Wednesday, 8 October 2014

That Crazy Canning Curse

We have just spent an wonderful but ,busy two and a half weeks up at the farm. I took up lots of supplies  with the intention on getting in and  getting a fair bit of canning accomplished. Before we left we made the decision to dig about 3/4 of our potato plants, not wanting to risk failure with remaining crop.
We  got a lot more potatoes than we expected to. these were "Nicola" brand that we bought as seed potatoes from Bunnings.

We kept enough to eat fresh while were were at the farm and decided to can the rest of them into chunks ready for mash or potato salad, and we also did a few jars of tiny new potatoes in their skins for a trial as I hadn't processed them that way before.We soaked  the chopped potatoes in several lots of water  before canning, as I have been told that  this helps to reduce the starch release from them after processing.

Before leaving the coast I had also taken advantage of some great sales at Harris Farm Market and purchased  about 6kgs of carrots and the same of sweet potatoes.

In all we ended up with 19 pints of white potatoes,plus 14 quarts of white potatoes,19 pints of carrots and 19 pints of sweet potato. I think I cut the sweet potato too small and will make them much bigger next time as I feel personally they are a little soft after pressure canning.

We also  bought a bulk lot of turkey wings  from our local poultry processing factory outlet at $1.25 per kg  before we went to the farm and half processed them on the coast(chopping into sections,Drummy ends,mid wing pieces and tips) and freezing into zip lock bags.
The first half of the drummy ends I skinned ,boned and chopped and set about preparing other chopped vegetables,potatoes,carrots,onion,celery, along with a pint of pre canned corn kernels.

I then packed all this in layers into quart jars,(there is no required order), added herbs and garlic,salt and pepper, covered with some pre-canned turkey stock,( but other times have used water and chicken stock powder.) and pressured canned for 90 minutes at 10lbs pressure.
These become really handy ready quick meals to heat and serve in minutes,we find them great as winter lunches.
With the other half of the  turkey drummy ends we also skinned and boned and then minced the turkey meat and made  the meat sauce recipe from the Ball Blue Book substituting the chicken with the turkey.I already have many,many jars of tomatoes canned from last season so it all goes in to make a rich tasty meat sauce for quickly pouring over cooked pasta and a yummy instant meal.

Normally I would use the bones from the drummy ends to make more stock, but we had our daughter's Kelpie dog visiting and our own old blue girl, so we decided to keep them along with the wing tips as treats for them which they loved.
the next thing we did was to can the turkey mid wing pieces,

We choose to pressure can these in our Fowlers Vacola No. 31  jars as we find it is the perfect size to stand 3 larger or 4 smaller wing pieces vertically in the jar. We raw pack these, add desired flavourings, but , no extra liquid as it produces it's own liquid under pressure.
We can fit 10 of these jars per load and on the second load I only had 5 turkey jars so filled up the remaining jars with chick peas  as they require the same processing time (90 min) as the turkey, and I prefer to run the canner full if possible for better efficiency.
Our rhubarb has been flourishing so we picked another bunch, this time I decided to chop it up and roast it in the oven with sugar and a little water, instead of in a pot on the stove top as I usually do. This worked well and after about an hour it broke down and I added some natural red food colouring and canned it up
We ended up with 7 yummy  crimson pints of  sweet rhubarb. I will probably take these over to my mum when I see her next as this is a really good size for her living alone, and I already have a great supply of my own. We love this for crumbles and pies with canned apple and also with ice cream and yoghurt. I also make homemade rhubarb ice cream which is beautiful.
My final canning job for the fortnight was a spur of the moment decision to use up some  canned plums I did last year that were way over ripe and went terribly mushy.
I decided to  dump a dozen jars in a pot, then blitzed them with my stick blender and strained through muslin to extract the  most liquid I could. I deiscarded the small amount of pulp and to the liquid in the pot I added  lemon juice, 2 pints of canned orange juice, and about 4 cups of sugar the original syrup in the plums already contained sugar)
I then boiled this mix for about 30 minutes and then poured into hot pints, sealed and water bathed at boiling point for 15 minutes.

I ended up with 12 pints of lovely fruity plum flavoured cordial.  I have been enjoying this  everyday with soda water and ice, a lovely refreshing drink, but would be equally lovely as a punch base or with white wine or sparkling mineral water.
I still have another 12 bottles of plums in the pantry so I will certainly be  turning them into more cordial to use at my leisure,well worth the effort.
We had a really busy canning schedule fitting it all in between all the other activities that we managed to accomplish on this visit. I have broken it all up into areas, and will post a few more times this week detailing  all these things we did.
So until then,
Take Care everyone,


  1. Wow, I can't believe the array of goods you have canned! I am in awe of those potatoes too!

    1. Thanks Joolz,
      this canning habit, starts of slow and then it hits....and you're hooked. this is only the second time we have canned potatoes, had never even thought of it before, but they are so handy. Thanks for dropping by,