Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Day of Canning


Last week I had the honor to share the kitchen with two very talented women: +Pyper Jean, my dear friend, and Barbara Salsbury from Solutions for Preparedness. On a day that Pyper and I were supposed to spend making our planners for next year, we ended up having an all out can-a-thon and calling Barbara over to assist.

Both Barbara and Pyper have been canning for years and years and years. While both my Grandmas can from their gardens, their productions are not on the scale that Barbara and Pyper undertake. That is, my Grandmas haven't canned on this scale during my lifetime. So, seeing what we could put up in just one steam-filled day (and knowing that Pyper never sleeps and has been canning stuff each week since about June) was astounding to me. It still blows my mind!!

Last in Line: Grape Jelly
Grape jelly!! That actually jelled!!
We started out with beets and ended up with 8 1/2 quart jars. Though I'm not fond of pickled beets, Pyper's grandma's recipe sure did sound interesting. It involved cloves. I'm not sure whether my Grandma uses cloves in hers, but like I said, it was interesting.

After the beets were done, I thumbed through Pyper's canning book for a while. I found a recipe for "Thanksgiving" jelly: apple, raspberry, cranberry. Well, there were raspberry bushes and apple trees in the yard, and Pyper just happened to have a bag of cranberries. We set out and picked raspberries and apples and canned that jelly fresh off the vine/tree. What an experience!! And I tell you what, that stuff smelled SO AMAZING. Like tart, cinnamony, holiday cheer. We got 8ish 1/2 pints of that yumyum stuff.

Next up was grape jelly. That's where Barbara came in. She and Pyper have known each other for quite some time. Since Barbara literally wrote the book on canning, Pyper enlisted her to help make sure the grape jelly actually jelled: something I also struggle with. Syrupy jelly. Runny jelly. Apparently, the trick is you add lemon juice and pectin and BAM. Thick, gooey, jelled jelly. Who knew?! Well, Barbara did, apparently.

And you have to boil it until, "it looks like it's going to turn into hard candy!" Stir constantly. Like, constantly, constantly. Like, don't stop stirring while someone takes your picture, constantly.

Last in Line: Making Jelly with Barbara Salsbury
Me stirring under the supervision of Barbara
I don't remember how many pints we got of grape jelly, because we had a lot of odd shaped jars that we used. I do remember that our one batch was the exact perfect amount to fill up all those oddball jars. Amazing!!

After jelly, it was time for tomatoes. We blanched, peeled, stewed, and canned 8ish quart jars of 'maters. We has some tomatoes set aside for tomato basil jam. Unfortunately, we were completely out of sugar so the jam had to wait for another day.

Last in Line: Canning
My haul. Yumyumyum.
Pyper stopped over on Sunday to drop of my haul of our canning adventure.  I am beyond excited to have such a full pantry!! I feel like such the little homesteader. I cannot wait to get out of apartment living and into a house so that I can have my very own garden yet again. Siiiiiiggghhh.

I just love self-sufficiency.