Monday, September 26, 2011
Learning To Can
Anyway, I just wanted to drop in quickly and share something that has inspired me - I learned how to can this fall! I know, I know, as a good little Mormon homemaker, i SHOULD know how to can already, but i just never learned. Probably mostly because of the fact that i'm not big on canned peaches, and i also worry too much about doing it wrong and giving everyone food poisoning.
Anyway, i have a wonderful friend who has all kinds of jars and equipment, and I had a Saskatoon berry bush in my backyard that i had no idea what to do with, so she taught me how to make Saskatoon berry syrup (yum)! Then, another friend informed us that he had an over-abundance of crab apples on his trees, so i got to learn how to can those too!
First we did apple juice and apple sauce. it was so easy! My friend has a steam juicer, so we steamed the heck out of those little red apples (they were SO red and perfect!) and canned the juice, then put the soggy apples through a food mill and canned the pulp, which made delicious apple sauce (though i can't stand anything too tart, so i had to add sugar to mine)! i just LOVE the way these jars look on my shelf! So gorgeous!
I promise i didn't add a thing to them (besides sugar to the sauce) - the apples were just THAT red! The juice is like a concentrate - we add two or three jars of water and a little sugar to make a delicious drink! They'll also make fantastic cider in the winter!
Then I found myself with a ton more apples, and i borrowed my friend's juicer and food mill to try something different. I found a recipe for Apple Butter over at "Mennonite Girls Can Cook". It sounded delicious! So i tried it. All by myself I steamed, pulped, cooked, and canned just over 20 cups of apple butter! It smelled like Christmas in my house all day long, and talk about delicious! It tastes like apple cider, and every time i spread it on toast (or sandwiches, or biscuits, or muffins...) i get a nice big bite of Christmassy flavor!
I canned the apple butter in 1 cup jars, and intend to give them away as Christmas treats for friends and neighbors (while saving plenty for myself of course).
There's something very empowering about learning how to can - especially learning to can things i know i'll actually use (I'm doing pears this week!!). I don't know if i'm excited about saving money, learning a new skill, being self reliant, or having delicious preserves - maybe a combination of all of the above - but i have thoroughly enjoyed the experience!