Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cooking and Canning Homemade Turkey stock - PART 2

I am brimming with satisfaction! But not without having first suffered some serious self-doubt and a few 'will my kitchen blow up' fears.

I love my pressure canner - but it is a little intimidating. A lot intimidating, actually. It's large, heavy, and could explode if i didn't treat it right. That being said, canning my gorgeous turkey stock went pretty well - but with a few impasses.

The stock cooked down delightfully - i simmered it for an extra long time and was rewarded with some golden gelatin. With the fat skimmed off, the stock is pure goodness: rich, thick, gelatinous goodness. Some of the health benefits of gelatin include:
  • Gelatin appears to be beneficial to athletes for muscle growth and metabolism.
  • Gelatin promotes a feeling of fullness.
  • Gelatin helps maintain regularity
  • Gelatin's high collagen protein content helps keep your skin smooth and firm. Many creams contain collagen to moisturize the skin but it is more effective when taken through food.
  • Gelatin strengthens the hair, keeping it looking shiny and healthy.
  • Gelatin is also excellent for the nails because it makes them stronger, so they do not break easily.
  • Gelatin is excellent for your bones because of its high concentration of glycoprotein and proline amino acids. If you have a deficiency in both amino acids, you can have joint pain. When it is taken orally, it travels directly to your blood and from there; it goes to its destination, the connective tissue. By adding at least 10 grams of gelatin to your regular diet, your joints will quickly regenerate in case you overexert yourself.
I also remember reading in Nourishing Traditions about the benefits of gelatin in assisting in the absorption of more nutrients when eating food.

Enough about gelatin and more about my canner:   The first time i used it, i carefully followed every little instruction in my various canning books. This time i tried to remember on my own - but also referenced the books. I heated my jars in the dishwasher, i put about 2 inches of water in the canner and brought to a simmer. I simmered my lids for 10 minutes at least, and was careful to wipe the rims of the jars with vinegar to remove any grease that may have touched there. All went well - but i didn't wash the canner and its lid with soapy water - just wiped it and put on new petroleum jelly along the seal.

After filling all 6 (or 7?) pints, there was a little bit left - about 2 pints worth - which i froze. Next time I'll know that an absolutely full pan of stock is a little more than 6 pints and will cook it down further, or plan on freezing some.

A few minutes into processing, i noticed my lid wasn't on totally straight, freaked out, and turned off the heat to reposition the lid. Second time around the lid still wasn't on straight and water and steam started spurting out! Frightened me! I did some research but figured i would just risk depressurizing vs explosion so went ahead and continued processing. I had to dodge spitting hot steam while working on some other crafts, but i think everything went fine.  All but one of the jars sealed right away, and when i tested the seals that one jar was totally not sealed in the least - so i just poured it into ice cube trays to be frozen.

Next time i will be sure to wash the canner's lid better, and to be sure the layer of petroleum jelly is even. But aren't they pretty?:

Playing with hot metal explosive devices can be scary - but prudence and patience lead to success.

Do you have any scary kitchen stories?

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