Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Pressure Canner

My new All-American pressure canner!

My new canner arrived the day before Thanksgiving. I managed to hold off on putting it into use right away by making myself read the entire user manual before I was allowed to use it. I'd bought a big bag of carrots at Costco earlier in the week, so I knew that was the first item I was going to work with.

I used the 'raw pack' method where I basically just packed raw carrots into the jars, poured boiling water over them, and then processed them in the canner. They look great...I have no idea yet how they taste, but I hope to try the first jar sometime this week.

There are now 9 pints of baby carrots sitting quietly in our pantry. The first home-canned vegetable to grace our shelves!

After we enjoyed our turkey on Thanksgiving, I decided that I wanted to use the carcass to make turkey stock. I found a recipe using the carcass after it was roasted further in a hot oven. I had my H chop it into manageable sized pieces, and then I roasted it until it was nice and browned. It then went into a pot with the drippings from the bird, carrots, celery, spices and water. After a few hours of boiling this, I strained out all the 'stuff' and then let the broth cool. Once the broth was cool, I skimmed off the fat and then prepared to can it. This involved simply bringing it back up to boiling and then ladeling it into quart jars. After processing it in the pressure canner, I now have 6 quarts of rich smelling turkey stock. I actually had about a pint of extra, so I have that in the fridge and I'll be using it to make rice later this week.

The roasted carcass turkey stock - canned and headed to storage.

I wanted to make a point of including something about this book, and this is as good a place as any. A few weeks ago, while I was in search of the Ball Blue Book of food preservation, I came across this book. I bought the Ball Blue Book used at Powell's for like $8, and this one was also there for only $5. This was a very, very good use of $5!! This book was published in 1981 and it is chock full of great ideas for food storage, pantry rotation, and recipes using those foods. If you can locate a copy (and keeping a working pantry is important to you), I'd highly recommend it.

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