Oct 20, 2014

Canning Day not Cleaning Day

Monday is supposed to be the "big" cleaning day around here, but I had some canning I needed to do, so Cleaning Day this week will be Thursday. This works well  because we have company arriving on Sunday and the house will stay nice and clean for just those few days between Thursday and Sunday. How's that for logic? LOL  Jeff did go ahead and do the "big cleaning" upstairs today because we had company last week and the guest room needed clean sheets and to be vac'd, the guest bathroom needed scrubbing. So that's all done and he'll just have to do a light re-cleaning on Thursday.

Got up this morning before the alarm went off at 7:30. Love that. Hate alarms. (They alarm me!) Had lots of energy and got up, dressed and got going right away. Of course, I do my Daily Chores first. I had dishes to put away and a couple of tea cups from last night to put in the dishwasher. I wiped down the counters and stove top, cleaned the sink and threw a load of kitchen linens (cloth napkins, kitchen utility towels, table cloth, dish cloths) into the washing machine and got it going. Then I swept the kitchen floor, straightened up the family room and was done.

I have a thing about canning and sanitation. A bit of a fanatic that everything is extra clean before I start food prep for canning. So I wiped down all the counters, my work table, and the sink with a bit of household bleach. You can't be too careful.

I store all my jars in the basement, so went down and got three boxes of jars - 1 of quart size and 2 of pints. UNfortunately, I should have done that last night because they were new jars and needed to be washed in the dishwasher. While I was waiting for jars I got the pressure canner out, all my utensils ready, pulled the appropriate jar lids and rings, got last night's soup heated up, got the two roasts cut into 1.5 to 2 inch chunks and popped half in a dutch oven and put it in the oven (for shredded beef), and put the other half in a pan of seasoned water (for plain beef chunks).

I spent the day canning. I was disappointed that I'd figured quantities wrong, and my final tally was only 8 quarts of Beef Vegetable Soup, 6 quarts and 6 pints of beef chunks in broth, 3 pints of shredded beef in BBQ sauce, 4 pints of  Mexican-seasoned shredded beef (for tacos and burritos), and 4 pints of broth. I still can't figure out where I went wrong in my calculations, so I'll have to figure that out for the future. From my 20 lbs of beef purchased at $2 a pound, we will get 34 meals (pint jars of shredded beef are good for two meals for us) plus the beef broth, plus the soup we ate last night, plus a container of soup in the fridge for tomorrow night. 36+ meals. Good, but not great.

The one thing about canning is you spend a  lot of time waiting. Waiting for jars to wash, waiting for the canner to come to boil, waiting 10 minutes while the canner vents, and then meat products, depending on the size of the jar, take 75 to 90 minutes in the canner and you have to be attentive to the canner during that time. Then you have to wait 15-30 minutes for the pressure to come down, 10 minutes for the jars to cool in the canner before taking them out... and then repeat it all over again for the next batch.

Today while I was waiting, I finished the load of laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away!), wrote a blog post, cruised FaceBook several times, printed out some medical forms I need, caught up on my Amazon reviews, read some of a book I need to review, re-organized the contents of the refrigerator (am I the only person that likes the contents of the fridge to be organized?! No one else seems to get my "like with like" theory when it comes to the refrigerator!), and played a game on my Kindle. Oh, and watched a taped episode of Project Runway while putting my feet up and having a cup of coffee this afternoon.

The canner is still huffing and puffing as I write this, but it's the last batch and will be done shortly. I've got all the canning stuff washed and put away, jars not used put back in the basement, counters wiped down (again with bleach - it was meat!) and the kitchen straightened up -- just in time to cook an easy dinner (scrambled eggs, bacon and toast for Jeff - leftover soup for me).

1 comment:

Karen said...

I love all the posts you've been writing! It does make me want to be more organized. I like your idea of cooking double what you need and freezing half...I have to start doing that.