The importance of reading the directions

We had a turkey carcass, celery, onions and carrots leftover from Thanksgiving. Of course I’m going to make stock out of it. It came out alright, even though I had cans that seemed to take on a life of their own and nearly explode.

So early last friday I toss all of that, some bay leaves, some garlic cloves, salt and lots of water into our biggest pot. I brought the mixture to a boil, which took forever, then turned it down, put the lid on and went and sat on the couch with my wife.

A movie later the stoke stock was done and Jamey was taking a nap. Instead of just throwing it in a jar in the fridge, I decided to can the stuff. And not just a hot water bath, but pressure canning. So I did the prerequisite of sterilizing everything, getting the water boiling in the pressure cooker, which again took forever, and filling the cans with the stock.

I put the six jars back in the cooker, put on the lid, and waited. Eventually it was up to 10 pounds of pressure in there, what the book tells me is safe for stock, and I kept it there for 10 minutes. Then came the fun part of letting the pressure escape. It was like a jet took off in our kitchen.

Finally, the pressure hit zero and I could take out the jars. As soon as they came out, lids and bands on, seemingly perfect, stock began to jet out through the seal of the lids. It scared the hell out of me.

I didn’t know what was happening. Doesn’t stuff shrink when it’s heated? Why is my floor covered in delicious stock? When will these jars stop shooting liquid everywhere?

It didn’t take long for them to stop. Turns out I ignored a terribly important part of canning — head room. Head room’s the space between the top of your liquid in your can and the lid. I didn’t leave much, wanting to get as much of my hard work in the jars as possible. Turns out, the boiling liquid and gas inside the jars needed about 1/2 an inch, I left 1/8.

So now the stock, seals not perfect, sits in our fridge instead of our closet.

Read all the instructions. Lesson learned, for now.

  1. You make me want to go out and buy the stuff for canning. It seems like a wise investment, if it means saving food. And stock. We use a lot of stock. And make a lot.

  2. Patricio said:

    Despite the mishap, I’m still impressed.

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