Grocery shopping is NOT my most favourite chore. Not sure why; but perhaps because I think—as I do when sitting down to watch a movie—“There must be better ways I could be spending this time.” Actually, the thing I dislike the most is filling my cart with tin cans, packing them home, and ultimately hauling them out again, to the recycling depot. Then back to the grocery store for more tin cans . . .
So, a couple years ago, I purchased a pressure canner.
Now, I’ve canned food for as long as I can remember—something about preserving my own garden produce and lining pantry shelves with the fruits of my labour gives me extreme pleasure. Jellies, jams, fruit and fruit juices, applesauce, pickles, and relish were standard items, some requiring a 10-15 minute hot-water bath; but I even put up carrots and green beans this way (freezing carrots or beans should be considered a felony!) by adding a teaspoon of vinegar to each pint jar and processing for 3 hours. Crazy! And the job was accomplished on a camp stove in the great outdoors, to eliminate excess humidity in the kitchen. This method produced 7 pints/3 hours. I was absolutely certain there were better ways to spend that time!
But now, with my pressure canner, I can process twice that many pints in half the time. AND I can use my kitchen stove, since pressure canning doesn’t produce the steam of a 3-hour hot-water bath.
This discovery has opened up a world of possibilities for me, and food items I wouldn’t have tried with the old method, for fear of spoilage, are common place here now: chick peas, black beans, chili beans, lentils, split peas, even soups and stews. I keep my new canner in the kitchen now and, when I run out of something, quickly put up another batch :)
There are so many good sites on the web, created by people who have been pressure canning a lot longer than I have; so I happily point you in their direction and hope that my little rant here has been inspirational, at least.