Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Canning through the Seasons

Canning is one of those tasks that makes me think of my Grandma in black and white. Something that seems like it should be done on a prairie or in the bunker of a WWII shed. But canning has become essential for me this season.

A passed down Mirro 8 quart pressure cooker from my mother spawned numerous frantic phone calls as my first attempt to can homemade tomato sauce was riddled with squirts and spirts from the top of the pot’s lid. I was assured that this was normal and no I would not blow a hole through the roof of my kitchen, as my mother and aunt had when they were children. A few minutes later of intent staring led to a less squirty rocking of lid’s weight. A few more after that and the cooker was ready to take off the heat and let cool.

Since the tomato sauce we have canned beef stock, chili, and more sauce. Numerous recipes this season will call for tomato sauce or stock, I will try to point out when I use the canned version, but until I run out assume that I use the homemade version. I am very surprised at how many recipes (not even including soups or stews) call for stock or sauce.

Pressure cooked foods will last well in a cool dark place; the high heat at which they are sealed insures no spoiling will occur. They are perfect for a quick meal that you need a time saver on or for a college kid who wants a home cooked feel, without the effort. You can control the veggies, the thickness, and the spicyness all at once!

Moral of the post: Canning is not for the ancient, nor will it cause a kitchen remodel and is incredibly useful and tasty!

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