red flannel pantry

creative pursuits in the kitchen, garden, library and sewing room

canning outdoors

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A few weeks ago I read a wonderful post by Claire of The Garden Diaries about canning strawberry jam with her friends. Her photos and descriptions make you wish you were there, especially for the strawberry daiquiris! But I gleaned the most brilliant canning tip from her: do the processing outside over a propane burner.

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We happen to have a propane burner and a huge pot–part of my husband’s beer brewing set-up. He hitched the propane tank from the grill to the burner in the middle of the driveway, checked the connections by brushing them with soapy water (no bubbles mean no gas leaks), and fired her up.

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We filled the jars inside (all 29 of them) and then carried them outside in the canning jar boxes. We ended up needing more jars than we thought (we had about 39 lbs of cucumbers), so in between processing sessions, we sterilized a few more jars and lids outside too.

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I bought this pot a few years ago at a restaurant supply store–it’s huge and can hold 9 quart jars at a time.

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Once the jars were in their boiling hot water bath for the prescribed time, we lifted them out and set them on an old tablecloth in the driveway to cool.

We think we will do our summer canning this way from now on. We, the kitchen, and the rest of the house stayed much cooler. We definitely now appreciate the benefits of an old-fashioned summer kitchen.

You can read about our first pickling session of the year here. And if you’d like to check out our pickle recipe, you can find it here.

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5 thoughts on “canning outdoors

  1. Brilliant! My one and only experience with canning occurred in the 1970s in our house in Riverside, CA with no air conditioning. For those who are unfamiliar with the area, although there is little humidity, the day time summer temps in this high desert environment can reach 100 degrees. My husband brought home from work a free bushel (at least) of tomatoes from the University of California’s experimental gardens. The heat and humidity generated from boiling large pots of water on the stove nearly did me in The tomatoes turned out great and we ate them up over the ensuing “winter”. But never again.

  2. stitchinstein on said:

    what a great idea!!! we have one of those huge pots for beer as well (but no propane burner) so I must see if we can find one of those! We were just at the store talking about making pickles. I didn’t grow any cucks this year so I’ll have to buy them from a local farm or market this time. We like to experiment too. We have grandmas recipes that we still need to try out. I’m impressed with the number of pickles your husband puts up!

    • Family recipes are the best–tried and true. The core of ours is a recipe from my husband’s mother. I bet your grandmother’s recipe is a winner too. I originally got the propane burner for my husband as a gift so he wouldn’t have to brew beer on the stove–it stinks! I think he’s a frustrated chemist–hence the beer brewing and pickle making!

  3. Thanks for the tip! Our cucumbers are just starting to be ready for harvest. However, this year, we will have just enough fresh ones to sustain us over the summer and maybe share with a few friends–certainly not enough to can. I used our first cucumber of this season to make a Shirazi salad (Persian salad of fresh cucumber, tomato and red onion) for last Saturday’s dinner. Yum!

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