Suzy Homemaker?

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?

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One response to “Suzy Homemaker?

  1. 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.

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