Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gardening Symposium - session one

As you may know, yesterday was the Winter Dreams / Summer Gardens 14th Annual Gardening Symposium.  My first session was Eat From Your Garden All Year Around, and was about canning not only produce, but meat, fish, beans etc.  To tell you the truth, canned (which is actually jarred) meat looks terribly repulsive, especially the jars that were canned raw, since the blood and goop in the meat sticks to the side of the jar.

I learned what I expected.  That I shouldn't get the easy, newer steam canners.  They will probably be tested, and deemed safe to use now that I bought supplies for water bath processing.

Water Bath Processing!  I didn't used to know what that meant!  Since I fear pressure cookers (and air compressors) I opted for water bath supplies when I shopped today.  One stop at Walmart and I got the basics.  I couldn't find a rack to fit the only pot they had, but the teacher yesterday said we can use canning rings or even a small towel in the bottom of the pot.

Here is what I got...

My Canning Supplies - November 4
1) big pot deep enough to hold large jars at least 1" under water
2) 12 quart jars with lids and rings
3) 12 half-pint jars with lids and rings
4) utensil set with a jar lifter, a bubble remover/headspace tool, a magnetic lid lifter, and a jar funnel
5) 12 extra lids (I have some jars and rings I have been saving from local jams I bought last year.  I was going to return them when I bought new jam, but maybe I'll use them!)
6) Ball Blue Book, apparently the book to have, the Bible of preserving!

Isn't growing and canning your own food supposed to save money? 

I also learned that it is "dangerous!"  The class taught us so many safety rules canning sounds scary!  Do it wrong and get food poisoning.  Boil your canned goods 10 minutes before eating.  Even if it is correctly canned you should do this. My grandmother used to overdo that, she boiled her green beans for so long they were grey and tasteless by the time she served them to us on our visits. 

So, I'm ready.  Nervous, but ready.  Why the hurry?  Those 40 pounds of apples are still on my carport!  Did I mention them yet?  40 pounds (I think the box has quite a few more pounds in it than that) of Granny Smith apples for $20.00.  Fresh picked off a home orchard near my house.  I do love it here!

Granny Smith Apples - after making a batch of apple sauce and one pie
 6 lbs. of them are in my slow-cooker now, hopefully turning into apple butter.  I will let you know how it turns out!  It smells so good right now.  Spicy.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter Recipe - after 4 hours, many more to go!

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