Time to can.
And by this I mean not just that it’s time to can (which it is) but also that I have time to can. One of the luxuries of our largely unscheduled time in New York is that it feels so much easier to plan and execute an ambitious schedule of canning. And lately, I’ve been doing just that.
Really, is there anything more satisfying than a beautiful shelf full of canned goods? I love it so much that I actually cleared out a space in our cellar here for just such a shelf. The main part of the cabin is really too small to be used for storage anyway, and who can resist actually having a cellar to store canned goods? I mean, at home I have a basement, but here I have an actual cellar. It has big slanted double-doors that you open from the outside, and then you go down a set of wooden stairs into the cellar. I dug out a little set of shelves and a couple of boards to make some more shelves. A hosing down and a little scrubbing, and I had a nice downstairs pantry. Which I’ve done my darndest to fill during the last week.
Here’s the tally for the week:
- 4 pints of raspberry jam. I tried a new (to me) pectin, Ball’s no-sugar-needed pectin. I assume this is the same as their older one, but I love that it comes in a bulk package, so you can make a batch of any size. I used 2 cups of sugar for 6-plus cups of crushed fruit, which made for a nice tart product. And I thought the texture of this was pretty good, not too gummy.
- 6 pints rhubarb chutney. Having never settled on a favorite recipe, I tried this one from Mrs. Wheelbarrow. And then I tweaked it, adding a bit more sugar and some orange juice and some powdered ginger to make up for not having enough crystallized ginger. I couldn’t get thai peppers so I used what I could find, which weren’t as hot.
- 5 pints of chocolate-raspberry jam, or confiture, or whatever you want to call it. This was how I found Mrs. Wheelbarrow in the first place, and if you haven’t done so already, you should check out her amazing blog. Every time I visit I find something new that I want to make. I have my last precious sour cherries in the freezer in the hopes of making cherry-apricot preserves once the apricots come in. But I digress. This chocolate raspberry stuff is magical and amazing. It’s great just by the spoonful, but I’ve been especially enjoying it stirred into plain greek yogurt. I actually made two batches, hoping that I’ll have plenty to give as gifts. At this rate, I’m not sure I’m going to be willing to share!
- 2 pints of cherry jam. 2 precious little pints! I went with the recipe from Food in Jars with mixed success. I had to cook the jam for longer in order for it to reach the gelling point, and it cooked down quite a lot–meaning a lower yield and a sweeter jam than I would like. Sadly, the sour cherries are now gone for the year, so I won’t have another chance to get it right. But still, cherry jam is cherry jam. Yum!
- 2 precious pints of cherries. I did a hot pack, simmering them with some sugar and then adding some Grand Marnier at the end. I made some stewed cherries (from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything) earlier in the month and loved having them in the fridge to eat out of the jar, so my hope was to basically duplicate this for canning. I’m hopeful these will be a burst of summer in the cold months.
So that’s it for now. I’m kind of on a canning break, waiting for the New York apricots to come in. Meanwhile, I’m turning my attention to sewing and knitting….