So that in itself defines a successful venture!
Earlier this summer, we splurged on canning supplies, buying both a water canner and a pressure canner. I had great hopes that this was going to be The Summer of Canning. And then......we did nothing with them once we got them. O.k. that may not be exactly true, I did can a batch of Black Forest Cherry Preserves. But that was it. Nothing more.
The truth is that canning is exhausting business. So is motherhood. And I have been dealing with bone-aching tiredness (hopefully to be resolved by my new diet?). So while I had great intentions of preparing for The End of The World, we all know that the road to hell is paved with good, but unrealized intentions. This weekend though I slowed down my decent into that place of fiery brimstone and canned some beef broth.
My celiac diagnosis has made me an even keener reader of labels (and I thought I was pretty well versed in ingredient labeling.) I needed to find out if our broth was gluten-free or not. Most of the ingredients were pretty straight forward, but I was confused to what “yeast extract” entailed. Twenty to thirty minutes later of internet searching revealed that while it is gluten-free, I still may not want to willingly ingest it. Turns out yeast extract (as far as I can tell, which is not a whole lot thanks to the obscuring of critical information by the food industry) is basically MSG with a new hat. I mean, there is a reason why people choose not to buy products with MSG--It can really mess with a person’s body. So, while my broth and refried beans and half a dozen other products in my pantry might be gluten-free, I no longer feel safe eating them due to the aforementioned yeast extract.
So, my conscience left me with two options: I could buy the one box of really expensive beef broth, or I could make some homemade broth practically free using the bones of our half a cow which were taking up prime real estate in our freezer. I think you all know the answer to that dilemma. We made the broth one night--roasting the bones, placing them in a stock pot with some vegetables, and cooking for a few hours. The next day we canned it using our new, industrial pressure canner.
Confession: there was another reason why I was delaying canning. Our new, fancy, pressure cooker intimidated the heck out of me. It is scary looking people. It looks like a mini bomb shelter (just the size to stuff Baby F. into if needs be), or a bomb itself. I knew I didn’t want to attempt using it all by myself the first time around. (Especially once reading the giant, orange warning label permanently affixed on the lid: Warning, this could destroy your entire neighborhood!) So, I made sure we tried it out while Mr. F. was around. He is used to working with Potentially Dangerous Items.
Our canning venture though went forth without a hitch. We canned 13 pints of yummy, homemade beef broth, and not one of them contained “yeast extract.” Emboldened by our success and greedy for more homemade canning products, I now have my eye set on canning chicken stock (which we use more often) and beans. However, this weekend, I am pretty sure I will attempt to make and can salsa. Because if the end of the world is near, I want to make sure I have some salsa at the ready.