Canning outdoors with a Turkey Fryer
By Joseph Parish
An interesting concept and experiment that most canners have to try is canning your garden fresh produce with the use of an outdoor turkey fryer. Yes, that’s right the kind where you normally fill it with oil and place the turkey in it to cook. Only with this use you place water in it.
The largest problem most canners would find is that they experience trouble in adjusting the flame to such a low level that it usually blows out. In view of this problem one would not want to consider the use of the turkey fryer for anything other then water bath canning. Unfortunately even when used as a water bath canner you can often experience the same problem in high wind areas. The solution is simply to build a windscreen around the fryer using several pieces of plywood that are hinged together. These can be easily moved around the fryer according to the wind direction. This wind block is highly advisable because it will take a couple of hours to get the water hot enough to boil otherwise. Keep in mind that the pressure canning is still best completed inside while the water bath can be done outside.
The first thought in today’s cost conscious market is what it is costing me in the way of fuel. Using the small two foot high twenty pound propane tank similar to those used on a BBQ grill would provide roughly 20 to 30 hours of cooking time. It would be difficult to state exactly what the cost is since the price of the fuel is constantly changing. There appears to be no “average” price for the propane so it will vary greatly from area to area, and from state to state. You can do a rough estimate and place the cost approximately the same as a gallon of regular gas. Currently regular gasoline is about $3.25 per gallon.
Some people have claimed that they can use a complete tank in one season however once again that would depend upon just how much canning the person has to do. It does appear to be a pretty thrifty way to do your canning.
Let’s keep in mind that when you have your tank filled if it happens to be a five pound tank it is actually only filled with four pounds of propane. This allows a head space for the Propane to expand and shrinks according to the external temperatures.
The turkey fryer manufacturers usually specify that you will get approximately 14 hours of burning time from a tank of propane set upon the highest setting. This means that you should obtain a lot more burn time should you keep it low.
I used our turkey fryer to complete some canning last summer using a hot water bath. It appeared to work great and tended to prevent a lot of extra heat build up in the kitchen. One can readily appreciate that in the hot middle of summer. I found out that you can save a lot on fuel by jump starting your turkey fryer. Simply heat up water on your stove and pour it in the fryer.
All serious food canner must try this method at least one time, if for no other reason then to say that they in fact did try it. Have fun canning.
Copyright @2008 Joseph Parish