The wonderful relationship I’ve had with my All American canner just about ended today and it wasn’t the canner’s fault. It started with us getting started way too late. Let’s just say we have less chickens and more gumbo and I wasn’t the one cleaning chickens.
Onions, peppers and garlic from the garden. Roux from Kroger!
Okra from the garden. You know what’s funny? For weeks I’ve been saying . . I wish the okra would die! I was so tired of dealing with it and I couldn’t pull it up when it was still producing. Thursday night we’ll have a freeze (26º) and that will be the end of the okra. I’m going to be so sad to see it go. I love having fresh okra! I’ve put up enough to get me through to next year’s crop but there’s nothing like going out and cutting it and then cooking it for dinner.
When I finally got all the chickens cooked and the gumbo made, I had 21 quarts . . that’s a whole lot of gumbo and a whole lot of chopping veggies. Not only did I have 21 quarts of gumbo, but I had 14 quarts of broth. The big canner will hold 14 quarts and the little canner will hold 7 quarts so I figured that would be 2 batches in the big canner and one batch in the small canner. Each batch takes 90 minutes once the canner gets up to pressure and it can take 10 or 15 minutes to get up to pressure and then another half hour for the pressure to drop and cool down enough to remove the jars. And . . it was after 5 p.m. when I got started canning.
First batch went into the big canner – 14 jars of gumbo. The flame on the cooker didn’t seem to be working right. When I got Vince’s attention, he came out and messed with it but didn’t do much. It took forever for a steady stream of steam (say that three times!) to come out of the vent pipe and then after about half an hour, the pressure was only up to about 7 psi. I turned it off, let it all cool down, took the jars out . . everything looked fine. I switched the canner over to the other burner and started again. Success . . almost. After about an hour, pressure began to drop. Huh?How could that happen. The flame was still working fine. Then I realized the canner was probably out of water. I hadn’t put enough water in to run it twice and that’s about what happened.
Turn the darned thing off. Let it cool down. Boil some water in the house to pour into the canner. The jars were hot so I couldn’t put tap water on them.
It ended up that there will be ONE batch in the big canner and THREE batches in the small canner . It will be a very late night for me and my canners! You can see that it’s dark outside . . I will be very happy to get this job finished.
Definitely one time when being prepared is a lot of work!
Judy! You make me feel so much better! I have canned by flashlight more often than I care to admit! It is sooo nice when the job is done though, and you can rest
Donna Williams says
So cool to have all that gumbo. You’ll laugh and call it the forever gumbo when you pull out a jar. Most pressure stories I read are about what went bad (stuff on the ceiling etc) but this one has a happy ending! Yay! Enjoy, it’ll be so worth it .
shirley bruner says
WOW…that sucks big time. i’m glad you didn’t give up. you were like the pioneers yesterday. haha
pat miodonski says
Hi Judy, I don,t know much about the canner, does it have a pressure valve? I have a pressure cooker, and I clean it, removable valve(let water run throught it) so to clear the valve. Sometimes when the steam is coming through, it can get clogged. And how did you cook all those chickens. I use my 6qt pressure cooker(electronic) it cooks three chickens at a time. Pat (email@example.com)
No, the first time, the fire just wasn’t going right. Vince adjusted the air flow and got it to working right. The control valve must have gotten bumped because it’s been a few weeks since I used the canner. The second time, it ran out of water because I had basically gone through two cycles without adding water. It has a pressure valve and a regulator but both were fine. It worked good after I got it going.
I boiled the chickens – 5 at a time, in a 20 quart stew pot and made gumbo in my 30 quart stew pot. It was a whole lot of cooking going on in my kitchen!
but won’t those gumbos be all the more lovely all winter long! Love your stories.