Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Click here to read Part 1 of this series.
It sure is convenient to go to the grocery store and grab canned goods off the shelf, it has become even more convenient as the food industry has devised a smorgasbord of goods to choose from: spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, salsas, beans, chili, the list goes on and on. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to cook meals from scratch, and when I say “scratch,” I mean I would buy the basic ingredients and start cooking. If it called for salsa I wasn’t planning on making my own, I’d grab a good salsa and add that to the meal (I always made my own spaghetti sauce, however).
Homestead cooking has changed my definition of cooking from scratch. My goal this last year was to move closer and closer to complete food sovereignty which included canning many of my own goods. With that in mind, I would say that any prepared homestead kitchen must include water bath and pressure canners.
Over this last year, my water bath canner has grown into a frequently used item. This time of year, it makes itself useful by simmering gallons of bone broth on our stove due to its generous size. In the summer and early fall, however, it is kept busy canning all the jams, jellies, and sauces I preserve for the coming winter months. Do not underestimate the value of this simple and inexpensive appliance.
The pressure canner/cooker is of equal significance in my kitchen. This helpful gadget greatly decreases cooking time of foods, and is especially adept at tenderizing an older duck or chicken that requires patient stewing to penetrate the tough meat. But most importantly it allows me to can both our meat and bone broth. I try to keep bone broth on hand every day — I add it to most of our recipes because its health benefits are numerous.
Additionally, low-acid foods must be canned in a pressure canner, because a water bath canner is not a substitute in this case, so please don’t make the error of thinking you can pass this utensil over. Pressure canners are also the only way I have found to effectively hard-boil fresh farm eggs that allows the peels to come off easily.
As far as which pressure canner you should purchase, if you have the available funds I would recommend considering the All-American pressure canner, because it really is the best one out there. I do, however, own a couple of less expensive brands that have done the job beautifully. I think the key to properly equipping your kitchen is to buy high quality if you can. If you can’t afford it, then just get what you can afford and save up for your dream appliance. Don’t let cost stop you from being able to become more prepared!
In my next segment, I’ll introduce you to another one of my most-used appliances and this one doesn’t require electricity. Until then, happy homesteading!
Sean and Monica Mitzel homestead with their family on 40 acres and are using permaculture techniques and strategies for the property. The property will eventually become a demonstration and education site where they raise dairy goats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and ducks. The Mitzels have planted more then 50 productive trees and enjoy wildcrafting, propagating mushrooms, and raising and training livestock guardian dogs. Listen to The Courageous Life Podcastand read all their MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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