After visiting my grandparents, I came home with a deep desire to start canning. The first thing I did was buy a Presto 1781 23-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner from Amazon – after I talked to hubby and we assured each other that this wasn’t just a passing fancy. I owned a smaller pressure cooker many years ago and actually used it, so we were reasonably confident that this would be a well-loved gadget, both as a cooker and a canner.
A water bath canner might be a better choice for some, but I went with the pressure cooker for 4 reasons:
- The inexpensive water bath canners weren’t approved for use on a glass-top range like ours. Those that were approved cost nearly as much as the pressure canners.
- I wanted to be able to can low-acid foods, beginning with pinto and black beans, but certainly not stopping there!
- I looked forward to use it for cooking again. Did you know dry beans cook in 3-6 minutes?
- I had enough Swagbucks to pay for it.
The canner arrived in just 2 business days (with free shipping, no less!) and with just a few more supplies, we were ready to get started.
Our trusty old apple peeler/corer/slicer made short work of 20 lbs. of apples. We did another 10 lbs. for crockpot applesauce.
20 lbs. filled an 8 quart stockpot and a 4 quart pot to the brim.
We stirred in a mixture of sugar, flour, lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, and LOTS of cinnamon.
After cooking them just enough to thoroughly heat the liquid and soften the apples, we ladelled the mixture into hot sterilized jars. We had enough to fill 7 quarts, plus one for the fridge. We’ll use that one for a pie tonight.
We worked out the air bubbles and left 1/2″ of headspace, then processed according to the directions. This time, I used the pressure cooker as a water bath canner. It can be used either way. I love that!
Later that day, we turned a huge gallon-sized can of tomato paste into seasoned pizza/spaghetti sauce. We may or may not add meat when we serve it, depending on whether it’s lunch or dinner.
Aren’t they beautiful?
The next day I did 4 quarts and 7 pints of pinto beans and black beans, all at the same time. We’re trying the first one in our taco salad tonight, and it turned out perfect!
Now the girls say I’m obsessed. I’m even canning animal crackers. OK, so I didn’t process them, but a gallon pickle jar is perfect for holding them.
But I’m finally finding a use – or multiple uses – for the jars that have filled the dark recesses of my container cabinet for so long. I was tickled to stumble across these links today:
- 10 Simple Uses for Spaghetti Jars – Not just spaghetti jars, of course. Be sure to read the comments for dozens of more uses.
- Use Mason Jars for Quick Blending with Less Cleanup – This really and truly works. I’m sipping a green smoothie from a jar right now, with nothing to wash but the blade & collar from my blender!
What about you? Do you can? How many other uses have you found for jars, Mason or otherwise?