I took a picture of the foods I have canned so far this year. Of course, this isn’t all of it because we have eaten some already – but it’s a good representation of what I have been canning. I must tell you, I really enjoy canning and preserving food! The cabinet is almost full, but that’s okay, because I can use the cabinet below it.
The top shelf holds the fruit – jellies, butter and such. On the far left is some homemade pectin I canned – six 8 ounce jars – each jar equivalent to two 3 oz Certo liquid pectin packets, or one batch of jam/jelly/conserve. Next to that is a small batch of plum butter I made this year in the crock pot. So good! Then there is the blackberry/gooseberry jelly – I made one pint jar and eight 8 oz jars, but after gifting I have the pint jar and three 8 oz jars left. This is so good I need to stop giving it away! Finally, are the cubed peaches. I use these in yogurt, over oatmeal, ice cream, or cottage cheese, and even as a sweetener with flavor in tea. Yum! The last jars are my extracts – lemon, vanilla and orange.
The second shelf holds 8 jars of plum juice – I started out with 10 quart jars, but one didn’t seal so we used that right away and another has also been used. Yum! Soon I will be canning apple juice, so this shelf will be filled with deliciousness. 😀
The last shelf holds the meats. First is the beef in wine sauce (post coming soon). I canned nine pint jars and we have used one. This is soooo good. Next to the beef is the spaghetti sauce with meat in pint jars. To tell you the truth, this really is better than anything you can buy at the store, and I know I’m not getting bottom of the barrel meat in my sauce! 😉 Next is the canned salmon. I have made salmon patties and salmon chowder out of my canned salmon so far. I just downloaded a Kindle book on salmon recipes – hopefully I can find a couple more that will be good using canned salmon. On the far right is chicken and chicken broth. We have been eating some of these also and they are very useful, so I definitely need to make more soon. I only have two pints of chicken broth and two pints of the chicken left.
The canned meats have turned my kitchen into a fast food restaurant. In the case of the beef in wine sauce, once canned all you have to do is dump the whole jar, along with the juice, into a sauce pot, add some cornstarch to thicken the sauce and some quartered crimini mushrooms. Meanwhile cook some pasta (any kind), and when the beef is thickened and heated through, poured over the pasta (or rice or mashed potatoes). This is really delicious and it is actually the pasta that takes the longest to prepare! Or, perhaps you would like to add sour cream instead of cornstarch, which makes a beef stroganoff type dish. Of course, the chicken is wonderful for chicken noodle soup. I use one jar of the chicken broth and one of the chicken, add in some carrots, onions and celery, a little black pepper and some pasta – any kind of pasta. Let it simmer until the pasta is cooked and the carrots are almost tender (I don’t like mushy carrots 😉 ). Done. Delicious.
I choose to can most of the meats in the pint jars because this is the perfect size for just my husband and I. It’s also a more manageable size while canning and for storing. Besides, I can fit 18 pints versus 7 quarts into my pressure canner.
Is all this canned food enough? Heck no! If we had to rely on this cupboard of canned foods for our sustenance this winter, we would be mighty hungry. Actually, most of my canning right now is a learning experience and for experimentation purposes. I am learning what works for me and what doesn’t – which recipes will be my “go-to” ones and which recipes will be chucked. Then I am compiling a cookbook of recipes that incorporate the canned food so we don’t end up eating the same thing over and over again. Sometimes the recipes I find on Pinterest are major “fails”, but I like trying new things, so I will end up with some failures. Getting into the real nuts and bolts of canning and preserving our food will begin once we move up to our future homestead, because that is when we will begin to rely on what we have “put up”, rather than taking a trip to the grocery store every week.
For recipes of any of the canned foods in this post, just click on the tab on the header above titled “Preserving Food”.
Next? Well, as I mentioned I canned some killer Beef in Wine the other day and will be writing a post on it soon. I also have a bunch of green beans I will be canning this afternoon. Then, I want to try my hand at canning potatoes. Although we will have a root cellar, potatoes don’t always last through an entire winter. Our apples will be ripening in another month or so, and I plan to make some apple pie filling, apple juice and applesauce.
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