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Posts Tagged ‘canning’

canned ham

First off, all meat must be canned using a pressure cooker, let’s just get that out of the way. You don’t want to risk botulism, so if you don’t have a pressure cooker and instruction book, DON’T do it.

My friend has a pressure cooker. And an instruction booklet. I used a Costco ham, one of the nice dinner hams at $2.39 a pound. My friend bought a discount ham elsewhere for 99-cents a pound. In fact, she bought two hams. My ham was almost all meat with a two-inch bone down the center. My friend’s ham was half fat, and had a four-inch bone and a big bone end in it. So she had two ham packages, or twice as much as I visually had (she had 20-pounds, I had 10-pounds). After she’d trimmed off the unusable stuff, her resultant meat was just as much as mine. We both got 11 pints of meat.

However, after having eaten one pint for breakfast, I have new thoughts about the process. My ham fell apart quite nicely, sort of like shredded ham, but it no longer had that nice smokey quality of a dinner ham. It tasted quite ordinary, and I’m sure my friend’s ham (although of lesser quality) tasted exactly the same. The pressure cooking process tenderized the meat and subtly changed the flavor, and I’m sure the process greatly improved my friend’s ham. I wish I had swapped a tester bottle with her so I could compare, but intuitively it seems likely.

So my overall conclusion is: use the lesser quality meat for canning. Plus she had a big soup bone when she was done, and a whole lot of suet she was going to see if she could make soap out of. I mean cups and cups of fat left over. So for her it was two projects in one for the same money (plus soup–three projects!).

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Comfort

I am pretty sure I have mentioned how I love my friend Beth’s pantry cabinet. I would LOVE to have a glass fronted cabinet where I could see all my canned produce.

I’m sorry the photos are so dark, that is even with bumping up the light a bit.

Wouldn’t you just feel that old-fashioned comfort of knowing you always have food on hand in the event of a power shortage or ice storm? Or even as simple as, “I’d like to make a cherry pie…why I can, and I don’t even have to run to the store!”

The humble pickles. Which reminds me, I need to make another go at pickling eggs….

With such a pantry cabinet, I would get that small, quiet satisfaction of comfort from knowing I did all the work myself, and that the future is just a tiny bit taken care of. (And yes, I know you are supposed to store your canned goods in a dark place, not behind bright glass. But then you couldn’t see all your hard work.)

And speaking of comfort, oh my gosh, look at this terrific quilted jacket Beth has. Her brother brought it home from Japan. I soooo want one now! Warm, and fashionable at the same time! (I’d be happy with just a pattern for one, ahem! I think maybe the next time I visit I’ll measure it and work it out myself….)

UPDATE: My sister in Japan says the jacket is a chan-chan-ko and only grandmas and very little kids wear them, they are so unhip. Well, fine, I guess I value being snuggly in my old age rather than cold and fashionable!

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food: canning plum jam

A friend has a plum tree which bore a heckuva lot more fruit than her family alone could eat, so I got a share of the bounty. I traded her a dozen eggs, and one of my jars of mandarin sauce.

Aren’t they beautiful red plums? (I’m not sure of the variety.)

The above photo shows three pounds of plums, the amount necessary for one batch of jam according to the directions inside the Certo pectin box.  If you wanted to make jelly instead of jam, you need 4 pounds, and there are about 7 plums per pound.

Isn’t the red color gorgeous?

One batch of jam made ten of the regular jelly-jar size jars.

I made two batches, so I can see some Christmas gift giveaways. Twenty jars of one kind of jam is really kind of much. In the final photo, you can see the plum fruit rose to the top of the jar, while the jelly sank. What a lovely hue!

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