July 29, 2004

For the Lord preserveth the faithful...

For once we’ve started our canning and preserving at the right time when all the materials are easily available. Our first recipe, from the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving, was raspberry red currant jam because of the large amount of raspberries in our garden (we had to buy the red currants).

First of all the raspberries were crushed and the currants were picked over and washed. We then cooked the currants in some water until softened. Here you can see the cooking currants next to the canning kettle to get a sense of size of the kettle:


More on the kettle in a moment.

The next step was to press the currants through a sieve to remove the seeds and produce a pulp.

The red currant pulp was then returned to the pan, along with the crushed raspberries and sugar. This mixture was then cooked until reduced to the right consistency. Now the jam was then ready for canning.

Once the jam was in the jars with the lids on, they had to be processed in the canning kettle. For those who don’t know, a canning kettle is essentially a large pot with a rack inside to keep the jars from touching the bottom. Here’s a picture of the jars in the kettle:


The rack also allows one to more easily remove the jars from the kettle, though we also just got a set of tongs which is specially designed to hold jars, a useful thing when canning.

When the jars are boiled, most of the air is forced out of the tops of the jars. When the jars cool after they are removed from the kettle, a vacuum seal is formed and the snap lids pop inwards. Here’s a picure of the finished jars:


This was a fairly simple recipe, just two types of berries and sugar, but it shows the canning process fairly clearly. We’re also doing some more complex recipes, which I’ll describe in turn.

Posted by Mark at July 29, 2004 03:52 PM

Don’t you love that little POP sound the lids make when the air is all expelled? Very satisfying.

Posted by: Sarah at July 30, 2004 11:44 AM