Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Day of Canning

Even though Theo is completely appalled that I would spend yet another day doing something he can't help with,
I'd found red bell peppers for a great price at our locally-owned grocery store, and had been wanting to make roasted red bell pepper spread ever since I saw the recipe.   We haven't tasted it yet, but when you start with this:
how could anything be bad?

It's another one of those that you "cook until thickened," and since I never seem to get it right I cooked it for about 10 minutes longer than I was supposed to,
 partly just because it made the house smell wonderful, and
I still ended up with WAY more sauce than I was supposed to.  Is it just me, or do you really think there's any way one would get 6 pounds of roasted peppers into 5 8-ounce jars?  I got 11.

The peppers didn't take very long (in canning terms), so I decided I'd have plenty of time to make another batch of vegetable soup--especially since I was now feeling pretty confident about the pressure canner.  This time I was prepared for the overwhelming volume:
having found a massive stockpot at a restaurant supply store.  They had much larger versions,  but I decided it I was ever making anything that was too large to fit into a 26-quart stockpot, an intervention would be necessary.

Vegetable soup takes a lot of chopping, and the beans had to be soaked and precooked, and by the time I was done I felt like I'd worked all day long, but I was actually finished with this
AND had washed all the dishes by the time Andy was finished with work.  16 more jars of vegetable soup, so now we have 31 jars of this and 9 jars of chicken soup for winter.  For 3 day's work, we have 40 meals ready-to-eat, which has been the hardest part of trying to eliminate commercially processed foods from our diet.  I had lightened up enough in the last year to allow commercial soup when we were sick or really tired, but it was only until I could do something else, as the list of salts and additives--and the disappointing taste--was always a problem.  If I am still going strong on canning next week, I'm going to try a double-batch of chicken soup now that I have the big stockpot.  It's probably a REALLY good thing I didn't decide to buy the next size up...........

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