The town next to mine has way cooler classes and activities, so I jumped city lines and took a pressure canning class.
I’ve danced around pressure canning for a while. I tried water bath canning this Spring and really liked it. But water bath canning is pretty much for fruits. Jams, jellies, chutney, etc. I dig all of them, but what I grow in my garden is veggies. I also wanted to can sauces and soups. And for all of that, you need a pressure canner.
Like right out of a sci-fi or horror set.
This thing is not only intimidating-looking, it is also intimidatingly priced. At about $240, this isn’t some random hobby you just pick up to see if it sticks. Which is why I started with water bath canning. I was out only about $50 and I could decided if the whole rigmarole of canning was something I was into.
Having found that, yes, I’m into it. I went to this class yesterday. It was supposedly meant for kids, being put on by the local 4-H. But there was no one under their mid-twenties in that packed kitchen. Somehow I ended up sitting with a table of other vegetarians because when the first project was to can chicken, all of us went, “Pass.” Apparently we picked up each others’ vibage or something. Another very cool thing happened when we were all busy chopping and peeling for the veggie soup. I asked my table, “We’re not just tossing these scraps in the trash, are we?” A few moments later a bag went around for scraps that another student was going to put in her compost. Which is exactly where I wanted them to go. Well, ok. I’d have preferred that they went in my compost pile, but as long as they weren’t going in the landfill, I was good.
The instructor was awesome and patiently answered my many questions. No, the canner will not blow up. No, as long as you process everything long enough, you will not die of botulism. No, really, you won’t blow yourself up. Well, yes, this model of canner was used in a bombing incident, but there was no food involved, so you’ll be ok.
Now that I’ve seen the process from beginning to end, took notes, and have handouts, I think I’m ready to tackle this bad boy. So, I’ll be saving my pennies and hopefully have a pressure canner to (not blow myself up with) can my garden veggies next summer. Then I can make more of these!
My very own jars of green beans and veggie soup that fit perfectly in my car’s drink carrier. Who knew?
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