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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.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2015 02:34 pm (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
Jan. 27th, 2015 02:53 pm (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.
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:19 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])
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:25 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?
Jan. 27th, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC)
That looks terrifying!
Jan. 27th, 2015 02:54 pm (UTC)
Yes. I dread the day that I'm careless and drop a boiling can. Hand grenade!
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:09 pm (UTC)
I will do none of this ever, but I really enjoyed this post.
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC)
Never say never!
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:56 pm (UTC)
Well, strictly speaking, I said "ever" rather than "never". But, pedantically, and under protest, I will accept your point.
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:26 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.
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:31 pm (UTC)
Rock on, Bro!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )