Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Bit More Canning

Today I thought I would take pictures of some of the canning process and share them with you.  I feel very accomplished because I had six jars in the boiling water bath before 9:15 a.m. (And that included taking photos.)

The very first thing I did was pull the prewashed, cut up figs out of the freezer and put them in the microwave for a minute and a half so that they break apart easily.  I always prep them and then freeze them unless I am using them that day. Some of these are from last week and some from yesterday's picking.  I have frozen figs for a year and used them  whenever I wanted to make more preserves.

Once semi-thawed, I put the figs, water and sugar into the cooking pot. (You can find the full recipe here - FYI: I guesstimate the amount of figs.) Then I stir that up and get it heating on high.
Then, if I haven't already, I choose the jello flavor(s) I will use. Today I chose to make a mix of Raspberry and Lemon.  I am thinking "Raspberry Lemonade" as the flavor.
You may find large six ounce packages and you can use just one of those.   This is poured on top of the ingredients in the pot.
 I dripped some of the juice on the lemon jello so you could tell it wasn't the sugar.   Then this is stirred into the ingredients in the pot.
Next up you need a lemon or a lime.  I really prefer a lime as sometimes they are seedless.
I slice the lime in half and use that wooden reamer to get the juice and pulp into the pot next.  Yes, I use the entire lime. I LOVE the wooden reamer as it does a beautiful job and washes up quickly and easily.
Everything is stirred well and it looks something like this.

You can see that it is very chunky.  For  a jam-like preserve that just won't work. So, I grab out another tool that I find indispensable in my kitchen - The stick blender!
I can put it right into the hot pot of cooking figs or for that matter, any other thing I wanted to puree.
Using the high speed and keeping the head submerged, I blend away until it is nice and smooth.
What a difference, huh?  As you can see it is starting to bubble away. I have the water and my jars in my canner pot and it is starting to boil also.  After the fig mixture reaches a full boil, I turn it to medium and let it cook for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, the jars in the canner are sterilized so I take them out and sit them on a folded towel on the table where I will fill them as soon as the 20 minutes have passed.

Because I am working alone and things get "fast" after the figs are cooked, there are no pictures here.  The jars are filled, rims cleaned, lids and rings put on and they go into the boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes.  I don't skimp on canning/boiling time because I did work in Public Health and worked with some food borne disease investigations.
Once out of the boiling bath the jars go back on the  folded towel to cool - and the lovely sound of "plink plink" as the lids seal.   Some of them seal before I even get the last one out of the bath.  Almost always, mine are sealed within an hour.
The finished product?

Isn't that a lovely red?  Surprisingly the red overpowers the yellow coloring in the jello, so they are a brilliant red and not an orange.  From this batch I got six 8 ounce jars.  That brings my total to twenty-eight jars at this point.  The fig tree is still producing - there are lots of green figs on it. There are more figs in my freezer from last year too.   What flavor will I do next?

Here are some possibilities:
The classic where I learned about this method is Strawberry, but I did a batch of that yesterday.
How about Spiced peach - peach jello and spices like you would put in pickled peaches.
Another favorite is chocolate covered cherry - Cherry Jello and add cocoa to taste.  (yuummmmy) Lemon and ginger
Zesty orange (add spices like the old tang tea mix stuff: cinnamon and clove.)
Grape and lime jello mixed is good - but it looks like axel grease - just so you know. I have also made plain grape - and it is wonderful on a PBJ.
The fun part is exploring the jello/gelatin desserts and thinking "what could I add to this?"
I think I need some pineapple jello - and do they even make a mango flavor????

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.


Debbie said...

When i was doing jam, I always made Peach Rum jam.....it was a family favorite. I added 1/2 C dark rum at the end. Must say your jars look luscious.

Barbara said...

This looks really delicious! Thanks for the process and photos, but I’m not likely to try it since it’s food and cooking. Preparing food can be very creative, and I admire those who enjoy doing it. I’m a bit burned out on it after 5+ decades, but my husband sometimes likes to cook. I do wish he liked to do it everyday. Lol!

Jeanna said...

Canning is such a process but so well worth it. I've never even considered mixing figs with all those various flavors but they sound delicious. Thanks for sharing, Gene. It sure brings back some wonderful memories.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

I'm not sure about "mango" - but I have had "watermelon" - that might be fun to try - ;))

Jennifer said...

Chocolate covered cherry sounds rad.It turned out pretty:)

Barb said...

Yummy!!! What can't you do?