Tuesday, July 17, 2012

bored or resourceful...you decide

I can't tell whether I'm just bored, or being resourceful, but either way I have started canning. I borrowed my mom's canning equipment, and I'm starting to take advantage of all the awesomeness that the farmers markets and fruit stands in Chattanooga have to offer.  The good news is, that while I have started small, it's really not that hard.

I started off very safe, with a "I think this should work" recipe in small quantities, and it went well enough that I'm about to enter the 'go big or go home' phase.  I made just over 1.5 pints of strawberry/peach preserves, and did one pint size jar of pickled onions.  I really like having the onions around to put on salads, or toss in with green beans.

The preserves taste great.  I didn't add anything to help it gel up, so it's a little runny compared to traditional preserves, but I just couldn't add any more sugar.  I'd love to know if you 'can', and what your favorite recipes are.  Please let me know in the comments!

If you're interested, here are the recipes I started with:

Strawberry/Peach Preserves:
1 medium package of strawberries
1 large basket of peaches
1 lemon, juiced (or concentrate)
2 oranges juiced (or concentrate)
2 cups of sugar

Yield:1.75 pints

Dice your fruit and place in a saucepan with lemon and orange juice.  Bring to Boil over medium heat.  Drain, and set fruit aside.  Bring the liquid back to a boil and slowly add the sugar so it fully dissolved.  Reduce heat to a rolling boil.  Cook down the liquid for at least 20 minutes or until the foam has dissipated, stirring occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning.  When you are happy with the consistency, add the fruit, bring back to a boil, then fill your jars.

Pickled Onions

2 medium videlia onions, thinly sliced
* 3 parts vinegar, 1 part water mixture
3 gloves garlic, chopped
Yield: 1 Pint

Confession: since I was only making 1 jar I cheated on my measurements. I stuffed the onions in the jar, and then added the vinegar & water until the jar was completely full.  
In a saucepan, bring vinegar water mixture to a boil.  Add the onions and garlic, bring back to a boil.  Then fill your jar, leaving 1/2 an inch at the top.  I want my onions to stay crisp, so they don't have to boil long, just enough to kill any bacteria that was on the outside layer of the onion.

The principles behind canning are sterilize your jars and your lids, fill your jars with hot (boiling) contents leaving a little room at the top for the air to collect, then process in boiling water so the air escapes, and you create a vacuum seal as everything cools.

How exactly you process what you're canning varies based on what it is, and rather than go into the details I'm going to share this link from Ball.

Again, let me know if you're a canner, and what you preserve!

1 comment:

  1. Our neighbors do this and give us some every year it's pretty cool


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