buying any more jars for the moment, since he swears the local hardware and grocery stores will be getting them too. He better be right, or I’m holding him personally responsible :)

So we got the pressure canner, and now I’m ready both to make jam and to can sauce with meatballs, and veggies as well.  We already have a water bath canner, that is to say,  a stock pot that’s pretty large and the rack off our crock pot, that functions quite well as one.  Water bath canners are great for processing jelly, jam, fruits and other high acid foods (tomato sauce, anyone?) If you use a pressure canner for those kinds of things, the fibers from the fruits will break down at the higher temperatures pressure canners give (250F).

Things like meat and veggies need to be canned at a much higher temperature to kill bacteria that can grow on them. Now we can include garlic and onions in our tomato sauce, salsa, and probably other veggies that we grow in the garden this year.

Next month the cherries will be ripe and the canning for this season will begin!

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