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Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Canning Outside - Updated

Things to consider if you are thinking about canning outdoors:

Water is needed to can, to clean and often to cook. You will need to have access to water in your outdoor canning spot. It doesn't have to be fancy. I have had the luxury of a sink in my garage at previous locations, but I find a hose is even MORE handy than a sink. I can pitch water in a designated dumping spot so the drain part of your sink is the earth! The faucet part is a very portable hose for me! DH fashioned me this snazzy clip so it would be handy, kept clean and out of the way when I didn't need it. (YES!)

  • Fire is needed to cook. Be it wood, propane or other portable means. Consider your project and HOW MUCH fire you need. I sterilize my jars in my canner - so that is the same "burner". However I like to do several canners and I often have a couple things going at once. (Like broth AND meat for instance.) So this requires extra burners. I have 7 high powered burners to work with, all of which bring very large canners to boil quickly. I operate canners that run 15-29 Quarts at a time.

  • Shelter is optional, but nice, especially if you need to can in inclimate weather. Than it is advanced to a non optional fast. :-) While we have a permanent shelter in our farm plans for cooking/canning down the line, for now we are doing it in the open this summer. We have temporary shelter we could erect and have used before, but we find that our "country breeze" does a real number on our temporary shelters and they can't be left up for too long and rarely last a storm (which come often).

  • Work Surfaces are very important in your outdoor canning set up. They should be wipeable. A wooden picnic table would not pass this test in my eyes. Put plastic Lifetime tables have serves wonderfully. I can disinfect them and wipe them easily. They are portable and light, easy to set up and move around. However my favorite are my two stainless steel tables we found at Costco several years back. They are the greatest! I shift my "counters" around all the time to best fit my project. I also like to use little side tables beside my stoves. This is handy for quick close filling and transferring to and from the stove and setting utensils. They too get shifted around all the time. Sturdy "TV Trays" or small aluminum camp tables work very well for this. Having extra tables are so handy for so many things so it is a fine investment that will pay for itself in so many ways!

  • Your Supplies may be as unique as you! One of things that I find VERY VERY handy in my out door canning is coolers. We have various sizes that we use round for all kind of things - but caning is no exception! They keep hot things hot and cold things cold. They are easy to clean and come in all kinds of sizes. They are especially wonderful for LARGE projects and they can keep things covered for the bugs. Rubbermaid tubs are also very handy for out door canning. You can use them as sinks or ways to transport things around. They are wonderfully durable and light and are handy for bringing in the harvest - they have lids if you need them and they serve other purposes through out the year too. ( I also use restaurant Bus Tubs, I got at the restaurant supply store.)

  • Consider weather and season that you are canning in. This will effect your supplies and preparations and even weather or not is feasible to do! Canning outdoors in Alaska int he winter time might be an option. The mosquito's in Michigan might make it unbearable in the summer, but Spring and fall are perfect. Also - watch your weather that day! If it is windy or raining or blazing heat - you might need to make extra provisions in your set up to proceed. However, canning outdoors is ideal for large projects once you get your set up smooth.

  • Work with what you've got and add things as you go. You might START by canning some things on a small scale outdoors first. This way, you can discover your needs and preferences without the stress of having to process large amounts of (possibly fast ripening) foods with less than ideal supplies.

  • Towels and cleaners are good to have on hand in a tub, to grab and use as needed.

  • Here are some pros and cons I have noticed with canning outdoors.

  • Keeps the heat out of the house. This is very important when you have no AC and you are doing serious canning in the summer in Tennessee!

  • Easy Clean-up (Just hose 'her down!)

  • Butterflies fluttering by and kids playing outside is very nice! I really prefer to be outside as a rule - so that in itself makes it a more enjoyable experience for me.

  • You create your space. You are not limited to existing kitchen's size, counters. number of helpers or resources.

  • Increased production and speed, because I can increase my fire and do more at one time.

  • The kitchen is open for use for the rest of the family for the day for meals and activities. (A very nice thing when 8 people still need to be fed and go about their daily chores!)

  • Its OK if I slosh things on the floor (YES!)

  • Cons:

  • Bugs can be an issue depending on your location, season, climate, etc. (We only run into flies at the end of the day, for some reason, they only come round here after 4 or 5! Weird, I know, but I am happy for that!) We don't have gnats or mosquitoes or things like that to contend with here. Nore have I had big issues with bees or wasps. Because I use the back of the house (the North Side for shade), I do spray down the back of my house because spiders like to gather there. It probably wasn't necessary, but it provided a much "cleaner" back drop for this momma.

  • Set up takes a little longer

  • It may take a few tries to collect your supplies for smooth running operation

  • Level surfaces may be hard to come by on the ground if you don't have the luxury of a porch or deck. I find we have to shim many of our stoves and tables, because of uneven ground. It is something to be aware of and check before you start putting things on to boil. It is easily fixed though!

  • I work in the shade of a maple tree and the house in the Summer. In the spring, I work on the front porch which is covered and gives protection for the rain. Also in the fall, the front porch is nice because I have no leave blowing up there and in the winter it puts me close to my wood cook-stove in the front room, for added fire (and warmth if needed) and I get the Southern sun. I have also used a portable open tall sided tent awning to can under too. That works nicely. In our previous home in PA, my garage was my canning spot. It had a sink and was situated on the NorthEast side - which was very nice.

    I am a "water snob" and must use filtered water for my "food water" so I use my Berkey for that. It adds quite a bit to my work load, because I usually have to start filtering and gathering my clean water ahead in pots of coolers. :-) This is a new element to my canning since we moved here on the farm, I used to have purified water "on tap" at our last house. That was VERY NICE, but required electricity, and we are working our way off of that so we decided not repeat that here. To me it's worth it since I am still on city water here and want to reduce our dependency on electricity. (We are in the process of setting up the well we dug last year, so hopefully our city water days are coming to an end...but I wills till test my well water and filter it if needed.)

    There is something very earthy and natural and beautiful about canning outdoors. I truly do love it!

    UPDATE: We have decided to move our Summer Canning Operation to the front porch, and I think that is where we will operate for the season. We (the kids and I prefer) its function there, and it's cover. I had to wrestle with this, because I like my porch to be "pretty" and aesthetics have been traded for function here. :-) Since we plan on doing so much canning in the season - it is likely going to be set up for several months. The set up and tear down adds so much time to the project. So this is where function and the practical needs of my family will win over aesthetics in my book. :-) Here are some pictures of our relocated spot:

    This Post was shared at Simple Lives #51 and Barn Hop 19


    Carey said...

    I really like your set-up. When I use to can outside, it was because I had to. No electric and you surely don't want to fire up the woodstove inside in June! haha

    I would like to set up an outside kitchen again. We now have some electric and a propane stove but...it still gets pretty hot and fans can only do so much in the KY heat and humidity!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    PaulaB52 said...

    I do half of my canning inside and the other half out. I do the boiling of the fruit or peeling of the veggies inside, then I put them hot pack into the jars, then move the jars inside the canning rack to the canner which has been heating up outside on the propane burner. Makes it much easier to work with.

    I'll let the jars come to "room temp" outside overnight and move them to storage in the morning.

    Yolanda said...

    How beautiful and what a nice set-up you have!

    Gregory said...

    I was trying to click on the link on your sidebar for the homestead for sale, but I need a password to view that page. Do you have that available?