Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pop ... pop ..

... pop!  It's become my favorite sound this summer.  The sound of jars sealing on the kitchen counter. 

The bounty of our fruit CSA this summer has just overwhelmed us.  We've eaten peaches, nectarines and plums daily for weeks, but from the middle of July until now we have just not been able to keep up.  It broke my heart to throw away fruit that was over-ripe  to make room for each week's new batch.  So, in August I learned to can.

I'm a mini-canner.  I only make two or three jars (half-pints, at that!) at the time; my largest batch just six jars.  But it feels so good to "put something away" for the winter.  [I hear my grandmother saying, "waste not, want not" in my ear.]  Mind you, I am not sure I will actually let anyone eat any of it.

Yesterday we had a rainy afternoon, so I finished up the week's canning with two jars of plum preserves, four jars of tomato jam, and then in the crock pot overnight six jars of apple butter.  I hope to do some pear butter tonight.

So far we have peach, plum, Damson plum, fig and nectarine jams, plus Ginger Plum and Balsamic Plum jams, tomato jam, a sweet red pepper jam, and apple butter.  Am planning on pear butter next and then I will have run out of space in my cabinet.  Will have to give some away before I can make more!

Nectarines mixed with sugar (and Splenda).  Let it sit for 15 minutes and then cook it down.

Plum preserves going into the jar.  I bought a "canning set" that included this handy dandy funnel, a pair of tongs for getting the jars out of the canning bath, and a magnet to lift the jar tops out of hot water.  If you get a canning set, you can be a canner, too.
Tomatoes starting to cook down.  The tomato jam is wonderful - tomatoes, cinnamon, red pepper, sugar - and hits most of the bases, taste-wise.  It's our favorite find.

Damson plums cooking down.  Altho they took a lot of sugar, they are just wonderful.  It was my grandmother's favorite jam, but I had only had the commercial variety until now.

Apple butter after a night in the slow cooker.  Making butters this way is so easy!
If you will drop by for a cup of tea on the garden bench, now I can promise you a biscuit and jam, too.  You're always invited and welcome.


  1. So industrious, I would be very happy/smug if I had done all that! What is a canning bath. Can you just cook fruit down with sugar and put into sterile jars or is there a complicated procedure? Would love to know more. x

  2. I so want to learn to can. My mother made wonderful fig preserves and grape jelly. Do you did special equipment for the hot water bath? Can the jars sit on the bottom of a stock pot? Everything looks wonderful!

  3. Does that look delicious, or what? I admire your drive to put stuff up, and it will be great enjoying it this winter. I do wish you lived closer, can I exchange some eggs for a jar of pear butter?

  4. First, Anneke, I assumed that you canned - with all the sustainability of your small farm... i would happily trade eggs for pear butter (altho I have not made any yet!).

    Bonnie and Belinda, it's really easy. You absolutely just cook the fruit down and put it in jars, but if you don't "can" it, you have to refrigerate and eat it very soon, or freeze, or risk mold and disease - like botulism! I use my stock pot for the canner, and can do six half pints at the time. There is a great blog: and her recipes work very well. If you do some looking in her archives, there are instructions, or you can google. Half the universities in the U.S. have canning information thru their extension departments. Jars and lids are available at every Wal-Mart. I can ship some to England if anyone there needs them and cannot find them!

  5. Oh no, not me! I believe in scorpaciatta: eat in season until you bust, then heave stuff to the chickens :). I am rather outside than standing in a hot kitchen. But that does not mean I would not enjoy someone else's labors...