Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Easy Way to Can

I did it.  I really did it:  I actually canned something.


To be honest, my friend Karra helped me can something - peach jam and peach cobbler. My head didn't explode; the house did not burn down. It was really very painless and quite rewarding.

Karra called me last week and said that "local" peaches (really from Georgia, not North Carolina where we live, as we were amused to discover) were on sale for $0.79 that day and asked if I would like to make peach jam with her. What I didn't know was that she was planning on buying 50 (that is five-oh) pounds of peaches.  Yikes! Did she know they have to be peeled??


I jumped right in, though, so I could learn the mystical art of canning.  Best thing I learned, however, is that it is not so mystical after all.  It was really pretty easy and Karra has a great way of doing it with no canner needed. Would you believe it involves the dishwasher and beach towels??


Karra and I got busy peeling. The first 25 lbs. of peaches went toward the jam making.  In jam making, I learned, you have to use fruit pectin and the best known brand is Sure-Jell. We decided to use Sure-Jell Low Sugar fruit pectin, rather than the regular version, as it calls for much less sugar - meaning fewer calories and lower overall cost.  We followed the recipe that came in the package for peach jam, which can be found here. The 25 pounds of peaches produced enough fruit for 9 batches.

For each batch we used:
4 1/2 cups of cut peaches
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 pkg. Sure-Jell Low Sugar Fruit Pectin
1 Tbsp butter

As we were peeling the peaches, the jars and rings were being run through the dishwasher not only to clean them, but also to heat them on the drying cycle.

                      

Once we cooked the peach mixture according to the Sure-Jell recipe and it was piping hot, we boiled the lids and laid a folded beach towel on the counter. Karra took a few jars out of the dishwasher at a time, along with that many bands, then quickly closed the dishwasher to keep in the heat.  I quickly poured the jam into one jar at a time, filling all the way to the top.  Karra wiped the rim of the jar off, pulled a hot lid out of the pot using a nifty magnet-on-a-stick thingy, put it on top of the jar, and secured it with a band. It was then placed on the towel, upside down, and covered with another beach towel.


After 5 minutes we turned them right side up, then recovered them with the towel. We repeated this, using a few jars at a time, until we were out of peach jam mixture. The 25 lbs. made 48 half-pint jars of golden-colored jam. After a while we checked to make sure none of the lids "gave" when pressed in the middle. Karra says that if they do, those need to be processed in the canner the old-fashioned way.

We then let them sit, covered with the towel, for 24 hours.  That was it! If I knew canning could be this easy, I would have done it ages ago.

Want to know what we did with the other 25 lbs. of peaches?  Cobbler-In-A-Jar! Tomorrow I'll share the recipe with you.

6 comments :

  1. I found you through HomeTalk - I have to tell you I think this is awesome! I hate pressure cookers and have always water bath canned my tomatoes and apple butter. I'm pinning this and am following you. Can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeves :-)

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    1. Thanks for visiting and following, Faith!

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  2. We used to can wild artichoke relish every year, and it involved washing the 'chokes in my husband's grandparents' washing machine! I never understood how it didn't ruin the machine, but they did this for probably 40 years. I bet those peaches are going be great in the winter, will be like a little bit of summer then. Take care - Dawn

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    1. In the washing machine??? Now that is inventive! Thanks for the laugh, Dawn:)

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  3. Next time, CALL ME! :) I've been saying for years I am going to learn to can for real. I've even looked into the pressure canners to purchase, but alas, year and after passes and I don't. Looks amazing. :)

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