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Aug 16, 2008 08:07 AM

canners, preservers, picklers...lets hear it!

So, this is my second year of canning. I have mastered jam making with hot water bathing. I have also cracked out a few wine jellys, also with a BWB. Today, my farmers market is advertising Red Haven Peaches, corn, banana peppers, blueberries and raspberries.

Here it goes...

~I am going to blanch and freeze corn. No brainer.
~I want to make a nice peach jam. Any sweet ideas or just follow the pectin box?
~Who does banana peppers with garlic, oregano and a vinegar/oil mix? Do you bath them or do the old school of hot jar, hot pack, hot oil, hope to seal?
~What the eff does pickling salt really do? Last year I soaked the peppers in pickling salt and water overnight before we packed them. Does this preserve the texture? They still have a little bite to them and arent a soggy oily mess.
~Apple and pumpkin butters are around the corner. Does the apple have enough acid on its own to be BWB'd after jarring without needing to buy a pressure canner? How about the pumpkin? I don't think pumpkin is very acidic at all...any ideas for that?

I hate the canning websites. Alot of readable words, but I like the straight talk from my chows'ers that have knowledge and skill.

Thanks in advance and enjoy this beautiful weekend!!!

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  1. In no particular order:

    Apple butter is just fine in a water bath. For additional acid, and to brighten up the flavor of most fruits, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.

    I made 3 very small batches of jam this week with fruits growing in my yard. The main star was the nectarines, which 'hounds told me to treat just like peaches.... One difference in using the nectarines was that I had no problem with the fruit browning. I have no idea why...

    Anyway, the nectarine jam/butter went like this: Note that if you include some under-ripe fruit, you won't need pectin.

    Peel and slice peaches into a quart liquid measuring cup. Add water to come up two thirds of the way. For four cups of fruit, I squeezed two slices of lemon into the mix. Put into your cooking pot and bring to a boil. After a few minutes of cooking, I used a hand-held potato masher to crush the fruit somewhat. Then add 1/2 cup of suger for every cup of cut up fruit and again bring to a boil. Then just boil and stir, boil and stir, until it's nice and thick and has reached "the jellying point." My old "Women's Home Companion Cookbook" (1945, and with a great section on preserving) recommends 20 minutes in a water bath for peaches.

    Last night's batch was my favorite. I had three cups of fruit that was mainly nectarines, but included about 4 Japanese plums, and 2 cups of blackberries. I was just using what I had on hand, but this combo was outstanding.

    Hmmm, pickling salt...I think it draws out both the liquid and the bitterness (if any) in the cukes. Not sure of anything but that pickling salt seems to be intrinsic to making pickles. (Hubbie makes the pickles.)

    I'ld like to try pumpkin butter also.

    Never pickled peppers, but an easy way to store them is to simply pop them into a freezer bag and freeze them.

    1. I recommend this book over and over to new and experienced preservers: Preserving Summer's Bounty by Marilyn Kluger. I got it in 1980 (I have the 1979 ed.) and have used it every season since. It truly is the most tattered and beloved cookbook on my shelf. It covers all the questions you have above and every recipe I've used from it has been absolutely delicious. It's well written, easy to read and the directions are straight forward.

      It's currently available on Amazon for $13.88 for the paperback 1982 ed (this page has customer reviews):

      and for $4.99 for the 1979 hardcover ed. (the one I use):

      I absolutely adore this book!

      1. For the safety of your family please pick up a Ball canning book, or call your local Extension office for their information or get to the University of Georgia web site.
        Accurate, tested information is the only information you should trust.

        1. I just started canning this year. I did learn from my book and a class that I took that (1) hot pack is no longer recommended, too much chance for failure. The experts recommend the hot water bath for everything. (2) It is not recommended to hot water bath can pumpkin batter, I think because of the low acid.

          I have made some jam this year and have been thinking about syrup, like for pancakes. Has anyone made a canned a blueberry syrup?

          1 Reply
          1. re: cocktailhour

            Sorry...I'm very late in responding to this, but I make a fabulous blueberry vanilla bean syrup. Basically, add a vanilla bean to your blueberry syrup recipe. It has so much sugar that it keeps forever in the fridge; great on ice cream, pancakes, as an addition to blueberry milkshakes and even basted on salmon before grilling...