Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Spinach FAIL

My son has an amazing love affair with spinach....

yes, seriously. 

I don't want to squash this, after all, who doesn't want to be like "Popeye" when they grow up?? And the hubbs and I like it a lot too. So I have to keep stock in spinach in the house and at a $1.50ish a can, this gets expensive. So, I've been trying to get a grip on how to can my own spinach. Folks have suggested that I just freeze it....I don't have the freezer space. Canning works better for me. 

I tried last year to get some canned but, I didn't get to it in time and it bolted. I totally blame my laziness, not researching enough and not knowing when to harvest. 

This year however, I wasn't gonna let that happen! I still don't know when to harvest the stuff but I researched it a lot and took a stab in the dark and came up with this...

Looks good? I was worried that I might have waited too long and got the ones that were too old. What do yall think? Are they too old? 

Yanno, you learn a lot when you do something for the first time, what you would do different next time, for example. 

You are supposed to cut the outside ring of leaves about a half inch to an inch off the ground to allow the rest of the plant to carry on with normal business of the day... then you have to "stem" them after cutting them. The boy could have done this right when we were harvesting. (since he was following me down the row not doing anything but playing in the dirt with his hoe and having a lovely conversation with me about ....umm, I don't remember. But it was nice!)  

Then you have to bring it in the house and wash and inspect....... EVERY. STINKIN. LEAF. This took me about an hour and a half and half a bottle of ibuprofen because my counters are about a half inch too low for me to be comfortable standing there all day. So my back hurt, had to take breaks. 

Then you have to chop them in large sections. I found a tip from Nanny & Peepaws Kitchen to use a pizza cutter!!

Worked like a charm and made quick work of things! 

Then you have to blanch the spinach. I did it after bringing my water to a boil and then putting my spinach in the pot. Put my lid on and waited about 5 mins. 

Then I took the spinach out of the pot and put it in my quart jars kinda smashing it down just a bit and then using the water I blanched it with, filled my jars up to one inch head space. Then I had hubbs take a knife and poke around a bit to get the air out, put 1/2 tsp of salt in, put the lid and ring on and put it in my pressure cooker. I had enough to get 4 quart jars out of it. 

Then you pressure cook them for a whooping 90 mins!! I was able to cast on for, and knit half a washcloth. 

Now mind you, when I put the spinach in the pressure cooker, the spinach was up to the top and looking pretty! When I took them out of the cooker, I was not so happy. 


I have no idea what happened and asked around and got no answers either. Im fully aware that stuff settles during processing but THIS MUCH?? I need to get a handle on this because I have two 70' rows of spinach to can. By the end of this canning season, I should have the trial and error education of canning spinach down pat. But this is me were talking about, it may not sink in right away.

For this batch tho, I fixed some with a bit of vinegar last night for supper (which is why there is only three there in that pic....did you catch that?? lol) and it was AMAZINGLY good!!! 

So I guess not a total fail, I learned some stuff and it tasted awesome, but a fail nonetheless. Anyone wanna take me under their wings and teach me all the ways of spinach? and how to can it? I would love you forever!! Im guessing I just need some tweaking. 



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