Winter Canning

Clockwise from top left: Ham, black beans and split pea soup,
beef stew, beef cubes, plum jam, turkey, Alberta peaches,
home grown pears, corn relish;
Center: beef burgundy and beef strogonoff

This is the time of year I start planning my "winter" canning.  I have already canned 24 half pints of Hamburger Mix, 12 in tomato sauce and the rest in beef broth, so I can make a wide variety of dishes; soups and casseroles, where I would usually brown hamburger as the first step.  

Looking at my freezer and my pantry inventory, I am also probably going to make Split Pea Soup and Ham and Bean Soup,  and some canned Chicken Breasts.  That will help clear out my freezer  of some chicken and a couple of ham shanks I bought on sale awhile ago, and put some delicious, shelf-stable, ready-to-heat and eat food in my pantry.  

I have started to look at canning as something of a hobby, not just a “get-out-of-my-way, I’m going to make a mess” sort of big project, under pressure because we have too much ready in the garden. I now can all year round – especially after the holidays, but before it gets too hot. That’s when I can most of my “convenience” foods. If you are going to have a hobby, why not let it be one that saves money and is good for you.
Some of the convenience items we can are potatoes for frying, mashed, etc., canned turkey, ham, chicken, beef stroganoff, beef burgundy, beef stew, meatballs, split pea soup, navy bean soup, black beans, canned soup vegetables (onion, carrot and celery and sometimes green beans), spaghetti sauce, extra broth, corn relish, bean salad, fruits, etc., etc.
To use my canned convenience items, I can combine a jar of meat, soup veggies, some extra broth and heat together with frozen homemade noodles, quick barley, or brown rice,  and have a variety of soups quickly. I can thicken the broth on meatballs, stew, chicken, beef burgundy or stroganoff and serve them with potatoes, noodles, rice, biscuits or cornbread, etc. etc. Beef and pork can be served with BBQ sauce in sandwiches. I heat the bean soups and serve with cornbread, biscuits, or  homemade bread. Chicken, turkey, ham, beef and beans can be used in many casserole recipes, pot pies, even cold salads or sandwich fillings too, any recipe that calls for cooked meat or beans. If I don't use the broth from the jar, I save it and add it to the next soup or gravy.
Canned fruit can be quickly made into crisps, cobblers, etc., besides serving with just a cookie for dessert. Keep a few jars in the refrigerator, always cold and ready to serve.  We love Elberta peaches for canning, you can only rarely buy these commercially canned; they are so flavorful compared to cling peaches. We wait for them to “come in” at our local grocery. Of course, canned vegetables are always easy to use, I especially like mixed combinations.
For summer canning, Myrna cans pickles, and we both put up relishes, jams, marmalades and jellies – the items that help ‘fill out’ a meal. We never turn down produce from folks who have too much – neither of us have big gardens anymore – but it’s surprising how much I still can.  We can any vegetables we grow or are given, like green beans, carrots, potatoes, and all kinds of tomato products.
The best thing about canned products is I don't need to thaw them to have a meal in minutes. My grown son calls me the "twenty-minute cook". When I was a kid I admired some farm wife friends of ours who could seem to wander into their kitchens and produce a meal for drop-in guests without much fuss, I just didn't realize then how much they relied on their canned goods to fill out a meal - including pickles, jams and jellies, and fruit "sauce".
We have a few examples of recipes to try using home-canned foods HERE.
Some Meat and Poultry Canning HERE
Some Canning Dried Beans and Vegetables HERE

6 comments:

  1. You inspire me! I really enjoyed this post. I have only canned pickles......but I am going to try to do more now. Thank you!

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  2. I can pickles and jelly. But, don't do meat. These look good.

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  3. Such a good idea, your "winter canning!" I still have blueberries, haskap berries and strawberries in my freezer waiting to become jam (blueberry and strawberry) and syrup (haskaps). I sure am having trouble convincing myself to do the job though. Sitting on the couch knitting still feels pretty good right now!

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  4. Canned beef is my go to for fast meals (I am that farmer who may need fast meals). heat and eat as is, add BBQ sauce or thicken as a gravy to use over mashed potatoes, noodles, etc.

    Home canning is a great convenience and a great recycler due to reusing jars and lid rings. makes for wonderful gifts too.

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  5. Thanks very much for all these ideas! I enjoy canning summer fruits and vegetables but want to begin canning meats and soups and meals. I recently bought a couple Amish cookbooks that had lengthy chapters of recipes for their meat can goods. I will copy off all your recipes too. Thanks for all the help you ladies give me in the kitchen!

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  6. I haven’t canned for many years, though I used to when we lived in Iowa the first 15 years of marriage, I canned mostly veggies from our garden, (in the city of Des Moines). I started doing it mostly to deal with the garden’s overflow of tomatoes, green beans, carrots etc. But I eventually got smart and canned tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, and got so spoiled as thatcis so much more flavorful than the canned stuff on the store shelves. Just adding Italian spices and whatever you like to can or freeze the sauce. We had a huge freezer and mom was a Tupperware dealer back then so I had an abundance of plastic storage ware for freezing the sauce.. We had only started raising a garden in Texas after being here 20 years but we found it too expensive to maintain, water-wise. The summers are so dry you must irrigate regularly and we eventually gave up. Plus the tomatoes never ever tasted like our Iowa Tomatoes!

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