Preparedness  (2011)  by Mary

In a previous entry, I mentioned about the guys always buying tools, and how "tool" has become a four letter word to Nancy and me! Well, we finally had a monthly credit card bill that didn't have farm items on it, so, I thought I should have a turn. First of all, I don't like to shop or spend money, plus I often don't like to make decisions. Nevertheless, I forced myself to do the research and then shopped for a dehydrator and a pressure canner. Freezing is the way to go, but it is also good to have options.  

Dehydrator: I haven't done much with the dehydrator, as yet, but did make fruit roll-ups using rhubarb. Nancy kept the rhubarb watered through the summer heat, and it was still good to harvest. The Excalibur is an excellent dehydrator, and I hope to someday be able to use it for fruit, herbs, and various vegetables to toss in soup.   

Pressure canner: I used to help my mother can, many years ago, but you can be sure that I didn't have any of the responsibility. Although I like to learn new things, canning wasn't exactly at the top of the list of fun things to try. I was determined, so I read the directions about three or four times, and decided it wasn't so scary after all.

I thought maybe the canner could be used for green beans since Larry and I eat a whole can of Del Monte Blue Lake at one meal, and twice a week. When we first started gardening at our city home three summers ago, I had a nice crop of both bush and pole beans all summer. We loved them cooked fresh, but found we didn't care so much for them after they were frozen. Remembering the tasty home grown canned green beans we were raised on, Larry and I were willing to give it a try.

This Presto is a small canner that is easy for me to handle and not too heavy for a glass top stove. It will hold 24 half pints, 10 pints, or 7 quarts.

I heard the "pop" of the jars sealing already as I took them out of the canner! But, only six. I tapped them lightly with my finger nail, and sure enough, there were six light "pings" and one dull "pong." I waited, but it never did seal, so I put it in the refrigerator to be eaten soon.  

Picture:nine drawer Excalibur food dehydrator.

Things learned:

1. Canning is more time consuming, but there is no need to be afraid to do it.

2. When using the dehydrator, a smart person would plan ahead so she wouldn't need to get up twice in the night to see if the food had finished drying!

Note: Todd and Nancy have since started canning, and Nancy says it is time consuming, but fun!

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