Great Depression Cooking with Clara

>I hope and pray that all those that can are preparing for the growing season. Now is the time, especially with the state of our nation. I see this time as a combination of rationing during World War II and the Great Depression. If we do not now take care of ourselves as much as possible, there may be no one there who can (or will). Even if all you have is a giant pot of dirt, plant something. Ask a friend who has a yard if you can utilize some of their land for growing food in exchange for a share of it (or a share of the prepared food). We need to do this if we are to survive the coming financial storms. Oh, and just so you know I am not even close to being a great gardener (like Gladgrower), I’ll take a few pictures of my house and yard when it stops raining (I won’t even clean up the mess my dog made of a bag of cans). It was bad this past year. I am to change that this year!

On that note, I found the neatest website! It’s called “Depression Cooking with Clara”. She has some You Tube videos of some dishes her mom made when she was growing up.

http://www.greatdepressioncooking.com/Depression_Cooking/Welcome.html

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Canning Potatoes

Yesterday, I canned my first batch of potatoes. I will be canning both red potatoes and sweet potatoes. I purchased two 10 pound bags of red potatoes (I figured this was the best choice, since the only other option was russet potatoes) and two 10 pound boxes of sweet potatoes.

This was one of the easiest things to do! I left the skins on, cut them in half or quarters (depending on their size), and followed the directions here: http://jordansfarm.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/canning-potatoes/. They all sealed beautifully and only two sucked up some of the water (the jars are about half full of water) so those will be used first (miss paranoid here).

The 20 pounds of red potatoes filled 19 quart jars (with a few left over so I could enjoy them with dinner) and 20 pounds of sweet potatoes filled 14 jars (actually 16 but I did not want to pressure can 2 jars so mashed sweet potatoes were for lunch and dinner the next day).

Further down on the web page above page is instructions for canning sweet potatoes. That is how I will be doing the sweet potatoes tonight:

Sweet Potatoes canned:

Boil first for about 5 min. so as the skins will rub off.

Leave small ones whole/ or cut,

Pack into jars

Fill with water or med. syrup (med. syrup: 3 1/4 cup sugar and 5 cups water= 7 cups syrup)

Leave 1 inch head space, remove air bubbles

Pressure can 10 pounds for:

Pints: 1 hour 5 minutes
Quarts: 1 hour and 30 minutes

I packed in syrup but a light syrup instead. I went looking around for light syrup recipes that would allow me to incorporate honey. I found this page (http://www.pickyourown.org/sugarsolution.htm), and it turns out you can replace half the sugar with honey! That’s what I did!

I love fresh sweet potatoes but after seeing how the red potatoes bleached out (no longer red) I am afraid of blah, bland sweet potatoes. I have not tried the sweet potatoes yet but last night we had corned beef hash with the canned red potatoes. I cubed them, put plenty of oil in the pan, let it brown without moving it around much, then removed them from the pan. We added them back right before the eggs were set. They tasted wonderful! They did not have that canned potato smell when we opened up the jar, and tasted just like boiled potatoes right out of the jar!

I Got My Pressure Canner!


After 20 years of waiting, I have finally gotten a pressure canner! I am so excited I can hardly think straight. This was my Christmas present from my husband (in addition to loving me, I think it was mostly to get me to stop bugging him about it). It’s a Presto 16 quart.

The third day, I was re-canning some of my #10 cans of food. I never wanted to open the cans because I did not want to freeze the leftovers. I processed all foods for the recommended times/pressure settings and they all turned out really nice! All except my beets. They look bleached out but one thing I noticed as I was opening up the can of pickled beets. They use high fructose corn syrup! I’ll be making my own from now on.

My first big canning project is going to be chicken. Yeah, I know. Meat first? Yup. See, we buy a lot of whole chickens and load up the freezer. Canning most of the chicken will free up that freezer space for something else.

The majority of the time, we only use whole chickens for my husband’s tacos and enchiladas. Those recipes require us to boil, then de-bone the chicken so why not cut those steps out?

So I went searching around and found this great blog:

http://lovehugsandgiggles.blogspot.com/2008/11/canning-chicken.html

Then I’ll use the bones for chicken soup. Can you tell I’m excited?