thoughts from New England

My home canning experiment November 15, 2006

Filed under: canning,cooking,food,jam,stupid ideas — tim @ 3:54 am

My home canning experiment

Originally uploaded by bakebakebake.

Yesterday I decided to revisit my canning because I had enough apples still left over to make one last batch of applesauce. I also wanted to attempt a new approach to my failed Pineapple Habenero Jam (which, as you may recall, ended up more like a glaze than a jam, but I wanted jam). I knew that it was taking quite a bit of energy to heat all that water on the electric stovetop, and it was a chilly morning so I thought….why not? Why not put the woodstove to my good use and kill two birds with one stone and use the woodstove to heat the water to can? Sounds good in theory, right?

Applesauce #3 and Unlucky Pineapple Habenero Jam Recipes also after the jump.

I knew that the fire would have to be really hot to get the water to boil; but the kettle on the woodstove boils water very easily, why wouldn’t the big pot? I loaded up several big pieces of hardwood into the woodstove and let it rip. I added a few more pieces once those had burned down and put the pot on to boil. By this time the temp had climbed from the chilly 63 in the house to a comfortable 70. So far, so good. I began making the applesauce, varying the recipe again slightly (more on that later) and once the water boiled, I had clean jars. I filled 3 quarts with applesauce and put them back into the water (which had cooled a little bit) and threw in a few half-quart jars and jelly jars for the jam and put it all on the stove, adding a few more pieces of wood to get the heat up. I noticed that when I put the wood in, I had a nice big bed of hot coals going and some blue flames. Needless to say, the house was up to a warm 80 degrees at this point and I was starting to sweat a little.

I let the applesauce can up and then removed the pot from the heat while I made the pineapple jam. I grabbed the jars and was able to can up 2 half-quarts and one jelly jar because this was a much smaller batch than the first time. Unfortunately I slightly scorched the bottom of the jam because I took my eyes off it for just a few seconds too long. A little carmelization occured but nothing damaging. I put these in the water and put it back on the stove. I added another log but at this point the house was up to 88 degrees! I was really beginning to feel the heat so I had the sliding door and a few windows open but it didn’t help. (If you are wondering where LP was, she was asleep in her room with the door closed. When I went in there to check on her, it was still only about 70 in there so she was fine.)

This is a story that’s on par with Bobby Brady trying to do laundry when he’s a member of the safety patrol; things just turn from bad to worse. Well, it just got progressively hotter much like Bobby had suds everywhere in the laundry room by the time Carol and Alice showed up.

By the time my Carol & Alice showed up, it was a good 7 hours after I had shut the fire down by closing the dampers and the air intakes. And still — still — it was 82 degrees in the house. Hence, LP had to spend the rest of the evening in nothing but a diaper! She enjoyed it, but H did not.

This experiment went horribly — by the time I went to can the jam I couldn’t get the water hot enough to boil and I couldn’t bear to add more wood, so I just put the pot on the stove and it was boiling in about 5 minutes and that was that. The moral of the story is you should only try to boil a giant pot of water on a woodstove that’s outside.

Here’s my adjusted recipes:

Applesauce #3
8 Baldwins
8 Hampshires (?)
2 cups cider
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp cinnamon
8 ground allspice berries
10 grates of nutmeg
2 oz rum (I was out of brandy)
1/4 cup candied ginger
2 tbsp butter

chop apples, throw spices, ginger, lemon juice, zest and then the butter, rum & the apple cider into the pot and simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Begin stirring once the bottom apples begin to soften and once most of them have reached a consistency where they easily mash, remove from heat and take to them with the STICK BLENDER.

Note: I put the softer Hampshires on the bottom of the pot and the tarter, crisper Baldwins on the top. That way, the Hampshires broke down first and formed the base of the sauce while the Baldwins also softened but since they take longer to break down, they still had some texture to them when it was time to blend it all.

Unlucky Pineapple Habenero Jam
I call this Unlucky Pineapple Habenero Jam because not only did I make the house a sauna, but I added 13 peppers to it and nearly burnt the whole batch.

2 cans crushed pineapples, drained (juice reserved)
13 habenero peppers, seeded but NOT deveined, chopped into small chunks
1 orange (or red) bell pepper, chopped
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 packet No Sugar Needed pectin

Put both peppers and 1/4 c of the reserved pineapple juice into the Magic Bullet and pulse until finely chopped into a paste-like substance with a few chunks. Drink the rest of the pineapple juice (or, if you deem this to be too hot, use it instead of the water). Into a large saucepan add the pineapple, the peppers, the vinegar and the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. After 10 minutes, sprinkle pectin on top, stirring it in and then simmer for 10 more minutes. Jar into hot jars and place into a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Now this stuff jammed up good. The jury is out on its taste; I only have 3 jars of it so I haven’t popped one open yet. If it’s good, I’m making more!


3 Responses to “My home canning experiment”

  1. Lu Says:

    Bwah bwah bwah bwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

    I hope the applesauce is good, though. Bring some next week.

  2. Keren Says:

    8 Baldwins?!? That IS hot.

  3. the baker's wife Says:

    We were SWEATING all night. But boy was that newest batch of applesauce tasty! This experiment probably would’ve been better if you’d done it on a cold day (like, say, -20), but it was in the 50s & we probably didn’t even need a fire at all.

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