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Canning 2.0

By now most folks know I can. As in I choose to create and preserve via mason jars food my family and I want to eat. I get to choose the specific ingredients, ratio, and flavor of what I make. This for me is an extension of my ‘freezer cooking’ it is investing time so I don’t have to later.

Having spent a good portion of last summer pickling, and canning high acidity food I exhausted the challenge. I extended my skill set and comfort level to where for some of my family their Christmas presents were things I chose to make back last August. I didn’t buy store salsa until March of this year, and this made me think what else can I control food wise in my home. I was asked today what made me want to do canning.

The short answer is this a) I’m a total food nerd, b) I love cooking large batches, and c) none of the other kids do it (at least in my circle). For me the next step was this…

That is a pressure canner. This allows me to move certain foods that I used to freeze to something shelf stable. So while others might do something simple, like chicken broth I drive right in to something intermediate level.

Baked beans!

I started to measure out the Ball Blue book sauce recipe then realized the best difference from pickling foods to pressure canning. I can change the recipe and ratios! I don’t have to worry about my acidity level. *squee* Changes are marked with a ^
3 large onions diced small in a food processor
^ 1 head garlic also through a food processor (we LOVE garlic you can add less)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground mustard
^ 1/3 cup cider vinegar
^ store bought ketchup to make 2 liquid cups sauce

This is for 2 lbs dried navy or in my case great northern beans. Following the Ball method of bean prep. (This is widely available on the web, and that research might do you good)

Ok so confessing my oddities here, I FINISH reading the Blue Book recipe and no way in hell am I baking this for 3 hours. So I sort of amalgamate recipes with Sbcanning.

I prepare the jars as usual, this means prepping more than the recipe calls for (be prepared it takes time to dishwasher jars).

While the jars are getting ready, and the beans pre-cook, and I furiously scour the Internet for recipes to NOT have to actually bake the beans I start the sauce to simmer.

I feel confident enough to put 1 cup semi- pre- cooked beans and 1/2 cup sauce per pint. Then fill the rest with reserved liquid from the 2nd bean pre-cook (I’m serious do your homework this is not rocket science but it is important, and I don’t mean to be a complete how to) to get to 1 inch head space.

Use tools to get air bubbles out.

Add bacon, or if using salt pork omit or reduce salt.

Wipe jar rims with vinegar because it cuts grease

Admire jars

Place in canner FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS OF THE CANNER. Mine says to add 3 quarts of water and start heating to boil. If you have hard water add a splash of vinegar.

If you have a canner like mine, when you have a steady stream of steam drop the weight on it, and then have a heart attack when your loving husband knocks the weight and a huge scalding steam cloud escapes. Process 1 hour 20 min at 10 pounds. Oh yeah by the way the timer starts when the weight STARTS to rock.

Finally let the canner sit and cool down. Go look at Lolcats, harass your cats, clean up your mess, then and only then do you even think of opening that canner. Then happy dance and celebrate. Then wash those gorgeous greasy jars, and take the bands off to store.

My final thoughts are this, there are no chemical preservatives (other than the ketchup ingredients) or artificial dyes. Oh yeah cost per pint without non-consumables? $0.95 with an 8 pint output. For a product I made, that can sit in my spare room without freezer burn, and hopefully tastes good.