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Let me insert this statement from the beginning; (when I first started canning I was very green and naïve and did not realize there were parts that needed to be replaced from time to time. But after reading and going to a few canning classes I realized these parts needed to be cared for and replaced from time to time. I do not use my pressure canners as so many people do. I do not can seasonally I use my pressure canners all the time. I wash them well and store them in a cabinet that is within my kitchen, where I keep cases of empty jars, lids and extra rings and other canning items.)
I wish I had a picture of the safety pressure plug that I threw away several years ago, from one of the pressure canners of a friend that attended a canning class.
The particular safety plug that I threw away was literally crumbling. The rubber was aged and eaten away from the edges. This friend of mine said that when started a load of jars to pressure can that steam kept escaping around the plug. He said he tried to pack a towel over it and weight it down, but it just soaked the towel with steam and never would build the proper pressure. He said it would build up to 7 or 8 pounds of pressure, and he did not know what the problem was.
I took him to the Hardware store and showed them the old plug. They sold me a plug for around $3.00. We oiled the plug and properly installed it we also oiled the gasket on his pressure canner. This changed my friends canning life for the good. For the first time ever there was no leaking steam while he pressure canned his jars.
Even though it seems like the canner is up to pressure and the weight eventually jiggles as it should and everything seems to be going right, it is possible those old seals or plugs are not really letting the canner reach the proper pressure, and without that, the contents of the jars may not reach a high enough temperature to safely preserve the food in the mason jars.
Using Common Sense I take my canning so serious. As a canner each one of us should always have spare parts stored away for those times that we have need of them. This is a note for each and everyone that uses pressure canners it is a smart idea to have spare parts on hand when you need them. If we stock up on spare parts we will be prepared, then we will not have to stop in the middle of canning a batch of some food product to find a local store to go buy the part that is needed. And you will not mess up a batch of some good food products or even loose the food all together. By having these spare parts you save time, money and the food.
I have 2 Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and 1 All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Canner they each have the model number stamped on them, therefore it is easy to buy extra parts for them.
Amazon is the easy source for me to go and buy canner parts for both Presto and All-American. I find so many neat utensils that I use for canning on Amazon. Amazon is often cheaper than the local hardware store, and more likely to have the part or utensil that you need in stock.
It is a good idea to check your safety plugs, and canner seals on a regular bases and also keep up with the fact as to whether you need to order any replacement parts. I assure you it is a good idea to order extra parts and to keep them in stock so you will always have extra parts on hand.
Personally for me when my extras arrive I check to see that I have the right ones, then I put them back in their wrappers or boxes and seal them in food saver bags to slow down oxidation. Then, just like the food that I work hard to preserve, I store these spare parts in cool, dark drawer near my canning utensils. Both heat and light have the ability to break down the material these parts are made of just like they break down our food.
Some newer seals are made of silicone or plastic and doe not need as much care to maintain them. But many of you still have older pressure canners and the parts they use can dry out and crack quicker it seems than the newer pressure canner parts of today.
There is an old wives tale, of soaking them in water but that is not really effective. Rubber does not absorb water. If you feel the need to "soften" or preserve these parts, I recommend spreading a thin layer of cooking oil on them. Wipe excess oil off with a paper towel before you use. I also suggest that you do not over-do the oiling of the rubber seals and gaskets.
My personal standard practice for storing my canners each time of canning is to put a light layer of oil on the seal and the safety plug, so they remain pliable, flexible and durable so the pressure canners perform at their peak performance every time that I use them to preserve quality food products.
I do not recommend storing my pressure canners with the lids on them, sealed and tight. I turn my lids upside down on each canner. My reasoning is that you give the seals a time of relaxation or rest if I can call it that, so they are ready for the work they were made to perform. I honestly believe this time of rest and relaxation gives them longer life.
I personally store the pressure weights for my pressure canners in the cabinet drawer next to my stove where I use them to preserve the food. I do not ever want to be without my pressure weights, nor do I want them lost, because they are too expensive for us to replace.
I have now been canning with my 2 Presto Canners since late 2009 (almost 7 years) I have never had to replace a gasket or a safety pressure seal in these 2 Presto pressure canners. I have been using the All-American Pressure Canner since 2012 and have never replaced the safety pressure seal. But I have kept all of these parts well oiled. You see Canning is more than just a hobby to me, or a necessary activity for food preservation or survival. Pressure canning or preserving food is a serious issue of safety and proper food management for me.
One thing that I do and I suggest that you do it also is to make sure you include extra parts for your pressure canners in your storage area. Store these parts properly so that you can get the longest shelf life possible and you will have them when needed.
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As you prepare for your future, think of the things you can do right now to prepare for any disaster. Then get busy learning to do some things yourself now, to be prepared. Do not wait to learn in the middle of necessity. Can you grow your own garden, raise your own meat, hunt for you own meat? Do you know how to can foods? I am a believer that canning is absolutely, invaluable for survival, since you can do it over and over without incurring a whole lot of additional expenses.
When I say canning, do you think pickles, jellies and jam? Crawl out of the cave you have been in, because canning is so much more than that! Canning consist of fruits, vegetables, soups, salads, salsa, spaghetti sauce, chili’s, gumbo’s, meats and so much more. There is so much information online about canning. With so many good websites offering hundreds of proven canning recipes. Canning is a simple, effective, and low cost method of storing large quantities of delicious, nutritious food.
A few things you should consider about canning. Canning does require a significant amount of time. It will take a little money to get started (you will need jars, lids, a water bath canner and/or a pressure canner).
If the proper canning process is not used, home canned food may cause you sickness, discomfort and even kill you. I suggest you only use tried and proven canning recipes. If you have any doubt, do not use a recipe or process. Some foods canned at home require the use of lemon juice and some require the use of vinegar.
There are two ways to can fruits and vegetables for long-term storage: the boiling water bath method and the pressure canning method. The boiling water bath method requires a simple stockpot with a basket or rack, whereas the pressure canning method requires specialized equipment called a pressure canner.
The general agreement among long time canners is that pressure canners kill bacteria effectively and it is usually used to preserve foods with low acidic level along with meats.
The basic process is that you sterilize the jars and lids, add the food products using a jar funnel. Also add the natural preserving solution to the jars (like salt, sugar and vinegar). Use the proper canning process, pressure and time to process and seal the lids. Sealing the lids properly is critical. If the jar is not sealed properly, the air will enter the jar allowing for bacterial growth and effectively spoiling the food you worked hard to preserve. On top of that, exposed canned produce can cause botulism, a dangerous bacterial infection.
To avoid spoiling, add acid to acidic foods. Lemon juice or vinegar work well.
Be sure not to overfill the jars with produce. When you add the liquid, fill the jars enough to submerge the produce. Make sure there are no bubbles or foam on top.
Place the jars in the canner and process sealed jars following a proven recipe for the proper time and pressures. Once you have allowed the jars to process for the proper amount of time let the pressure canner cool down and the pressure drop back to zero, before you open the canner. Remove each jar gently with a jar lifter and set the jars on a towel or cooling rack. Let the jars cool about eight or more hours before you touch or move them to the long-term storage.
Be sure to label your canned foods with a name and expiration date prior to putting them away for long-term storage. Canned foods will stay fresh for a long time.
I have written a canning book that gives the basics of canning from my point of view, “COMMON SENSE HOME CANNING FROM MY POINT OF VIEW.” There are other books that will help guide you through the canning process and offer recipes to help you add variety to your canned foods. There are many websites to help you with the basics of canning and some good proven recipes.
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Rodney Bankens Common sense
I use unsalted butter to clarify. 11 pounds of butter will fill about 12-pint jars. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place cleaned pint size jars in oven on a heavy-duty-baking pan for 20 minutes or longer. One pound of butter more than fills one-pint jar. While jars are in oven, melt butter in a stockpot slowly until it comes to a slow boil.
While you are heating the butter prepare the pressure canner on the stove. Place the lids in a small saucepot and bring to a slight simmer, leaving the lids in simmering water until needed.
Stir the butter well, being sure to get bottom of the pot often to keep the butter from scorching. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 5 minutes. With sterilized spoon, take white foam off top of clarified butter, set aside to use later if you choose.
Using cheesecloth or a separating filter pour melted clarified butter carefully into another sterilized pot. After filtering pour the clarified butter into hot sterilized jars through a canning jar funnel. Leave ¾-1” of headspace in the jar. Carefully wipe off the top of the jars. Then get a hot lid from the simmering water, add the lid and ring, and secure each gently.
Place each jar into Pressure Canner on the stove burner. When all jars are in the Pressure Canner place the lid on the Canner. Turn the heat to high. After the air vent begins to put forth steam, cover vent with 5-pound pressure weight. Start the timer and time the canning process for 60 minutes.
When processing time is complete turn burner off under canning pot. Let the Pressure Canner cool down. It will take a while. After the pressure goes down, open the lid on the canner slowly. As soon as the lid is removed, you will start to hear pings. This means the jars of clarified butter are sealing.
Let the jars of clarified butter has cooled down, if you have a jar that does not seal place it in the refrigerator and use it first. Store clarified butter in a cool place with other home canning products.
Let me make it perfectly clear that canning butter has not been proven to be safe by the USDA. You should research canning butter before beginning this adventure.
After the Clarified Butter, has been in storage for a while check these things: Is it still sealed? Does it have mold on it inside or out? Does it look odd in any way? Does it have an off odor, if it is not sealed or any of the above occurs toss the contents? People have been canning butter for many years.
BENEFITS OF GHEE
Ghee has a host of health and cooking benefits. Ghee is beneficial for both the body and mind. A simple process of boiling butter and then removing the butterfat, and milk solids leaving behind the protein makes ghee. This is known as clarified butter. Ghee can provide your body with higher concentrations of essential nutrients that are not available in butter.
Health Benefits of Ghee
Here is a list of some important health benefits obtained by consuming ghee.
High Smoke point: Since it cooks at a higher point than almost any other oil, the advantage is that it will not break into free radicals like that in other oils. Free radicals can potentially be harmful to health, and when oils reach beyond their smoking point, it can be hazardous to a person’s respiratory system. Ghee also has a higher smoke point than butter.
Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease: Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plague and diabetes. Because of this, researchers say ghee can be used to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Weight Loss: When ghee is derived from grass-fed cows, the butter contains cancer-fighting fatty acid that aids in weight loss.
Better Digestion: Ghee is rich in butyric acid. Beneficial intestinal bacteria convert fiber into butyric acid and then use that for energy and intestinal wall support.
Lowers Cholesterol: Ghee is high in palmitic acid, which is artery clogging. Studies have shown that ghee can reduce cholesterol both in the serum and intestine. According to science, by triggering an increased secretion of biliary lipids, this is done.
Skin: Ghee is known to purify the skin and give it an added glow. It acts as a natural moisturizer when used regularly. It is also known to reduce burning sensation of skin, heal scars, chicken pox scars and more.
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Sandy’s Common Sense Spaghetti Meat Sauce
5 ½ – 6 pounds of fresh ground beef (I grind my own)
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
5 chopped onions
3 chopped bell pepper
3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
3 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 – 15 ounces cans of tomato sauce
1 ½ Tablespoon Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
32 ounces Beef Broth (Can use water)
3 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
I usually grind 2 large roasts, 5 ½ - 6 pounds of ground beef. After the beef is ground I season it with the salt and the Perioux Cajun Seasoning and let this rest for a few minutes to let the seasoning marinate into the meat.
In a large stockpot I heat the olive oil and place the ground meat in the stockpot to brown it slowly as not to burn it.
While I brown the beef I place the onions and bell pepper in a cast iron skillet to cook also. When the onions are translucent I add them to the browned meat, stirring them well. I also add the Minced Garlic and stir it in well.
I add 32 ounces of beef broth (or water). I raise the burner heat to a medium to high and bring the mixture to a boil. While the heat is higher I add the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce and the Worcestershire sauce and bring this to a boil. Once the mixture is at a boil I lower the heat to let the Spaghetti Sauce simmer.
Directions for Canning:
Ladle the Spaghetti Sauce into quart jars while hot. Place lid and ring on the jars and place into the Pressure Canner. When the Pressure Canner is full put the lid on the Pressure Canner and place the burner on high. Bring the pressure to 10-11 pounds and Pressure Can for 90 minutes.
How I use the Canned Spaghetti Sauce:
I prepare 8 ounces of Spaghetti in boiling water with pad of butter and a little salt to keep it separated and to season.
I boil the Spaghetti for about 9-10 minutes and the pour it into a colander and drain well. I place the cooked spaghetti in a medium sauce pan and pour 1 quart of the canned Spaghetti Sauce over it and bring it to a medium heat. Once the Spaghetti Sauce and Spaghetti are well blended Let it sit with a lid on the pot for about 15 minutes and it will be ready to eat.
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I have had to go back and reminisce so that I can give an overall accurate view as to the reasons I can.
When I was growing up we always had a large garden. We raised our own chickens and beef. My dad and his family froze most meats and produce that we ate. Very little of our meats or vegetables came from the grocery store. We ate “home grown” in most instances.
My dad and his family did use the water bath method of canning some of the fruit and vegetables that we raised. I had never seen any meat home canned during that time.
My brother-in-law and Sister-in-law, Steve and Suzie Bennett were the ones that introduced me to home canning. When we first began to talk about it I was not impressed. I really could not see any reason for me to can, because we had access to good grocery stores with all the canned foods we needed.
On or about August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made its way through the state of Mississippi. Even though we are about 100 miles from the coast we were devastated by the winds from this record-breaking storm. We were without electricity in our community for over 17 days so our life was changed. One of the major problems we had in our home and the people in the area that we lived also had, we did not have the proper food at our homes to sustain us during this down time and our grocery stores were devastated and everything was closed.
One of the first loads of food, canned goods, frozen foods and dried foods was sent to us from Southwest Louisiana, my home area. In that load a lady from Dequincy, Louisiana sent my wife and I some Home Canned meats, vegetables and fruit. It was then that I realized Home Canning was something I needed to investigate. The Home canned food was so delicious and easy to use. I must confess it was four and a half years later before I decided to try Home Canning. I have been Home Canning since January of 2009. I bought two Presto Pressure Canners, six cases of ball and Kerr quart size canning jars and lids.
My Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law came and spent a couple days with my wife and I to teach me some things about Home Canning. He taught me to can Gumbo, Chili, Dry Beans and soups.
Whether you are a veteran Home Canner or you are a beginner at canning your own homegrown vegetables, or your own Home Canned meal in a jar, you already know many of the reasons that you are involved with Home Canning.
Now I do realize there are so many that wonder, “Why would anyone be willing to spend so much time, effort and money to Pressure Can food in Mason Jars?”
First – Let me establish the fact that Home Canned Foods taste so much better than commercial or store bought canned foods.
Home canned foods are fresher because they are freshly prepared.
Commercially canned foods often have generic or substitute vegetables or fruit in them. (Commercially canned Pumpkin often contains other kinds of winter squash in the blend.)
Commercially canned foods have chemicals added as ingredients and most of the cans are chemically lined.
Second – Home canned food is better for you. Much, if not most home canned food is home grown or home raised. It is fresh vegetables from your garden or the local Farmers Market. Your chicken, pork and beef are usually home or farm raised. Home canned food is safe food that has been safely grown and handled. (I do can meats and vegetables that have been frozen, also.)
Usually home canned foods have no preserving additives added.
I personally do add a little Sea Salt to my meats and vegetables, for seasoning purposes only. I do can some of my beans and vegetables with seasonings and meat to have it ready to warm and eat from the jar.
Third – Home canned foods are easily stored. It is good to have these jars of food no shelving or flat surfaces that are stable.
These home canned jars of food should be stored in a climate-controlled area that does not get too cold or hot. No direct sun light on the jars of canned food is recommended.
Fourth – Home canned foods can be canned in different size jars. I use ½ pint (jelly jars), pints, 1 ½ pints, quarts and ½ gallon jars to can.
If you like to eat a meal portion for a lunch or dinner a ½ pint or pint will be the portion size you will want to use. If you are serving a family you will want to use quarts. If you are preparing a meal for a larger group it is better in quarts or ½ gallon jars.
I personally can most of the foods that we use in our home in ½ pints and pints, because there is only my wife and I. We usually do not even eat the same thing at a mealtime, even though we most often eat at the same time. I can in jar sizes for convenience and without waste.
So, to finish and answer the question, “Why Do I Can?” I must confess I love to can. To me, home canning is one of the greatest past times that I have ever been involved in. Home canning is my hobby. I teach Canning Classes, because I want others to learn this art.
So, to answer the question, “I can because I can.”