"Commentary from the Countryside"
Thoughts on current events,
history, homesteading, preparedness, real food, and anything else I find interesting, from a cranky, middle-aged woman's common-sense perspective.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cleaning and Excitement

Love my pantry!
I don't know about you, but I generally don't get excited about cleaning.  However yesterday's chores included a few seconds of panic, mayhem, and a little excitement.  I started the day by putting some beef bones in the kettle, covering them with water, and setting the pot on the stove to simmer.  I'm determined to learn how to can broth!  While the pot was simmering I went about washing dishes, and cleaning and organizing the pantry.  All of a sudden I heard a "wumph!" and turned to see flames all around the pot, reaching for my over-the-stove microwave.  Yikes!  The flames shot higher as I grabbed the flammable stuff that was laying on the counter right next to the stove so the fire wouldn't spread, and shut off the gas. I reached for the fire extinguisher but didn't need it as the flames quickly subsided and went out.  Whew! No real harm done, and the soot stains can be scrubbed.  Even though the pot never boiled over, it seems that some grease from the simmering bones had seeped under the lid and dripped down the sides of the pot, and once enough had accumulated, the burner flame ignited the whole mess.  So I had to transfer the broth and bones to a different kettle and burner to finish cooking, and do a lot of extra scrubbing.  At least I still managed to get the pantry organized.  And thank God I wasn't out hanging laundry or something when it happened!

I've been canning things like applesauce, pickles, and jams for years, but this year has been a whole new adventure as I branch out and try to learn how to use a pressure canner to do up broth, vegetables, and meat.  It hasn't gone well, so far.  I started with canner loads of sweet corn in pint jars.  It takes a long time for the canner to cool and reduce pressure so that it's safe to open it and remove the jars, and the last load finished quite late at night, so I simply shut off the heat and allowed the canner to sit overnight.  Later I learned you can't do that, as the food won't cool properly, and may spoil.  Another time I tried to can chicken, nice boneless, skinless chickien breast cut into chunks and canned in pint jars.  That went well, and I was happy with the results, until I realized I had read the wrong line on the chart, using the processing time for bone-in meat instead of boneless.  So instead of jars of ready to use chicken on my pantry shelves, I now have jars of chicken taking up space in the freezer.  But I'm not giving up! With the Blue Ball canning book, and a lot of advice and encouragement from my friends in the homesteading forums, I'm going to keep trying.  My next challenge is to can up the broth I made yesterday, which spent the night in the fridge.
Add perseverance to the qualities a homesteader needs to have!
Note:  the instructions for canning and the time charts referred to are found at http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/stock_broth.html.


  1. Hang in there. You'll get it! I love having a pint of chicken ready to go at a moment's notice. It's great on those busy days when I don't have time to spend all evening in the kitchen.

    We had a fire moment at our house the other day. too. We had taken a 9x13 out of the oven and put it on the counter so we could put something on the top of it. (Breadcrumbs, cheese, etc. I can't remember now.) We put it back in the oven to finish baking. But, I didn't notice that the potholder had stuck to the bottom of the pan and had fallen onto the electric coil at the bottom of the oven.

    I was in the living room when Alicia yelled from the kitchen, "Is there supposed to be flames in the oven?"


    I managed to fish it out and throw it into the sink. But not before it landed on the floor. My crocs bore the battle wounds of stomping it out, but all is well. PTL!

    Happy brothing!

  2. Wow! Another yikes! moment...glad it wasn't worse. I kept a couple of jars of the chicken in the fridge; we've already gone through them, it was so easy and convenient. Definitely moving forward with it!