Canning and Preserving

Canning and Preserving

Rhonda Jean over at Down to Earth has invited us to another of her “The Biggest Kitchen Table”. I just love this idea. It’s exactly what women do when they have a bit of extra time, stop in to see friends and yes around here it’s usually at the kitchen table.

Here I would say 99% of visiting friends happens right here at the table with coffee and fresh made bread or desserts. If it’s just women the conversation always starts with a catch up on everyone’s family what they have been doing, talk about the animals, then the garden, maybe sewing but conversation ALWAYS turns to caring for our families and canning and preserving is part of that.

I used to can alot but several years ago we decided not to grow a garden and purchase/swap all our produce. While this keeps us in fresh veggies while it’s in season, I never gathered the amounts needed to preserve any of it. This sent me to the grocery store to purchase canned/frozen veggies while on sale and stock them in my pantry.

We also don’t have any fruit trees here, they are on our list of things to do but it just hasn’t happened yet. I was thinking wow we have been here 6 years now and there is still so much to do. Building a homestead from scratch truly does take a life time of work.

This is the year I am growing a garden again and preserve my own veggies. With the prices at the grocery and farmers markets and the quality of food these days from the grocery stores, I would rather grow my own and know the food I am feeding my family is fresh, safe and cost efficient. And I do miss some of the recipes like my own salsa, piccalilli, relish and apple butter. Last summer it was the tomatoes we were afraid to eat, then the lettuce and now peanut butter.

I’m not sure I can tell you any thing new about canning, I do mine the same way everyone else does. But I would like to share some of my recipes with you. I would also say use a recipe and processing directions you know and trust. There are many on the internet and I some times question the processing times on some of the bigger recipe sites. I do however trust a recipe I pull from any number of my favorite blogs.

Bread & Butter Pickles

In a large bowl add:
18 sliced cucumbers, all sliced the same thickness about the width of your knife and 1/2 cup salt, toss well and soal overnight. In morning drain and rinse well.
slice about 3 onions, more if you want

In a large pot add:
5 cups sugar ( for “sugar free” use 1 1/2 cup Splenda)
5 cups white vinegar
1 tsp. tumeric
1 Tbl. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. whole cloves

Boil together for 5-10 minutes, then add cukes and sliced onion. Boil 5-6 minutes for crisp pickles. stir frequently.
Put into hot sterile jars leaving 1/2″ head space seal the same way you would jelly. Process in hot wate bath for 10 minutes.

Mock Raspberry Jam

5 cups blended green tomatoes, use a food processor or blender
5 cups sugar
6 oz. box raspberry jello, don’t add the water.

Wash and core tomatoes. Grind in blender or food processor. Drain thoroughly. In a large sauce pot combine tomatoes with sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat and boil rapidly, stirring frequently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add Jell-o and stir until dissolved. Pour into hot sterile glass jars and seal.
This really does taste like the real thing, seeds and all. Or pour into freezer safe containers and freeze leaving a generous 1″ head space.


I sterilize my jars by running them through the dishwasher and holding them there hot until I am ready for them. I take out 8-10 at a time.

The USDA is now advising jams and jellies to be water bath processed. I wasn’t taught this way and have never done so. But use your own best judgement.

I took some time earlier this winter to rewrite and organize the recipes I plan on using this coming season. I put them all into my 3 ring binder. Another great idea my friend did was to laminate her’s so when she used them by the stove she could wipe them off good as new. This idea isn’t for me I don’t like the plastic and I know they will be spilled on the very reason I rewrote them and saved my original in the recipe box.

I would like to talk about jars for a bit. I have noticed here in the US, every time I turn around the USDA has changed their recommendations again, some items that were ok for water bath they are now saying to pressure can. They are  sticking to their advise to use new seals and jars and don’t seem to have much good to say about any foreign made jars.

I have been looking at the Wreck jars and think they will work just fine. Home makers have been happily using them for a long time.In fact although a bit pricey I plan on purchasing some for my own use. I also have been looking at the working glass jars, (there is a sale on them at this site right now) they have a rubber seal to use once you open the jar for storage. I can’t seem to figure out how they are using them for canning and long term storage. Seems at some point there was some sort of sealing cover? Does any one know or use them?
I have always used the ball wire bale jars with rubber rings, even though the USFDA says they are not safe to use any longer. I think it’s because the manufactures decided they needed to boost their profits and convinced the USFDA the new screw ring was the way to go of the future. Even thought the new metal lids of Ball & Kerr have Bisphenol A in them.  That’s my personal opinion, but what do I know.

Does our USFDA know more than say France compared to their canning practice and advise? I don’t think so, in fact I don’t trust much of what they do have to say these days, this agency was designed to safeguard our food here in the US. Well most of the time when I pick a product off the shelf my mind thinks is this really safe to be eating, is it full of salmonella, or genetically altered ingredients?

 I see blogs from outside the US reusing lids with no problem. I personally don’t see any problem with this as long as you check the seal is right and the jar has indeed sealed well before storing it away.

 I can tell you from my own experience as a child and even doing my own canning, and helping my neighbors do their canning, We have and do reuse jars and lids. Spaghetti sauce and mayo jars back when they were glass worked very well for me.  I have never had a problem and I think in 20+ years I have had a single jar of jam not seal reusing a seal, and this was my own fault, i only quickly checked the rim of the jar for any nicks, and sure enough this one had the smallest of a nick right in the top edge. I would like to say that I only reuse the jar lids twice (that’s 3 times total 1st by the company who manufactured the food in the jar and 2 more times by me.) Then the jars are retired to store food items not canned or other items.. Like dried beans, rice, sewing supplies, what ever.

My thought about retiring the jar is that in today’s manufacturing they are designed for single use, the glass is thinner, the metal caps are thinner and the rubber coating that seals the lids to the jars is also getting thinner all the time.

At some point my fears will out weigh the cost savings on reusing these new jars and, I won’t be able to find them. More and more products are being packaged in plastic now. I will seak out replacements in the way of the old bail top jars. A good source around here is yard sales, craigs list, freecycle and our recycling center.  Also there won’t be all that many new jars coming into the house unless my friends save them for me, but they too aren’t buying food from the grocery in jars. They are canning their own, or buying cans.

When I first started water bath canning I didn’t have a fancy canner. I simply used the largest pot I had and placed a round cake rack on the bottom to keep my jars off the bottom of the pot so they wouldn’t bang and break. I bet you could use a kitchen towel and have it work just as well. Make sure the water covers your jars be at least 1″.

Today I do have a nice water bath canner, in fact I have 2 with the racks inside to hold the jars, sitting down cellar just waiting for the seasons to change for their chance to be used.

You really know your life is simple when you look forward to again hearing the familiar sound of bubbling water in the canner. All this thinking and talking about canning sure is a tease and sets in the cabin fever even more. It isn’t even time yet to start the seeds for the garden yet to grow….while others are gearing up for the harvest time I sit her looking out the window at many more months of snow….and think it’s great it reached 36f today and didn’t snow. 🙂

It’s going to be great seeing all the other new recipes that will be posted and maybe even pick up a few new tips along the way, there will be new folks at the table with great knowledge…


Posted on March 1, 2009, in Food Storage, Home Cooking Recipes. Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Mitchell Webster

    I am so glad I came across your blog on a google alert on Home Canning. You know I have been canning for decades now, I will be amazed if our government does not turn everyone off of home canning in the USA.
    They would have you think that if you don’t see an approved recipe that the government has approved you shall surely die!!
    Common Sense and a little research will help you decide in general what is safe and what is not.
    I live in a densely populated Old Order Mennonite Community, and they can each year not in the hundreds of jars but in the thousands of quarts per year. I know some homes that have 4 gas stoves and 8 pressure canners going all summer long and into the winter when they butcher meats and can them.
    This year I canned about 30 qts of Pepper Steak. Canning is a year round process for me, kind of like going shopping. You just do it.
    As far as the jars go, price wise I have to use Ball, however there is a site called canning, they are based in France, however the man that runs the site is from the US, they use French Jars on their videos, and he has told me these jars are the most requested from US viewers, however the company does not have plans on marketing in our country. I can tell you why, the quart jars are totally straight sided like Ball wide mouth pints, there are no shoullders so when you have packed meats in the jars the contents just slide right out. Also from a washing standpoint you can hand wash perfectly every time.
    I just hope that people new to canning will use common sense and use some of their own recipes and experiment.
    I have been searching blogs for a long time to find recipes that I have not thought of before to try.
    Thank you so much for your blog and I will be adding it to my RSS feed to my google homepage.
    Mitchell Webster

  2. Mitchell Webster

    I just thought that I might add that your RSS feed button is not working, it just takes you to a blank page.

    I have bookmarked your site and hope that next time I come back that I am able to put your blog on my igoogle homepage.

    Just thought you might like to know.


  3. lizzylanefarm

    Hi Mitchell,

    I hear what you are saying, canning is a tradition and is safe when using trusted recipes. I think alot of the caution is that in today’s world most folks don’t have much common sense and are lazy..and find it easier to rely on others to do the thinking and work for them.

    Oh I envy you, I would just love to have access to such a wealth of knowledge as you do in your community. Every time I go to PA I look for recipe books and all the information I can find. The old church and library book sales are perfect. The Picillili recipe is an old Amish recipe from a cook book printed around 1900. It is deliciouse and I look forward to making it every year, perfect with our traditional baked beans and hot dogs.

    I have seen some of the kitchens and what a treasure, wouldn’t I just love to spend some time in one baking and canning….

    I will stop by the canning USA site and have a look around, I bookmarked it a while back and forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me.

    Care to share any of your recipes?

    Have a great day.

  4. Mitchell Webster

    Hi Karyn,

    It was so nice to see your reply, I live in western Virginia, Dayton/Bridgewater, VA area, this is where the concentration of 3,000 Old Order Mennonites are, I was actually an Old Order until the age of 24, when I left the church to get a car.

    This area is near Harrisonburg,VA (home of James Madison University) which is approx 1 hour west of Charlottesville VA
    Home of Thomas Jefferson, and the Univ. of VA.
    To give you a better idea of where I am located at.

    I would like to share some recipes with you, however I will do that as time goes bye, I am a Basket Weaver and a Chair Caner and have work in my studio to get out today.
    I am a member of the Artisans Center of Virginia and a basket weaver for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg VA.
    I have been weaving and caning now for 20 years.

    You know I had mentioned canning Pepper Steak, which we love, and when we would make it, you know how country cooks are nothing you make is small!!!! So then you eat at it til you get tired of it. !!! So one day I thought, why don’t I just can it and then we can open what we want and eat it when we want it, I know it is not an approved recipe and I will surely die!!!

    However, I will tell you that I am a died in the wool Pressure Canner user!!! We have not used a water bath for decades!!!
    Everyting that we can, is canned in a pressure canner. Yes, even fruits!!!
    Just think Karyn, it takes about 30+ minutes to heat the waterbath to boiling, add the jars and it takes another good 20 minutes to get it to come to boil, then what 30 minutes to process, so a total of about 1 hour 20 minutes for 7 qts.

    For fruits, depending on what they are soft or hard fruits. ie apples/peaches, We raw pack the fruits (mostly) then have the water heating in the pressure canner, fill jars and place in the canner, cover and vent for 10 minutes, place weight on, process at 5 lbs for 5-15 minutes, turn off. in the time it would take in the water bath, we have canned 14 to 21 qts.

    How ever it is not fair for me to say that as we use the All American Pressure canner and our model does 14 qts at a time, 4 1/2 gallons, or 22 pints.

    I can highly recommend the All American Pressure Canners, they cost more but are some much better, no rubber gaskets, and they like the Mirro’s are weighted canners. metal to metal seals.


  5. Mitchell Webster

    Karyn, your RSS feed button worked this time, you are on my igoogle homepage now.


  6. Mitchell Webster


    I just read your post on the Mock Raspberry jam, and I will look up and post the recipe for what the Mennonites here make
    Mock Apricot jelly. which is so similar to your recipe (no green tomatoes)
    When you can peaches, you save the peelings, you boil them slightly, and strain the liquid, then you add sugar and apricot jello perhaps some pectin, and nowadays, we add some pureed peaches to it. As when this was first made it was from the time when you peeled the peaches so the skins had some peach with it. for added flavor, I know when we have made it, we take the peach pits with the occassional stubborn peach that would not come off the pit and cook all that together with the peelings, believe me you cannot tell that you did not use any apricots in the recipe.


  7. Mitchell,
    Doesn’t that sound yum-yummy! I love apricots and around here they are quite expensive. I have taken trip to PA just to bring home peaches, and a trip to see my step-Mum in Georgia would be a good reason to bring home peaches too.
    I wrote this down, thanks for sharing it.


  8. Mitchell,
    Oh how wonderful, my step daughter lives in VA, Winchester, such beautiful country and so may horses! We are headed there the first of April and explore the Williamsburg area. Basket weaving is a wonderful art wish we had someone around her that knew what they were doing. My only experience is with the Longaberger, I know they have their weaving down to a production line and not really the same. But I love them just the same.

    I have never thought about the water bath and you are right, I actually set the pot out side on the cook stove in the summer so It doesn’t heat up the house, the pressure canner would be much faster. Thanks for the advise to use the All Aerican. I have been looking at them and couldn’t decide what I wanted. I have seen them used with the Weck jars, with the jars actually stacked on top of each other.

    I have mostly the old bail top ball quart and pint jars, but sure would love some others to try.
    Thanks for sharing all of you knowledge, I love to hear how everyone does things, one way you were tought isn’t always the easiest is it.


  9. Mitchell Webster

    My Goodness Karyn,

    Wow,, Winchester, that is only 1 hour from me on interstate 81, and from her to Williamsburg down I-64 is only 2-3 hours, depending if you drive normal (me) or at star trek like warp 10 speeds (like my friend Betty in Williamsburg) she gets here in 2 hours. (amazing some people never get caught) not me, I they would be down on me like a hive of killer bees (the police that is)

    It would be so nice if you and your family could stop at my studio on your way to Williamsburg, also you would really enjoy Dayton, just a mile and half from my place, they have a buggy shop (yes where they actually make buggies) a harness shop, the Dayton Farmers Market (open year round many shops run by Mennonites, an Patchwork Plus (use to be run by Mennonites, however they are quilt and fabric shop, a furniture store (Mennonite run)
    You know if you came down in the summer for peaches, the old orders here sell them for around 10-15.00 per bushel, same for apples in the fall, and they are always number one grade apples.
    While over near Charlottesville they sell apples for around 50-70.00 bushel (lots of wealthy people over there, and they take advantage of them too.
    Wish you all could stop by on your way


  10. Hi Karyn, felt like I was ‘eavesdropping’, but what fun to listen in to you and Mitchell having your lovely chat about canning, and buying peaches, and finding things in common. Hi Mitchell, I’m Karyn’s partner in a hot pad and tea towel swap…I live in Australia.

    Is Dayton in Ohio?……it sounds a bit familiar. My knowledge of US geography’s a bit scant, but my daughter lives in Akron, and I’ll be visiting in May this year….very excited! I was interested to hear too about your basket weaving, I’ve just put my name down to do a course here.

    Canning seems like a whole world away, I’ve made jam in the past, but just a few jars here and there. Where I live, in the sub tropics, there’s such an abundance and variety of foods year round, either that I grow myself, or grown locally, that there’s not much need to have a supply on hand for a long cold winter. I have only a small garden at the moment, so not much of an oversupply to can….it’s something I’d like to do though.

    It was so nice to sit at your kitchen table, Karyn, and have a yarn…….

  11. lizzylanefarm

    Well Hello Nanette,
    Come on in and take you coat and boots off, let me move over a bit, there is plenty of room for you here too…Glad you are going to visit you daughter, I’m sure you will have a great time, the weather will be warming up in May, spring is such a beautiful time of year. Yes there is a Dayton is in Ohio but I’m not sure how close to Akron it is. The Dayton Mitchell was talking about is in Virginia.

    It sure sounds like you have a lovely garden and I’m sure it’s nice to have things growing year round. We have about 100 growing days here, from Memorial Day to around the last of September. So canning is very important unless you head to the grocery and produce is brought in by truck and a bit on the pricy side and not all that good quality.

    I was in Ohio just a few years ago, my sister and I took a trip to Dresdon to the Longaberger factory and had a look around. It was fun! When we were kids we would drive through Ohio to get to Indiana where my Dad was living at the time. There is also a large settlement of Amish in Holmes county and I would love to stop there and buy a new set of harnesses for my horses. Their harnessess are simply the best, well made, and working harness you can find any where. We had talked about going this year but decided on PA instead, harnessess there too…

    How is your sewing going? I have the materials I need and decided on what I want to do, so it’s a good start.

    Glad to hear from you!


  12. lizzylanefarm

    Hi Mitchell,
    You are right Williamsberg is close by, a harness shop? a buggy shop? (sounded like you said chocolate to me 🙂 a huge weakness of mine). I’ll remember that and see if I can’t find any info on the internet for directions. And a farmer’s Market sounds like the perfect day for me… If we do make it that way I’ll send you an e-mail to see if you are around that day.

    I had time to look for a presure canner last night, and your suggestion was very helpful It narrowed the choices down quite a bit. Thank you so much. I was also thinking about the Apricot jam recipe. I think I would use the pits and the peels, there must be some good in those pits.
    It seems like its one to use up what is left from the peaches, much the same as the raspberry recipe to use up green tomatoes that didn’t have time to ripen before frost set in. This recipe was up to my sister and I to work on and finish while the adults did the more important canning. Its a good was to use and not waste what you have worked so hard to grow.

    When are the peaches going to be ready? Peaches are worth a 12 hour ride aren’t they? 🙂


  13. Mitchell Webster

    Well Good Morning Karyn,

    No only seems that I hang on the computer all day,, I go to the studio and work and then take a break (coffee) and while I have my cup, I look at emails.
    The peaches, are from end of July (white -best frozen great peach flavor) my favorite peach is Alberta (however be prepared for absolute frustration as they are clingstone, but flavor is to die for) We alway used these for what grandma called Peach Butter, however it is nowhere near the recipes for peach butter.
    Her way-
    Equal Peaches
    Equal Sugar
    Lemon Juice
    Cook this until it thickens, while it is cooking,,, you cut up a bowl full of peach chunks, then when the butter (preserves) is ready to can, you dump in and stir up all those peach chunks and ladle into the jars!!! We put the lids/bands on and put them in the pressure canner and vent for 10 mins. and bring to 5 lbs pressure and pressure for only 5 min, then cut off.
    Tastes like peaches right off the tree, and peach chunks in every bite.

    Also Karyn, I don’t know if you ever did this or not, but we have always put 1-2 peach pits in every jar of peaches that we can, usually hiding them in the halves. Grandma always said it helps the peaches keep their flavor, we also used to crack the peach pits open and eat some of the kernels in the center.

    Also, I am sure you make applesauce to can, this year the old orders suggested the “Empire” apple, a cross between Red Delicous and MacIntosh……..WOW what a flavor, tastes exactly like the sweetness of RD and the flavor of Mac, and I made 30qts and it required absolutely NO SUGAR at all, to add sugar would have made it too sweet.

    I would think that when you come from PA, to Winchester you will get on Interstate 81, to get here you just stay on I-81 you will see signs for Harrisonburg which is about 65 miles south of Winchester, to get here you just go thru the Harrisonburg exits and look for the Mt. Crawford/Bridgewater College Exit and you are in the Bridgewater/Dayton area.

    Hey if you ever get over to Holmes Co. Ohio again, you need to go to Lehmans Non Electric Hardware Store, they have everything from Cookstoves, to gas lights, you name it they have it and they even have a website, Just google Lehman’s Non Electric and it will take you to the main site.

    I am sure if you came down here you would have a good time in Old Order Country, however since you have been to Ohio, it will be old hat to you, however every Amish/Mennonite Community is different

    I am glad that you looked at the pressure canners, they are great canners!!

    If you come, I will make sure I will be around that day, it is nice to meet people and put faces with name that you talk to on the internet, does not always happen, but it is nice when it does.

  14. lizzylanefarm

    Hi Mitchell,

    Who me? Think you are on the computer all day? no, you are like me, just check in every so often…:) I knew there had to be something good in those pits! I have an old Shaker cookbook and they would save and dry those pits and crush them fine and feed to the chickens. No advise as to how to crush them, I do have the cookbook from Eldress Bertha, who was the last and sadly now gone.

    Thanks for the peach butter recipe, this would be just wonderful on toast… yes I love the Empire apples we brought home a huge grain bag from PA last fall and I sauced them, 14 Qts., It was very good but our family could easily use 30+ Qts of applesauce, I paid $2.19 for a jar at the store today! I would love to spend some time with you, and in your studio when we come down, we are going to be there the last two weeks in April.

    I LOVE Lehmans and order from them all the time, we tried to stop there one time but they were closed that day. :(. I love the Amish/Mennonite communities and love to spend time there just talking with everyone, some times because I am not from around there they shy away and are not to talkative, but someone always is willing to talk with me. I would love to find some of the out of the way shops and crafts. One trip I wanted a set of dolls for my granddaughter and in looking in all the shops I could see the dolls were all the same and mostly mass produced. I was in a sign shop talking to the woman about my hunt for just the right set of dolls, she smiled, told me she would be right back, left me standing in the middle of the shop and locked the door behind her. She came back with the most lovely set of dolls I have seen in a very long time. She told me her neighbor had just finished them and would sell them. That’s where the woman went when she locked me in the store, across the street to get the dolls. 🙂 Yes you guessed it they came home with me and my Granddaughter has carried them around and loved them ever since. They have had a few repair jobs and runs through the washer and hung on the line. They are dressed in the old order fashion of dark blue and black, Daisy my granddaughter has named them Sara and Johnathan.

    Also out of this country are some of the finest Haflinger horses I have seen. They are all well build and so beautiful! Last years champion was owned by the Yoder family and the 2 I have are related to his horses…The N line.

    Thats what vacation is to me, a time to slow down and do the things you enjoy. For me it’s gardens, horses, crafts, learn something new and simple living. Never mind the amusement parks, I will be happy to drive the plow and weed the garden.

    I’m off the finish up my bread for the day.


  15. Mitchell Webster


    I just could not believe your email, when I saw the time in April that you will come down, I will leave about mid April, to go to my friends home in Greenville SC, I have not been in 4 years, and my friend called and made plans to take a weeks vacation around I think the 20th of April, I am going to check with her an see what the exact dates are, I will go down for a month til about mid May.

    You would know it, any other year I would not be going away. However, believe me I can give you the low down on Dayton, everything is close to each other, like the buggy shop is less than a mile from the farmers market, the harness shop is about 3 mile west of Dayton but easy to get to, and it is located beside an Old Order Schoolhouse

    Perhaps it will still work out. I would like to meet you all and for you to see this little Mennonite Community here.

    I am not sure how much the Empire apples were up in PA, I think I paid around 15.00 bushel down here, but I won’t go back to another brand I just love Empires.

    When you cook your sauce do you cook the sliced up apples peels, cores and all?? and then run through a food mill?? We alway do it that way figuring that you get the most bang for your buck, doing that as there is very little waste.


  16. lizzylanefarm

    Hi Mitchell,
    Aw, isn’t that the luck. I hope you have a great time in SC! It will be warm then. That’s so funny, we are spending a few days in VA, PA then down to GA for a few more days to visit with my step-mum. Guess we will hit almost the entire east coast and go through SC on the way.

    Apples were in 50# grain bag so not sure how many bushels in there, but at least 3? I paid $35., they were drops but in good shape. Yes, I simply quarter the apples put them in a pot with a small amount of water and cook them down. Then run through the food mill. Add cinamon and half as much nutmeg, jar and water bath. THis year with your suggestion I will pressure can them. What a nice color and tasty too. I don’t add sugar. The peals and seeds are cooled and given to the horses or chickens. I use alot of apple sauce here, in my baking to replace some of the liquids, for a side with meals, mixed into oatmeal, on toast, snacks and to hand out all the crushed medication every one in the house needs.

    I also use crab apples but those need a bit of sugar when ready to eat. Crab apples are also made into jelly and apple butter. Blueberries are another fruit we eat alot of tossed into most anything. I walk the power lines and pick them wild or stop at the pick your own after they have closed for the season. The bushes there still have lots of berries on them but the public is so impatient and want to pick them by the handfull so if the bush is thinning out they will just walk by it in search for a bush with more berries on it. So the PYO farms close well before the bushes are empty. I freeze them in single layer on a cookie sheet and when frozen put them into glass jars into the chest freezer. Strawberries are the same way but harder to find growing wild, also the PYO farms don’t close until the berries are gone, when they thin out they pick them and sell them by the quart closing the field. I planted a small area with strawberries last year so we will see how they do this year.

    Spring is coming! The farm down the road hooked up their sap lines this weekend and by the looks of the barrel the sap is running very well. Plenty of clold nights and snow on the ground, if this continues it will be a very good year for syrup. We don’t have a boiler so we don’t tap our trees but our friends have a very large one in their sugar house, and we always spend a few weekends over there helping them. He likes to send home syrup but my husband can’t eat it and no one else likes it. It is very good for trading however and I like to make maple candy and butter out of it for trading.

    Most but not all have gone to the tubing and 55 gallon barrels to collect the sap. The old metal taps and buckets are so much work to empty and clean. The end of the season the tubing is flushed out with water and a bit of bleach, the taps pulled from the tree and the barrels put away, the tubing stays up year round ready for next spring. Much quicker than all those metal buckets with the lids. However, in the historic part of town they still do it that way, makes for nice pictures for the visitors who come to watch and take pictures.

    For any one thinking about boiling the sap in their house, I would advise they think again unless they want every surface sticky and spend weeks cleaning! 🙂 Try it outside on the grill or cook stove.


  17. Mitchell Webster

    Hi Karyn,

    There is 50lbs of apples in a bushel, you generally get 18-20 qts sauce per bushel. I like that you feed the animals the left overs after food milling, a good use of it all.

    Down here they are getting ready for tapping the maples trees also. Down here the Old Orders also make Sorghum Molasses, I love Sorghum!!!!

    I think you will like using the pressure canner, it is much much quicker, even with the cooling down, because since you only process the fruit for a couple of minutes, the canner cools down quickly, and you know the one thing about it is since we have done it this way, we seldom have jars that do not seal.

    You know after all this cold weather we have had the past couple of days (nothing compared to your winters) I will be happy to get to SC, as my friends are always rubbing it in. In March/April she will email me and say I heard that it is only 35 up there, sorry to tell you it is 65 or 70 here!!!!

    You would just know that it would work out this way Karyn!!!
    I can tell we could find all sorts of things to talk about. I will try to take some pictures of my studio and baskets and send them to you. would it be wrong to aks for you email address to send pictures to, ?? and don’t feel bad to say No I know how it is these days.

    If you do send it, you have my email address.


  18. Thank you for sharing your experiences with canning. I taught myself to can when I was in my late teens. My mom had done some very occasional water bath canning but was scared to death of a pressure canner. I found an old canner at an auction and got it for just $3. It was missing parts but I was hoping to be able to find replacements for it. When I got home I searched for the name on the side of the canner, All American! I had no idea what a great canner it was when I first bought it but I must agree with Mitchell, it’s the best! It cost me about $50 for the replacement parts and I’m still using it every year! My mom liked it so well she asked my dad to get her one for Christmas. 🙂 While out yardsaling last summer I found another All American canner for just 10 cents!!! I will need to buy replacement parts for this one as well but it will be worth every penny.

    So I’ve been canning now for over 10 years. My husband is an organic dairy farmer and we grow as much of our own food as possible. With a growing family and a bad economy we’re thankful to know how to provide so much for ourselves. 🙂

  19. HI Leah,

    That is a great story. Sometimes the best things are found at yard sales. Thanks for your vote on the All American Canner. What size are you using? and do you like the size or would you if you had the chance pick a different size? Glad to hear your mom got over her fear of the canner.

    In my young years of marriage my husband’s family had dairy cows 250, pretty ladies, this was considered large for around here. I helped milk and process the milk every morning 4am and loved every day of it. Sadly the cows are all gone now but friends of ours has about that many and I often stop in to visit durring milking time. They have their own routine and I stay out of the way as not to slow them down. 🙂

    Thanks again.

  20. I have the ones that hold 7 quarts. It would be nice in some ways to have a bigger one as our family is still growing but it works well for us right now. Once we get the second one fixed we’ll be able to 14 quarts at a time using the two different canners. Of course using one big canner is going to use less energy/fuel.

  21. Mitchell Webster

    Good Morning Karyn,

    I just read back over the posts, and saw about the, “What size All American Pressure Canner do you you have?” It is the model 930, also Karyn, Red Hill General Store in Hillsville VA, has the cheapest prices on them.

    Hillsville is located about 2 1/2 hours south of me, near Roanoke VA. The model 930 that I have is 264.95, here is the link to their site,

    Believe me when you can a lot, and think of all the canner loads of 7 qts that you do, and then start doing 14 qts at a time, wow, the time is cut in 1/2. Also, put that with your 7 qt model and you could do 21 qts at a time.

    Boy am I ever happy that the “Real Spring” is coming, as one day it is in the 70’s then back into the 50’s and back into the 70’s, at least when it does that you know spring for real is on its way. Also, Daylight Savings Time is here YEAH!!!!

    I hope the weather is moderating for you all up there also!!!

    I am getting ready to can a batch of pork broth, I made for a 10lb pork shoulder, that I roasted in the roaster oven and then ate what I wanted and cooked the rest slowly in the roaster oven last night with several sliced onions and some celery, now I will take the met off and can it all.


  22. Well Hello Mitchell,

    How did the chair come out, did you get it finished? Thank you so much for the link to Red Hill. We are going to be right in that area in a few weeks, and will stop in and bring that big baby right home with me… I was looking at all the sizes and couldn’t decide, I will take your advise, I think the larger ones will be to big for my normal size stove and not to mention hard to lift when full. I have carpel tunnel in both wrists and it’s painful to hold even an iron frying pan. Red Hill looks like a great place to poke around in, maybe they will also have lye for my soap, and some good canning jars. I’m looking for the Weck local but will order them if I need to. I also see they have a nice equine selection that will keep me busy for awhile, and I will check out the crocks too. Imagine going on vacation and and looking forward to visiting a general store. My husband always tells me he can’t take me off the farm.

    Are you all set with your plans for your vacation? I thought I had mine all set and have started to change things around again…

    The weather is up and down. I just said to my husband last night old man winter was putting up a good fight this year, he doesn’t want to go quietly. We had a great weekend up in the 40’s, yesterday it snowed and today it’s freezing rain. The mud and snow are so pretty to look at and such a joy to push the wheelbarrow through…(I’m joking)

    Your pork sure sounds yummy! I wouldn’t have thought to can the left over, I would have frozen it… Good idea!

    Have a great day in the shop.

  23. Good morning Leah,

    I guess 7 quart is the size to go with. I agree a larger one is good for a large family but I worry about having to lift it full of water to empty. I also wonder how well the larger will fit on the stove. I do like the idea of no rubber gasket to worry about and they do seem very sturdy.

    Thanks, hope you have a great day

  24. Mitchell Webster

    Good Morning Karyn,

    I to have Carpel Tunnel, in both hands, however I do wear my brace at night and that helps alot. You know the large canner model 930 that I have is about as big as I can manage, but oh my when I think of the time it save doing two loads at once I am so so glad I have it.

    Well, on the pork/broth, it is so nice to pull a quart out and have it ready to go, I just love the flavor of canned meat and broth, which is different from the flavor when frozen, however often time I will do what you do and freeze it, and then when the pork shoulders go on sale, along I will do the same thing until I get enough to to 7 to 14 qts in the canner.

    Right now Kroger has been having their sales on frozen vegetables, and when they have their 10bags for 10.00, I go there because they have Lima Beans, Butter Beans, and Italian cut green beans, where most just have peas and corn and reg. green beans on sale.

    I emass this, and then can my vegetable soup, last time 60 qrts. and this time I have enough for 60+ qts. Though I don’t think the price of Chuck roasts are going to come down too much, which I like to use for the soup.

    This year no one seems to have hams on sale, I have not looked to see when Easter comes this yr. and then they will/should go on sale, I could use that for veg. soup as well.

    The chair went well, and got done. I also have several baskets to get done. and more chairs coming into the studio.

    I think it is just amazing that I found your blog, right at the time you were planning your trip down this way, all the places that you could stop and look around.

    I have made my plans to go down to SC. and am anxious to go since I have not been in 4 years.

    I am trying to think of where you could get lye from also, you know Mom used to wash clothes in the washing machine every now and then and toss in a lump of lye soap.

    The one thing that I do miss is the wringer washer that I used to have a Maytag Stainless Steel Square Tub, it got clothes so clean, I never really minded washing clothes that way, they always seemed to come out cleaner. I think mainly because they washed longer and also soaked longer, as most of the time we did soak the clothes over night and I think that help so much.

    So now in the automatic, I will start a load before going to bed, put the gain in, agitate for a couple minutes and stop the machine until I get up the next morning and they always seem to be so much cleaner doing that.

    Well off to the studio now. Hope you have a great day.


  25. Hello Mitchell,

    I do the same thing, buy alot when what I want is on sale, make my meals then freeze for later. Recently our store had fresh carrots on sale. $1.99 a 5# bag. I bought 6 bags, cleaned, cut, blanched and froze them all. Our frozen veggies go on sale in the fall and this is when I stock up on these and yes, make soup and stock. The only time I buy meat is when it’s on sale an lots of it. Great tip to process lots at one time and can, I will do this (soup) once I have a good canner.

    I do my laundry to same way, let it soak overnight in the laundry soap I make myself. I use the clothes line in the spring/summer/fall. Forced to hang them inside in the winter or use my dryer. I don’t like to use the dryer but often have to due to the amount of cloths washed daily. Some day I hope to have enough line space in the cellar to stop using the dryer. That’s another project to come.

    I’m looking for a good recipe to process/can horseradish, have you ever done this? This will be a new adventure for me, adding itto the garden this year.

    your friend,

  26. Mitchell Webster

    Hey Karyn,

    I will tell you right off that horseradish freezes far better than it can’s, the heat destroy’s the hotness of the horseradish!!!
    We just grate it, put in jars with a tad salt and some white vinegar and freeze.

    You live on a farm don’t you??

    I am shocked that you don’t have a Mennonite/Amish style clothesline??
    When going thru any of the Mennonite/Amish areas your headed for and thru , you will see them and they can tell you how to make on.
    They errect a telephone pole way out in the yard and at the top put a pulley on the top, and the other end is in the house and passes thru a long slender door and I know that the single clothesline is up to 200 ft. plus, with the top being way up in the air, in the winter in the freezing cold you see the frozen clothes on the line and they are freeze dried, I know that bed sheets get really soft when you freeze dry them,

    Well more than you really wanted to know.

    I have just gotten so that I can everything, and I don’t think I finished my note to you this morning, my freezer is now full, with stuff for the veg soup and I need to get at it and can it all, so that I have room in the freezer again.

    Lately they have been running sales on Whole Pork Loins, at around 1.69 per lb. I get these and now have 9 in the freezer, some will be slightly thawed and cut into small roasts, steaks etc. and the rest will be raw packed into wide mouth pints and canned……MMMMMMMM……GREAT GRAVY!!!!! An Average Loin will give about 9 pints.


  27. Mitchell,

    Thanks for the tip on the horseradish. I have never tried to store it before. Usually the roots are left in the ground after the first few fall frosts, mound the dirt a bit more and cover well with straw. When ready in the winter for more, shovel the snow away, dig a few roots and put the straw back and snow back. clen, peel, grate and cover with white vinegar, store in the fridge. I was wondering if ther was a way to can it all at once, that I haven’t been doing it the hard way.

    Yes, it’s a chuckle, I have the most sad of all sad clothes lines. I would love to have a pully line (I had one for years) just haven’t gotten it done yet. Mine is a square thing with many close together lines that spins around. My husband brought it home to me when we first moved here 6 years ago as a surprize after I mentioned to him I wanted a line. He thought he was doing a good thing, and I haven’t wanted to hurt his feeling. But will replace the thing when it finally won’t work any longer. I love to hang clothes in the winter, but where my line sits is very far from the house and I hate to shovel all that snow to get to it, lazy I guess…Again a pully would be great.


  28. Mitchell Webster


    Just because you want this one to die, so you can replace the clothesline it will out live you, just think in 60 years it will finally fall apart!!!! HA HA HA

    Boy I can tell you, I am sure you already know, there may not be any wind on the ground but til the clothes get to the top of the pole the wind is really blowing good.


    Ps. Mom used to freeze about 20 pts per year of horseradish, and we ate that much too, just love it, you can guess what I had on my roasted pork shoulder, nice thick coating of horseradish, and also, makes the best cocktail sauce for fried oysters!!!

  29. Mitchell,
    You are probably right! I might be able to convince him I want to only use it for socks and the baby’s clothes, after all they are so small….right?… You are right, that wind does blow up high, and aren’t all the clothes so pretty blowing in their neat lines with everything marching along and blowing together, all the pants, all the shirts then march along the sheets and quilts…

    You have made me hungry with all this talk about pork roast. I like to make sort of a soup out if it, I cut or pull the meat into bite size pieces, add the cooking broth, a bit of water, a few jars of tomatoes- juice and all, seasoning to my liking, carrots if I have some and elbow noodles- cook in the heavy iron pot until the noodles are done. Of course corn bread with butter and jelly to go with it. An old time favorite around here. Pork loin works good for this too.

    Boy I may change my plans from having roasted chicken and stuffing to pork soup tonight…

    Went to the barn to let the horses out it was freezing rain this morning and notice there are turkey tacks all over they yard. They would go along for awhile then stop, start again and stop…must have done a bit of flying to keep their toes out of the puddles. 🙂

  30. Mitchell Webster


    So so sorry to tell you that it is 71 here today, and the low was 45. No I am not on the puter all day today, just came in for a break, must go back out and finish my cleaning and organizing in the studio. Then I will be 99% done!!!! AT LAST!!!!

    Then I have to finish the apt. Bedroom (where all kinds of things were dropped off and needs to be gone thru.

    Then the kitchen cabinets and closet, the desk then the whole apt. will done finally. I have thrown out years of stuff, that only got looked at when I opened boxes and drawers and looked at it just to close it up and put it away once again, well all of that is gone now. Close your eyes and throw it all away……..RELIEF!!!!!

    Your Friend,

  31. Mitchell,

    So glad to hear it’s warm. Soak it up!

    I just love cleaning out junk, some times it gets away from me but this is a good time of year to do just what you are doing, toss what you don’t need or give it away. Feels good to have space. 🙂 YES RELIEF!

  32. Mitchell Webster

    I just wanted you to know Karyn, that you caused me to have to go out to my roaster oven of pork and broth and start making soup!!!

    I had a good bit of broth, and since I am going to can it, I added a bit of some chicken base to it (I do this instead of adding extra salt) and ten a gallon can of tomatoes, and I have some very very small red potatoes from costco, I mean golf ball sized, so the will be scrubbed and added probably 1/2 or quartered, celery, onions, and vegetables, also some bay leaves, Thyme, Rosemary, Ginger, Basil, and a touch of cayenne pepper, it is simmering right now.

    I owe all this to you talking about it, which is good, you know how it is to make something because you want it and then not know what to do with the rest, so I thought just can it, but I have been wanting something different from Beef Veg. Soup, now I will have it and it tastes very good so far and it has not really simmered long enough to see the difference.

    Thanks, it was a great idea,


  33. Hello Soup friend,

    I’m smiling! Because I had to go to the freezer and pull out a cooked pork roast with broth to make my own soup. So we are both cooking soup today. It’s all because they were on sale, and we are chatty isn’t it great.

    I also made brownies with choc. frosting, and bread pudding with strawberries for dessert…did I get your sweet tooth going yet?

    😉 Karyn

  34. Mitchell Webster


    I just love sweets, but alas, cannot have them, I was told back in October that I am now Diabetic…….yipee!!!! glucometer and all!!!

    I still make sweet things for people and give them away, I would love to start a food blog, I had started a blog on Basket Weaving and chair caning, but was working at the time before the spinal surgery, that left me applying for disability.

    I look at yours and think how nice it is and think I ought to do it. Mine was set up through Google, I have heard a lot of people talk about Word Press though. Do you like blogging thru WordPress, I guess that you do or you would not be on here.

    Yes, we both got our pork on sale, I tell you if I keep on tasting the broth there won’t be any soup left.!!!!

    I am looking forward to it.

    Also, I tell you if you have one of these Roaster Ovens like I have, they are the best, you know they are the ones that everyone advertises at Thanksgiving that can hold a whole turkey, mine is an 18 qt model. It is so nice, I slow roasted the pork shoulder skin side up, and oiled with Olive Oil and sprinkled with Salt and pepper and preheated the oven and the rack to 450, and put the oiled seasoned shoulder in and roasted it for about 45 min, (this is called French High Heat Method) it sears the outside holding in all the juices, then turned it down to 250 for the next 8 hours, till I got up the next morning…….Falling Off The Bone!!! Now making the soup in all the drippings (I did deglaze the pan with some red wine I had here) It looks like I will have 18 qts when I am done (soup in a small amount??? HOW???) Ha

    Hope yours turns out good for you, mine tastes like it is.


  35. Hey Soup buddy,

    Our soup was just great and we have enough for several more meals. I didn’t make alot of extra as I don’t like the noodles frozen all that well so we need to eat it up over the next several days.

    I know all about being diabetic, my mother was and now my husband. So yes I have to watch the sweets too, but I knew my niece was coming for supper and baked for her. Are you controling your sugar with just diet or do you have medication too?

    You should work on a blog it would be just wonderful, or I have another idea, send me an email at karenbennett AT metrocast DOT net please. I tried once to send you an email but don’t think it went through.

    I tried blogger first but had such a hard time getting the thing to work right, I do like wordpress it is easier for me any way.

    Do you plan out your meals or just wing it? I have tried over and over to plan meals but it never works out for me. I have my pantry and freezer well stocked so what ever strikes me is here and all I have to do is cook it. So far it works for me.

    I also had time to clean my kitchen cupboards today and will start on the drawers tomorrow.


  36. Thanks for a very informative article about canning. It is really essential to sterilize the jars to prevent bacterial growth.

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