Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Want to Break Free

Like prisoners, caught in a cell, free to go but for the lack of a key.Trapped inside my canner are eight pints of albacore. The key? A rubber gasket.

The old floppy gasket was leaking at the end of last season and I finally found one at Shafers sometime this past spring and, upon comparing it to the old one, found it to be correct and tossed the old one. The first tuna of the season, purchased from the Captain of the F/V Sunlight, was sweet, half of which disappeared at Sunday dinner leaving the remainder to be savored at a later date. The jars of albacore were placed in the canner, the gasket tucked into the lid. The lid would NOT close. No matter how I tried, no way, no how. I warmed it. I oiled it….methods the generally work no matter WHAT you’re working on but the lid would not go on the canner. Finally, Mark got involved and HE pushed. He pulled. Finally, face red and veins popping, he managed to twist the lid of the canner closed. "We may not get it back open but…there it is." Funny guy!

Last night, I played the Tuna Canner symphony, the infernal rattling of the canner, with a 10# weight for 110 minutes which is an interminably long time to endure the clatter of metal-on-metal. This morning, the canner was cooled down and I attempted to open it to extract the jars. Not budging. I called Mark; he too was unable to move it. We worked together with me holding the lid and him twisting the bottom. Then I held the pot and he twisted the lid. His arms hurt. My LEGS hurt. I am not butch enough for this kind of business. He brought in clamps to try to gently, but forcefully turn the lid. We put the pot back on the stove just to warm it gently. and tried again. Crap!

No help at ALL from Mirro who agreed that this was likely a faulty gasket, too thick for the application. Tricia in Customer (non-)Service suggested I toss this one and buy a new one. No suggestion on how to accomplish this SINCE IT WAS STUCK IN THE FREAKING POT! No compensation due me since “the vendors [in Brazil] are responsible, Ma’am, not Mirro.” Grrr.

The canner is still sitting on my counter. Eight pints of tuna are encapsulated inside, presumably intact. Any thoughts?

UPDATE: Another half hour of struggling with clamps and pieces of kindling for wedges, the tuna is free! THAT seriously took the fun out of canning.

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