posted on May, 23 2011 @ 03:17 AM
I started the asparagus at about 12:00 noon and finished at about midnight but please remember that I have family helping and they all know their
jobs. I chopped asparagus while my daughter and sister-in-law filled the jars. My brother does all the processing for me. The grand kids do the
lifting and shlepping of jars etc.
I have two pressure canners that fit 16-500 ml jars or 8 1 L jars.
To make chili's and stews, I do have a few tips
1. Buy yourself a couple of stainless steel pots (about 16 - 18 quart pots) at a canadian tire or home hardware store. Any bigger than this and you
will destroy your stove. Don't use restaurant equipment that is available in larger sizes.
2. Also buy 16 quart bowls to keep fruit and veggies fresh while working (soaking in vitamin C)
3. Buy cheap vitamin C tablets instead of buying the little jars of fruit fresh its cheaper.
4. Use dried beans and soak overnight. When starting your chili, drain the beans and boil for about an hour until they are tender. Then add the
remainder of your ingredients, without draining the cooking water (it make look unappetizing but it is part of the full flavor of your chili).
5. You will need a digital kitchen scale and a couple of good digital timers.
6. When you are making chili's and stews., you will find that with a 16 - 18 quart pot, you can make about 24 to 30- 500 ml jars of food. I always
pack the dishwasher with 48 jars to be sure to have enough.
7. Using 500 ml jars is best because you will often find people in your family want to open a jar as a snack. If its a 1-L jar, the remainder will
go to waste. With 500 ml jars - open as many as you need to feed the number of people you have to feed the moment.
8. When translating a normal sized recipe for 8 servings to such a big pot, you generally need to triple the recipe. I find that 3 lbs of meat works
well! I usually use a full 4 cups of each type of veggie (onions, celery, green peppers, red peppers and zuchinni in my chili)
9. Watch out for adjusting spices and herbs. You will need to use your judgement here as you can't just triple the amount. That doesn't work!
Neither does substituting dried herbs for fresh. Be careful and add a little at time throughout the cooking process to your taste!
10. Used jarred garlic, it works well and saves the chopping
12. When a recipe is tomato based, remember that there is an enzyme in tomatoes that causes the water to separate from the tomato, after it sits in
the jar for awhile. To destroy this enzyme requires high heat over a long period of time, so simmering is crucial - don't skip simmering in any
recipe that uses tomatoes. Simmer your chili or spaghetti sauce until the volume in the pot has dropped by a couple of inches or your product will be
watery by the time you go to eat it.
13. Tomatoes are a low acid food and must be heat processed in a pressure canner. In order to ensure the quality of my product, I always add about
1/2 cup of pure white vinegar to a 16-18 quart pot.
There are 3 things that you should never try to add to a recipe before you jar it down. POTATOES, DAIRY and PASTA. The potatoes and pasta will
simply cook to a mush and make the food really unappetizing.
I generally cook a stew / soup without adding these ingredients and then add them when I am re-heating the food to eat. I find that 1/2 cup of pasta
is sufficient in a 500 ml jar of soup. Don't do the final step of making gravy for the stew. The gravy will separate in the jar. Instead wait
until you are re-heating the stew and simply finish the stew by adding potatoes, simmer until cooked, then make your gravy as you normally would.
When filling a jar with stew / soup, first fill the jar halfway with the chunky stuff and then fill the remaining jar with the broth to get a nice
proportion of "stuff" to broth/gravy.
I find that "cream of" soups like asparagus, tomato, broccoli as well as any soup with beans or peas works really well when being jarred. Just add
the desired amount of cream when you are re-heating heat and don't bring to a boil, just simmer until it is hot and serve.
If you use broth cubes to make your soup - remember that the cubes contain bits of meat. Any meat must be process for at least 75 minutes. So if you
use chicken broth cubes to make cream of asparagus soup - then you must process 75 minutes as for meat and not just 30 minutes as for vegetables.
Despite not adding potatoes to a recipe and trying to jar it, it is quite desirable to jar potatoes separately. My family and I do 300 -400 1-L jar
of potatoes every year. Don't peel the potatoes, just use the thin-skinned variety. Dice into large pieces of at least 1 inch in thickness all the
way around. Blanch very very carefully and do not over-blanch. Pay very strict attention to your timing in the blanching step. And most importantly
- COOL IT QUICKLY AS YOU CAN. Your potatoes will be fine for home fries, mashing or roasting but will only need 1/2 the cooking time.
When dicing vegetables for jarring - try to keep the 1 inch rule in mind. 1 inch wide, 1 inch high, 1 inch deep. Size really matters in this
Follow the canning directions CAREFULLY and don't think to skip steps. Keep everything clean and sanitized. Throw some javex in your dishwasher and
wipe down your counters and equipment with a bleach solution. Canning is fun, you can save a lot of money but none of it will be worth it if anyone
gets sick!!!!! If a question pops into your mind about whether something is still good or not after it has been in a jar for awhile - THROW IT OUT!
Better to be safe than sorry. Always date your jars and after a year - THROW IT OUT! Jarring will only preserve food for about a year.
TIRED OF CONTROL FREAKS