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They Never Died We Only Lost Their Number

Another CSA skill: Preserving food indefinitely without refrigeration. At this time, there's lots of root vegetables. In particular, I've got nearly a bushel of beets, lots of onions, carrots, and some turnips. Garlic and dried herbs to spare. I also have a large quantity of mutton shoulder cut into stewing pieces. So... Muttony pseudo-borscht it is! Begin:

[Mandatory warning: pressure canning is dangerous and potentially deadly if you don't know what you're doing. Educate yourself thoroughly before trying at home. You have been warned.]

1. Taking 3Kg of the mutton out of the freezer for browning @ 350˚F for 1/2 hour (to break it up) and 450˚F for 15 mins. to brown it.

2. Meanwhile, peel all those damn root veg.

3. 1/2 the Onion & all the garlic in butter until translucent.

4. Add stock and a few handfuls of cooked rice for thickening, and blend until smooth.

5. Add more stock and all the veg, chopped, including a chopped head of cabbage for leafy stuff.

6. The meat is browned. Toss it in and cook for 1/2 hour.

7. It's soup, but much of the veg is still a little crunchy. Since we're canning, this is a good place to stop.

8. Putting the hot soup in canning jars and loading up the pressure-canner.

9. This one takes two layers of litre cans, stacked on an aluminum brace between the layers.

10. After 45 minutes @ 10lbs of pressure (235˚F—high enough to kill botulin bacteria), cooldown and pressure down to sea level, the cans are still boiling inside their vaccuum.

11. Even 1/2 hour later, the low-pressure soup continues to boil. Leave it overnight, then another day to make sure the seals are secure. Then wash the cans, dry completely, and store.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Jan. 27th, 2015 11:34 am (UTC)
I am *very* impressed. Botulism is one of the things I'm super paranoid about, and so serious canning (i.e, anything other than jelly making, really... well, for a while I made pickles, too, but...) I've steered away from.

Very freaky to see your soup boiling away in the cans O_o
barry_king
Jan. 27th, 2015 11:53 am (UTC)
To be accurate, the USDA made a concerted effort to steer people away from home canning in the 50s in order to encourage farmers to can their produce and send it to market, so their guidelines are a little extreme. Still, abundance of caution is a good thing, especially since people tend to get lax with familiarity.

The canner I use nowadays is the serious deal, with clamp-on lid, pressure gauge, and heavy aluminum casing. When I used a more primitive one, I had a couple of broken seals, but no dangerous spoilage. This one, however, never fails, and we've been living off canned soups and stews for six winters now.
asakiyume
Jan. 27th, 2015 12:19 pm (UTC)
we've been living off canned soups and stews for six winters now

うらやましい!("I'm envious"<--but in the friendly, admiring sense, not the bitter, destructive sense [i.e., the word is a friendly one, not a negative one])
barry_king
Jan. 27th, 2015 12:25 pm (UTC)
I think I understand the spirit of the word, but I'd be a fool to say I understand the cultural context. Life is complicated, is it not?
j_cheney
Jan. 27th, 2015 11:44 am (UTC)
That looks terrifying!
barry_king
Jan. 27th, 2015 11:54 am (UTC)
Yes. I dread the day that I'm careless and drop a boiling can. Hand grenade!
peadarog
Jan. 27th, 2015 12:09 pm (UTC)
I will do none of this ever, but I really enjoyed this post.
barry_king
Jan. 27th, 2015 12:30 pm (UTC)
Never say never!
peadarog
Jan. 27th, 2015 12:56 pm (UTC)
Well, strictly speaking, I said "ever" rather than "never". But, pedantically, and under protest, I will accept your point.
robby
Jan. 27th, 2015 12:26 pm (UTC)
I'm a high-production vegetable gardener, and can lots of fruits and vegetables every year, but I've never done a complete meal, like your mutton borsch. I've never had anything go bad.
barry_king
Jan. 27th, 2015 12:31 pm (UTC)
Rock on, Bro!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )