Thursday, November 18, 2010

Canning Supplies

Years ago when I first started working on my food storage I realized that canning was an important part of it. I also realized that part of being able to can if we were ever faced with a long term emergency, was to have canning supplies as part of my storage. Fortunately for me, I started a long time ago. Prices have drastically increased over the years.

I hear so many people comment that it is so much easier to just buy it than to can it. But what if you can’t just buy it? What if it isn’t available? I used to believe that would never happen, now I think it could happen in a matter of hours. I heard a trucker remark once that even a truckers strike could empty shelves in an hour or two. Not to mention what an earthquake, flood or any other natural or unnatural disaster could do.

Here are a few simple tips on how to stock up on your canning supplies – or get some if you don’t have any:
1) This is the best time of year to buy canning supplies. Especially if you can find them at a store that only carries them as a seasonal item. I recently found a 30% off sale on all canning supplies at C-A-L Store. I found good prices on lids at K-Mart. Any place that wants to make room for more seasonal items will usually discount the canning supplies to get rid of them rather than store them.
2) Make sure you have enough lids stored for the number of jars you have. It’s a good practice to buy a box or two a week when you are shopping until you have a year’s supply on hand. Buy a few extra rings too, because they get bent and rust and eventually have to be thrown away.
3) If you don’t feel that you have enough bottles to can what you’d like, decide how many more you need to bring your supply up to what you’d like. Check the second hand stores and remember yard sales are a great place to pick them up. Keep your eyes open.
4) Do you have all the canning equipment that you need to can the things you’d like such as; Water bath canner, pressure canner, jar lifters etc.? Do an inventory and make a list.
5) Also make sure you have some extra sugar, pickling salt, pickling spices etc. on hand in case those are in short supply. Pectin is not a long term storage product. Check the date on the box if you wish to store it and make sure it will be used by that date. Even if there is no emergency, it is a pain to start a canning project only to realize you don’t have enough sugar, pectin or lids to finish. And more than once I’ve gone looking for a certain spice during canning season and all the stores were out of it. Never hurts to have extra.

My sister-in-law sent me a website where you can purchase reusable canning lids. I’m including that here if you are interested and want to check it out. Thanks, Lynda!

Just for fun I’m including an awesome recipe that I want to share. As I was getting ready to can the pumpkins I bought, I wanted to find out if it was really as good as the canned stuff. I’d made these rolls last year and they were good but a little heavy. I thought I’d done something wrong so I tried again; still good but still too heavy. This year I wanted to try one more time so I tweaked the recipe a bit and cut it in half just in case, but they turned out light and delicious. Wish now I’d made the whole recipe. I’m sharing this with you if you want to try. You can use home canned pumpkin or the fresh cooked pumpkin or, if you want or you can just use Libby’s 15 oz. can. This dough was incredibly easy to work with and had a wonderful texture. And, if you don’t want to make the rolls, just make the icing. It’s to die for! Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing
2 ½ t. or 1 pkg. active dry yeast
¼ c. warm water
1 t. + ¼ c. granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs
¼ c. butter, melted
1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin (1 7/8 c. of your own pumpkin)
5 ½ c. flour
¾ t. salt
1 cube butter, very soft
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
3 t. cinnamon
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 t. cloves
½ c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
¼ t. salt
¼ c. milk or cream
1 t. vanilla
2 ½ c. powdered sugar
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl. Add 1 t. granulated sugar; let stand till foamy, about 5 minutes. Mix in remaining ¼ c. sugar, eggs, butter and pumpkin. Gradually add 5 c. flour and the salt until soft dough forms. Continue to knead 10 minutes adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth. Place dough in large greased bowl, cover and let rise till doubled. Give it plenty of time to rise. When ready, roll dough out into a rectangle. Combine all filling ingredients and spread evenly over dough. Roll up and cut into rolls. Place on greased baking sheet and allow to rise until doubled. Bake at 350ยบ for 25-30 minutes or till golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and frost while warm. For frosting: melt butter in saucepan; add brown sugar and stir till smooth. Add milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour warm icing over rolls. Let sit 5 minutes (if you can) and serve. Y: 12-16 rolls depending on size.

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