Wow it's been forever since I made a blog post! My life since we closed on our house on July 15th has been absolute, non-stop, balls to the wall madness. So many things have been going on, been done, and after the fact I think "wow that would be a great blog post" but by the time I sit down at 9-10 o'clock after working all day, and then working around the house, I just don't have the energy to get it on the site. But, fall is upon us, winter is just around the corner, and although the to-do list hasn't gotten any shorter, the fact that it's dark at 6:30pm gives the illusion I have more time. My dad used to make grape juice when I was a kid and I loved it. I grew up in Northwest PA, where grapes grow quite well thanks to the climate the Great Lakes create. So, when I moved into my house in July I was quite excited to see that there were multiple Concord grape vines loaded! Now there are different ways to make grape juice whether you use an actual juicer, boil them in water, etc. But I prefer the old fashioned way which is just whole grapes with some sugar hot pressed in jars. Albiet there is a waiting period with this method, but for me it only builds the anticipation!
There are two schools of thought when it comes to preserving food: canning and freezing. Some only can, others only freeze, I prefer a combination. I will freeze certain vegetables (corn, broccoli), but for a majority of my preserving I prefer canning. Although it is a little more time consuming, I like being able to grab something off of the shelf that I need, rather than worrying about having to plan ahead and thaw it out. For me the upfront work is worth the added convenience later.
The canning process will be the same no matter what you're preserving until you reach the end and have to use a pressure canner, or can get away with a water bath. Simple rule of thumb: if the food is acidic (i.e tomatoes, pickled veggies, sweets) then you can get away with a water bath (or nothing at all). The acidity in the food itself will ward off bacteria. If the food is alkaline (i.e potatoes, meat, stock, beans), processing in a pressure canner is required. In this case beef stock, or any kind of stock for that matter is alkaline, so I will be using a pressure canner to ensure a proper seal.
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