I did some canning yesterday. I had this great idea to make a quadruple batch of my yummy ratatouille and can it to eat after the baby comes. That way, I can use the overflow of seasonal veggies and stock up for post-baby.
Now, my ratatouille is made from only the finest fresh ingredients. Nothing fake or storebought here. Fresh from the vine (literally) tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, onion, garlic & basil. It is a thing of beauty. But a quad batch means 4x the chopping. I chopped veggies for over 3 hours. Then you have to cook it. My biggest pan barely holds a double batch. But, I found this big pot at a rummage sale for waterbath canning. 21 quarts, that should hold it. In the big pot it all went. Next problem, being both short and round, I could hardly reach to stir the big tall pot. So I stood on a stool. I wish I'd have thought to have Teagan take a picture. I'm sure I looked quite amusing.
So, finally the ratatouille is cooked. My jars are warmed carefully for hot packing, and with Teagan's help, everything is filled and sealed. Into the pressure cooker they go. You must pressure cook soups, I'm told by people more skilled at this than me. Next, close and lock the pressure cooker. Um... we have a problem.
The pressure cooker had just been fitted with a brand new rubber gasket because the old one wasn't sealing. The new one was, well, chubby compared to the old one. But the gurus at the hardware store said this was THE one. But the lid doesn't want to shut. You have to push it down into place and turn to lock. But this baby won't turn. Twenty minutes later, we ended up using a squeeze clamp from the garage to twist the lid into place. Finally closed, we cooked it for the alloted time and went to bed.
This morning we went to pop the lid off and retrieve the yummies. But, the lid is stuck. STUCK STUCK. We call in reinforcements. Will comes over to help but to no avail. A rubber mallet served only to break off the handles. In the end, it took a prybar to bend the lid away from the cooker. Next step was the Sawz-all, but we didn't need it, thankfully. However the cooker is a total loss. As is the brand new $13 gasket.
The ratatouille somehow survived.