I apprehensively accepted the offer, and Miss Effie brought me the canner... thankfully, complete with the instructions. Mind you, I too have those horror stories floating around in the back of my mind, and I was wondering if this was really a good idea. I diligently (nervously) read the instructions...12 times...okay 30 times, and finally thought to myself, how hard could this be? I gathered my supplies, read the instructions again, and began the process. I started feeling more confident as things started coming together. Jars washed (check), beans washed, snapped, and loaded in jars (check), boiling water and salt added (check), lids sealed (check), canner filled with the appropriate amount of water (check), canner filled with the appropriate amount of water (I had to check again, sorry), canner cover on and sealed properly (check). Now all I had to do was turn the heat on, and wait for the little thingy at the top to jiggle (oh, yes, it was set to the correct amount of pounds of pressure, I checked). Pretty soon said thingy started to jiggle, so okay, now I have to turn the heat down a little. I am still a bit nervous at this point, so I am reaching across the stove, trying to reach the dial with my arm stretched out as far as it could possibly be and still be attached to my body, cautiously keeping the eye closest to the stove squinted closed... 'cause, oh, yeah, if that puppy blows it is going to help a lot if my eye is closed. I finally made purposeful contact with the control and was able to adjust the heat to the recommended number of jiggles per minute. Success! Processed for the required 20 minutes, waited for the pressure to go down and the sputtering to stop, wondering what would I find when I opened that contraption.
What? Did you think I was going to screw it up??
So now, oh, yeah, I've got this. I am canning everything I can get my hands on. I have become a 'produce hussy', trying to see what I can trade at the farmers' market for produce. "Please, just one more bushel of peaches? I'll give you some homemade salted nut rolls? Cookies? How about some yarn?". It's really sad. Sure, I could just buy some produce, but where is the glory in that? I am all about the barter system. There is some kind of thrill in knowing that you got a fabulous deal on something and were able to preserve it for all eternity...or at least through the winter. Then I have the added bonus of having a titillating tale of veggie procurement to tell every time we open a jar for supper.
Here is one experiment that I am not so sure about.
Sun Pickles. I was at the neighbor's house the other day (NOT Miss Effie's), and they wanted to show me how to make Sun Pickles. I thought, sure, why not? They had some made already and offered me one, they were pretty tasty. Basically, you throw a bunch of vinegar in a big jar with a bunch of cucumbers, salt, dill and stuff, then you add a piece of rye bread, what? Rye bread? That's where they lost me too. Anyway, we did mix up a batch, and I brought it home...did I mention that I now had to put this concoction in the sun for 5 days?? This is what it looked like after 5 days. Some kind of horrific science experiment gone bad. I guess that's what it is supposed to do......I did get to remove the bread after I took it out of the sun...it didn't help much....I dunno.... I hope we don't get botulism from my new obsession. Thanks Miss Effie.