In all of the years that I lived in New Jersey, we have never lost power for more than a day and a half. Consequently, my freezer and refrigerator have stayed cold. Hurricane Sandy broke the rule. After day 2, I knew I was doomed. My whole freezer contained my frozen garden produce, homemade chicken and vegetable broths, meat, canned beans, and other assorted frozen foods. I guess you could refer to me as the “freezer queen” since I made large batches of items to freeze for later use.
Well, my whole ” freeze for later” concept was thrown back in my face when day 3 of no power rolled around. The freezer that I refused to open? Well, it started leaking.
I stood there in horror. What was I going to do? In fact, what would you do? Luckily my friends (with generators) had freezer space in their freezers, but not enough to house a full stand up freezer.
The Freezer Was My Titanic
I felt like I was on the Titanic. Women and children first. In that case, most expensive items such as the meat and chicken went to my friends. We quickly took out the meat and started to take out everything that already started to defrost like the ice cream. I also took out all the chicken broth to defrost. Then didn’t open the freezer again.
FYI, my boys elected to eat a whole container of ice cream themselves for the cause. (Mind you there are only two at home right now.) Wasn’t that nice?
Pressure Canner Comes in Handy
Panic has set in.
I looked over at my big Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker who was waving wildly at me. Over here, Anna, it kept calling. Over here. (And yeah, it is a big boy that handle 7 quart jars!) Go big or go home, I always say.
Luck has it, I learned how to can at the end of this past summer since I had a boat load of tomatoes to deal with. (Watch my video about canning tomatoes.)
But here is the Rub…
But when I had power, I used my oven to keep the jars hot and my instant hot water faucet to keep the lids warm. (By the way, I have an InSinkErator Hot Water Dispenser and can’t say enough about how much I love the convenience of instant hot water.)
Without power, all I had was my gas stove, my large pressure canner, and a stock pot.
I never dreamed canning would take so long without my oven. Here is my life for the next couple of days:
- Heat a large stock pot of water with 7 or more quart jars. This could take forever.
- Each time I use all the quart jars in the stock pot, I had to either wait for the water to cool down to wash dishes since I didn’t have hot water or throw out the water to use cool water with the glass jars.
- Originally, I put cold jars in hot water with knives so the jars wouldn’t crack. Guess what? One would crack in the pressure canner. Lesson learned but added more time.
- Heat up the liquid, beans, vegetables, etc since you have to hot pack the jars.
- Heat up the lids to use to can.
- Then use the pressure cooker.
- Lighting everything with a Bic Surestart Lighter. Sometimes it was real tricky to get to the back pots. (And no I wasn’t using matches. I would blow up the house.)
Not the Squash.
Defending the Raspberry Patch
From Tuesday to Saturday, I canned.
Join the Conversation:
- What lessons have you learned when faced with power outages?
- Do you can? If so, do you can everything?
- What changes have you made since all the power outages and frequent storms?
- What survival skills have you drawn on when the power goes out?
- Do you think I went overboard? I am a big girl. Give it to me straight.