The mad scramble for lids, a hot day and procrastinating.

Let it be known… I am not the best at making decisions that bring together ALL the elements. Not my strongest area, not even remotely close to it actually. I’m not very good at planning things at all. I’m better at coming up with harebrained schemes or dreaming about things for ages but putting things into action with forethought and direction? Naaaa.

I decided Monday that I wanted to pressure can some chick peas. I stuck them in my stock pot to soak as I am following the instructions from this blogΒ and they soaked overnight. Yesterday morning I remembered that the forecast top temperature was 32C. Probably a little warm to have the stove on all day but not much I could do by then. I’ve ended up with 11 of the size #20 Fowlers Vacola jars (about 11 pints – the #20’s are pretty close to a pint and close enough for working out pressure and time πŸ™‚ ) Β but of course, whilst I’m filling up and putting on lids I discover that I’m 3 lids short. I’m just sooooo good at planning ahead. 😦 A mad scramble finds me 3 jars of which I can pilfer the lids and we’re good to go. Then I discover that the canner fits 9 jars, not all 11 so the remaining 2 are waiting to be pressure canned along with the 5 #31’s of pumpkin soup ingredients (the #31’s are 900ml and I pressure can them as quarts – again it’s close enough. Please note, NEVER puree the pumpkin soup before canning. It’s too thick to can safely, yet as partially cooked ingredients it is safe. πŸ™‚ ) I’ve followed my own pumpkin soup recipe but the canning information is here and also in my canner instruction manual. πŸ™‚ At least I had the lids and rings and clips all ready for the #31’s. πŸ™‚

So I now have 5 jars of pumpkin soup ingredients and 11 jars of chickpeas all cooling and settling and ready to go as convenience foods which I know all the ingredients. It’s exciting. πŸ™‚

Pumpkin and potato soup ingredients. If you blend it then it doesn't get hot enough int he middle to kill the bugs as it's too thick. So, open can (bottle), heat and puree in Thermy, with blender etc and serve. Easy peasy. :D

Pumpkin and potato soup ingredients. If you blend it then it doesn’t get hot enough int he middle to kill the bugs as it’s too thick. So, open can (bottle), heat and puree in Thermy, with blender etc and serve. Easy peasy. πŸ˜€

Chickpeas!

Chickpeas!

Chickpeas MUST be pressure canned. A Fowlers Vacola won’t process them at a high enough temperature to make them safe to eat as they are a low acid food. PLEASE be vigilant with this if you want to process your own foods. πŸ™‚

Now, if I am to be perfectly honest, I had no absolute need to can those chickpeas. They’ve been sitting snug and dry in their jars for several months and will happily sit there snug and dry for probably a lot more than several months more but the real reasons I wanted to can them was because I am having a ball canning things and I love seeing all the jars lined up nice and neatly in my pantry. I also love the convenience of grabbing a can from the cupboard and hey presto, dinner is served but as many cans are lined with plastic containing BPA and I have no idea just how many or which brands (this article states it’s as high as 92% of cans) I made the choice to avoid canned food as much as possible. Yes, that means my kids have not had the pleasure of canned spaghetti nor of baked beans very often (although they did the other night) but once I get some navy beans and tomatoes I can make my own tomato sauce (tomatoes have been ordered) Β and then my own baked beans. I can’t wait!

MUST get more lids and rings before then though. AND more jars. πŸ˜€

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22 thoughts on “The mad scramble for lids, a hot day and procrastinating.

  1. If you have a good recipe for home made baked beans, I’d love a copy. i’ve been looking for one for ages. Must also get myself a canner too.

    • I will most definitely share it when i find it. πŸ™‚ I am looking myself.

    • Linne says:

      Don’t know if this will be helpful, but I used to bake mine in a cast iron (old, not new, so better iron) Dutch oven; I would soak the beans overnight, drain and rinse, then put them in the Dutch oven and add brown sugar, molasses, ketchup (I suppose tomato sauce would do, too) and mustard (I used the regular yellow sort mostly, but when I could afford it, I liked the Dijon style). If it seems too dry, add some water. I like to add chopped onion, too, and sometimes a bit of garlic. I’m not usually one to follow a recipe too closely (it’s a joke in my family that the one time I did, I was baking something for my sister’s Christmas party at her work because she was in hospital; she made me SWEAR not to alter a single thing; and I didn’t!)

      So start by adding a bit of each of the above; not too much molasses, maybe a tablespoon or two, depending on how much beans you have. Then taste it; you can always add more until it tastes ‘right’ to you; if you put in too much of anything, it’s harder to fix. I seem to remember baking them for two or three hours. I would check every half-hour or so and add more water if it seemed needed. Allow lots of time the first time you try this; once they are cooked, you can lower the oven temperature to just keep them warm ’til mealtime or else take them out and let them cool, then warm them up for the meal. When I had a wood stove, I would put the oven off to the side away from the fire and it would stay nice and warm there.

      One thing I also loved to do was to make steamed brown bread to go with the beans. Good complementary protein and tastes fabulous! I used whole wheat flour, molasses, and I forget the rest. There is likely a recipe for the bread (and the beans if you prefer not to experiment with my ‘recipe’ above) at http://www.allrecipes.com or one of the other recipe sites. I used to make this in the big 48 oz tomato juice tins, but I don’t think you can get those anymore. I’m not sure if that’s still considered a good idea anyway, as so many tins are lined with heaven-knows-what these days. you will want something about that size and shape. You put the dough in ’til the container is about 2/3 full, then put waxed paper or tinfoil (aluminium foil) or parchment paper over the top (secure this with a string wrapped around a couple of times and tied tightly. If you make one knot and a bow, you can release the string easily, then re-use it next time. I used the rings from canning jars on the bottom of my big jam kettle, then added boiling water to about halfway up the tins. Keep the cover on and the water simmering; the steam will cook the bread.

      In a perfect world, I would have an outdoor summer kitchen, screened all around and with a roof to keep off the sun. Then the heat from the baking and the steam from the cooking bread would be wafted away on the breeze . . .

      OK, now I’m hungry, and for baked beans and hot, steamed brown bread . . . good memories, though. ~ Linne

      • I am a “sperimender” with food but YOU have provided the recipe I like for backup. Thank you

        • Linne says:

          You are more than welcome! By the way, Mum found her favourite baked bean recipe. If you would like it, I can post it here, on my own blog or just email it to you. Same for the canning and pickling recipes. I know I offered somewhere on your blog already, but haven’t found the exact location to see what you said. Sorry. ~ Linne

  2. LyndaD says:

    Have you thought of doing a workshop. I’ve never preserved before and i know myself well enough to know that i learn more by watching than reading. I do remember my Mum preserving everything growing up but it seems to be the one thing i’ve forgotten. That and how to cut up a carcase. Childhood memory of being woken by thump thump thump and walking out to the kitchen and finding your Mum with a cleaver over her head covered in sweat and a full size carcase of beef on the kitchen bench. You learnt to behave!!!!! LOL.

    • So THAT’S what I need to do to bring my kids in line. πŸ˜‰
      I know my Nanna preserved but I never saw it done and learned by following blog posts and reading the preserving books I could lay my hands on. I’m happy sharing what I’ve learned with a friend over preserving but I’m no public speaker or great shakes teacher (as much as I used to teach it was one on one) but thank you for the wonderful compliment. Start with tomatoes or stone fruit would be my advice though. If you’ve got a FV unit, maybe we could meet up sometime though. πŸ™‚

    • Linne says:

      Lynda, I loved your story of your Mum butchering! I learned to butcher when we got our first deer. There are pictures in my “Joy of Cooking” cookbook showing where different cuts of meat come from on various carcasses. It was really easy to figure out. When I was 17 I worked in our neighbour’s abbatoir (just in the front part, not doing the killing or the butchering). My Dad hunted every autumn, as with nine kids, every bit of ‘harvest’ helped a lot. So I learned the facts of food very early in life. Good thing, too!

  3. narf77 says:

    You HAVE been busy! We are just starting to get enough tomatoes to be worried that we are going to have to “do something” with them other than eat them in dribs and drabs. Time to get smart and think about how we want to eat them. I might make some homemade pasta sauce as we also have eggplants and a few capsicum. Steve bought a huge sack of onions the other day “It’s a saving! They are $3 for 2kg and $5 for 10kg!”… now I need to work out what to do with 10kg of onions! Not too hard, lots of yummy things to do with onions :). It sounds like you are flat out like a lizard drinking. Glad to see that the country life hasn’t slowed you down any ;). I made some gorgeous bread with Audrey and tomorrow we are making a large chocolate slab cake with kefir instead of milk and a large spice cake with kefir. Any other recipes for kefir? Might have to make some icecream :).

  4. The last fortnight has been quite a slow one really. I’ve not achieved all that much (hence the procrastination) but I’m getting back into it again now (hence the canning). Pasta sauce is a great use for your veggies and your bulk onions make me think immediately of french onion soup which my husband adores. πŸ˜€
    I know you can make kefir yoghurt but I’ve been slack with mine and it shows. I DID clean it out thought the other day. I only have 2 “brains” I was able to find but a lot of yoghurty curds which I served up to the kids with some homemade jam to sweeten and flavour it and all 3 wolfed it down. πŸ™‚ I add kefir to the kids milkshakes too – frozen bananas, maybe some frozen berries, kefir, a little milk if needed and a power whiz in Hermy the Thermy and the older 2 love it. Orik isn’t a fan of the coldness. Normally though my kids will just drink a half cup. We have better success with it when it’s lightly cultured, not starting to separate. \
    I managed a tomato harvest too – I’ve a photo to share in my next post. The glut of my garden. πŸ˜‰

  5. Emma says:

    Oh my golly trying to find cans not lined with BPA is frustrating. I did find one good brand of tinned tomatoes, but they were only sold in Brunswick, and now ive moved from that area.

    Its no wrong that in Europe they have banned the stuff but OUR government thinks its fine for us to consume a certain amount of it, and are not legislating to put warnings on cans.

    • It’s pretty disgusting that they don’t label it and just as disgusting that in the USA they don’t need to label GMO foods. Somewhere along the line the government has decided that they are responsible for what they eat. Does that mean they will be responsible for paying the bills when their poisons make us sick or worse?
      What I find worst though is that for those who can food at home using Ball Mason jars, the lids have BPA. Even for those trying to do the right thing… 😦

      • Linne says:

        Thanks for the warning; I had NO idea! Another thing to be concerned about . . . and I’ve been canning for years (though not the past few in the apartment – no space here to work or to store jars).

        You make me miss my food dryer (stored in B.C.), which began life as a refrigerator-sized fish smoker (but was never used for that). It uses only a standard lightbulb for a heat source. It is made of plywood and 2 x 2s, whose ends stick out at the bottom to form legs. There is a W-shaped piece of metal that sticks out horizontally over the lightbulb that was intended to hold the wood chips, such as applewood, that produce the smoke. It has seven trays made from wooden frames with window mesh stapled to them (not the metal stuff). When I fill all the trays with pieces of sliced apple, I get a gallon of dried apples. My boys both loved them as snacks. I used to make lots of dried veggie pieces, too, for adding to soup in the winter. ~ Linne

  6. leonefabre says:

    well done … even missing lids!!

    On a hot day with 3 kidz in tow, you amaze me. πŸ™‚

  7. Linne says:

    I forgot to say that when you are canning low-acid tomatoes or stuff like the garbanzos, it can help to add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to the liquid. Raising the acid level is good, so long as you aren’t spoiling the flavour. With fruits, the sugar helps with the preserving. ~ Linne

    • The first time I bottled tomatoes I followed instructions from google that recommended vinegar or lemon juice. As I had a glut of lemons they were all bottled with home grown lemon juice added. As I am not sure on the acid status of tomatoes I buy I figure it’s safer to add it. πŸ™‚ My apricots were bottled in water as were my nectarines. I try and avoid sugar when and wherever possible. I did do my plums in rapadura syrup though and thank goodness I did. They’re tart!

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