Saturday, September 27, 2014

How Many Cans Can a Canner Can?

Last weekend, k-ster and I drove about an hour away to pick apples.  We've been doing this for a few years, since I figured out how to can applesauce (and a few other things).  I never have enough jars to get me through the winter and around February, I'm always sad to open my last jar.

I use it in baking but I also like to just eat it in the winter when there aren't a lot of produce options.

The place we go isn't organic and this was clearly demonstrated as we noticed the white residue on the apples.  But, I used my theory that fresh and local, even with chemicals, is better than grown in China 4 months ago with chemicals, so we picked and picked.

And then I realized how much applesauce that meant I had to make.  And how much time that meant I would need to devote to canning.

We have this new outdoor propane burner and a huge pot that I bought in the summer for boiling lobsters for a party we had.  I had no idea just how awesome it would turn out to be for canning.

My favorite part looks like this.

I pretty much did the entire canning process outside and it was fantastic.  The mess doesn't matter.  I can use my awesome apple peeler and the juice and skins can fall out of the bag and it's outside, so I can just hose it when I'm done!

If I feel like throwing darts in the middle of it, I can!

This pot came with a fabulous insert that lets me put the jars in and then I can lower it into the water.  When they are done and I take them out, water can drip all over the patio and it doesn't matter!

Why the pot is so far from the table remains a mystery.  The burner connects to a regular propane tank, so I could easily just move it anywhere I wanted.  But, it made it fun to carry hot jars across the patio and not drop them. 

Who doesn't love that kind of challenge?

I've used the boiling water method this year instead of pressure canning.  You can't do that with everything, but with the jellies I made and the applesauce, I used it and everything sealed beautifully except for two jars.  Pressure canning makes me feel better because it's even safer, but it takes forever and the pressure cooker isn't as big as this pot that I used outside.

To speed up the process, I used two crock pots as well as cooking some on the stove.  The crockpots are great when I need to go somewhere but will have time later to can.  When I get back, the apples are totally cooked and then I can can them, while I also have some more apples cooking on the stove.

Many, many, many jars, 2 pies and 3 quarts of pie filling later, and I'm done.  I didn't can the pie filling because I didn't use sure jel (because it freaks me out) and everything I read says that cornstarch isn't safe to use in canning.  So I froze the quarts of pie filling.  I rarely make apple pie, so they will be a nice treat randomly during the winter.

I think this  year, I might actually have enough applesauce to make it right up to the glorious fresh fruits of late spring. 

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! Canning outside sounds fantastic. I'm still stuck inside, sweating and making a gigantic mess, but it's worth it.

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