Friday, July 24, 2015

Canning.....Small Batch Style

Pressure Canning.  If any old-fashioned kitchen task can elicit fear, This is it.  I've heard many stories about pressure canners blowing up, spewing glass shards and bits of vegetables, meat, or even rice into the light fixtures, ceiling tiles and kitchen crevices.  As one such story goes:  when the granddaughter (my old boss) was cleaning out the home for sale after the grandparents had passed, they found hardened grains of rice still in the kitchen light fixture from a canning incident occurring over 40 years earlier.  That's enough to scare any new homesteader.  Admittedly, I was apprehensive when I first started canning.  I made many calls to grandma for advice and kept my manual in my hand throughout the ENTIRE canning process.

Well, one of the reasons it seemed so daunting a task to can was that everyone talked of canning 100 quarts of tomatoes, 80 quarts of pickles, 75 quarts of applesauce.  What?  I could hardly get in a shower and a shave before some emergency over a couch cushion fort cut it short.  How would I ever accomplish such a task as canning with children in the house?

My answer is:  Small Batch canning

I like spending lots of time in the kitchen.  I like canning.  I like preserving our extra garden produce for cold winter days.  I really like canning huge amounts of anything.  But this mama doesn't always get what she likes.  She has to settle for short bouts in the kitchen.  That's where small batch canning comes into play.  And when I say small I mean sometimes only ONE jar.  Does that sound crazy?  Yes!  Does one jar take long to can?  No.  So if you find yourself yearning to try canning, but are a little apprehensive about the process or feel like there's no way you can commit the time for typical canning, then this is for you.  It works especially well for water bath canning.  Now this is not a post about the canning process.  You can find lots of information at your University Extension office.  I am writing this to encourage you to try canning even if it's only one jar at a time.

Itching to begin the canning season, I headed outside to grab some of this.

 And then picked these.
Boston picklers 
 And then I made this ONE jar of Garlic Dill Pickles.  Sometimes this is all the time I can commit to canning.  And I'm OK with that.

Give canning a try.  Small Batch canning fills the shelves, just a bit slower.

What's your favorite food to can?  Any stories you'd like to share?  I'd love to read them.

For more of my posts on canning/food preservation click here.