Friday, June 20, 2014

Preserving With Instant Gratification

As we're moving into the summer season, the fruit is ripening and our preserving marathon begins. However this year, I recognize we don't really have whole days to commit to canning so I am starting out with small batches here and there.  It feels more sustainable this way and also more enjoyable.  Last weekend we stripped our apricot tree and canned the delicious sun ripened fruit (leaving the firmer fruit to ripen indoors saving it from the deer!). My favorite method of canning is the raw pack method; so simple and fast.  My neighbor brought over a beautiful bag of pluots from her tree last night. Here's how I canned them using the raw pack method.  

Set a large canning pot 3/4 full of water on the stove to boil. Wash and sterilize jars, I use quart jars and sterilize them in the oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes.  Wash fruit and cut the flesh off the pit.  Pack jars tightly with fruit. You can add 1/2 tsp. of vitamin C powder or add a squeeze of lemon to prevent fruit from browning.  

Pour boiling water over fruit leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Some people like to use a sugar or honey syrup but I prefer plain fruit. Screw on canning lids and place into hot water bath making sure water level is an inch above jars. There are different canning times depending on the type of fruit. I can pluots for 20 minutes and in general I like to refer to the fruit canning chart in The Encyclopedia of Country Living.  

I love using this method because we are able to preserve alot of fruit in a short time.  There is no added sweetener yet the fruit becomes almost caramelized during the canning process leaving it sweeter than in it's raw state.  It's wonderfully convenient to pull out a quart of home grown plums. apricots, apples or peaches and whip up a  pie, crisp, or galette by simply spooning out the fruit into a pie shell or making a quick crumb topping. This is also amazing over waffles and pancakes, yogurt, or vanilla ice cream- Haagan Daz of course! 
Have fun preserving and happy summer!

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