Tis a funny thing. I grew up in a family who preserved to the hilt. All the cupboards were full with jams and fruits to tide us over through the winter months in New Zealand. My Grandma was the champion of preserving ... not the 'new, improved, safe methods' now preached ... but the good old fashioned germy method - which surprisingly enough, I lived through ... pleasantly so!
Now I'm trying to provide nuitricious, healthy foods for my own family, and I seem to have come full circle! Only for some unknow reason, canning scares me ... but for some absolutely bizzaire reason I did it last night! You seen I had no intention of it ... even after I had put Cody to bed last night ... it was one of those, if I don't try, I'll never succeed moments in life ... instead I had set out to make stock as I was all out. I'm pretty chuffed with myself that I figured that out last year! But I really want to utilize my vege garden to it's fullest this year, and I won't be able to unless I figure out how to use that pressure cooker!!!
So I started yesterday by making 'Depression Stock' ... that's my name for it because I feel like this is what life was like then ... and I didn't follow a receipe ... so here's my own one:
Save your good cut offs when you are chopping veges for dishes and store them in a bag/container in freezer until you are needing to make stock ... like this:
I also used some chicken bones that I had previously made stock with and froze them for a second time around.
Toss them in a large pot and add plenty of water ... after a day of simmering I made 22 cups of stock, so I'm done for a while! I didn't know really what to add, so I added 2 bay leaves, 10 peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon of tyme, and 4 fresh sprigs of parsley that I have kept inside all winter ... it looked like this when I started:
I got it up to a nice boil for a tad bit - say 1/2 an hour, then dropped the heat to simmer for the next 4 hours, turned the heat off, left it on the element, and let it cool ... notice how I don't do too much ... you see I'm actually quite busy, and if it's going to take a lot of time in my house, it just isn't going to happen!!!
At the end of it I use a colliander and pour the liquid gold into another container so I don't have to do any of the skimming and 'mothering' throughout the cooking process! And this is what liquid gold looks like:
The smell was to die for, and the stock looks like it's full of nutrients!!!
So now I'm thinking ... wouldn't it be great if I could can it instead of taking up my freezer space???? No thawing in advance when I'm in a hurry to whip something up for dinner???? So I went into the basement and dragged up the canning equipment ... thinking, what's the worst that could happen ... really, what's the worst? Well, I could screw it up, all the bottles could break, it could taste narley, or I could poisen my family and myself ...
So I found 4 lonely empty jars, cleaned them up, got the seals soaking, and bobs-your-uncle, there they are sitting in the pressure canner ready to pressure can!!! (This looks like a pressure cooker, and is a pressure cooker, but it is also a pressure canner - yes, I do know there is a difference ... I didn't a year ago ... but this is a duel featured pressure pot).
I googled the instructions as I went, and waited ... and waited ... and waited ...
And wouldn't you know it, I have 4 beautiful jars full of liquid gold sitting on my counter still cooling!
So my verdict is, that this could be useful. That it takes time. I would need a bigger pressure canner to make the process worth my time and efforts. I didn't break the jars. The seals have sealed!!! And I can can!!!