The only thing I like better than talking about food is eating. – John Walters
This is the first post in what will be a three part series to welcome a significant aspect of warmer seasons…canning.
A food blogger whom I adore is also an avid canner (probably why I like her so much). She also keeps bees and she and her sons can pick 100 lbs of blueberries in a few hours. Wow. She wrote a cook book but with canning recipes and how to use the stuff you can. A few have become staples because 1) Salad is my favorite food…(well, meat in any form is quickly overtaking it, but that’s a story for another time) and 2) I’m not doing sugar at all, so most canning recipes are out for me. In these three recipes I can easily swap out the small amounts of sugar for erythritol (a sugar alcohol that doesn’t impact blood sugar levels). All of these things make excellent additions to any salad, hence my love for them. So now I think I have almost enough fun veggies to get me through a year of epic salads, opening a jar a week or so. These are also veggies that I won’t be growing myself so can put up anytime of the year, especially before I am drowning in tomatoes and cucumbers from my own garden.
First let me tell you about my freezer.
We have a massive freezer, currently filled with lovely beef. There are sliding baskets to help with organizing and two are filled with mostly herbs/spices and my seed collection.
Here’s a small sampling. I buy all my herbs and spices in bulk from a company called Azure Standard because their prices are the best I’ve ever seen. Not all their stuff can beat Amazon price wise, but for a few items they are the bees knees. So this recipe for Curried Cauliflower uses lots of spices. And those spices are the reason why I’m the only one who cares for it…more for me!
Garyn didn’t believe me when I told him those heads of cauliflower would only maybe fill up 5-6 quart jars.
Also I’ve been perfecting the art of “chicken bowl stacking” for a lot of years now. I am a master. Sorry for the funky lighting in the pictures. Turns out a lot of food can be put up in the morning while your kids are eating and slowly getting ready for the day. It’s worth poor lighting in my kitchen to knock out my main project for a Saturday before eight a.m.!
He still didn’t believe me when the cut up florets and two onions filled my small stock pot.
When they get nice and heated through, into the sterilized jars. A word must be written about my pickle packer. Yes, that’s its official name. It is perfectly sized to compress stuff into wide or regular mouth canning jars. It makes my happy place even happier.
Now for the actually preserving part. My mother-in-law gifted me her steam canner and changed my whole canning game (Thank you again, Sara!). There are two main methods to store food in glass jars long term: water bath canning, and pressure canning. Pressure canning uses pressure to heat the food above the boiling point of water, about 240 degrees F. This kills more baddies than water bath canning which can only get the food boiling, about 212 degrees F. I love pressure canning and that’s how I put up meat stuffs and stock.
Water bath canning is a huge logistical nightmare. Because you have to use a vessel that can accommodate 7 quart jars plus two inches above their lids and then you have to fill it almost full of water, and then bring that to a boil, it’s hard to get the timing right, not to mention the waiting time for a rolling boil and the hazard of having that much boiling mass on a range top. Enter Physics to save the day! Turns out steam can accomplish the same thing as boiling water but with much less actual water. It simplifies the whole process and frees up my over stretched brain space.
So I was spot on. I got 6 quarts of cauliflower in all its Curry-ful glory and had an extra jar spot to can its leftover brine. You better believe that we are having some meat of some sort slow cooked in that brine in the very near future.