Plum Preserves

2012-09-18 14.00.33
Plums in the pot

I have been trying to recreate the Damson Plum Preserves from my childhood. When I spotted Italian Prune Plums in our local grocery store I knew I had to try them in jam. Using the recipe below, I prepared the jam and put it into my freezer for later use. I will be making this jam every year! Though I used this jam as a freezer recipe it can also be processed in a boiling water bath – 5 minutes for 1000 ft in elevation and under and 10 minutes for 1000 ft. in elevation and over.

Plum Preserves      Yield: 8 cups

  • 2 quarts chopped plums(about 4 pounds)
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to jelly point, about 20 minutes. Process in a boiling water bath.

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Try something new, can some applesauce

boiling water bath cannersAre you new to canning?  Want to try it but a bit nervous about complicated recipes?  This recipe for home canned apple sauce is a great place to start.

Wash, peel, and core apples. If desired, slice apples into an anti-darkening solution to prevent browning. Place drained slices in a larger saucepan. Add ½ cup water per 4 cups, sliced apples. Heat until tender, (5 to 20 minutes). Press apples through a sieve or food mill; omit the pressing step if you prefer chunk-style sauce. If desired, sweeten with 2 tablespoons sugar per quart of sauce. Reheat sauce to simmer. Fill jars with hot sauce, leaving ½-inch headspace.

 

 

Type of pack

Jar size

    Minutes of Processing at Altitudes

0-1,000Ft

1,001-3,000Ft

Apple sauce

Hot

Pints

15

20

Quarts

25

30

Remember, we have free canning recipes for fruits, jams and jelliesvegetables, pickles, tomatoes, and meats.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Canning tomatoes

tomato sauceIf you are starting to run out of room in the freezer you may want to think about canning some tomatoes this summer. Once you have acidified the tomatoes, it is safe to process them in a boiling water bath canner. You need 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice per pint and 2 tablespoons per quart of tomato product. These same amounts of acid are required regardless of the tomato product you are canning-unless you are making salsa. Salsas have different requirements and you should always use a tested recipe to make them.

There are several different methods you can use to can tomatoes once you have skinned them.

  • Crush and cook them tomatoes; this method will prevent separation in the finished product.
  • Leave the tomatoes whole or halve them and pack them in water.
  • Leave the tomatoes whole or halve them and pack them in tomato juice.
  • Pack whole tomatoes into a jar, pressing them until all the space between the tomatoes is filled with juice.

These methods have slightly different processing times and can be processed in either the boiling water bath canner or in a pressure canner.  Remember that the tomatoes must be acidified to produce a safe product no matter which type of canner you choose.

We also have tested recipes available for stewed tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato catsup, barbeque sauce, chili sauce, hot sauce, and spaghetti sauce.

Enjoy the taste of your garden tomatoes long into the winter.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Floating fruit

pepper jellyWe have had several people ask about why the fruit that they are canning floats in the jars. Floating fruit doesn’t affect the taste or the safety of the fruit just the appearance. There are several reasons why this may happen.

To limit the floating fruit:

  • Can fruit using a hot pack where the fruit is heated before adding to the jar. This is especially true for peaches and pears.
  • Use light or medium syrup instead of heavy syrup.
  • Pack the fruit as closely as possible without crushing it in the jars. Heating drives the oxygen from the tissues of the fruit so if the jars are loosely packed the fruit will tend to float.
  • Be sure to use the correct time and processing method for the fruit you are preserving. Over processing destroys the cell structure and makes the fruit lighter.

If you have a question about processing times and methods for the fruit you want to preserve give us a call at AnswerLine!

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Canning Peaches

I grew up in St. Louis, MO during the 1960’s. St. Louis had a Farmer’s Market on the south side of town that my family visited during the growing season. The fruit I most enjoyed during those visits was peaches. When we got home from the market my father and I would stand at the kitchen sink eating peaches so juicy that their juices dripped down our arms and ran off our elbows. After we ate all the fresh peaches our stomachs would hold, my mother would can them. That taste of summer during the long, cold winter months was a real treat!  

Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit

Peaches-Halved or Sliced

Quantity: An average of 17½ pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to 24 quarts – an average of 2½ pounds per quart.

Quality: Choose ripe, mature fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking.

Please read Using Pressure Canners and Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins. Cut in half, remove pits and slice if desired. To prevent darkening, keep peeled fruit in ascorbic acid solution. Prepare and boil a very light, light, or medium syrup or pack peaches in water, apple juice, or white grape juice. Raw packs make poor quality peaches.

Hot pack – In a large saucepan place drained fruit in syrup, water, or juice and bring to boil. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Place halves in layers, cut side down.

Raw pack – Fill jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add hot water, juice, or syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process.

Processing directions for canning peaches in a boiling-water canner are given in Table 1.

Processing directions for canning peaches in a dial- or weighted-gauge canner are given in Table 2 and Table 3.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Peaches, halved or sliced in a boiling-water canner.

Process Time at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

0 – 1,000 ft

1,001 – 3,000 ft

3,001 – 6,000 ft

Above 6,000 ft

Hot

Pints
Quarts

20 min
25

25
30

30
35

35
40

Raw

Pints
Quarts

25
30

30
35

35
40

40
45

Table 2. Process Times for Peaches (Halved or Sliced) in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.

Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

Process Time (Min)

0 – 2,000 ft

2,001 – 4,000 ft

4,001 – 6,000 ft

6,001 – 8,000 ft

Hot and
Raw

Pints or
Quarts

10

6

7

8

9

Table 3. Process Times for Peaches (Halved or Sliced) in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner.

Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

Process Time (Min)

0 – 1,000 ft

Above 1,000 ft

Hot and
Raw

Pints or
Quarts

10

5

10

This document was adapted from the “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009. Reviewed November 2009.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Always use safe, tested recipes when canning salsa

Just about this time every summer we start getting calls about salsa. Salsa is one of those foods that brings out the creative side of people. It is not uncommon to get questions about how long to process the salsa recipe they just created, or the salsa recipe they got from a friend. Our answer is always the same. It is important to use a tested recipe when canning homemade salsa. The ratio of low acid vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, onion, and garlic) to acid (lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar) has not been calculated in a non-tested recipe. Tested recipes contain enough acid to prevent the growth of the botulism bacteria and provide a safe product that can be enjoyed straight from the canning jar. Non-tested recipes may be safe but there is no real way to know that in advance of eating the salsa. The risk of botulism poisoning is not known but the result of the illness can be death or prolonged illness. NO salsa is worth that risk.

You can safely freeze any salsa recipe you can devise so we advise callers to freeze salsa recipes of their own creation instead of canning. We have a number of tested salsa recipes and we are happy to share them with you.  Contact us at AnswerLine for these recipes.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Salsa

Garden Bounty
Peppers

This time of year it seems that everyone has a favorite recipe for salsa. Salsa is a fun and easy product to make. Salsas are combinations of acidic and low acid vegetables. The onions, peppers, and garlic are low acid foods. Producing a safe product that can be home canned means you must add enough of the right type of acid to prevent the growth of botulism bacteria. The best way to ensure a safe salsa is to carefully follow a tested recipe. You can find tested recipes in several places. The USDA canning guide, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, and Extension publications like Preserve the Taste of Summer.

Blanching tomatoes.
Blanching tomatoes.

Here are a few helpful tips to remember:

  •  Use high quality tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic.  Canning won’t improve the quality of the ingredients.
  •  Remember not to increase the total volume of peppers.  You can substitute one variety of pepper for another—to make a hotter or milder salsa.
  • Use the acid listed in the recipe; bottled lemon juice, vinegar with 5% acidity, or lime juice.
  • Spices may be adjusted to taste flavoring.  It is really the only safe ingredient to change in a tested recipe.
  • Using a tested recipe allows you to process a safe salsa in a boiling water bath canner.  If you choose to use a recipe of your own, remember that you can safely freeze that salsa, but you cannot home can it.
  • Don’t thicken salsa before canning.  As you open jars of your salsa, you can thicken it or pour off excess liquid.
Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Pickled beets

pickled beetsI never grown beets in my garden but I’ve always enjoyed them. It’s too late to plant any this summer but I think I’ll try to find some room for them in my garden next summer.

Canning pickled beets:

Choose either small baby beets, which can be pickled whole or use beets no larger than 2 ½ inch in diameter. These will make the best pickled beets.

Beets must be cooked before pickling. Trim the beet top leaving one inch of stem and the root; this will prevent bleeding and maintain a nice bright red beet color. Cook the beets in boiling water until tender. Remember to drain the beets and toss the cooking water. After cooling beets, trim the stems, remove the roots, and slip the skins. Baby beets can be pickled whole; larger beets should be sliced into uniform slices. Visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation for the rest of the recipe.

Since these beets are pickled, they can safely be processed in a boiling water bath canner.

Process times at Altitudes of

Style of pack Jar size 0-1000 ft 1001-3000 ft 3001-6000 ft Above 6000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 30 min 35 min 40 min 45 min

Here is a link to other tested pickled vegetable recipes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Canning Pears

Canned Pears final
A jar of pears

When I was a child my grandmother had a pasture full of pear trees. The pears these trees produced were small but of unequaled flavor to anything I have found in the grocery store. If you have pear trees on your property or have access to a quantity of delicious pears and want to can them, follow these guidelines:

Choose ripe fruit of ideal quality (sub par fruit will not improve in the canning process, so always start with an excellent product), allowing the fruit to ripen for at least 1 day after harvest.

Hot Pack:  Fruit can be packed using a very light, light or medium syrup; or by heating white grape juice, apple juice or water. Wash, peel and cut lengthwise in halves and remove core. Dip them in an ascorbic acid mixture to prevent browning and then drain well. Boil drained pears 5 minutes in water, syrup or juice then pack hot pears into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Fill jars with liquid used for cooking them, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims, adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath.

Pints: 20/25 minutes (20 minutes for elevations under 1000 ft and 25 minutes for over 1000 ft)

Quarts: 25/30 minutes (25 minutes for elevations under 1000 ft and 30 minutes for over 1000 ft)

Note: Though a raw pack method can be used for canning pears, a hot pack is generally preferred. If a raw pack method is desired, follow the instructions for canning peaches with a raw pack.

Quantity: An average of 17-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 50 pounds and yields 16 to 25 quarts—an average of 2-1/2 pounds per quart.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Sauerkraut

cabbageBefore I took this job, I never really gave sauerkraut much thought. It continues to amaze us here at AnswerLine just how popular making it has become.

This method of preserving cabbage has been around for a very long time and it generally yields a delicious product. In spite of the ease of making sauerkraut, we do get a number of calls from folks when the process takes a wrong turn.

If you want to avoid problems with your sauerkraut, be sure to follow a tested recipe exactly. The National Center for Home food Preservation has an excellent recipe with tips and directions at this link. Check it out if you have some extra cabbage this season.

Commonly asked questions:

  • Why did my sauerkraut turn pink?
    • SauerkrautToo much acid was formed during fermentation.  SAFE to eat.
  • What temperature is best for fermentation
    • 70° to 75°F (3-4 weeks), 60° to 65°F (5-6 weeks), lower temperature may not ferment.
  • Do I have to can my sauerkraut?
    • Yes, this stops enzyme activity that can change the texture to soft and slimy.
  • Can I use quart jars for fermentation instead of a crock?
    • Not recommended—fermentation may not happen in this size container.
  • I don’t have a crock, what else can I use?
    • A large food-safe bucket.  You may be able to purchase from a grocery store bakery or fast food outlet.
Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

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