Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Lazy Cannery

I've decided that if I were to write a craft blog it would have to be called "Lazy Suzan's Craft World of Wonders" mostly because I am the most lazy creative person you will probably ever meet. If I'm really fired up about something I'll do a great job on it. I have a real love affair with good quality. But I am also a realist and I can physically feel the meter in my body that keeps track of energy dipping and swaying throughout my days. I have to measure the location of the meter with the job at hand. If the energy is there then Yes!! We will do our very best to put out an A++++ product. If not, and I absolutely HAVE to do it, then you're gonna take what you can get.

There are some projects, like canning, that I hate. But I also have this little glitch in my matrix that was placed there by my parents when I was a child that says - YOU WILL WASTE NO FOOD! So if I have a bumper crop of zucchini, like two years ago, you can bet we're going to have 25o jars of cinnamon pickles to hand out at Christmas. (Mmm.. cinnamon pickles... :)

That said, I've found a happy medium with my food demons and my canning woes. I only can what I don't have to boil forever in a hot bath. I don't usually write blog tips or tricks, but I'm writing this post because one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world, who grew up Mormon, in Idaho, (by default this means she should know all the handy, crafty short cuts ever created) but also lives in the gigantically crafty state of Utah now and is a canning goddess herself, did not know that you don't have to boil the crap out of everything in order for it to be sealed safely for the five - ten year plan.

What? You didn't know either? Well it's your lucky day! Because I had ten million apples going bad in my kitchen today and my kids were sick of fresh apple cider so I decided we should just can up some apple sauce the Lazy Suzan way... Here it is...

First thing we do is prepare the food in question. This method works for just about everything, fruit or veggie-wise, but not for meat or anything else that has to be pressure cooked. Also, this method does not work well if you want those pretty whole fruits or veggies in a jar. It is only to be used with foods that you chop into oblivion and then cook the crap out of for at least one day on the stove, like salsa, jam, chutney, vegetarian spaghetti sauce, pickles, etc. Consequently you might just want some high heat welding gloves while you're handling the final product.

So for apple sauce I peal and core the cuties and chop them into my shiny silver pot. But this time I got even lazier and half way through the case I started just pulling the core out and throwing them through my juicer, then I threw the pulp and juice in the pot together and stirred it up. (I gave myself an especially hearty back pat for having saved all those lovely peals from my picky chickens who don't appreciate all the vitamins and nutrients I'm giving them.) Then I throw in some cinnamon and because I'm a Nazi about sugar I leave it at that. I never add sugar to my home canned goods (unless it's cinnamon pickles... yum!!!) I think fruit should taste like God made it. Not like it came from Denny's jam and syrup tray. If God missed a step and your peaches taste like lemons, try adding a super ripe pineapple to sweeten it up or some stevia.. yummo! Sugar is so 1989. Anyway.. next steps...

Just before I'm done simmering the pot for the day I throw my canning jars in the dish washer and my lids and rings in a pot of hot water simmering on the stove. When the dish washer is done I load the hot, clean jars one by one with apple sauce, wipe the rims clean and the lid dry, and then seal with a lid and ring using a thick dry towel to get it on as tight as possible without burning the begeezus out of my hands.

Now here's Great-grandma's big trick: Turn your jars upside down on a dish towel and don't touch them for a couple of hours while they cool. The heat from the super hot over cooked food will lay there on that gummy glued lid and seal it up tighter than.. well.. (fill in your own favorite analogy here.)

Once the jars are cool, turn them right side up and test the tops. If any of them pop when you press on them then you are, unfortunately, going to have to boil them for about 20 min in a hot water bath to get them sealed up tight. Either that or eat it as a midnight snack (cinnamon pickles!!!! Yum) But most of the time I have total success with this method and nothing ever pops on me.

Good luck canning all you lazy ladies out there! So far we've been botulism free for about 4 generations of canners so you should be fine too. Just don't turn me into the FDA or anything ok?


Nancy@OwensOlivia said...

sugar is so 1989? love it!

Christina said...

Hey I caught a guest post you left on another blog while looking for sewing patterns(go figure!) I actually had a moment and couldnt post a comment there because I had a good cry. I tried to find it later and ended up here to leave a comment so I hope its the same person,lol. I have 2 boys with Autism and your explanations and perspectives were all the things I would tell people if I was that eloquent. Right down to the "he doesnt look like he has autism?!" Than so much for sharing those pieces of our lives that other people dont see and really cant comprehend. If even one person acts with compassion you have done the autism community a huge service.