Friday, August 6, 2010

We didn’t blow up the house

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.

Processing at 10lbs pressure

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.

Cooling down in the 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.

Home canned beef broth


Angela said...

I'd want to have salsa too :) I love that stuff!

kyria said...

You are much, much braver than I. Boiling-hot water canning I can do (though I don't), but I have always stayed far, far away from things that might EXPLODE. I have enough trouble with stir-frying. Will we add pressure to the equation? We will not.

elle pee said...

I have to agree that pressure canners are much more intimidating than pressure cookers! A little more design, please!!!

canning beans said...

thank you for the article


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