Thursday, September 6, 2012

She Shall Rejoice in Time to Come.....

The Proverbs 31 woman is my favorite preparedness role model.  She works with her hands.  She brings her food from afar.  She buys a field and plants a vineyard.  She strengthens her arms.  Her candle does not go out at night.  She stretches her hand to the poor.  She is not afraid of natures fury because she has dressed her family well.  She rejoices in the time to come.   I've always been struck by that last sentence - rejoices in the time to come - and wondered at its meaning.  And then it came to me.  The Proverbs 31 woman was a survivalist.  She saw the signs of the times and prepared in the good times for the inevitable bad times.  She knew the world was in a constant cycle - times of plenty, times of lean.  She gathered during times of plenty so that her family would be taken care of during times of want.  She could rejoice in her future because she knew her family would be well clothed and well fed.  She even made provisions for the needy and cared for her servant girls.  Her husband trusted her.

When I grow up, I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman.  Preparing for an uncertain future is my training ground.  I am learning to care for the needs of my household.  I am preparing during this time of plenty for the inevitable time of want.

Canning is the Proverbs 31 woman's best friend.  Although our economy is in the tank, most of us still have access to large quantities of fruit, vegetables and even meat to fill jars and line our shelves.  Apples fall off trees in abundance and zucchini is given away by the bagful.  Both are begging to be put into jars to feed your family throughout the long winter.   Venison and elk are equally at home in a canning jar as are chickens.  Basically, if you can eat it, you can can it (not really - but mostly).

My latest canning adventure featured tomatoes, green peppers and onions.  We love this particular mixture due to the fact that it is perfect in just about every soup, not to mention it is delectable in pasta sauce.
Peppers & Onions
Beautiful Tomatoes
Miss Serenity and I stopped at a little produce stand in town and picked up a couple of 25# boxes of canning tomatoes, 15 huge green peppers and a 10# bag of onions.  Once home, Maid Elizabeth, Miss Serenity and I got down to business.  Maid Elizabeth diced all of the green peppers and about 1/2 of the onions.  I par boiled the tomatoes and plunged them into cold water and Miss Serenity started peeling the boiled tomatoes.  After the tomatoes were peeled, I diced them and poured them into the biggest bowl I had - a huge enamel baby bathtub.  Once the tomatoes had been diced, Maid Elizabeth added the green peppers and the onions and began to stir - very carefully!  Jar by jar we ladled the tomato/green pepper/onion mixture into clean jars - 33 of them.  We added a teaspoon of salt to each jar and then filled with boiling water.  (A side note:  When we are using this mixture only for pasta sauce or salsa, we don't add the water.   There is plenty of water in the tomatoes.)  The jars were processed at 10# of pressure for 40 minutes (when mixing multiple veggies I always process according to whatever ingredient requires the longest processing time).

Boiling the tomatoes for about 1/2 minute (so the skins slide off)
Plunging in cold water
A baby bathtub full of diced tomatoes
Adding the green peppers
And the onions
All mixed together

In the jar with salt added
The jars came out beautifully, although I did have a complication that I have never experienced before.  One jar was hissing when it came out of the canner.  I noticed a small crack at the bottom of the jar and in the time it took me to say "It's leaking", the jar exploded - spewing molten tomatoes, peppers, onions and juice all over the kitchen and catapulting the broken jar into the living room (about 6 feet away).  It was something!  Glass shards exploded into a kitchen full of people (thankfully cutting no one), and more than one of us was covered with molten vegetables.

Exploded jar and the accompanying mess
I had washed each jar before filling them and had noticed no cracks or chips.  My guess is that jar had been jostled on the shelf, or tossed into a sink causing a weak spot.  So, now I caution you to be very careful when unloading your pressure canner, watching for any leaking (spewing) liquid.  If you can react quickly enough, covering the leaking jar with a heavy towel should contain most of the mess and shrapnel.

And so, I will continue to gather while in times of plenty, guarding against times of want. I will look at my shelves and rejoice.

On the shelf


  1. So glad everyone was okay! We haven't started canning yet but have been stocking up on the supplies for when we are done moving and can start in with it. This is one of my big (probably irrational, statistically speaking lol) fears - thank you for the towel tip!

  2. Enola,

    (captaincrunch again)

    An trick an old retired Army Sargent tought me. Get a can of C-ration peaches and place them on a hot stove and wait a few hours. It turns into a "Peach Grenade" showing your friends with 'hot peach shrapnel"

    Really Enola' all your canning is a work of art. I don't cook so I gotta use the Mormon Cannery for food storage. It ain't easy being a bachelor survivalist. I'll be eat'in Ramen for the next 300 years after the Zombies take over the planet.

  3. Hi Enola,
    I use Tattlers too. I have had more breakage because of the need to be pretty careful with the tightness of the lids. If they are too tight, the pressure builds up and breaks the jar. I had one of the hissers last year, and when I saw the bubbles rising from the bottom, I quickly got it back in the pot and put the lid back on and let it cool in there. Glad everyone was ok, it could have been worse. The Tattlers are not so touchy in a water bath. So I am saving Tattlers for that and stocking up on extra jars now for when I only have the Tattlers and will have losses. Your mix looks yummy! Enjoy!

  4. Enola,

    I'm happy to hear no one was hurt from the glass jar exploding. I would rather deal with a mess of food and glass than to have someone injured.
    Your canning of tomatoes, green peppers and onions looks amazing! Great job, only 1 jar gone and you have 32 others.
    I would love to know how you make your sauce for pasta with your canned tomatoes, green peppers and onion. I'm always looking for new recipes.
    Have a wonderful day!

  5. Reading about your glass jar exploding, made me reevaluate when to open my canner. I think that when pressure is down to zero, I will take off the weight valve and then give the canner another thirty minutes at least to calm down. Yours is the second explosion I have heard about this week. We keep learning. So glad no one was injured. Thank you for telling us about this.


  6. glad all is well after your little explosion...i have had that happen a few times too but never to that anon. 2:28 i usually wait about ten to fifteen minutes after pressure is down before removing the canner lid...if something is gonna explode it will usually do it during that fifteen minutes or so and the mess is not near as bad. i think this year i have been giving the proverbs 31 woman an honest try..been doing jams all day long today and my feet hurt something fierce..but oh it is worth it!

  7. Such beautiful vegetables, glorious and brilliantly bright fresh colors!! Canning is such a wonderful...what...hobby, addiction, pleasure...
    all of the above and so much more.

    I've only had 2 jars break, thankfully inside the canner, in the 15 or so years since starting canning. It is such a pleasurable task and so very rewarding. I love your shelves with such wholesome foods that will last and be wonderful to enjoy for years. No metallic taste of cans after the expiration dates have passed. These jars of food will keep for a long time and will be there when needed.

    It is a wonderful feeling to do know such skill, to preserve for another day when there is now a time of plenty for when there will be a time of need and want. Going shopping right in our own pantry, the work is already done, we know how we've planted it, if we grow it all in our home garden without toxic chemicals, using Heirloom seeds to save and to replant and grow for generations to come. Pure enjoyment; good health and life giving foods; and great personal satisfaction. We give all glory to a Heavenly Father who cares so much for us to provide such riches and bounty.

  8. Ive had hissing with tattler lids, without the subsequent failure of the jar. I concluded that i tightened the ring a little too much.

  9. I had three jars fail this year all wide mouth quarts. None had any visible damage and were fairly new, only used once or twice. The first dropped the bottom out as I lowered it into the waterbath (zucchini dill pickles). The jar and contents were hot and the canner hot, but not boiling. The other two failed in a waterbath load on another day (sliced peaches). One lost the bottom and the other split out the side. All were Kerr jars and as I said, hardly used. They were also done with traditional lids as I have not got to my Tattler lids yet. My mother in-law who is a "master preserver" said to take pictures and send them to Kerr so that they know what is happening.
    Better get out and cover the garden as we have a freeze warning for tonight. Argh, my winter squash are not quite ready to pick yet....

  10. I would love to know where you get those big glass jars on the right side, top 2 shelves in the first picture. Those look great for corn meal, flour, etc.

  11. I was hoping the recipe with the exact ratio of tomatoes to onions and green peppers would be in your cookbook, but I can't find it. I'm making a much smaller batch and so your big boxes of tomatoes, etc. aren't very helpful. (Sorry - just a b it frustrated.) Also, what size jars for this amt. of time, etc. and the amt. of salt. Are they pints? I'm looking forward to having this mixture on my shelf, ready to use - just want to get it right! Thanks!