Over the weekend we got up to a bit of canning, it was half planned, half massively expanded because of cheap produce.
All of the recipes that we used are safe for water bath canning so you don’t need any special tools, just a pot of boiling water to keep the result on the shelf for at least a year.
Sorry there are less pictures than normal, I am having some phone issues and lost any photos that weren’t posted on facebook.
It all started with;
Paul, our next door neighbour loaned us one of his raised garden beds for the winter because we were having issues with Nic pulling out seedlings and he’s not a winter gardener.
He is looking to put in his summer crops next weekend so we harvested a big bucket of beetroot. I managed to open up my finger while cleaning them, but it was a nice clean cut and is healing fine.
We always try to start with a USDA approved recipe and then adjust based on our tastes (when we are sure it’s safe to do so). Beetroot is something we’ve been preserving for 3-4 years now so we’re getting more comfortable with the recipe changes.
We had enough beetroot for about a quarter of what is in the recipe, that was our base to which we added some extra cloves, the peel of half an orange as well as a tablespoon of mustard seeds.
A big challenge is judging how much liquid is going to be needed, it varies depending on the size and shape of the beetroot. I did roughly twice as much liquid as the scaled down recipe suggested to have enough for each jar. I always seem to have either way to much of not quite enough.
We need to wait a couple of weeks before they are ready to eat, but i’m quietly confident that these will be our best beets yet.
Shanelle noticed a place up the road who were selling less than perfect strawberry for $5/shopping bag, I honestly couldn’t see any problems with 95% of them and they would be perfect for canning. I would guess it was about 3-4kg worth.
We still have strawberry jam from last year so we decided to do something different this year.
Was our recipe and we stuck to it, hardest bit we pressing the juice out because I didn’t have the right tools, just a strainer/sieve and a spoon, but still got 90% of it. The mushy mess that was left over is for Harry to munch on.
It ended up delicious, we’ve used it on chocolate pudding, ice cream and pancakes already. Way better than store brought.
Shan thinks we should do a bit less sugar next time (she said it was a bit sickly after a few pancakes), but it’s supposed to be a sometimes food so I don’t mind that it’s a bit over the top.
Apple and Strawberry Puree
While I was doing the strawberry’s, Nic decided to start helping, so I put him to work peeling, coring and slicing apples.
Obviously I needed to load the new ones on for him, but he was actually very helpful. Smashed through 3 bags of apples that Shan got from the spud shed for $0.49/kg.
We added 50% strawberries and 50% apples by very rough volume to a pot and used a hybrid reciepe somewhere between apple sauce (see further down) and the below.
Next time we probably won’t add as much water as we did, but Harry has been loving it with his weet bix and as a snack.
Last but not least was the apple sauce with the rest of the apples. This is another one that we’ve done in the past, but Harry’s love of food destroyed our stock of it. Hopefully now that he is on to more solid stuff he won’t gorge himself on all of it.
Not a bad effort for a day in the kitchen. It’s days like this that I 100% agree with Shanelle that we need a bigger kitchen.
And probably a bigger stove, and an urn for instant boiling water, cheese cloth or similar to get the juice out better, more head space above the stove, a label maker for the jars, probably a dehydrator.
Hmm, we’ve got a bit of a shopping list if anyone wants gift ideas for the kids birthday =p
It always feels good when you can turn a few $ worth of in season produce into a value added product that can be stored in the cupboard until it’s needed.