I opened it, had Alley was it all really well and I started reading the directions. While they were amazingly simple, they were extremely scary and kinda confusing for a brand new novice! I read the directions and warnings 3x before I actually touched the canner. (In the meantime, Alley was in the kitchen helping herself to homemade bread and gravy!) We washed and sterilized my jars in the dishwasher. I left them in there until I was ready to use that specific one, so there was no risk of people/dog contamination.
It wasn't too scary until I had to close it up and turn on the burner. Everything had a warning about making sure the pressure is right so the food doesn't spoil, but you have to make sure the lids on right or it could actually blow in your kitchen! Plus, when you take it off the burner, you have to let it cool slowly and release the pressure BEFORE you attempt to open it...or it can BLOW!
So, as it sits now, I have about 20 mins left of the pressurizing before I remove it from the heat! I just keep watching it. The little weight on the top is just a rockin' and rollin' on the top...like it's supposed too!
So now I wait..and wait...and wait... (90 mins). I took it off the heat and let it cool down and depressurize. Nothing BLEW UP!! :D I consider that a MAJOR success!!
Then I took the lid off and realized it wasn't quite the success I had hoped for. My gravy escaped the jars. It was down the sides and IN the water. :( I either filled them too full (probably) and/or didn't have the lids on tight enough (very possible). So the canner got washed and put back together to try again on a new day. I am very happy it wasn't catastrophic, but seriously wish I had been able to watch/help someone else.
I keep hearing people say that their grandmother used to do it all the time! Now it's just easier to walk into the grocery store and BUY something. The world has gotten so busy that basics are being steamrolled under by technological advances and our instant gratification lifestyle. I want my children to be able to say, "Oh I know how to do that! My MOM does it all the time!"
Now: Tools of the trade :)
16 Qt Presto Pressure Canner
1 1/2 Pint Ball Jars (what I used this time) & Utensil Set (not required, but VERY helpful!)
Limited Edition Ball "Blue" jars (Beautiful! I WILL come up with something to use them with!)
This just tickled my fancy! Mostly because it's my birthday!! LOL Hoping to maybe do it in 2014!