We thought long and hard before buying a pressure canner years ago—it was expensive, and signalled a whole new level of commitment to preserving than a simple water bath canner.
And then, of course, there are all the horror stories about exploding pressure canners. When the canner arrived, emblazoned with more warning stickers than a case of TNT, it didn’t alleviate my concerns.
But now I can’t imagine being without it. We can preserve so much more of what we grow, and not everything needs to be pickled to be preserved.
Pressure canning changes vegetables—the high pressure and temperature destroys their structure and basically turns them to mush. I wouldn’t want to subsist on pressure canned vegetables.
But our summer soup
LINK provides a burst of summer flavour, and wonderfully convenient instant meals through the winter. A few jars of canned green beans mean we can make our favourite Indian charcharis any time of the year. And canned artichokes add incredible flavour to pizzas, regardless of their texture. We could freeze these things, of course, but especially here where the power goes out with such frequency, having some of our preserved food not dependent on a continuous supply of electricity is a good idea. It also saves room in the freezer for those things that really don’t do well in the canner—berries, corn, peas, and of course the bread and baked goods from our baking days.