In your quest to stretch your food dollar or bulk up your pantry don’t overlook the joy of small batch canning. Rome wasn’t built in a day and being resilient doesn’t occur overnight.
Small steps make great journeys grasshopper.
Take this Honey Lemon Jelly recipe for instance. Four simple ingredients combine to make a luscious tart treat and it took less than an hour from start to clean kitchen.
Who can argue with that?
Here’s a dirty little secret about water bath canning.
For this recipe you will need:
Combine the lemon rind, lemon juice, and honey in a 6-quart pan.
When the jars have cooled remove the rings and check the lids to make sure they sealed. Then tuck away in the pantry to enjoy later.
This past Saturday was my second time at Market On The Move. I got there at 7:30 a.m. and was gone by 8:30. This time I got 28 pounds of produce which was just fine. I forgot to take a sturdy container and was afraid that any more would’ve just resulted in an Ikea shopping bag full of tomatoe juice. Besides, I think by the time I’ve made weekly trips I will have gotten way more than my hundred bucks worth.
In addition to the ubiquitous tomatoes, they had cabbage and summer squash. I love me some squash! Don doesn’t care for it. He doesn’t care for cabbage either come to think of it. More for me. 🙂
There are no approved recipes for canning squash. I don’t know why. So I froze it.
All those tomatoes above only made these 4 little pints of sauce. But that’s 4 more pints of sauce than we had before.
This is my big experiment.
I’ve created a monster.
This is the result of that effort – 16 lovely pints of canned asparagus. Yummy!
Don found out about this non-profit organization that “rescues” produce that is destined to be thrown out. They take culls from the produce warehouses in Nogales, AZ and truck them to the Phoenix metro area where they distribute them. For a $10 donation you get to pick up anywhere up to 60 pounds of produce.
We got bell peppers, banana peppers, corn, tomatoes, and those little packets of cherry tomatoes. I spent the rest of the weekend processing the produce so it wouldn’t go bad.
Then I shucked the corn and got it ready to freeze. Freezing corn is so easy and it’s not nearly as nerve wracking as canning it. I’ve heard so many horror stories about canned corn. I suspect that it’s because the people canning it were using a water bath instead of a pressure canner.
Next I started on some pickled banana peppers. These little bastards, I mean gems almost did me in. Every banana pepper I’ve ever eaten was sweet. Not these. These are some kind of Hungarian banana pepper and about 3/4 of the way through chopping and seeding they started letting me know that they’re the badass of banana peppers. Oh em gee they burn your skin when you don’t wear gloves. I’ve tried every internet antidote available and my fingers are still burning 24 hours later. Take some advice – unless you absolutely know that the peppers you are working with are harmless use gloves.
The peppers were a two step process. They had to soak in salt water overnight. I finished canning them this (Sunday) morning.
I don’t always eat leftovers but when I do…
This is the view out our kitchen door.
I did not waste the whole day though.
This is Gujarati Lemon Pickle. It’s very labor light but it takes a month for the lemons to pickle. What you see here is about 2 pounds of lemons in 3/4 cup salt with two teaspoons of Tumeric (sp?) mixed in.
This picture has nothing to do with the post I just love it. Now that’s a sink… AND it has a dishwasher built in.
This was our Christmas gift from our very dear friends L & K.
Here it is, the end product of this journey.
I would say for a first attempt things went ok. I learned one very important lesson. Don’t let concern for temperature outweigh the necessity of stirring. If you look closely at the picture you can see little black specks. Those are not vanilla bean pieces – which I found in one recipe and think I may try next time – those are little burnt, excuse me, carmelized pieces of peel. Dangit. I did manage to taste the marmalade and I couldn’t detect an off flavor so maybe it will be ok. I’m afraid that the burnt bits might get more overpowering as the jars age but we’ll eat it as long as we can. And speaking of taste… OH… MY… GOD… this tastes so much better than any store bought marmalade I have ever had. It’s like super-concentrated orange deliciousness! So, here’s what you do on day two.
Step 1: Bring the citrus, sugar, and water mixture back to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Step 2: While the marmalade is simmering wash your jars. You can wash the jars in the auxillary dish storage (some people call it a dishwasher) and hold them in there so they stay hot. I just washed mine by hand and then held them in a sink of very hot water.
Step 3: Simmer your lids.
Step4: Bring the marmalade back to a gentle boil and boil for 30 minutes. Make sure the mixture reaches 220 degrees Farenheit. Remember to stir often!
Step 5: Ladle the hot mixture into hot jars, wipe the rim to make sure it’s clean. Place the lids on the jars and seal with the rings. Let cool on a clean dish towel in a draft free area. Check the seals on the jars the next day to make sure they sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first.
There were two concerns I had with this recipe which I found on the Food Network.
First, there were no measurements for the amount of citrus. The recipe called for 4 large, seedless oranges, and 2 lemons. Well, my definition of large and your definition of large might be totally different. If this bothers you too much – obviously it didn’t bother me too much – then there are myriad other recipes that are out there that are just as simple to make but list specific amounts of citrus.
Second, this recipe doesn’t call for a hot water bath to seal the jars. I chose to assume that the amount of sugar and acid in the marmalade would “self-preserve” the preserves. That being said, I’m going to be very careful using this and I cannot in good conscience recommend that you do the same. If you make this recipe add an additional step and water bath the jars according to some kind of canning recipe.
Here’s a link to the original recipe: Anna’s Orange Marmalade from Barefoot Contessa