With the horrific heat that's been blanketing so much of the U.S. in the last couple weeks, a reader had a question I thought was worth highlighting. She writes:
We live in Oklahoma. Canning in the extreme heat of the last couple of years has me on the edge of questioning the entire process. We had WEEKS of 100+ temps last year with extended stretches of ~115 heat indices. This year's actual temps have hovered 98-105, but so far have been accompanied by low humidity. Traditionally, our hottest weeks are still ahead.
I've done a lot of canning in the very late night or early hours to escape the worst of the heat, but until I can figure out how to get the garden to produce in the fall or winter, :) I'm stuck canning in the heat.
We've been working on some land for two years - built a barn (with "house" capabilities), drilled a well, put in a nice garden, fencing, etc. and we're preparing a spot to build our future home. Before we settle in on a plan, I want to explore all the possibilities for a different arrangement for canning. Hubby works in the heat all day and I'd like for him to have a cool(er) place to rest when he comes in.
Options to date:
1) Outside "kitchen" -- not one of those ostentatious dream kitchens I've seen outside some huge homes, but basically just a stove on the back porch. Am I asking for trouble, with wind and pests? I've heard horror stories of canning failures thought to be due to the air movement outside.
2) Put a stove in a room of the barn (no barn animals yet). Room has concrete floor, water and propane.
3) Continue canning inside the house. Since air conditioners have a hard time just keeping up with a 20 degree inside/outside differential (ours is set 80-82), I don't want to put more strain on the system so usually turn it off when I can. I currently use a small fan on my legs to help cut the oppressive heat.
Do you or any of your readers have any suggestions? I need help here. Thank you.
My thoughts are as follows:
1. A protected outdoor site (out of the wind) would work, but what's more important is the heat source. Moving a stove outdoors should work fine.
2. Ditto moving a stove to the barn. In fact, this is probably a better idea than canning outdoors.
3. Nah, avoid canning in the house if the temperatures are this extreme. Options 1 and 2 are why housewives used to have summer kitchens, because cooking on a wood cookstove in high temperatures was insane.
Readers, other suggestions?