As I have mentioned before, I am a nurse. But before I became a nurse, my degree was Home Economics. I know, what a switch, right? But, the truth is I LOVE all of the art, science and crafting which is a part of Home Economics and Homemaking.
Sometimes, it’s even harder than it looks. For example, the past few weekends I have been trying to master decipher the art and science of canning.
I have had an abundance of lemon cucumbers and peppers. I HATE to waste food and especially produce from my garden. But, sadly I have from time to time. So, I decided THIS year, I would can some of my bounty.
Martha Stewart is right when she says you must have the right tool for the job. This is especially true in canning. So I trecked over to my local Walmart and bought a 21 qt. canner with jar lifter like this one, wide mouth funnel, a magnetic wand here (this is maybe the most important tool I purchased) a case of 12 pint size jars with lids and rings, and extra lids and rings because that’s how I am.
I also bought this book
which is wonderful. It is very informative, has amazing recipes, gives step-by-step instructions and even has a section to help you figure out where you screwed up. Invaluable. More on that later.
My first attempt was to make spiced peach preserves. The peaches I used were not from my garden, but purchased from a local orchard.
I did everything , I thought, correctly. But, my preserves didn’t jell. Evidently, I didn’t cook the fruit/syrup long enough (per Ms. Costenbader). I used a thermometer, thinking this would be the most accurate method, but next time I will use the freezer test, also. As you can see, they didn’t jell.
Sad. However, they are a delicious spiced peach syrup which is excellent on pancakes and ice cream! And isn’t the color gorgeous?
The next attempt was to make bread and butter pickles from a recipe in the book using my lemon cucumbers.
Well. Evidently, I should have used more of the lemon cucumbers than a regular pickling cucumber because I ended up with way more of the liquid than cukes.
Rats. Next time, I will use 6-8 quarts of lemon cucumbers instead of 4 per the recipe. I am also going to cut them in chunks instead of 1/8 inch slices.
Yet another foray into canning produced these pickled peppers. Can you identify the problem?
Yep, floaters. Not too big of a problem, I should have just packed them tighter. For this recipe, there was no processing needed. Simply, prepare your jars, cook your vinegar solution and pour over your peppers. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe here. I substituted hatch chile peppers and pepperoncini peppers. They are supposed to cure for a week, so I’ll get back to you on how they taste. Because, other than being free of botulism, taste is the most important part. Don’t you think?
One response to “Suzy Homemaker?”
oh how funny, i’m just learning to can too! the freezer test is the only method that’s worked for me so far. i had the exact opposite problem with my bread and butter pickles–not quite enough juice. and i’m making pickled peppers and peach preserves (from a local orchard) this weekend! so many coincidences.