Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I love to can and I've been wanting to get my supplies out and can something but I had no idea what.
So, I drove to the local produce store near me and checked out what they had.
I was going to get some oranges and make marmalade. Yet, that didn't sound like something I was in the mood for. I continued to walk around to see what they had that interested me.
I saw some pears that looked really good and the price sounded pretty good too. I picked up a few and they felt ripe to me.
So, I got a bag full and figured I would do a small batch to see if I even liked them.
They are Comice Pears. I had no idea if they were good or not. I also had no idea how to can them because I've never canned pears before.
I searched on line for a recipe and read the directions. Sounded easy enough. So, I got to work.
I washed and peeled the skin off the pears. Cut them up and removed the core and stem and bottom part where it was once the flower.
I made a simple syrup and cooked them for about 5 mins. They syrup was nothing more then 6 1/4 cups water and 3 cups of sugar. Brought to a boil.
Once the syrup came to a boil, I put the cut up pears in there for five minutes.
I had already gotten my jars and lids ready and my water bath was just waiting for the freshly packed jars.
When you put your fruit into the hot jars be sure to pack the fruit down really good. Just when you think you have no more room for any more fruit, put one more in and push down. If you don't pack the fruit in there, they will end up floating to the top and you will have the syrup in the bottom of the jar.
Also, ladle in the hot syrup after the fruit is in and be sure to get out the air pockets. It's sometimes hard to do that and I noticed I had some tiny bubbles still in mine but it will be fine.
Once you have the lids on, put your jars in a water bath and boil for 15 mins. That's it!
I also got some pickling cucumbers. My sister has been wanting me to make her some bread and butter pickles. I figured today was as good as any to make them.
These are also easy to do.
I had been searching on line and in my books for a good recipe. But, I didn't have any luck. Then I found a package of spices when I was over in the canning supplies area of Walmart. Perfect! My sister doesn't like chunks of onions or peppers and this would allow me to make these without those.
You just follow the directions on the package, dump in the spices, 6 cups of vinegar and 7 cups of sugar. YES 7 cups! Bring it all to a boil.
While you are waiting on that to boil, Wash and cut up the cucumbers. Then pack them in hot jars and pour the hot mixture over them, being sure to cover them all. Leave a little room, about 1/2 inch.
Place them in the water bath for 10 minutes.
You can see from my picture that I didn't pack them enough and they are floating a little bit. Oh well. They will be fine. They just don't look as pretty that way.
You pretty much do pineapple the way you do the pears. Only, you don't want to over cook the pineapple or it will be mushy.
So make the same syrup with 6 1/4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar. Bring it to a boil. Then place your peeled pineapple in there. I just left it in there for about 2 mins. When I pulled it out, I ran it under cold water to stop it from cooking.
Then I cut it up into chucks. You could do spears or even slice into rings if you wanted. I wanted chunks.
Pack the pineapple down really good and pour the syrup over the pineapple making sure it's all covered and leave 1/2 head space.
Put the jars in a water bath for 15 mins.
I like being able to make small batches. That way, you can try out different recipes and see if you even like it before you spend much money only to find out you hate it.
I made 3 jars of pears, 4 pickles and 6 pineapple.
I made mine in pint size jars. If you use quart jars you will need to cook yours in the water bath twice as long as I did.
I'm happy I tried three new items to can. I found out they were very easy to do and as long as the taste good (which I'm sure they will) I'll can more fruit as soon as the stores are full of all the wonderful summer fruits.
Now I just have to get my nerve up to can using my pressure canner. I'm a bit scared. But, I know once I do it I will be happy. So soon. Soon, I will be canning all the good soups, sauces and veggies that can be done with a pressure canner.
What's your favorite thing to can?