In the spirit of Halloween, this week I did the most terrifying thing in my entire life. I used a pressure canner.
(In full disclosure my heart still races a bit whenever I say this.)
When trying to squeeze every bit of my anniversary present inside our freezers, I decided to cook up half the soup bones to free up some space. I ended up with over two gallons of the most delicious beef stock ever known to man. (For the incredible stock recipe I used look here.)
However, then came the question “What do I do with all this stock?” The freezers were full and there’s only so much beef stew one can eat. I told my husband, “You know, if I just had a pressure canner I could can this stuff for later.”
A foolish, foolish boast.
However, the man took me at my word and brought home the biggest pressure canner I have ever seen. (It’s seriously huge, look how it dwarfs my large stock pot.)
It was time to put my money where my mouth was, so I read the instruction manual about thirty-two times. And then I made my husband read it. (Twice.)
I gathered together every thing I needed, banned the children from the kitchen to protect them from any explosions, made sure my will was updated, and then listened to some David Bowie for courage before I began.
(I maintain that if you are pressure canning you have to listen to David Bowie’s Under Pressure while doing it. First off, David Bowie makes everything better. Secondly, singing along with that fine, fine song relaxes the nerves and stops me from hyperventilating. It’s hard to panic in the face of all that awesomeness.)
Cautiously, I made my way through the entire process and about 75 minutes later I was pulling seven quarts of lovely, preserved beef stock out of the canner.
Then I collapsed on the couch, wishing I was a drinking woman.
The whole experience wasn’t too traumatic evidently, because just a few days later I used the pressure canner again to preserve some chicken that I had been
stockpiling, er, saving.
Just call me Martha freakin’ Stewart.
The hard part’s over. Now all I have to do is gather up the courage to open the cans and eat what’s inside. But a little botulism never killed anyone……no wait, it did.
Hold me David Bowie, hold me.