Fall Canning


Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Perhaps your fall is a time for relaxation and a time when you take a break from our busy Alaskan summers to rest up before it actually hits. But for many Alaskans the fall is the busiest time of the year as many people are cutting their winter firewood, getting vegetables put away, getting all their summer gear tucked away for winter. Those that raise animals and chickens are scurrying around to provide comfortable shelter for their creatures.

As many of you already know a cold uncomfortable chicken will not lay. So you end up feeding birds all winter for few if any eggs. Also they need some type of light as they will need a few more hours of light to be able to feed enough to keep them going through the darkest part of winter. A few heat lamps are not real expensive to run twenty-four hours a day and also provide a little extra heat too.

Each fall I try to can all of our small potatoes or ones that are damaged by the fork while digging them. This year my family and I ended up canning 224 quarts of potatoes These potatoes are excellent for soups, stew, and fine just to warm up and eat right out of the jar. If you're the outdoors type there is nothing faster than dumping out a jar of canned food after a long, day of winter outdoor activity.

Many of you have been canning your salmon for years. Now may be the time to be more elaborate with your canning process.

Also you can expand the use of your pressure cooker and canned food by learning how to prepare meals in minutes instead of hours

If someone told you that they could make clam chowder in about ten minutes what would you tell them? Well you can if your clams, potatoes, and onions are canned ahead of time.

Simply can your chopped onions in those small jelly jars you have not been filling anyway...Ok ok so you have been making jelly every year for the past 23 years. Anyway back to my story sorry about the interruptions All you have to do is empty the contents of your canned products and add the half and half and start reading that favorite book!

By canning other vegetables ahead of time you can use any leftover meat to ad to them and you have home made soup in minutes!

The whole key to all this is whether or not the whole family can pry dad off the couch long enough in the fall to help mom get a few items put up each fall. I can imagine that most men are kicking and squirming, as he is drug off the couch mumbling some thing like "That is women's work!" Well let me tell you men out there we all eat and helping mom in the putting up only gives her more free time for other thing. But that is all I'm going to say about that as I can imagine already what some of you are already thinking.

You can also use your pressure cooker to make meals at a time when time is short. Simply throw in your fresh vegetables, frozen meat (yes frozen) and cook for about 20 minutes at 10 lb. pressure and your meal is ready. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't cook frozen meat or that meat is supposed to be thawed first . . . The only reasonyou need to thaw it i to make it easier to chew! By using thawed meat however you can also speed up your cooking process.

By using your imagination you can come up with all types of combinations to can like canned northern pike, canned kokanee in mustard sauce. Moose and caribou are also great canned as are chicken and turkey. I have canned cabbage, rhubarb, squash, carrots, beans and home made chicken noodle soup, and chile. I caution you to always follow all canning instructions whenever you can anything and recheck each can before opening to make sure it is sealed.

So there you have it a few things we can all do to help our ladies and ourselves in the kitchen and free up some time for later this winter when our rain is finally replaced by snow and more darkness. Now if you have any other questions contact my wife Dr. Taby because I hate having to get off my couch to answer questions on rainy days like we have been having here in Alaska. Have her also tell you about cooking frozen meat and what to do if your pressure cooker blows out the pressure relief valve at the top! While you're at it ask her to bring me another beer while I watch the football game here on the couch.

See you next week!

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