So, the problem with canning is that, unless you have a pressure canner, there are a lot of things you just can’t “put up” in jars. Even with a pressure canner, you can’t can everything. This is because botulism can develop and thrive in an oxygen free, low acid environment, and conventional boiling will not get to temperatures high enough to kill it. A pressure canner will do so, but only if the food is not so dense as to prevent the heat from reaching the entire jar. It’s a dangerous mix, especially since botulism is not usually detectable by smell or taste.
Well, recently I’ve begun making soup. Just because soup is good food (thanks, Campbell’s) and relatively easy, and also because with the days getting shorter and colder, soup is what I want. But living alone, and wanting to maximize my time and resources spent making food, I usually make a relatively big pot of soup or stew, and then put it in the fridge. Usually that means some of it goes off before I get to it, or the thrill of enjoying good soup disappears due to the monotony of eating it every day for a week.
But botulism does not thrive in a freezer. So I’ve been saving my now empty jars (I’m going through my chili sauce way too fast!) and filling the pints with soup, putting them in the freezer, and enjoying the knowledge that for the next few cold months, I’ll have relatively quick go-to food on days when my shopping didn’t happen, or time is limited, or just days when I’m feeling lazy.
So far there are two soups in the freezer. One is a vegetable soup, using ingredients from my garden and from the market (I finally found a use for the swiss chard that grew on its own, and is still growing, in spite of the frost). the other is a potato corn chowder that I made with market potatoes and my own frozen corn (removed from the cob a few months ago).
The only downfall of this plan is that I now don’t have as many days with a pot of soup simmering on the stove for hours, filling the house with lovely smells. (These days, the only pot that simmers on the stove is full of wort, and it’s not simmering; hopefully it’s at a rolling boil.)