Friday, February 24, 2017

Living on the road Pressure canning…

Current Location: Covington GA
Next Planned Location: March 1st  Pinewood/Rimini SC, Elliott Landing and Campground 

Last year when in Alaska I decided to try my hand at canning salmon and found it was pretty straight forward.  As long as you follow the USDA guidelines it is a good safe way to preserve food without using freezer space and the flavors are outstanding.  The flavor was so good that most of my canned salmon was eaten on crackers and not used for cooking. 

In preparation for my trip to Alaska this year I researched several pressure canners and purchased the  Presto 16 Qt Pressure Canner.  The other canner I considered and decided against was the All American 15 Qt Pressure Canner which has higher ratings but it also has higher weight weighting 18 pounds at about twice the weight of the Presto with cost over double also.  Both canners can pressure can 7 quarts or 8 pints at once.  I looked at the next size up that would allow canning 16 pints but the height of the unit would not fit my stove without removing my built in microwave or I would have had to do all my canning outside on my camp stove.  Being on the road with limited spaces the Presto 16 quart fits my needs minimizing weight and saving a few dollars.

When you preserve your food following a USDA tested recipe the shelf life is one year for the best quality, flavor and most importantly nutrient value.  If the food was properly processed and the lid is still sealed the food will be safe after the 1 year mark.  It is not like you have to throw out your canned food at the 365 day mark if you have not consumed it.  Like all food we prepare for a meal we use common sense if it looks bad or smells bad you dispose of it and home canned food is handed the same.  I have read articles where people are using 5 plus years old home canned food.

After doing my research and looking at my options I have decided to can some beef, beef stew, chicken, and chicken soup.  If I am going to can salmon this summer I might as well take the jars with me so why not fill them up with some precooked meals.  With the canned food meal preparation is much simpler.  You don’t have to preplan and takes it out of the freezer ahead of time it is ready when you are.  The uses are limited by your imagination/creativity.  I have canned all of the above listed foods and have used them for sandwiches, over rice, and with mash potatoes.   Fast easy meals and they are delicious.

Cost wells let’s see I paid $3 lb for a beef roast at Aldi’s.  It takes about 1 pound of beef per pint .50 per pint with the Aldi’s price.  The jars are one time purchase item for about $1.00 each and I am going to leave them out of the cost per pint because they will be reused.  Lids are about .25 each.  The stove time is hard to calculate due to the small usage…it does take stove time but I am not going to do the math at this time to incorporate stove time or my time.  Like the stove time the cost of the pressure canner itself is a small cost per pint.  Cost for beef per pint is .50+.25=.75 with chicken costing slightly less.  

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