I haven’t always been a fan of canned chili.
To me the words “canned” and “chili” conjure up images of something heated over a camp fire and loaded with spongy bits of processed meat food.
It wasn’t until I saw a recipe for glorified nachos on a real food blog recommending Whole Foods generic organic brand of chili that my attitude towards this convenience food changed. I soon began stocking up on it to have on hand for those moments when I needed something fast.
But it was expensive, and there came a time when we had so many of “those moments”, that stocking it really started to strain the budget. Then we began canning, and I decided to start putting up my own.
While canned is still processed, and not quite as tasty as fresh; when canned in my own kitchen I know exactly what goes into it. When we’ve been on the go, working in the garden, or I simply don’t have a meal planned, I can pop open a jar of chili and have a meal on the table in just a matter of minutes. This is also great for lunches when we don’t have leftovers on hand or bread made for sandwiches.
Plan ahead: unless you are going to use canned beans, you will need to soak your beans enough in advance so that they will be ready when you are ready to cook. I soak mine overnight and cook them the following morning. However, Jackie Clay recommends lightly cooking the beans the day of by covering with water, bringing to a boil, boiling for five minutes and then allowing them to stand, covered for at least 2 hours.
1. Start with a clean kitchen. Canning is fun and rewarding but it is an all day thing. It also involves numerous steps that cannot be overlooked, it can get hot and heavy. A clean, uncluttered kitchen will help make things go much more smoothly and eliminate unnecessary confusion.
2. Read through all instructions before getting started. All of your instructions, your recipe, your canning guide (you do have one don’t you? Don’ t can without one. The internet/blogs are not considered a canning guide), your canner instructions. Keep them out in a place where they can be easily referred back to.
3. Wash your jars, lids and bands.
4. Set your jars in the oven to warm
5. Pour simmering water over your jars and bands.
Now, after you have done all that, and feel that you’ve already done a full days’ work (at least I do at this point)… prepare a monster batch of your favorite chili recipe.
~When it has started to heat through, fill your hot jars leaving 1” of headspace.
~Put on your lids and screw on the bands fingertip tight.
~Load them into your canner and process according to your canner directions at 10# of pressure. Process pints for 75 min. and quarts for 90 min.
Following is the recipe I like to use. Bear in mind that we like a lot of heat, and that heat will increase over time. This gets us about 7 quarts with a little bit leftover to sample.
2T of bacon grease or oil
4 medium yellow onions, chopped
6T chopped garlic
6T chili powder
4t dried oregano
2 pounds of ground beef
4t kosher salt
4 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
30oz of cooked kidney beans
30oz of cooked black turtle beans
2T minced chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
Heat the grease in a large stock pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined. Add the ground beef and 1t of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently until cooked through. 8-10 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally. for 1 hour*. Adjust the seasonings with more salt or chipotle chilis if necessary.
*If making this recipe to can, delete this step. Cook just until heated through. It will finish cooking during the canning process.
Serving suggestion: top with any one or all of the following: grated sharp white cheddar cheese, chopped white or green onions, sour cream, crumbled blue corn chips, chopped jalepeno chilis.
We purchased this book through Backwoods Home but it is also available through Amazon. It has been very helpful in learning how to stock and store our pantry.
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