Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Canning

For many people canning is a seasonal adventure centering around bountiful summer and fall harvests.  For me it has always been a year round activity, you might remember that I self-taught pressure canning because our freezer wasn’t keeping up with my desire to use the whole chicken.  I’ve also found it to be way more convenient than remembering to defrost or trying to fast thaw sauces and stews.  Last week I went on a little canning binge. Blame the snow, something about it makes me want a steamy kitchen.
ChickenI always make double batches of chicken stock, I have a twenty quart stock pot so it makes sense for me to make a double batch and run the canner twice instead of go through the whole process twice as frequently.  This time I knew I would be needing a lot of stock for soup I’m planning on making tomorrow so I only canned one batch and stuck the rest in the fridge.
BeansIt seems that most of the canning blogs (this is my favorite) I read have spotlighted canning beans recently.  I have canned baked beans and chili with beans in it but hadn’t ever thought to do regular beans.  Usually I soak and cook a bag (1lb) of beans and batch freeze most of them for later use.  But I’m bad at remembering to defrost.  Now you may be thinking Christine, beans are cheap why not just buy cans.  Two reasons, first regular cans have BPA as a lining, BPA is nasty stuff and I prefer to keep it out of my food; second one 1lb bag of dry beans costs the same as one organic non-BPA lined can of beans (you can only find BPA free cans in the organic sections) one 1lb bag of beans yields five cans worth of beans for an 80% savings.  So I canned eight pints of beans this week too.  Having meal components ready to go will hopefully keep us fed well while we are sleep deprived after baby comes!

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