Angi Schneider

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since Jan 12, 2022
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Gardener, food preserver, author of Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond and The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables.
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Texas Gulf Coast
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Recent posts by Angi Schneider

Thanks so much Dave! I'm along the Gulf Coast of Texas, so I know what you mean about the blueberries needing but not liking the FL full sun. For the freeze I have plans of making a make-shift green house around the orchard. I've planted my citrus in two offset rows to facilitate that. My boys will come over and help set it up and take it down but I'll need to be able to manage it by removing and replacing the covering as needed throughout the season. They have their own families to worry about and I don't want to have to ask them to come help every time it freezes. We'll see how my plan actually works
10 months ago
Thank you Anne!
10 months ago
A few years ago we lost all our mature citrus trees to a freak freeze. This spring I replanted the orchard and want to plant some companion plants with them. However, I'm finding that there's not much information about planting citrus tree guilds. Any ideas on what plants would be good to plant around them? Thanks!
10 months ago

Philip McGarvey wrote:I've pressure canned on a wood stove once and it worked fine - in an outdoor kitchen.  I also sometimes use the rocket stove to bring the canner up to pressure before moving it to a propane stove for the 90 minutes at a constant temp - since if I'm canning I want the rocket stove heating water the whole time anyway.

One question I have.  What are the consequences of having too much heat going into the pressure canner?  I get that the jiggler will jiggle constantly, and that's annoying, but is it going to mess with the jars or the food at all or damage anything?  I suppose it's a matter of degree (pun intended!), but for any normal wood stove temps, do I really have to worry about not letting it get too hot?  

I'd love to only have to be monitoring whether the temp inside the canner is getting below 240.

The main consequences would be that with the higher the pressure, the more likely it is that the liquid will leak out of the jars (siphon off). The food can also get overcooked and discolored; if you're canning sweet corn it can caramelize and turn brown. The "jiggler" will help keep it at pressure by releasing air, but it is possible to have the heat too high and the jiggler won't be able to keep up. That means that the temperature can get much higher than 240F. That being said, from a safety standpoint, it is safe for the canner to be a little over pressure.
1 year ago
So the "official" answer from the USDA is that pressure canning should not be done on wood stoves because the heat is unstable and hard to regulate. I've never pressure canned on wood so what I'm going to say is not from experience. That being said, if we were in a situation where we had no electricity or access to propane, and we needed to can meat for survival I would absolutely pressure can on a wood stove. To me it's like a "If I'm dying in the wilderness, I'll absolutely eat insects" scenario.

The process for pressure canning is the same regardless of the heat source. So managing the heat is really the only variable. You need the heat high enough to get the canner up to pressure but not so high that it causes too much pressure to build up. Pressure canner manufactures recommended that heat sources not be over 12000btu. If too much pressure builds, modern pressure canners have a quick release valve that will open and steam will pour out. They no longer "explode".

You'll have to watch the canner and fire closely. By the way, it's fine if the canner is a little over pressure but it's not fine if it goes under pressure. If you're using a dial gauge pressure canner at sea level and you're supposed to can something at 11psi and the canner goes up to 13psi, it's fine. But if it goes below 11psi, you'll need to bring it back to 11psi and start the timing over. So you'll want to err on the high side.

You would have to move the canner off and on the heat to regulate it. Under "normal" circumstances, this is would be too much work for me.

I would assume that if the wood stove was slow, for whatever reason, the canner would eventually get to pressure, but the food would be cooking for all that extra time. I would think it would be better to try to speed up the heat than wait hours for the canner to reach pressure.  

A full canner can be moved, so removing it from the heat source is fine, it's just heavy. What you don't want to do is try to cool it faster by putting cold water on it or putting it in a drastically colder environment; doing this can damage the canner.

One thing to note about pressure canning during the summer is that a pressure canner doesn't heat up the house as much as a water bath canning does because the steam is mostly contained within the pressure canner. I live along the Texas Gulf Coast and do most of my canning in the summer because we have a much earlier gardening season than most areas. We've not found it to heat the house up much; although we do have a/c and I know many who live in different climates do not. If I lived in a different climate, I might consider canning in an outdoor kitchen.

If you want to practice your skill of pressure canning on a wood stove, I would start with higher acid foods - like tomatoes that have the extra acid added to them or fruit (many fruits have pressure canning times). With a high acid food you don't have to worry about botulism and the times will be much shorter than when you can meat or legumes.

This is a fun discussion, so much of what we decide to do will be based on our individual circumstances. We just need to be sure that we're using the pressure canner correctly with whatever heat source we choose.
1 year ago
Congratulations to all the winners. And thank y'all so much for having me this week. It's been so fun! I'm sure I'll be lurking around the forums in the future, y'all are a wonderful group to hang out with.

2 years ago

Judy Albert wrote:My neighbor was very kind to spend the day teaching me the technics of canning meat. We bought a very inexpensive roast, and started our adventure. After careful note taking and lots of questions the pressure cooker was a rocking. That evening our families shared the results of our efforts.  Let me tell you without doubt our dinner was spectacular and everything learned was most beneficial. Thank you very much to my neighbor, best friend and daughter Nicole.  

What a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing!
2 years ago

Marita Farmer wrote:I have a huge pressure canner (like the one in the picture) but I'm scared of the darned thing!  So I dehydrate.  I freeze dry.  But every time I walk by that canner, it taunts me. It's an unrealized goal.  A fear that has not been conquered.  And ones in the know, don't have time to teach me.  I hope with more study of this forum and this book, I can succeed.  
Marita Farmer
Courage is fear that has first said it's prayers.

I was terrified the first time I used our pressure canner...ok, the first several I paced the kitchen floor, clenched and obsessively read and reread the instructions that came with it. Like you, I didn't have anyone who could teach me. Over time, the fear left. The only way to get over the fear is to just start. Start with canning water if that makes you feel better. This way you can practice the whole process without the extra pressure of possibly ruining good food. I can tell you that there is zero risk if you just follow the directions step by step. I'm rooting for you!!
2 years ago
For our family, the favorite ready to eat meals are chili con carne and beef vegetables stew. You just have to heat them up and eat. I also like the flexibility of canned chicken vegetable soup - I can serve it over rice or noodles, add dumplings to it for chicken and dumplings, thicken it and use it as chicken pot pie filling, or thicken it and add a little cream and green chilis for a creamy chicken chili.

I think for ready to eat meals, soups are the best choice. You can also do something like pot roast with veggies in a jar but that tends to be a more expensive meal than the ones listed above.

My book has all of these recipes in it. You can also find recipes on the National Center for Home Food Preservation and Ball Canning websites.
2 years ago

Matthew Nistico wrote:

One question...  You said that first it must be strained.  Why?  Is this important, or just preference?

All the solids need to be strained or you'll need to process according to the solids - so if you have beef broth with pieces of meat, it needs to be processed for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts instead of just 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.
2 years ago