Can-tastic Voyage!

So, with all of the lovely fruit that is in season, Elaine and I have discovered canning.  Sure, we’d made lots of jam/jelly in the past, but this would be our first time canning other things (for the most part…)  First, we woke up a few weeks ago and picked our plum tree clean.  That’s a 12 gallon tub of plums that Elaine and Hershey are inspecting!

Elaine and Hershey inspecting the haul...

Elaine and Hershey inspecting the haul...

Next, we pitted the whole lot, packet 15 1L jars full, filled them up to 1/2″ from the top with light syrup (2-1/4 cups sugar to 5-1/4 cups water), added the lids/rings and boiled them, 5 jears at a time, for 20  minutes.  Now, if you are very observant, you’ll notice that there are only 14 jars.  One of them cracked in while being processed in the canner 😦  However, Bernardin (the maker of the jars) was great.  We told them what happened, and they sent us a $10 coupon, which bought a whole additional case of 12 1L jars!  It’s sad that we lost some of our plums, but considering how many we got (see massive tub above and earlier plum posting below…), we’re not complaining!  Also, we decided that we couldn’t wait until the dead of winter to try our homemade canned plums.  OMG, are they ever good!  Sweet and sour, and we’re both convinced that they will make a great ice cream topping!  You might notice in the picture of the final product below that the jars are only half full and the plums are floating in the top half…  This is because of the vacuum in the jar due to canning.  Once we opened a jar, the plums sank!

We’ve also made and canned some apple sauce (we’ll post about that soon…).  Instead of adding sugar to sweeten it, we used the left-over syrup from the jar of plums that we opened, which worked out great and added a nice pink colour to the sauce.DSC03084

We also just got a hand crank food mill (present for Elaine!), which we have been using for apple and tomato sauce.  Roma tomatoes are in season, and what’s even better is that one of the local grocers prepares bags of fruit that are a little too bruised for picky shoppers and sells them for $1 each!  We got three bags, which was about 23 pounds of roma tomatoes:

dsc02484After washing, we cut a small “X” on the tip of each tomato.  Next, we plunged them in batches into boiling water for 1 minute and then into ice water.  That makes the skins come off super-easy:

dsc02492Next, Elaine ran them through the food mill. At first, we chopped them into quarters or eighths, but it turned out that the food mill made short work of whole roma tomatoes.  Rumour has it that we didn’t even need to peel them, but we’ll report on that after the next time that we find tomatoes at 12 cents a pound!!!

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We used the coarse mill plate first, then ran the puree through the small plate, which caught all of the seeds, and left us with about 6-1/2L of sauce!  This fit into 4 1.5L jars, which we boiled for 40 minutes.  The remaining half-litre got reduced down for spaghetti; canning is fun, but after a day of preserving, we needed a pasta dinner!  Here’s the final product, ready for a cold winter night when we need a reminder of how good summer is out here on the west coast!

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