Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Canning Circus

I may never can again.

Things did not go well when I attempted to put up some incredible chili last week.   So yesterday I made chili and froze it.   The goal for today was to can either salsa or plain tomatoes.  Taking the lazy way out I decided to can the tomatoes plain.  However, it failed to be "the lazy way."

1.  Accident with the pressure canner which was supposed to be doubling as a water bath.  Boiling water.  Exploded.  On me.  (Lots of cold showers and many applications of fresh aloe mean that I ended up with only a few blistered areas.  The treatments resulted in most places settling down to bad first-degree burns.)

2.  Broken handle on the canner lid when it hit the floor.

3.  Lots of water all over the floor.  When the shower was colder than I could stand, I'd get out and would make attempts to mop up the kitchen's puddles.

4.  Then Maggie accidentally dumped the mop bucket.  All the water from the canning accident --plus the water that had been in the bucket from mopping earlier-- was back on the floor.  I'm glad I could laugh at that instead of cry.

5.  One of the canning jars broke.  The canner was full of tomatoes floating around in the canning water. 

6.  Water boiled out of the canner onto the stove, extinguishing the flame on the burner, while the natural gas kept pumping out into the kitchen.  Hooray for open windows!!!

So what all else went wrong?  I can't remember at the moment.  But this list seems mighty short compared to how the day actually went!

I now have
a) very clean kitchen counters,
b) a floor that's been mopped three times since Monday, and
c) some nice tomatoes in the freezer.

Moral of the Story #1 -- Quit canning.
Except for jelly.
Moral of the Story #2 -- When I forget this lesson, make sure I never can anything in quart-sized jars again ... unless I buy a regular water-bath canner.  Pints will be the limit for water-bathing in the pressure canner.

I'm going to have to wear real shoes to work later this week.  Flip-flops are really a lot easier on my burned foot.

Remind me again why this is supposed to be worth it?


  1. I don't can and I have no idea why anyone does so I am no help except to say I am so sorry for the pain and the mess and I hope you heal soon!!!

  2. I can. I feel your pain but not the burn kind of pain. I am so sorry Susan. Either we make ourselves nuts in trying or something like what happened to you and the canner mucks things up. The burns sound pretty awful.

  3. Ah, but the aloe.... The burn is NOT what it should've been!!! I love aloe!

    I'm ready to rely on my freezer. Even with the risk of power outages. Even with all the other things that could go wrong in apocalyptic scenarios where we would want a stash of safe food. I guess we'll just have to risk dying. [Psst: that's a joke.}

  4. Wow! I am just glad your are okay. My grandma had a canner explosion experience...which, even though I did not witness it, scared me away from canning. Freezing is great...and you could still handle a short power outage. I don't believe your joke is joke.... ;)

  5. Canned tomatoes from the store - even the really, really good Red Gold ones - are cheap enough that I cannot fathom doing the work involved in pressure canning them.

    I freeze mine. Well, I didn't HAVE ANY THIS YEAR, so I didn't freeze them THIS year. But normally, I blanch the skins off, give them a quick squeeze to get out some of the seeds, and freeze them in ice cream pails.

  6. PS: I am very glad you were not burned any worse.