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Canning And Preserving

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I love black mission figs, and I bought some last week at Balducci's and then a big box at Trader Joe's yesterday. Jonathan does not like figs, and I was faced with the possibility that I wouldn't eat them all before they went bad. So I made a conserve with the figs, the zest and juice of an orange, some sugar, a healthy slug of Pernod and a sprinkling of powdered lavender. And though I intended to reduce it significantly I added about 3/4 tsp. of apple pectin, from a bulk container I bought at Surfa's in L.A. I didn't have enough figs to make a multi jar batch. I ended up with a full pint jar and a little bit extra, which I just ate with a spoon because it turned out so freakin' delicious. This jam is for me. I'm not giving any away. I'm just going to keep it in the fridge and have it with cheese. Well, maybe if someone comes over, I might share a little.

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V.H.   
We went a little crazy last weekend doing the PYO thing at Crooked Run Orchard and ended up with 11 pounds of blackberries, and way too many peaches. We made up about 4 pints of blackberry jam, 5 pints of what was supposed to be peach jam which didn't set once again and ended up being peach syrup for pancakes, waffles, and ice cream. We also canned 6 quarts of peach halves in light syrup for the winter and still ended up freezing at least two quarts of blackberries for a mid-winter crumble.

When we go for pears in a few weeks we will have to try and be restrained. We did manage to eat an entire bucket of apples within a week however.

Do you add any Fruit Fresh (Vitamin C) to your peaches before you canned the halves? Also, did you cook the peaches a bit before canning or did you can them raw?

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Do you add any Fruit Fresh (Vitamin C) to your peaches before you canned the halves? Also, did you cook the peaches a bit before canning or did you can them raw?
You have to cook the peaces or they will turn brown even with ascorbic acid. A few things don't need to be cooked such as cherries before pickling but pears,apples,peaches do. Don't wing this! Use a recipe!

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V.H.   
You have to cook the peaces or they will turn brown even with ascorbic acid. A few things don't need to be cooked such as cherries before pickling but pears,apples,peaches do. Don't wing this! Use a recipe!

I've been looking at a few different recipes but they seemed to offer differing opionions on cooking/not cooking. Thanks for the experienced recommendation!

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V.H.   
If you process the peaches in a water-bath or pressure canner after covering them with hot sugar syrup, they will get cooked in the jars.

One recipe I saw called for precooking them for 5 minutes before putting them in jars and processing for an additional 25 minutes or putting them in raw and processing for 30 minutes. The total cooking time is the same but some online reviews claimed to prefer one or the other. I will probably do the precooking method since I would imagine that you could pack cooked peaches a little more densely in the jars.

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ALB   

Hi Everyone-

I am a new canner. I had mild success with jam earlier in the summer (who was it that said jam is easy to make and hard to make well?) I am looking for a peach salsa recipe that includes tomatoes and is safe for hot water bath canning. Does anyone out there have a recipe? I'd be most appreciative!!

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Our elderly neighbor came by the other night to offer us some ripe figs from his trees. He was the one who gave my mother-in-law the cutting that became our tree, and he had some of the same brown figs that we are now getting in abundance. But he also brought a second variety, a bright green Kadota fig, that was about ten times more delicious than the brown ones we have. He gave my MIL the wrong cutting, that's for sure! We ate some of the ripe green figs with some cheese, and the remaining few I mixed with the figs that I've picked from our tree, to make two different fig preserves. The first, which I'd started before he showed up, is made with French lavender honey, powdered lavender flowers, fresh bay leaf, a splash of St. Germaine elderflower liqueur and lemon juice and zest. It was macerating in the fridge overnight, and I added some of the Kadota figs before I cooked it up and packed the jars. The second type, which is made with the less tasty brown figs mixed with some dried black mission figs from California, is more heavily spiced with cinnamon, star anise and cardamom, orange juice and zest and a splash of Pernod. I don't have a great number of jars of either type, but since I only made a small amount of other jams this summer, I will use the fig preserves as hostess and Christmas gifts and save the sour cherry (Jonathan's favorite) and brandied apricot preserves for our own consumption.

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V.H.   
One recipe I saw called for precooking them for 5 minutes before putting them in jars and processing for an additional 25 minutes or putting them in raw and processing for 30 minutes. The total cooking time is the same but some online reviews claimed to prefer one or the other. I will probably do the precooking method since I would imagine that you could pack cooked peaches a little more densely in the jars.

I canned the peaches and meh. They taste better than storebought but they still taste like canned peaches. I brought another half bushel home from PA this weekend and I'll be simply slicing and freezing these.

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I brought another half bushel home from PA this weekend and I'll be simply slicing and freezing these.

How do you prep them for the freezer? Last year the ones I did stayed good only about through December.

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V.H.   
How do you prep them for the freezer? Last year the ones I did stayed good only about through December.

I was just going to slice and vacuum pack in bags but after I saw your question I did a bit of googling and ended up adding a bit of light syrup and ascorbic acid to the bags before vacuum sealing them.

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I took a sack of very ripe Italian prune plums found on sale at Balducci's a few days ago and mixed them with some under-ripe plums I'd gotten at the Dupont Market and made a spiced plum preserve with lavender, Creme de Violette, orange zest, after an overnight maceration that included cinnamon stick and bay leaf with the previously mentioned flavor elements.

Cooking it down using the recommended method in Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber (although the recipe was my own) resulted in only five half-pint jars. But the flavor is very intense.

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lperry   
Cooking it down using the recommended method in Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber (although the recipe was my own) resulted in only five half-pint jars. But the flavor is very intense.

I love that book. It has been a great resource not only for recipes, but also for inspiration. Once I started macerating everything in her 1 kilo of fruit to 800 g of sugar ratio, all my preserves became both more beautiful in the jars and more flavorful. The plum sounds wonderful, as does the fig you mentioned above. I have a fig tree in a pot, and I'm hoping it does well once I get it in the ground.

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lperry   

I had a few hours last night and did some experimentation with home canning dried beans. I have no real good reason for doing this, except that I have an aversion to buying canned beans because they always have an odd taste to me, and they tend to be mushy in texture. Having cooked beans around seems to be positively correlated with eating beans, even though I have a pressure cooker and can, in theory, prepare them on a whim. My old method was to cook a huge pot full and freeze them in individual containers. Freezer space is more limited than shelf space, however, and those in the food blogosphere promise home-canned beans have nice texture and flavor. So a pound of black beans and a little over a pound of garbanzos got processed last night. One pound of dried beans made four pints of cooked beans. Here is the method I used - it is identical to the one in my old Ball Blue Book, although this one concedes that you can quick soak. The only thing I changed is that I did not throw out the soaking water and use fresh for the final cooking. I'm curious to find out how they taste and will probably have some of the garbanzos at lunch.

I also started some pink pickled turnips. I went a little overboard on the beet, and it appears that I will have fuchsia pickled turnips, but as long as they taste good I'll be happy. Searching with Google, I found recipes for making them with brine only - a fermented pickle - and with vinegar. I have no experience with making fermented sour pickles, so I used vinegar.

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Heather   

It was funny logging on to find a post in this thread. I was just thinking this morning that I wanted to do some canning this week, and wondering what to work on. I may try canning a batch of three-bean salad.

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Pat   

The only time I tried canning, I processed several jars of pickles. I forget whose recipe it was, but I got it from the Post. I didn't have a proper setup but followed the directions as best I could, using the largest stockpot I have. Since I wasn't sure if I'd done everything correctly, I decided to refrigerate the jars, even though everything had been boiled, etc.

Subsequently I saw someone (maybe Heather) say that home-processed pickles should be kept no longer than a year. Does that also hold true if they've been refrigerated the entire time?

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Heather   
The only time I tried canning, I processed several jars of pickles. I forget whose recipe it was, but I got it from the Post. I didn't have a proper setup but followed the directions as best I could, using the largest stockpot I have. Since I wasn't sure if I'd done everything correctly, I decided to refrigerate the jars, even though everything had been boiled, etc.

Subsequently I saw someone (maybe Heather) say that home-processed pickles should be kept no longer than a year. Does that also hold true if they've been refrigerated the entire time?

That's the official line, although if the jars are sealed they should last longer. If they are in sealed jars, and refrigerated, you are probably OK. If it's an open jar that's more than a year old I would pitch it.

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Pat   
That's the official line, although if the jars are sealed they should last longer. If they are in sealed jars, and refrigerated, you are probably OK. If it's an open jar that's more than a year old I would pitch it.
Thanks. They're sealed and refrigerated and about 1 1/2 years old. When the initial excitement of homemade pickles wore off, my consumption of them dropped off sharply. I think I already disposed of any jars that were open, but if I come across one, I'll be sure to pitch it.

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lperry   

^I won't admit the ages of some canned foods I've eaten. :rolleyes: I figure if the seal is intact, it has nice color, and it still smells and tastes good, it's fair game, although for the most part, I try to use things quickly. Sometimes, though, there's that renegade jar that hides in the back of the cabinet...

In other news I'm happy to report that the home-canned chick peas are delicious. Creamy texture but firm enough to hold their shape. I'm so pleased because the frozen ones always ended up in hummus because of the soft texture. I'll be able to use these in dishes where they need to be whole.

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mdt   
^I won't admit the ages of some canned foods I've eaten. :rolleyes: I figure if the seal is intact, it has nice color, and it still smells and tastes good, it's fair game, although for the most part, I try to use things quickly. Sometimes, though, there's that renegade jar that hides in the back of the cabinet...

In other news I'm happy to report that the home-canned chick peas are delicious. Creamy texture but firm enough to hold their shape. I'm so pleased because the frozen ones always ended up in hummus because of the soft texture. I'll be able to use these in dishes where they need to be whole.

Found a steak in my deep freeze that has been there for 5 years. Eat or pitch?

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DameEdna   
Thanks. They're sealed and refrigerated and about 1 1/2 years old. When the initial excitement of homemade pickles wore off, my consumption of them dropped off sharply. I think I already disposed of any jars that were open, but if I come across one, I'll be sure to pitch it.
Eating things past their expiration date is on the 'food machismo' list (I don.t know the feminine equivalent). Other items on the list:

- very rare roast beef

- caesar salad with raw egg

- oysters harvested by sleazy friend

- liquor (moonshine?) from unlabeled jar.

- mountain oysters

The list is endless. With canning, if something looks OK, and smells OK it probably is. The risk of botulism is low. The government, however, would not approve.

I had a friend who would take a bite out of a beer glass, then spit it out. Very impressive. He was dreadfully afraid of bacon past its expiration date.

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