About Sharon Peterson

I’m a simple woman in love with her hardworking husband. I love living in beautiful western Colorado. I’m a home educating mom of 4 sons. I’m a home canner, gardener, and an organization queen wanna be. I have developed and maintain http://www.SimplyCanning.com. I love my Lord, I love my family and I can truly say I love my life!

How To Can Venison (and other wild game)

Pressure canning is the only safe way to can venison and other meats. Find the right sized pressure canner for your household at Lehmans.com.

Pressure canning is the only safe way to can venison and other meats. Find the right sized pressure canner for your household at Lehmans.com.

You’ve had a successful hunt. You have carefully field dressed and cared for your meat. The choicest cuts are wrapped and frozen. Tenderloins are just waiting for that perfect marinade. Jerky has been seasoned, dried and ready for snacking on the next outing.  So what else is missing? Home canning.

There are several reasons I have grown to love canning the venison and elk that my guys bring home: Continue reading

How To Can Homemade Soup

Homemade canned soup – the ultimate convenience food!

I love soups of all kinds. They are a one pot meal. Fewer dishes, for one thing – gotta love that. Soups can stretch your food budget. A little meat goes a long way. And you can use leftovers in delicious combinations. If you start soup early and let it simmer slowly it will make your house smell wonderful!

Crock pot soups are the best. No last minute rush to get dinner on the table. Soup is a great excuse to make my homemade bread. I’m such a bread person!

Prepare ahead of time by canning your own homemade soup. It is easy to do, but there are a few safety tips to remember. Soup always needs to be pressure canned. Remember, any vegetable or meat will be a low acid food and all low acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner for safety. Do not add noodles, rice, flour, cream or any milk or any thickeners. All these can be added when you heat the soup to serve it. If you are using beans or peas they must be cooked prior to canning. Continue reading

How Do Canning Jar Lids Work?

Canning JarsHow Canning Jar Lids Work Canning jar lids work by forming a vacuum seal during processing. The sealing compound on the lid sits against the jar and forms the all-important seal with the screw band holding it in place.

As the food in the jar is boiling during processing, oxygen is pushed out of the jar. As the food cools the lid will be sucked down and the rubber seal will form a tight seal keeping out air and protecting the food from any further contamination until the lid is removed. Standard canning lids are not reusable. The screw band part can be used over and over but the flat lid is a one-time use. After use the sealing compound will become indented which might interfere with a new seal. Continue reading

Keep-Your-Cool Cooking

When the weather heats up, avoid this.

Everyone knows that the best summer cooking is done outdoors.  Keeping the house cool is much easier if you take advantage of cooking outdoors when the heat won’t stop.  The traditional barbeque is tried and true.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks or chicken – they’re all great on the grill.

But have you ever thought of using your crockpot?   What?!?  The crockpot in the summer?  Yes, you read me right.

I don’t know about you, but my summer days are busy. And it stays light so late that my days are long, too.  If you are going to be out in the garden all day, you’ll come in hot and dirty.  The last thing you want to do is cook. Continue reading

Wandering Summer Days and Rhubarb Tea

This could possibly be a perfect summer day.  At least it was a typical summer day in this house.

Spent the morning with my sweet 8-year-old.  Took him to swimming lessons,  then the grocery store and a bit of time at the library before we headed home.  In the meantime my husband took the two teens with him to get supplies for the deck they are building on our house.  (Yeah!  They are building a deck!)

After lunch I decided to wander around and see how the garden is doing.  Found that the pickling cucumber vines are producing and we’d better get them picked!  Pulled off the biggest and made a mental note to get the rest picked tomorrow.  Noticed  a bunch of green tomatoes showing up.  Can’t wait for them to turn red!   Lots of blossoms on the green beans.  The rest of the kohlrabi also needs to be picked, and the eggplants are looking pretty pathetic.

Something had to be done with my huge rhubarb plant.  I still have rhubarb in our freezer from last year.  I’d pretty much decided not to do much with the plant this year.  However when I looked today, it  is so bushy and full, I couldn’t help myself.  I pulled off a bunch of stalks and set my 8-year-old to work cutting off the leaves. Continue reading

Kooky, Krunchy…Kohlrabi

What is that extra-terrestrial looking vegetable growing in my garden?  I had never grown, eaten, or even seen a kohlrabi before a few years ago.  I like planting something new in my garden each year.  A couple of years ago I took the plunge and decided to see how kohlrabi would grow in my Colorado clay soil.

Kohlrabi is a  turnip-looking type vegetable.  It is a cousin to the cabbage and comes in both a white or purple version.  The edible part of a kohlrabi plant is the swollen stem just above the ground. I’ve read that you can also strip the leaves off the woody stem and add it to a salad for some variety in your greens.  Or, you can saute the greens in butter with salt like spinach.

The kohlrabi itself is a great vegetable for storage in a root cellar.  I’ve stored it in my refrigerator for months!

To prepare, cut off the roots, leaves and various spikes poking out.  Peel off the tough skin with a paring knife and slice or chop.   Continue reading

The Best Way to Can Green Beans

Tis the season! The garden is sprouting and I am looking forward to restocking my pantry. Though in my area green beans are just sprouting there are some of you who may be beginning to think about canning them. I thought I’d talk about one of the most common question I receive.

How do you water bath can green beans?

This question is asked quite often, in varying formats.

I canned green beans for the first time this year using the water bath method. They were all sealed for almost a week and now they are all unsealing. The beans inside smell rotten. Why are they unsealing?

I don’t have a pressure canner. How long do I need to boil jars of green beans?

My parents canned green beans without a pressure canner, why can’t I?

Many people used to water bath can green beans. To do this they processed it for a very long time (several hours) in a water bath canner.

I don’t recommend that you do this for one very important reason. Green beans are a low acid food.

Low acid foods contain very little natural acid. Botulism is a type of food poisoning caused by spores on your food that thrives in low acidity. Botulism is a serious risk. It can be fatal!

A pressure canner obtains the high level of heat necessary to kill those spores and prevent botulism. A water bath canner does not… it is that simple. Pressure canning = high heat. This is why it is important to process low acid foods (including green beans) by using a pressure canner. Please don’t try to can using a water bath. It is not worth the risk.

If you don’t have a pressure canner you do have options. You might consider freezing your green beans or you can even consider using dilly beans which are a pickled product that can be safely processed in a water bath canner.

Step by Step Instructions for How to Can Green Beans With a Pressure Canner

  1. First wash beans in cold water and snap them to the desired size. I like to snap mine to about 2 inches. They fit nicely into the jars at that length. You can also leave them jar length if you prefer.
  2. Add salt to your jars. A ½ tsp for pints or 1 tsp for quarts. Salt is optional. If you rather leave it out due to dietary restrictions that is perfectly safe.
  3. There are 2 ways to pack your jars. Either hot or cold pack. I prefer cold packing. Some people prefer to hot pack their jars because you can generally get more beans in each jar. It is simple personal preference.
  4. To hot pack, boil beans 5 minutes. Drain and pack hot beans into jars. To cold pack (raw pack), fill jars tightly with raw beans.
  5. Cover with boiling water leaving 1-inch head space. Remove air bubbles in your jars by running a plastic utensil down inside the jar between the jar and the beans.
  6. Press lightly to release trapped air. I like to use a orange peeler. You could also use a plastic knife or the handle to a spatula. Any straight thin plastic instrument.
  7. Wipe the rims of your jars clean with a cloth or paper towel and place canning lids on your jars.
  8. Put the filled jars on the rack in a pressure canner. The canner should already have about 3 quarts of hot water in the bottom.
  9. Place the cover securely on the canner. Heat to boiling. Do not place the weights on yet. At this point steam should be escaping from the vent or the weighted gauge opening.
  10. Allow steam to vent for 10 minutes.
  11. Close the vent or put on your weighted gauge and let the pressure build.
  12. When the canner reaches correct pressure, lower your heat to maintain that pressure.
  13. NOW start timing.

Pints – process for 20 minutes
Quarts – process for 25 minutes

Adjustments for Pressure Canner
Altitude in Feet Dial Gauge Canner Weighted Gauge Canner
0-1000 10 10
1001-2000 11 15
2001-4000 12 15
4001-6000 13 15
6001-8000 14 15
8000-10,000 15 15

When time is up, turn off the heat. Do not remove weights or open petcock. Leave everything alone until the pressure comes back to zero.

You may now remove the weight or open the vent. Then wait two minutes. Carefully remove the lid, CONTENTS ARE HOT AND STEAMY. Tilt the lid so the steam will not hit you in the face.

Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars and set upright on a wooden board or a thick towel to cool. Be sure they are in a draft free area and leave 1 to 2 inches space between each jar so air can circulate.

Listen…

Did you hear it? This is my favorite part. As the jars cool the seals will make the coolest little pinging sound. For some odd reason I love that sound. It is so satisfying. It means all my work is working!

Leave the jars alone until completely cool. I leave mine on the counter overnight. I love waking up in the morning to the jars sitting out on the counter with the morning sun shining off of them.

Label the jars with date and store.

Now that you have an abundance of green beans canned for the winter, think about what you are going to can next!

Editor’s Note: Always follow USDA recommendations when canning.

Power Outage as Blessing? A Different View.

I asked my family the other night… what if all the power went out?  What would we do?   These are  the responses I received.

My 7-year-old got really wide eyed and looked around questioningly… I don’t think he can imagine a world without electricity.  This leads me to believe we may need to have a few practice blackout nights.

My 15-year-old son immediately thought of something vitally important to all 15 year old boys.  Food!  Save the food!  He declared, “Don’t open the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary!”  He is right, keeping the refrigerator door closed will preserve the cold in the refrigerator.  The food will stay cooler until the power has returned.

My ever-practical and always-prepared husband immediately grabbed a piece of paper and started jotting notes.  His list includes a few tips of things to do, but the bulk of it is is all the things that we should have already done before the outage. Continue reading

Richness in a Wood Stove

Did you know that a wood stove can make you rich?

My husband built our house with the help of my father-in-law, our sons, and a teensy little bit from me…. mostly providing drinks and snacks. We built from the ground up according to our own plans and how we wanted to style our lives.

One thing I always regretted was the decision not to put in a wood stove.  At the time, we discussed it, we thought about the messes that bringing in wood can make.  We considered the days of going out in the cold winter to bring in stacks of wood, chopping kindling and all that stuff.  We decided against it and moved on with our plans. Continue reading

Apple season is flying by…

As I type there are several boxes of apples waiting to be made into applesauce, apple pie filling, and apple butter.

Apple Express Suction Cup Peeler

Apple Express Suction Cup Peeler

If you are into canning, and are planning on making applesauce or apple butter, there is one tool that is invaluable.  It saves so much time it will pay for itself in a single batch.

An Apple Peeler Corer Slicer (say that five times fast!) is a handy tool that is worth every penny.  If you can buy one it truly is worth it.  If you can’t buy one, borrow one…. be careful though… once you try it,  you’ll want one.

This tool makes peeling, coring and slicing easy.   My  kids love to help and it’s fun to eat apples in curly Q’s. Continue reading

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