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Anyone do canning?

What can I can?
What doI need to do it?
What's the process?
Any website with nice how-to's, as I'd imagine its really too lengthy for a single post? :)

And do any of you dry/dehydrate fruit? Can you do this without a dehydrator? What else can you dehydrate?
 

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Go to the book store and get Ball's book on canning. They are the masters.

I can, both water bath and pressure, but I'm not expert... I read the book every time. Plus this book will tell you how many minutes, if you can water bath or if you need to pressure can, etc, etc.

It's basically the bible of canning. I thought myself with the book and following the directions as my mother never canned.

It's so wonderful to see my jars of canned food grown from my own garden lining the shelves and know that I did that.


FYI - I knew it would be time consuming, but wow.. it was time consuming. But worth it.
 

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I absolutely LOVE to can. That Ball book is the gold standard.

In addition to what Karrie said, I would add not to plan to can when any young children are awake. Hot syrup, hot water, hot glass, and kids do not mix.

You can reuse jars and rings and can often find them on the cheap at thrift stores or yard sales. The lids you can only use once.

I use a steam canner. Although it's not technically approved, my mom and dad used one, I use one, and none of us have killed anyone yet.

I also love to dehydrate. I have a stacked-tray dehydrator with a temp control. I've done everything from apples to peppers. My favorite it to take pineapple rings (canned in own juice; on sale) and dehydrate them as is. Such a yummy, low sugar treat! Cherries (pitted) and strawberries are great, too.

Just experiment and see what you can come up with!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DollyX View Post
cool thread. i posted over at the vegetarian board about dehydrators, re: what kind is the best? anyone here have suggestions???
The best one is the excalibor. They are pricy, but WELL worth it. The dry from not only the bottom like all dehydrators but also from the sides, so things dry evenly and uniformly in the same time.

http://www.rawgourmet.com/excalibur_dehydrator.html

here is a link to one, but there are several models ranging in price from $100- $200, look around, but there is no better model on the market than this.
 

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I've been canning for a few years, and I taught myself how to do it by reading online. I started with a hot water bath canner, and now have a pressure canner.

Unlike a previous poster, I have canned with my children around. They enjoy helping with the prep work- peeling apples, washing veggies, cutting veggies, picking produce, shelling peas and beans, etc. Usually the kids are running in and out of the house as I'm canning- if they are underfoot, I just send them back outside. Yes, it is easier to can without distractions
But if you're going to be canning a large amount of produce, it's very likely that you'll need to be working while your kids are around.

I found that googling "canning xxx" yeilded many good links. When canning something new, I always read several different sites so that I'd be sure I was getting good info. I'd follow the procedures suggested by the majority of the sites. There are many good state university extension sites. For pictures, I like this site:
http://www.paulnoll.com/Oregon/Canning/

I'll also give you another piece of advice that is probably obvious to everyone but me. Only can the foods that you actually like to eat. So what if everyone else cans pickled beets- if you don't like pickled beets, don't make them! The things I usually can each year:
green beans
tomato sauce, tomato paste
spaghetti sauce
pizza sauce
salsa
applesauce
jam/jellies
rhubarb sauce

Things I freeze:
broccoli
sweet peas
spinach
 

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I have never used an electric dehydrator- I just dry food in bundles, hanging from the ceiling, or on a cookie sheet over the pilot light in a propane oven, or over the wood cookstove or wood stove, or in the sun. Most foods will dry just fine this way, but if you live in a really damp climate with no breeze then this won't work adequately. You'll just get alot of mold and mush.
 

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We built a solar dehydrator last summer. Found several designs online, the only thing extra we did was hook a a small itty bitty tiny solar panel (backyard solar lamp sized) and hooked up an old computer fan and have a hole at the top of the box to help pull the air threw faster. Takes a few days in hot sun, but it worked
 

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I used to have a dehyrator. it was pretty cool and we used it ALOT. it was a cheaper $50 one though and not for heavy use. I would definitly invest in a good one if you get one. I have dehydrated everything from celery and mushrooms to banana & strawberry slices. (I am veggie so no meats) I used to even make soup mixes, fruit leathers, and potato and veggie chips! you can do sooo much with a dehydrator! (I am missing mine now
)

I have made sundried tomatoes in the oven. it's sooo easy.
just oil a baking sheet. slice roma tomatoes up (about 1/4 inch think or so) drizzle with olive oil and top with fresh basil and garlic and bake at 200 degrees for 8-10 hours. (we used to put them in at night before bed). put them in a jar and cover with olive oil. store in fridge up to a month.

I have also done this (In the oven) with apples and oranges (minus the oil and other stuff) those are nice to string up with cinnamon sticks, especially during the holidays! I used to make some neato garlands.

I am going to be in the market for a pressure cooker soon. are there any brands anyone can reccomend? (any to avoid?)
 
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