Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Homestead Canning- A Lesson in Economics

I scurried around the kitchen today searching for clean half pint canning jars. I found more mushrooms reduced in price at the grocery store again. I grabbed ALL that were marked down to $0.99 a lb marked down from $3.98. A whopping savings, I paid $8 instead of the regular $32! As any 'shroom lover out there, Mel and I are these delectable fungi  biggest fans.  Not only were there boxes of button mushrooms in my haul, but Criminis, Portabellas, and Oysters in there too. An abundance of earthly flavors.

 I've got 5 qt jars dehydrated in my food storage already, as well as a year's worth of cream of mushroom soup, but how could I pass up such a steal?  The catch was that these tasty morsels were close to past there prime. Whatever I wanted to do with them, I had to do it quick. I'd never canned mushrooms alone before. Sure, I've canned them in a recipe, but never alone. I'd bought canned mushrooms,so I knew it could be done.

I pulled out everyone's favorite canners guide, The Ball Preserving book, and was disappointed to see, ''Not Recommended for Canning " notation beside the mushroom. They suggested freezing or dehydrating them. I do not like the texture of frozen  mushrooms. So, as always, I researched the web and YouTube. Other canners were canning these delicacies safely so I knew I could too.

So I set about brushing off my mushrooms and slicing them.  In a large pot halfway filled with water, I set it on the iron to heat. I'll add 2 tsp of salt to season. After I finish slicing the 'shrooms, I added them to the now boiling water. I'll heat it back to boiling, reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and simmer the mushrooms for 5 minutes just like the videos I watched.

But unlike the videos, I chose to strain the remaining cooking liquid through a wire strainers lined with a coffee filter. Many videographers commented that liquid was brown so they chose to use clean, boiling water into the jars. I beg to differ. The liquid is brown because of the mushrooms. It full of vitamins and minerals from the mushrooms.  I strained it well in case I missed any compost the mushrooms  were grown in. Sure, the mushrooms  aren't floating in clear liquid after canning, but you can add the liquid into a dynamite gravy for an extra mushroomy taste.

Since I was pressure canning half pint jars, The timer after it comes to pressure is 45 minutes at 15 lb of pressure based on our altitude. I used my small pressure canner for 9 half pint jars.Now this won't be the last time my grocer will have a deal like this. I fully expect to get several cases of half pint jars by the end of the year. I can even add to my dehydrated mushroom stores.

In case you were wondering, canning my own mushrooms averaged out to $0.88 a jar. In the grocery store I can sometimes find a deal on canned mushrooms for close to this price, but those are just button mushrooms not Criminis, Portabellas, and oyster mushrooms too.  Canned or frozen Portabellas range closer to the $4 price point.

So as this example illustrates, homestead canning gives you a bigger bang for your buck both in health benefits and in value. In the long run, even the cost of canning jars depreciates down to zero over time. I've had some jars since the 1970s and they are still good today. Rings can be used over and over again for years if you clean and dry them well. About the only thing you replace is the flat lids. Buying them in bulk is cheaper at about 2 cent a flat lid. For me, canning about 1,000 jars costs me $20 per year if I only used new flat lids which I don't. That's dirt cheap in today's economy. It home canning is an essential part of homestead economics.

You can buy cheap if you don't have a garden, but what homesteader doesn't have a garden of some sort? Sure, you can't grow everything, but you can by in bulk from other homesteaders that do grow what you do not. The pea pods, corn husks, snapped ends of green beans and the like of the things you buy can be composted to enrich your own garden soil so you even reap added rewards.

Yes, home canning makes good economic sense and cents.

Y'all have a blessed day.
Jo


4 comments:

  1. I have found that the canned mushrooms you buy come from places like China. If you can your own in all likely hood they are local or from your home country. Just found you guys again - I am thrilled to see what you have been up to.

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    1. Lyn,
      Welcome aboard the zany Cockeyed Homestead(ing) train. We're giddy that you found us again! So true what you say about mushrooms.

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  2. Good move on the mushrooms. We bought some plugs and are going to try our hand at growing them this year. I agree about the mushroom canning water. More flavor! It would make great gravy.

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    1. Leigh,
      I weighed my options with mushrooms. Whether buying plugs or just buying mushrooms at this discount was cheaper. Buying the varieties bought at the grocers is cheaper even with foraging for some varieties.

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