It’s over. Three mad days of canning. Ending with an afternoon and evening of mad brewing. The latter was itself a bit of an ordeal, and I’ll deal with it in a subsequent post.
Here is the result of the canning adventure.
First, the before picture:
I spent less money than I expected for all of this bootie. Most of it went into jars (except for the apples and peaches, which were for personal and immediate consumption).
The pumpkin went into a very large 6 Gallon “jar.” I had to drive to the market to get this (I live about 10 minutes walk) and then parking around the market was especially bad (lots of spots were lost to construction), so I had to carry about 40 Lb of produce to my car 2 blocks away. I lost feeling in one of my fingers for about an hour! I’m not complaining, because I refuse to complain about parking.
Here is the “after” photo.
Inventory as follows:
- Marinara sauce: 9 Quarts
- Corn salsa: 8 Pints
- Charred chili salsa (aka: onion botulism salsa): 8 Pints
- Roasted pepper ketchup: 4.5 cups (5 x 4oz, 2 x 8oz)
- Roasted chili BBQ sauce: 8 cups
- Pumpkin porter: 5 Gallons.
Oh, and I should not forget my constant underfoot companion, who, while I am strung out trying to can and clean simultaneously, usually ends up here:
That’s Zeeba. She is part Maine Coon, which are fairly social and “pack” animals. In other words, they like to be close to you all the time. Zeeba is lonely, and ends up laying or sitting right behind me while I’m at the counter. Turn around to go to the sink–Zeeba gets some very unwanted attention!
Famous last words.
I think this is the end of the major canning for this autumn. Well, actually I think it’s the end of the major vinegar-fuelled canning. In other words, no more savoury. I will be doing stuff with apples, but I’ve pretty much hit my limit on tomatoes. I think canning the equivalent of over 2 Bushels is enough for one guy, don’t you.
Just by way of a post script.
The “Put Em Up” book is okay, but I was not impressed with some of the recipes, and methods. It was very uneven in its ingredients lists. for example, some recipes called for “Tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped” while others called for “tomatoes” then in the recipe you had to peel, core and chop them. While some may argue that this complaint comes from me being lazy, and not reading the recipe, consistency in ingredient lists and processes is important. If I am planning a canning session, it’s good to be able to see at a glance the basics. If I know a book usually puts the peeling and coring into the process, then I can look there. but if one recipe tells me to peel, core and chop prior to going into the other processes (ie: in the ingredients) but the next does not, it makes for difficulty in planning the day.
The other thing I wasn’t so impressed was, was some of the overly basic simplicity of the outcome. The marinara sauce is just basically tomatoes, onions and garlic. Nothing spectacular. I guess it’s a base for other stuff, but it was a lot of work for such a base.
The final issue I have with this and to be honest other canning books is the ridiculously naive times listed for certain things. One of the Bernardin recipes (I think it was ketchup, but maybe BBQ sauce) called for 45 minutes of boiling to reduce. Three hours later, it was reduced to the proper consistency. this was something I found with the Put Em Up, too: reduction took much longer than expected.
This could be my approach, but I was cooking away at a pretty high temperature. In brewing, our loss of wort per hour is about 10%–so if you are boiling 18Litres, you’ll lose 1.8 litres and hour. I’m sure that the recipes for canning could use a similar constant.
The bottom line is: beware. It will probably take you longer than you think. Especially when making something like a sauce that you want to be thick: let your eyes, not the recipe, guide you. My marinara sauce, boiled down for about three hours, was never as thick as I wanted it. Eventually, though, I just gave up and canned it!