Pressure canning

For those readers out there who don’t know me personally, this will be a new story.  For those of you who do, you already know this one.  Feel free to skim.

Last summer, I was canning some pickled asparagus I had made (using a recipe from Ashley English’s Homemade Living Canning 101 book) in my brand new-to-me canner my grandmother gave me.  It’s an 8 quart Mirro-Matic (does that brand even exist anymore?!) pressure canner, and I was soooo excited to use it!  The thing is, I didn’t really understand that you can do water bath canning in any large pot with a lid, basically.  I thought you had to use a canner.  Like the pressure canner I had just received.  Disaster ensued.

An 8 quart canner really isn’t large enough to hold enough water to completely cover three pint jars and not be at risk of boiling over.  And locking the lid in place over all that?  Terrible idea.  Naturally, I got scalded.  Badly.  Badly.  My right arm, stomach, and right breast all received 2nd degree burns, and I still have the scars (at least) six months later.

So I’ve been a little afraid to actually try pressure canning.  Of course, now I know why what I did was wrong, but it still makes me a bit nervous.  And yet, here I am, pressure canning some black beans for the very first time.  So far, I’m injury-free, but I’m definitely still nervous.  I’m currently venting the pot and am going to start timing it pretty soon.  I’ll post an update on my beans (and well-being) later.

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