Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Your Summer Kitchen

I've heard lots of reasons for not canning. One of my own was "last thing I need is to heat up the kitchen when it's already so hot."  Last year I realized I have a summer kitchen!  Of course, I'd had it for years, just didn't recognize it.  You may have one too!  It's your grill, if you have a side burner. Use both the side burner and grill surface of your regular BBQ grill to make your product!  Why/how does this relate to frugal preparedness?  Well, if you have fruit in your yard and containers to can, you can make your own jam. From there, you can save the cost of commercial product either for your current use, future use or for gifts. Wow, that's a lot of opportunity to use this resource!

If you plan to can, please do your research to ensure you are using a method that is safe for the type of storage you plan for your product.  Failure to do so could result in illness or death - seriously!

I'll just share how I made the actual jam. This was a lazy-canning. After I finished, I put the jam into  freezer containers (sterilized, of course).  We take them out of the freezer, thaw in the fridge and use immediately.  The jam shown is a mix of black currents and serviceberries (also called saskatoons).  I do not strain my preserves, but cook them long enough for the seeds to soften. Free protein. Aditionally, before I can them, I give hit them with a stick blender to chop up the skins a bit - which also releases a little extra natural pectin.

Here is the start of my meager early harvest.  I was really craving some black current jam! Because I was planning to freeze and not put them in shelf-storage, I use about half the suggested sugar.

Even on LO, my burner was very hot, so I was careful to watch, put the top on, take it off, etc. to prevent burning or boil over.  I was somewhat successful.  Since this batch, I've gotten one of those cast-iron flame spreaders to even the heat.

To save propane, I let the mixture 'stew' a couple of times on the cool grill. It also absorbed some of the residual heat from the heavy steel pan, reducing boil-over.

Looks ready for the stick blender.  Then the lemon juice and liquid pectin! Since this batch, I've started using the bulk BALL dry pectin.  I like it a lot and it's much less mess and expense. I usually try to use whatever pectin has the least dextrose or other sugars in it.  If I have apples, I'll throw in a couple (peeled and chopped small) to improve the natural pectin content.

Ahhhh. Ready for the containers and my current jam fix!! This made about 5 (with some leftover) 8 ounce freezer containers of jam.  If you are a serious canner, you'll need to decide how to set up the waterbath -- perhaps a 2 burner grill or actual propane stove on your porch would be better. That is if you are REALLY serious about your summer kitchen!

1 comment:

  1. You have to be careful that the sideburner will hold the weight of the pot you are using. I wanted to do my hot water bath on a burner but it would have been to heavy. Instead I set up my campstove on the wood table. It works well and I haven't burned up the table yet!