Thursday, April 7, 2011

Canning Crackers! Say What?

A couple of days ago, a friend dropped by and I was busy canning crackers. Say what? That was exactly her reaction. They had a big sale on Premium Saltines and I stocked up. Before I share with you the easy method for preserving food this way, let me introduce to you how and why I know such things.

As long as I can remember, I have been preserving and raising food. As a child, I spent long hours with my mother and grandmother picking, snapping and canning beans and lots of other things too. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have been taught that is both frugal and provident to store and preserve food, water and other commodities for times of trial.

All my life, I have been on a budget so I am always on the outlook for a bargain. We have a big freezer that is filled with wild game and other meats, vegetables and fruits we have either raised ourselves or bought at a bargain price and an enormous pantry (well, it's actually a walk-in closet and half of a bedroom) filled with foodstuffs and other necessities.

Over the next weeks, months and years (God willing) I will share some of my techniques and hints. I will also post pictures along the way.

Now back to the story that started this blog. My friend was amazed at my wisdom and knowledge (and that amazed me) and was fascinated by all that I have stockpiled for my family. Dry pack canning is the method I used for the crackers. Living in the Heart of Dixie has it's perks, but heat and humidity are not among them and items like crackers have a very brief shelf life in this climate.

My first experience with dry packing in my oven was when I found oyster crackers on sale a few years ago. We opened up the first jar about a year later and they were as crispy and crunchy as if I had just opened the bag.

You can also preserve any other type of cracker and most cookies using this method. Other food items that dry pack well include: pasta, grits, cereals and other grains, beans (except for pinto beans and I don't know why that is), rice, popcorn, cornmeal, flour, instant potatoes, powdered milk, and many more items. You can also use Macaroni & Cheese, Hamburger Helper, Rice-A-Roni, etc. by putting the pasta or grain in first, placing the seasoning packet on top and also include the directions.

Now here is how easy it is. Fill clean canning jars with the food. Place the lid on top but do NOT tighten it. Place in a cold oven and do NOT let the jars touch. Use the middle rack if possible. Set the oven to 225° F. and use the following time table:
Start timing when the oven reaches the desired temperature.
Pints - 20 minutes
Quarts - 30 minutes
Half Gallons - 45 minutes
Tighten the lid on each jar, being careful not to get burned, and set on a towel to cool. The shelf life of these items is about 10 years if stored in a cool, dry place.

Over the next few weeks, months and maybe years, I will be adding other tips and photos.

9 comments:

  1. I love this! You have some wonderful knowledge and I am thankful that you chose to share it with the rest of us.

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  2. Thanks for sharing, I had no idea this kind of canning existed!

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  3. Cool NEVER in a million did I know this....Now if I had time to start. Maybe I'll start small and work from there. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Do you put the ring on as well but not tightened or do you just put the lid on? I want my first try to be successful

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  5. Place the lid and ring on but don't tighten until you remove them from the oven. Good luck!

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  6. Mike Redick mredick@umich.eduApril 18, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    I saw your link on my high school classmate jack Griffes' link....I have a suggestion of my own..my latest favorite is greek yogurt..it is pretty expensive in the store but can be made simply from non fat dry or fresh milk. I have figured out that greek yogurt is what people used skim milk for after the cream was taken for use as cream and for making cheese. From watery skim milk you can make delicious creamy nonfat thick thick yogurt! Mike

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  7. I like Greek yogurt too but haven't tried making any yet . . . I do use nonfat dry milk to make yogurt and yogurt cheese though I must confess that that I have gotten rather lazy about that. Have you actually made any Mike? I would be very interested in hearing about your results and a recipe.

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