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Old 08-20-2009, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Birmingham
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If you plan to purchase a canner/pressure cooker... They usually come with a book with directions for meat, veggies and dishes.
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Old 08-20-2009, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmel View Post
The Ball Blue Book is definitely a good one.....however, I used to have a Kerr canning book as well. Internet sites and county extension web sites are very useful as well. Once you get your feet wet, you will find that canning is simple. If you want to do low acid foods such as meat, fish or vegetables (excluding tomatoes "fruit") you will need to invest in a good pressure cooker though. I have a suggestion (this is from someone who has been canning her whole life.....came from a canning family too), do NOT invest in a pressure cooker that you have to buy rubber gaskets for. It is well worth the little bit of extra money to purchase a cooker that is "self-sealing". Every time you have to buy a new sealing gasket for your pressure cooker, you're looking at at LEAST $15 a pop. If you do greasy foods or do not properly condition and care for that gasket 0R use it a lot, you may replace it every year. If they are out of gaskets at the stores.....you could find yourself knee deep in food to can and waiting on the new gasket. Trust me....it's well worth the money to buy one that does not need replacement gaskets. I actually bought my pressure cookers second hand years ago. One of them had to have a new pressure gauge, but it was well worth it. To be honest with you, I spent close to $100 for a Presto that required new rubber gaskets.....got ahold of my Americans that don't use gaskets......and simply gave away my Presto to someone who didn't have a pressure canner. I own a mid size and a large canner that allows me to double stack pints. Invest wisely in your equipment and don't forget to look at garage sales, second hand stores, etc. Sometimes the older canning equipment is far better quality than the new stuff they sell.
Welcome to the thread! Now can we get a clarification please so any new canners don't purchase the wrong thing?

Pressure cookers can not be used to can with. They are used to cook things quickly under intense pressure in a short amount of time. Like a roast can be done in minutes as opposed to an hour(s) in an oven. They are not safe to can foods in.

Pressure canners process canned foods under intense pressure for a period of time dependant on food product and altitudes. Meats and low acid veggies must be canned in a pressure canner.

Thanks for letting me clear that up I know beginning canners are overwhelmed with all the equipment. Since pressure canners are a big hunk of money it is important folks by the right vessel.

Bottom line make sure the box or vessel its self says canner if you are going to be canning.
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
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Default Yep... good point

As Jaxson said, look for the one that says "pressure canner", not "pressure cooker". I used both of those terms in my post, but what I meant to say was pressure canner, not pressure cooker. Although you can use your "pressure canner" as a "pressure cooker", you can't use your "pressure cooker" for canning foods. LOL......does that make it as clear as mud? If I am speed cooking a large amount of food, (including scallopped potatoes, pot roast, etc.) I will use a large stainless container, nestled down in my pressure cooker to cook them quickly. You can't, however, maintain a steady pressure in the "pressure cooker" that is necessary to reach the temperature needed to kill the bacteria in your canned food. By the way..... you can also use your pressure canner as a hot water bath for your fruits.... just don't flip the petcock down. Simply place your jars in, cover with hot water, then set the lid on top without locking it in place or closing the steam valve (petcock). Don't fall for a gimick that says you absolutely need both. As a matter of fact, I have a lightweight lid for one of my large crab cooking kettles that I set on top of my pressure canning kettle when I'm using it for a hot water bath. I prefer to use the pressure canner base instead of a hot water bath kettle because it maintains its temperature better than an lightweight tin/enamel pot.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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beachmel I use my pressure canner base to water bath with as well. Quite handy to have two water bath canner loads going at once when tomatoes come on I have found. I have my great grandmother's copper boiler that would fit over 2 burners that she used during canning season. Sadly it has a small hole in it though. It holds VHS tapes now which reminds me I could probably purge those since my kids are much older now.

I think I did my last load of green beans tonight, have canned 47 quarts and 1 pint, as I will be pulling up the plants this weekend since they are pretty much done. It is really getting cold over night here so no new blooms are setting on my first planting nor my second planting.

I will be blanching to remove the skins of the tomatoes this weekend then putting the tomatoes in my big turkey roaster to cook down. I will make spaghetti sauce then put that into jars to can up in the next couple of days. By cooking down in my roaster I don't have to keep watch on the pot and no sticking or burnt tomatoes on the bottom of a pot.
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:55 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
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Jaxson,
Years ago, I came up with a method for getting my spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. cooked down quickly. You have your tomatoes in the pot, right?....cooking down. Take a colander and push it down into the center of the tomatoes, then use your dipper to dip the juice out of the colander. It pushes the tomatoes aside and isolates the juice/water in the center of the colander. I do that several times throughout the cookdown process and that cuts it down to about 1/4 the time. By the way, the juice is suitable for chilling and drinking or bottle it up, and voila tomato juice!
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmel View Post
Jaxson,
Years ago, I came up with a method for getting my spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. cooked down quickly. You have your tomatoes in the pot, right?....cooking down. Take a colander and push it down into the center of the tomatoes, then use your dipper to dip the juice out of the colander. It pushes the tomatoes aside and isolates the juice/water in the center of the colander. I do that several times throughout the cookdown process and that cuts it down to about 1/4 the time. By the way, the juice is suitable for chilling and drinking or bottle it up, and voila tomato juice!
That is a great tip thanks for sharing it! I don't have any worries using my roaster on large amounts it is like a huge crock pot but I will keep your tip in mind for future smaller loads. Some of my friends use a steam juicer which does reduce them down in half the time or sooner. But I try to use what I have and not buy things that will take up real estate in my kitchen most of the time. I will be downsizing within the next 5 years as I will be an empty nester.
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:16 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,803,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmel View Post
Jaxson,
Years ago, I came up with a method for getting my spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. cooked down quickly. You have your tomatoes in the pot, right?....cooking down. Take a colander and push it down into the center of the tomatoes, then use your dipper to dip the juice out of the colander. It pushes the tomatoes aside and isolates the juice/water in the center of the colander. I do that several times throughout the cookdown process and that cuts it down to about 1/4 the time. By the way, the juice is suitable for chilling and drinking or bottle it up, and voila tomato juice!
I am going to try that this year! Some friends and I were brainstorming ideas. But nothing came close to this and your idea was easier then ours, lol.
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
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It will blow your mind just how easy it works and you won't believe how much juice you get out, even right away. For starters, I blanch and peel the tomatoes....then I give them a really good squeeze before even putting them in the pot. Once I have a big pot full, I use the colander. Put them on the stove and start heating them. About every 30 min. use the colander to retrieve more juice. I tried this out of desperation about 25 years ago...frustrated over hundreds of lbs of tomatoes and fruit to do, little kids hanging off my legs, and irritated with the long cookdown time. I do it for every tomato product I can. I don't like grinding the tomatoes (unless making ketchup) because I like to have lots of chunks.

By the way, if any one out there is interested in canning tuna and looking for an excellent way to do it..... Here's how I do mine and it turns out amazing. Pack your pint jars with tuna and simply add 1/2 tsp canning pickling salt and 1 tsp lemon juice. Clean jars and seal....process for 90 min at 10 lbs pressure. I suppose it's what you call the "dry pack" method. Tuna contains enough oil that you still have to drain some off before serving.....but it's a wonderful block of firm meat that you end up with. We can't eat store bought tuna in this house....gag... just can't. I was raised on home canned and I have raised every one of my kids on it. We are spoiled beyond belief and I do really mean it when I say we CAN'T eat store bought tuna. Opening the can just makes me gag. LOL
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:31 AM
 
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Okay, there's great advice from experts here.

But here's a tip from a beginner: Before you invest hundreds of dollars in top of the line canning equipment (and if you are going to get seriously into canning, you really should get good equipment) - Start small!

Dig out the old stock pot and get some smaller sized jars that you can lift with just the salad tongs. I've even just opened a small basket steamer on the bottom of the stock pot to give the jars the little bit of lift. My first canning project cost me only a couple of dollars for the little jars.

Start with something easy. It's Fall! Make a batch of applebutter (yum!) and can that in the small jars. (Makes a great little gift!)

Canning is great fun, but it's also quite labor intensive and requires much precision especially with less acidic foods. You may decide it's not for you.

It's no accident that slightly used canning equipment can be found at so many garage sales!!
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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Samantha S those are excellent tips! I grew up with gardening & canning so those ideas never occurred to me. That would be great ideas for an elderly person also that has downsized~~like me in 20 years.
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