Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Many Cans Can a Canner Can?

The last few days of our vacation, we played catch-up on work around the home, and I had fun getting back into canning.

First, I started a big pot of water bowling with apples that I picked from the trees in my father's backyard--dwarf apple trees my mother and I bought and planted together several years ago.

I didn't have to peel and core them. I just followed my sister's advice and the instructions inside a package of Sure-Jell, and only washed the apples, quatered them, and cut off the blossom end and the stem. Then I bowled them until they were soft enough to mash with an antique potato masher that I inherited from one of my two grandmothers.

After boiling the mashed apples, I put them through a sieve lined with a jelly bag my mother had made from cheesecloth. That netted enough apple juice to make two batches of apple jelly, and then I went to work with the sieve again to make apple butter.

The first photo with this post shows my sieve with its wooden tool for pressing the fruit against the sides. I had to do a lot of pressing for the juice for the jelly, but I got even more of an upper-body workout pressing without the jelly bag to make the apple butter. But after enjoying a baking powder biscuit last night with a generous smear of homemade apple butter, I would gladly do it all again.

After pressing the apple mush through the sieve, leaving just the hard cores and seeds in the sieve, plus the remaining mush that I decided to compost, I sweetened it using a formula I found in 1950s-era cookbook--measure the apple mush to find the volume and add 1/3 of that volume of sugar to the apple mush. Then, heat in a big pot on the stove until its bubbly.

While the sweetened apple mush was cooking, I added a couple of teaspoons of almond extract (just until it tasted right to me). And then I canned the apple butter.

My last canning effort of the day was another batch of those luscious Italian-Style Banana Peppers I made before our vacation. One taste of what I had made then, and I knew that I had to buy more banana peppers from the farmers market. I canned two jars and put the rest into the refrigerator to use right away...What a treat it will be this winter to enjoy home-canned produce from the summer and fall! And I'm thinking that I might use a few of the jars of apple jelly for gifts this Christmas.


USAincognito said...

More power to you for canning! I don't have the patience for it! lol.

Karen said...

Actually, it's just a matter of having something else to do while the water comes to a boil and then while it boils your canned goods for the time the recipe recommends. And since the kitchen is a mess while you're preparing the food for canning, I worked on clean-up during that time...But anyway, it's great to hear from you. Thank you for visiting. :-)