No pressure.

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.

<panicked silence>

Hold me David Bowie, hold me.

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8 Responses to No pressure.

  1. LOL< it looks good…It should be ok… lol, I just used my pressure cooker for the first time yesterday… Went through the same thing… YOU First…

  2. This is all SO exciting! Hurray! You are brave and courageous and oh so amazing. As I’ve watched the news reveal the damage from “Frankenstorm” I’ve heard several times that people may be without electricity for 10 days or more. TEN DAYS. They may or may not have gas and may or may not have a gas stove, that is, if they even have a house at all. YIKES. I saw that you have an awesome gas stove! Apparently I need one. Anyway, I’ve been thinking that I should can much of the meat in my freezer so that we have a huge supply of already cooked meats so that we can eat real food should something this catastrophic happen to us.

    I must tell you that homemade chicken noodle soup using your own canned chicken and broth is particularly yummy!

  3. That would surely cause me massive anxiety, as well – I have not canned anything, ever, pressure canning or not. After reading The Road I am not sure I’ll ever try. So I am very proud of your work!

  4. Ami says:

    The first time(s) I used my pressure canner, I was convinced I was going to blow the house sky-high. Now, it’s mostly no big deal. The wood stove we are adding, however, is going to burn down our house, the neighbor’s house, and half the county, I am sure. I keep saying the power outages and storms, though, are just helping us get ready for something – and I’m only halfway joking when I say it. Then again, I am a youth services librarian, and have had a heavy diet of post-apocalyptic fiction:)

    • bunkersdown says:

      Every time I read some post-apocalyptic/dystopian book I am convinced I need to stockpile NOW. All this crazy weather isn’t helping either. And now I’m beginning to think about wood stoves…..

  5. Sarah Enz says:

    You are braver than I. I have not ventured into that part of the woods. There are scary things in there.

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