I’ve been putting this off for my entire 22 years of married life.
See, I’ve been canning acidic foods like applesauce and tomato sauce from the time my kids were little because all you have to do is run those jars through a water bath to seal them. Easy. Not scary. Anyone can do it.
For such a long time, I’ve so badly wanted to branch out and can less acidic food items (like veggies and meat) that have to be processed in a pressure canner.
But alas. I was afraid of blowing myself up.
Not only have I aspired to learn how to pressure can, I’ve actually had my mom’s pressure canner in my basement for 12 years. Every year I would be determined to learn to use it. Every year I would chicken out. It has provided a wonderful home for several spider families down in our basement, so at least it hasn’t been entirely useless.
I’ve had an excuse (beside the extreme fear thing) for letting it sit idle. The manual that originally came with the canner was long ago misplaced. Also, my mom has been gone for quite some time so I couldn’t ask her to teach me how to use it. I think we all know that we should never use a pressure canner without first knowing how to use it safely.
Don’t even tell me that I could have found a manual online or perhaps could have asked one of many dozens of women or men who could have taught me how to use one. I know this. Apparently I wasn’t ready to face my fears or wash the spider webs out of my canner.
This year, I finally washed my pressure canner (goodbye spiders) and guess what? I learned to use it! I think my mama would be proud.
Have you ever seen a 43-year old act giddy like a little girl? That was me three weeks ago when I pulled my first jar of chicken broth out of my pressure canner. I did it! I DID IT!!!! The jars sealed. The broth is beautiful. More importantly, nothing blew up.
It truly wasn’t even hard.
Not only am I thankful to have finally conquered my fear of the pressure canner, I’m so excited to now have the ability to make more healthy convenience foods to keep in my pantry! Chick broth, Chili, Veggie Soup, the list goes on and on. This is going to be so amazing! (Once I get over my “don’t open those, they are just for looks” issue. I can’t help it. It’s fun to have and stare at full jars of home-canned food in the pantry.)
How I finally learned to use my pressure canner
After being afraid to even try using my pressure canner, I found what ended up being a wonderful teacher and confidence builder for me. I took the Home Canning With Confidence Mini-eCourse (which was full of videos so I could actually see how it all worked) and now here I am, canning like it’s 1970.
The course taught me about all the parts of my canner, showed me how to put it together and use it safely, gave me some great recipes, and by the time I had watched the videos and read through the downloads, I was so inspired and eager to get started that the spiders living in my canner didn’t have a chance.
Then I watched all the videos and read the downloads again, just to be safe. Shoot. I knew I was ready to do it but canning with a pressure canner still seemed like such a big deal.
Finally, I went for it!! (I may have also called my friend Tana for some moral support. She’s been pressure canning for years. She affirmed all I was doing and told me I was on the right track. Yay!)
Lookie!! I canned chicken broth in a pressure canner!
Once I canned my first batch of chicken broth and had busted my way through the learning curve, the pressure canning monster in me was unleashed.
I’ve since canned 14 jars of Chili and 14 jars of Vegetable Soup!!!! (All the exclamation marks show how a 43-year old types like when she feels like a giddy little girl.)
This is, in some ways, even better than freezer cooking because:
- Jars go in the pantry, saving freezer space!
- I don’t have to thaw anything. We have ready-made soups and broth in the pantry ready to go!
Afraid of the Pressure Canner?
Don’t be. I mean, I get it. You know I get it. But all it takes is having someone to teach us how to do it and then boom! A whole new world is opened up to us in the kitchen! Pressure canning is actually not even hard. I thought it would be. But nope. It’s easy.
If you have any interest in canning at all, take this Home Canning With Confidence eCourse. Do you know how much time and money we’ll all save ourselves? It’s even worth buying a pressure canner if you don’t have one. I was ready to click the purchase button on a new one if my mom’s decided it was too old. That’s how motivating the eCourse was to me.
I’d love to hear if you are a fan of pressure canning and how you like to use it!