March 6, 2021

Canning "homemade" chili

Observing my grandmother as she home-canned food was one thing. Doing it myself is something altogether different. Mam made it look so easy - and it is, up to a point. I never appreciated the time that goes in to stocking the pantry with a variety of homemade foods, but I know it's worth every minute spent.

Mam used to pressure can venison. That's not something I'm likely to do unless the world keeps going the way it is and we can't purchase beef. At that point, the small herd of deer that passes through the manor every day on their way to the creek might be at risk, but that's another story. Today's story is about canning homemade chili, or chili con carne if you insist. 

Our chili is homemade only in that we open the store-bought cans at home. We start by browning two pounds of lean ground beef and then draining and rinsing it before dumping it in the pot. Then we add beans - kidney beans, black beans, and white beans (cannellini or great northern). After that, in goes diced tomatoes, one can of cream of tomato soup, and lately, a can of chili starter. Seasonings to taste follows as the chili warms.  As you can tell from the picture, I'm not brand specific. I look for bonus buys and advantageous bulk buys on canned goods. 

Into the stockpot it all goes until everything is heated through. Since this batch was to be processed, I didn't allow it to simmer for hours. Once in the jars, it needs to be pressure canned for ninety minutes and I think precludes the need for simmering. 

I ended up with enough chili to fill six one-quart jars, so I added a jar of water to fill up the canner. This becomes a jar of sterilized water which is handy to have for first aid or water-quality failures. Think about that one. You'll note I used a Tattler lid on the jar of water. 

Canning a batch of chili was a labor-intensive process, but well worth it. I'll do it again once this batch has been consumed. I won't tell you how to do it. I recommend you go to the food preservation website and read the information on canning meat found there.

What I will tell you is that I continue to be in awe of my maternal grandmother. She taught me so much without me ever realizing I was getting a lesson. Sometimes I'm sad I have no one to whom I can pass on her knowledge, but that's the way it is. I have no connection to the future, only the past. Which makes my life a rosy place to dwell.

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor

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