You CAN Learn To Can

Canning collage

This weekend, Dale and I taught ourselves to can!  YAY! I have been dreading this moment for 2 summers now, and we just finally buckled down and figured it out.    I was so thankful he was willing to help!  Many hands does make light work!

  We were complete novices, so this book helped a lot:


Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

  You know, it wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought it would be.  And, there is NOTHING more satisfying then the popping noise the can lid makes when it seals tight!

  Tips for first time canners: 

~ I was very glad I had purchased a large Canning Pot last summer, mine would’ve been too small to fit all those cans in for their water bath.Jumbo Water Bath Canner

~ Just run your jars through the dishwasher and pull them out as you need them, they stay sterilized and hot just like they need to. I can’t imagine having one more pot on my stove for warming jars, it was FULL already!

~ Put your lids, without the rings, into a saucepan and keep warm until you use them for proper sealing.

~ DO NOT forget to poke a bamboo skewer down the sides of your filled jar to get out the air bubbles.  We forgot several times and are fortunate that the jars sealed anyhow.

~ Carefully wipe down lip and top of jar with a warm dishcloth before placing lid so it creates a proper seal.

~ Have a big towel spread on your counter for the jars to cool and seal on.  Be prepared to not move them for 24 hours, as some recipes dictate.

~  The Canning jar basket or rack as well as some Canning Tongswould’ve been a good purchase for me. It was a trick to get those heavy jars out of the boiling water. I will be purchasing one of the two before next time.

Canning Rack, Stainless Steel BasketJar Lifter

~ Also, I should’ve purchased a Wide-Mouth Funnelto easily fill the jars mess free. This is also on my “to purchase” list.

Canning Funnel

First, we made a half batch of Cowboy Candy:

Cowboy Candy

from Tasty Kitchen

IMG_4336

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Washed
  • 2 cups Cider Vinegar
  • 6 cups White Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Turmeric
  • ½ teaspoons Celery Seed
  • 3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper

Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.

Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.

Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.

If you do not want to can these to the point of shelf stable, you can simply put the jars in your refrigerator and store them there. I prefer to keep the fridge space free so I can them. If you wish to can them, follow the instructions below.

Note: If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or … in short, don’t toss it out!

To can, place jars in a canner and cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp dishcloth, then label.

Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!

A half a batch made 12- 4 ounce jars.

IMG_4344

  While we were at it, we did a full batch of these Pickled Jalapeno Peppers because Dale loves adding them to nachos and chili in the winter time.

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

 from Food.com

IMG_4335 

  • 2 quarts jalapeno peppers
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt, or kosher salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled

Directions:

  1. Slice peppers or leave them whole. (To prevent bursting, cut two small slits in whole peppers.).
  2. Pack peppers tightly into clean, hot, half pint jars.
  3. Combine vinegar and water; heat to a simmer.
  4. Do not boil.
  5. Pour hot vinegar over peppers, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
  6. Add 1/2 tsp. pickling salt and a clove of garlic to each jar then seal.
  7. We were able to fill 8 jars with this recipe.
  8. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Water should cover jars by 2 inches.
  9. Cool on towel and wait for the POP, that is my favorite part!
  10. Store for several weeks before opening.  

  Next up, I want to try to make some jalapeno jelly! I LOOOOVE it poured over softened cream cheese.

  YUMMERS!

  You can CAN!  I know it!

  ~T