Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days of Things I've Been Wanting to Do, Day 17: Canning

One of my favorite things to do in my 'spare' time is to preserve memories. I enjoy taking pictures of everything and anything that has to do with my kids. And then I invest time into scrapbooking those pictures onto pages and into beautiful books to keep. 

Since I was already preserving memories, I wanted to try preserving- in the other sense of the word.

I had no idea where to start. I am not the type of learner that can read directions and understand them enough to act out what I just read.
In college, I wrote my class notes in fun, different colors and then high-lighted the important things. On top of carrying my notes everywhere, I slept with those used pages hoping the knowledge would somehow seep in better if I was asleep. 
My boyfriend, at the time (husband now), would only have to listen in class or read his book. Everything seemed to 'stick' in his brain better. 
I am glad God made us different. We have a great relationship because we have differences!
(We do share the same love for homemade applesauce and apple butter!)

I am also glad he has a sister. (Well, 3 to be exact.) But one that I can always count on my cooking/baking/canning questions to be answered. A culinary degree and experience have given her expertise in my book.
She was nice enough to spend an afternoon with me and teach me the art of canning......
(And if you are a visual learner, like me, you are welcome for all of the pictures!)

What You'll Need:
Jars for canning (Bands and lids)
Pressure cooker or canning pot (a pot with a disk at the bottom so the jars are not directly touching the bottom of the pan)
Canning utensils

Here's How:
1. Separate your jars and bands for sanitizing.

2. Start your pots of water. One in the pressure cooker (or canning pot) and a smaller one to sanitize the lids separately.

3. When the water is boiling, add your empty glass jars to the water. (She had a special tool to drop and lift the jars into the hot water.)

4. Sterilize the jars in the boiling water for 20 minutes.
Remove, drain and place on a clean towel.

5. Immediately start to fill your hot jars with your apple goodness. (She had a funnel made specifically for canning to fit the jars perfectly.)
Make sure to carefully wipe the rims free from any liquid that may have gotten spilt.

6. Using a measuring tool, measure the 'headspace' (the space between the top of your sauce and the top of the jar). For apple butter or applesauce, you will need at least 1/4 inch at the top. Take out or add more sauce depending on how full your jars are.

7. Using her magnetic tool (this was my favorite gadget she brought!), she removed a lid, one by one, from the small pot and placed them on the jars.

8. Center the lids on the jars and  screw the bands on (not extremely tight).

9. Back in the water bath they go! 20 more minutes....

10. Remove them back to the towel.

11. You will immediately hear a 'pop' or two. And about 20 minutes after you pull your canned apple butter out of the water bath, they will all have 'popped' and be sealed. 

(This is a picture of one that hasn't popped yet. You can tell because the middle of the lid is still up. When they pop, the middle sinks and cannot be pushed down anymore.)

Canning applesauce is the exact same process, just bigger jars. I used 1/2 pint jars for the apple butter (above) and 1 pint jars for the apple sauce (below).

(Do you see 4 lids with black dots on top? Using a sharpie, we marked the ones that came from the same crock pot since I had made two different types of applesauce.

For applesauce/apple butter/canning size/price ratio, here is what I ended up with...

Apple Butter:
14 apples in each crock pot (I did 2 crock pots of this). I ended with 10, 1/2 pint jars of apple butter (If I had more 1/2 pint jars, I would have been able to get 2 more jars filled). The apples were roughly $.46 a piece. So, it cost me $1 .15 for apples for each jar of apple butter. (I did not include the cost of spices and sugar or the jars purchased.)
15 apples in each crock pot (I used 2 crock pots for this also). I ended up with 8 pint size jars of applesauce. (I kept out about 2 pints worth to eat instead of can.) So, the apples for each jar of applesauce cost $1 .38. (Again, I did not include the cost of apple juice, spices, sugar and jars.)

I got the price per apple from averaging the cost from our apple picking experience.
We bought 47 pounds of apples for $45 .00. We ended up with 98 apples, making the average cost $.46 an apple.
Hope that helps!

These are my canned varieties....
(Left to right)
Sugar Free Applesauce, Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce, Spiced Applesauce, Apple Butter

And wha-la! Applesauce and apple butter done! And my Christmas shopping list just got smaller!
(Don't you wish you were on my list??)

Now, off to find cute labels and ways to decorate the jars!....

1 comment:

  1. I've always wanted to can but never have! You are doing some incredible things in your 31 series!!