A pressure canner like our All American is an invaluable tool for the self reliant gardener. When we have a large quantity of vegetables, like this mess of green beans, to can you’ll find our canning operation moved outdoors. To do this inside occupies the stove for the day and makes the AC work over time to remove all that extra heat and humidity coming off that pressure canner.
We setup our pressure canner is setup right outside the back door to allow us to sit inside enjoying the comfort of the AC while keeping an eye on the pressure gauge and the fire. This makes it possible to continue our daily routine and still prepare meals in the kitchen.
Using a pressure canner on windy days
On especially windy days we do have to set up a wind block. A strong wind pushes the flame to one side of the pressure canner and makes controlling the temperature and pressure more challenging. The wind makes it harder to get the canner up to operating temperature, that makes for a longer day of canning. A strong wind will also cause you to burn more propane.
If its a windy day and you’ve got to put food in the pantry you can setup a wind break. A crude frame with some sheet metal or even scrap lumber can be fashioned into a functional wind break
I had this camp stove out already but have also used a single burner fish/turkey fryer to run our All American pressure cooker. It’s closer to the ground and actually makes it easier to reach inside the pressure cooker to load it or pull out the finished product. The single burner is about half the cost of this two burner stove I’ve got in the picture below.
Canning great northern beans is something new we have been doing. Allow me to explain why Dry beans are always a great item to have in your pantry. They have lots of protein, are inexpensive and have a great shelf life if stored properly. The problem with dry beans is they amount of time it requires to get them from dry bean to ready to eat. By canning them we are able to have them on the table in a pinch.
How we canned our beans
We followed a no soak method that we found in a YouTube video made by a woman named Starry Hilder. (I will include the video below.). In pint jars we added a heaping half cup of beans and added hot water. After sealing up the jars they went into our canner. As you can see in the picture they expanded quite a bit once the process is complete. We will make up labels and get them into the pantry.
Canning great northern beans for our pantry
Starry’s no soak method was super simple and we will do more beans of a different variety soon.
What will you need to do this yourself?
For starters, you will need a pressure cooker. Walmart carries an inexpensive model that will work. We started with one and used it for years. It is a small unit and can only do small batches.
Today we decided to put up some butter in pint sized jars. During our last trip to Costco we picked up 8 pounds of unsalted butter to add to our pantry. There are lots and lots of opinions on canning butter, so please look into it extensively and form your own opinion before you do it. We sterilized all our jars and lids and re-pasteurized our already previously pasteurized butter during this process.
After the butter is melted and re-pasteurized
Once the butter was re-pasteurized it was ladled into sterilized jars and the lids and rings added. Finger tight on those lids.After the butter is in jars with the lids secured you will need to frequently shake the jars as the contents will separate.
You can see the separation in the second picture below. We were shaking to combine the contents every 10-15 minutes for several hours. We continued to shake until the color was returning to normal. This morning, as seen in the last picture, the butter has solidified and has its usual appearance.
The 8 pounds of butter yielded 10 full pints. In the future I hope to work out how much butter is required to fill an even 12 pints. We like having a full flat of the same item in our pantry.
Watch Starry Hilder can butter
As a visual learner myself, I thought I’d add the video we watched and used as a guide. Again, there is risk in doing this, don’t make the decision to try it lightly. Doing this incorrectly can make someone very ill, or even worse. Do this at your own risk. Below is Starry’s video.
Our quest to be self reliant and grow a healthy garden