Winter has finally ended, but she left behind chilling reminders of her long stay. This past Saturday I went to the outdoor farmer’s market. One of produce farmer I spoke with lamented the long winter and the slow start to growing their produce. I did find some delicious fiddleheads. I’m hoping to buy more this Saturday and try pickled fiddleheads.
As produce comes in season (What’s In Season?), I have plans to preserve the bounty. Last year I preserved food by water-bath canning, dehydrating and freezing. This year I’m going to focus on canning and I’m getting all geared up!
Over the last couple years I’ve spent a lot of time with my water-bath canner. I have many memories of our steamy summer days together in the kitchen. That steam did wonders for my complexion and gave my body a thorough sweat cleanse. Water bath canning is perfect for high acid foods like fruits or pickling.
Here is my Canning Recap for 2010. Anybody want pickled beets? I have enough to last me years.
But this year I’m putting the pressure on. My Hubby bought me this lovely pressure canner for my birthday. Some women would be appalled to receive something like this for their birthday but I was beyond thrilled. I still need to learn how to use it and figure out what I’m going to do about the warning label:
I believe the warning has to do with the burners switching on/off because of the heat sensors. If the heat isn’t constant the food won’t be preserved properly and can be potentially hazardous to eat. Looks like I may have to use this thing at my parents’ place; they have a natural gas stovetop.
[Update 19/05/2011] All is not lost! My Husband directed me to the All American Canner website where they explain that the canner shouldn’t be used on flat top stoves because the weight of the canner can cause the glass or ceramic stove top to break. Apparently they have this same warning for water bath canners too which I’ve consistently used on my flat top. Also, my husband explained to me that the heat or pressure should remain constant even if the burners are swishing on and off. So, I’m going to give it a try and see what happens.
I’ve also got a new stainless steel funnel. For the last couple years I’ve made do with a plastic funnel and then a silicone collapsible funnel (not a great idea with scalding liquids).
One of the reasons I can food is to avoid the toxin BPA (Bisphenol A). BPA is found in the resin that lines metal cans. This liner prevents corrosion of the metal by the food. When heat is applied during the canning process BPA leaches into the food. There is a lot of debate about what levels of BPA are considered to be toxic, but this toxin has been shown to cause reproductive and early child development problems. It’s not something you or your little ones want to be ingesting.
What I didn’t realize, until last year, was that the metal lids used for home canning have BPA in the liner. It’s true that contact between the lid and the food is limited, especially when the right headspace (gap between the lid and food) is used. But, I imagine there is still contact during the processing.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many BPA free canning lid options. I decided to order some reusable plastic BPA free canning lids from Tattler. The shipping to Canada was expensive but I split the cost by ordering a bulk amount of lids with some fellow canners. These lids are supposed to last many years and I really hope that they do.
For those of you who are interested in stepping into the world of canning feel free to read my brief post on canning food.