Preserving the Harvest - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-07-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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"I was reading in my little house book that people used to preserve unripe fruit with the ripe fruit because the unripe fruit has more pectin. Anyone doing this or tried it? "

I've not done it, but I have the Farm Journal's Freezing and Canning Cookbook, and many of the recipes in it call for just that. We prefer freezer jam, though, so the only cooked jam I usually make is Concord Grape in the fall. Maybe I'll try it this year.

So far, I've made about 5 pints of strawberry jam (more than enough for the year for us, since I'll also be making raspberry, grape, and apple butter), have frozen a few gallons of strawberries for smoothies (those we'll run out of mid-winter, but I don't have enough freezer room to do more), dried several more pounds of strawberries, frozen 1 gallon of fresh mint, and dried oregano, thyme, sage and chives (the chives I actually preserved in jars of salt).

I'm drying elder flowers and chamomile right now for tea.

I tried drying red currants, but it was a disaster. Our currants have small seeds in them, and while they aren't bothersome when the currants are fresh, it turns out they are very hard and yucky when dried. Next year we'll just use the currants fresh, or try freezing.

We wanted to pick blackberries and mulberries to preserve, but the mosquitoes have been so bad, we only managed to pick enough to eat fresh.

That's it here for now.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
It's in the Complete Book of Home Preserving by Ball. Page 192 I think.
Nak'ing right now though, sorry.
Unfortunately our library does not have it! Too bad. Braved it and went with my 4 kids to pick strawberries. The oldest did fantastic. The 2 middle girls were bored pretty quick. Baby slept for the first few minutes, then woke and was sad the rest of the time. The berries were pretty small, so it took a long time to get only a few quarts. Oh well, I have enough to make jam. And strawberry shortcake for supper was wonderful!

I'm thinking that I'll need to try to get some Pomona's pectin, it sounds fantastic.

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Blooming View Post
I was reading in my little house book that people used to perserve unripe fruit with the ripe fruit because the unripe fruit has more pectin. Anyone doing this or tried it? Of course these were people who were not able to buy the boxed pectin.

I also read that people woul perserve peaches with crab apples because peaches have very low pectin and crab apples very high.

I found it interesting so I thought I'd share....
We have done jams without pectin, when we were living overseas - we didn't have access to any pectin powder. All the women there did their jams without any extras. It was usually more runny, but using some underripe fruit helped, and making sure the rest of the fruit wasn't too ripe. We usually cooked the fruit for quite a while, very slowly, to make it thicker. Then we'd add sugar and cook it some more.

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nadia105 View Post
That site looks great! Thanks for the link, I'm hoping to do my first canning ever this year and that will help so much!

One question: for water bath canning (jams and tomatoes), can I just use a deep pot with a lid? I'd like to see how canning goes this year before I buy a lot of supplies.
Until last year we just used a big pot, nothing special. You should just put some kind of rack or something on the bottom of the pot. Otherwise your glass jars might crack.

A source for cheap canning supplies can be auctions, or thrift stores. We live rural, and I am often seeing them for sale at yard sales, thrift stores, and auctions.

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post
I tried drying red currants, but it was a disaster. Our currants have small seeds in them, and while they aren't bothersome when the currants are fresh, it turns out they are very hard and yucky when dried. Next year we'll just use the currants fresh, or try freezing.
We have frozen red currants with great success. They were so delicious to throw in muffins.

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nadia105 View Post
One question: for water bath canning (jams and tomatoes), can I just use a deep pot with a lid? I'd like to see how canning goes this year before I buy a lot of supplies.
Yes. Just as long as it is deep enough for there to be 1 to 2 inches of water over the top of the submersed jars.

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Old 07-07-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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We have frozen red currants with great success. They were so delicious to throw in muffins.
Thank you! That is exactly what I will do next year. :
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nadia105 View Post
One question: for water bath canning (jams and tomatoes), can I just use a deep pot with a lid? I'd like to see how canning goes this year before I buy a lot of supplies.
That is exactly how I can! I don't have a rack, either, so I lay a few clean washcloths on the bottom of the pot (I've heard that an overturned pie-plate is a better idea, but I don't have one that fits), then place my jars carefully, and make sure that there is 2" of water over the tops of the jars. I haven't lost a jar yet!
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Synthea™ View Post
I'm scared of pressure cookers. My dad blew one up making applesauce...there was sauce on the ceiling of that house years after we moved out (my parents were not in any sense of the words, clean or neat), and my MIL was cooking something in a pressure cooker and it exploded, leaving her with awful burns and scars all over her face, chest, arms, stomach and legs. I just don't know if I'm brave enough to try them out. I have 2, but I only use the pot part for cooking big meals
omg, that is scary!! i'm not getting one of those things!

you can can without them right, my neighbor just uses a big pot to can tuna...she does other stuff too and just puts a towel around it till it pops...hoping to do Jam, Blackberry, pickles, tomatoes, beans sounds good, and anything else I can. I got some Jars and a book on canning with honey...glad I saw this thread

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Old 07-08-2008, 01:30 AM
 
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COOL! This is the type of stuff I'm looking for - soups, meals, meats!

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Old 07-08-2008, 06:15 AM
 
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I'm so glad I found this thread! I am thoroughly addicted to preserving produce--mostly canning, dehydrating, and freezing. We are having an amazing year for fruit here, and I am having so much fun. I have two dehydrators, a vacuum sealer, a pressure canner, and two chest freezers. I'm also fortunate to live near an Amish community because they sell just about any canning supply in bulk--jars and lids, pectins, etc. I'm also looking forward to making baby food this winter from produce I freeze this summer.

So far this year:

60 lb of strawberries from local patches. The owners know me and give me deals on seconds, so I only spent $45. I've made:
--A gallon of dehydrated strawberries. We eat them like candy.
--Strawberry jam
--Strawberry sauce (for ice cream and waffles)
--Stawberry-rhubarb spread
--Strawberry-banana popsicles
--Various baked goods that I froze--strawberry-banana muffins, strawberry pancakes, strawberry waffles

Shopping bag full of rhubarb, free from a friend's patch. Some went into the strawberry-rhubarb spread, and I froze the rest.

A gallon of pie cherries, free from my FIL's tree. Just pitted and froze them. (In the past, I've dehydrated Bing cherries, and they're delicious.)

14 lb of blueberries from local, U-pick patch. Cost $3/lb so $42 total.
--Dehydrated 1/3
--Froze 1/3
--Planning to make blueberry pie filling with the last 1/3.

Half gallon of wild black raspberries, picked free at my family's farm. Made a cobbler with half and froze the rest.

10 gallons of apricots, free from my FIL's tree. Split half with my neighbor and with the other half:
--Froze about a half gallon
--Canned some in light syrup
--Made apricot pie filling

I had some frozen blackberries (picked free at my family's farm) in the freezer from last year, and I made jelly with it. The new crop should start in a week or two.

Hopefully, I'll be picking gooseberries soon. I pick wild ones at my family's farm and domesticated ones at a friend's patch.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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you can can without them right, my neighbor just uses a big pot to can tuna...she does other stuff too and just puts a towel around it till it pops...hoping to do Jam, Blackberry, pickles, tomatoes, beans sounds good, and anything else I can. I got some Jars and a book on canning with honey...glad I saw this thread
According to current canning safety guidelines, you can use a hot water bath (i.e. processing the jars by submersing them in boiling water) for foods that are naturally high in acid such as tomatoes and anything pickled with vinegar. But, for the foods that are low in acid such as beans and tomato sauces with other herbs and vegetables mixed into them, you are supposed to use a pressure canner. This is because bacteria grows on all fruits and vegetables. This is killed at a lower temperature for highly acidic foods or foods with large amounts of vinegar or lemon/lime juice, thus a hot water bath is appropriate. The same bacteria is killed at higher temperatures for low acid foods, thus requiring a pressure canner.

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Old 07-08-2008, 10:55 AM
 
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This thread is making me jealous of those of you with longer growing seasons than me! So far the only thing I could consider putting up is strawberries--which we are going to go pick tomorrow. Last year I froze 5 or 6 gallon bags and made 3 pints of jam, which wasn't nearly enough. I'll try to make more jam this time.

Pretty soon we'll have lots of wild raspberries and blueberries to pick and I'll make jam and freeze some. Maybe I'll try drying some too, now that dd has enough teeth to chew things! Our peas are taking off and I'll be freezing those soon too. I'm a little overwhelmed by how much canning I'll have to do pretty soon--we've never grown so much food before! I'll make tons of pasta sauce and the freezer will be FULL of berries, edamame beans (hopefully), chickens (we're picking up 50 meat chick today!), and other assorted veggies and freezer jams.
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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Finally got a chance to respond to some things in the thread.

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Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
I picked up my own water bath canner this year, and was pleasantly surprised to find ALL of my canning stuff was made in the USA.
I've noticed the same thing! It makes me glad that items that help us live more naturally and frugally are also made locally. Goodness all around!

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Originally Posted by medicmama View Post
Does anyone have book recomandations/recipies?
I have to second The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and Preserving Summer's Bounty. Any time I'm thinking to myself, "How am I possibly going to use all this produce," I open PSB and end up saying, "I need more produce to do everything I want."

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Originally Posted by serenetabbie View Post
I have had no luck at all finding Pomona's. We live in a more rural area (I say "more rural" because we are within 30 minutes of two larger towns/small cities) and none of the stores have had it. What brick & morter store have you all bought it at?
I can't remember what part of PA you're in...are you near an Amish community? I know my local Amish bulk goods store sells it.

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Originally Posted by FarmerCathy View Post
My first canning experience was a success! I can see why it is so addicting! I can't wait to do pressure canning. Anybody know of a good book that has a yummy chili recipe (with beans)? I can't find one in the Ball complete book of home preserving. Is there a reason for this?
You know, I've noticed that beans and chili were glaringly absent from that book, and I'm not sure why, because I know they can be safely pressure canned. I'd love to can my own jars of cooked beans for the convenience factor.

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Originally Posted by Blooming View Post
I was reading in my little house book that people used to perserve unripe fruit with the ripe fruit because the unripe fruit has more pectin. Anyone doing this or tried it? Of course these were people who were not able to buy the boxed pectin.

I also read that people woul perserve peaches with crab apples because peaches have very low pectin and crab apples very high. I haven't tried it myself, but I was intrigued by the idea.
In Preserving Summer's Bounty, there is a recipe for making homemade canned liquid pectin from underripe apples.

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Originally Posted by mystic~mama View Post
you can can without them right, my neighbor just uses a big pot to can tuna...
Unless she's pickling the tuna, it's very unsafe to water bath can it. Meat needs to be pressure canned, because water bath canners don't get hot enough to kill botulism bacteria.
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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I made 6 pints of strawberry freezer jam and 6 pints of strawberry rhubarb freezer jam last night.

My first attempt and it turned out Yummy!

Me:
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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this thread is so inspiring~

i am making plum jam this AM before work i made appx 8 jars of apricot freezer jam a few weeks ago and it is almost gone!

we have a huge plum tree with amazing plums, so exciting!

how much jam/fruit preserves do y'all make for the year!?
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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I made 6 pints of strawberry freezer jam and 6 pints of strawberry rhubarb freezer jam last night.

My first attempt and it turned out Yummy!
isnt it exciting!? today i am attempting cooked/jarred jam

wish me luck!
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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I've got 5 quarts of strawberries gently boiling down into jam. I've actually never canned with pectin. I don't like the taste as much.

I just use a little sugar and cook FORVER.

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Old 07-08-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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Unless she's pickling the tuna, it's very unsafe to water bath can it. Meat needs to be pressure canned, because water bath canners don't get hot enough to kill botulism bacteria.
oh, hmm, i had some, was good, i'm fine. she said she cooks for 3 hours...I have no idea, I've never canned...it was yummy and I'm alive thats all I know

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Old 07-09-2008, 10:52 AM
 
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isnt it exciting!? today i am attempting cooked/jarred jam

wish me luck!

How did it go, Regina?

I ended up with 5 half-pints of jam. I need to double-ish that for the year and then we'll be set!

Does anyone have the book, Putting Food By, written by Janet Greene? ( I can't get underlining to work!!)

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Old 07-09-2008, 11:06 AM
 
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oh, hmm, i had some, was good, i'm fine. she said she cooks for 3 hours...I have no idea, I've never canned...it was yummy and I'm alive thats all I know
I'm glad you survived! But seriously, I would be much less afraid of a pressure canner than of water-bath canned meat!
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Anyone know if pectin can go bad? My mom had some with a date of 2001 on it in her pantry, is it still okay to use? I did get some fresh Pomona's after reading the raves here, but I will use up the old stuff if it's still good.

Baking mama to dd (7.5), ds (6), ds (3.5) and someone new in April
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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Pectin seems to relatively cheap. I would probably replace it because you're going to have a lot more invested in quality produce than pectin and throwing away a batch of goodness would stink.

That's just me, though.

I'm so glad to see the thread pop back up again!

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Old 07-10-2008, 06:29 PM
 
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Another question: If we are going to use one jar of jam right away, do I need to process that one too or is it okay right after the jam is cooked? I'm planning to water bath can, but I might try freezer jam sometime too.

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Old 07-10-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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Anyone know if pectin can go bad? My mom had some with a date of 2001 on it in her pantry, is it still okay to use? I did get some fresh Pomona's after reading the raves here, but I will use up the old stuff if it's still good.
my canning book says 3 yr expiration..?
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:59 PM
 
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Another question: If we are going to use one jar of jam right away, do I need to process that one too or is it okay right after the jam is cooked? I'm planning to water bath can, but I might try freezer jam sometime too.
I don't bother processing the one I know we will eat starting NOW. Actually, I always have a jar ready for when I have some left, but not enough to fill another jar up. That is the one we start eating now. I've always done it that way w/o any problems.

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Old 07-10-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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I don't process what we're going to eat immediately. What's the point? It would take time out of eating it!!

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Old 07-10-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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Thanks for answering all the newbie questions!

The timing for getting all the supplies was perfect, I scraped out the last bit of jelly we had in th house for the kids' sandwiches at lunch!

Baking mama to dd (7.5), ds (6), ds (3.5) and someone new in April
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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I was reading in my little house book that people used to preserve unripe fruit with the ripe fruit because the unripe fruit has more pectin. Anyone doing this or tried it?
I have done this in the past. My very favorite strawberry jam is a long cook recipe. You use mostly ripe fruit, and some under ripe. I think it is from either the Farm Journal Freezing & Canning cookbook or maybe from Joy of Cooking. IMO the color and taste is far superior to the faster cooked pectin recipes that I have tried, but when I have a pile of fruit making the table groan I am all for the short cook!

Quote:
Regina

how much jam/fruit preserves do y'all make for the year!?
It depends on how much fruit we gather, are given or grow . I try to make a pint per every 3 weeks for our own personal use, or about 18 pints. I also like to make extra half pints to assemble as "sampler" holiday gift baskets. Last year was a terrible berry year, so I only had two batches of mixed berry jam. But, it was a bumper year for our hot peppers, so everyone I know got gifted a jar of hot pepper jelly . It was also a good year for DH's co-worker's grapes . I think I made somewhere around 24 pints of grape jam before I started giving grapes away and then composting them (shhhh). I had to ask Dh to please please not bring any more home, even though I was very thankful.


Jen- I ordered some on line and it came yesterday! Thanks for the suggestion though... 'cause you know I need another excuse to go out to the Amish/Mennonite store!

My neighbor just called and told me that they have gooseberries in the field next to the barn we volunteer at! I am so excited!

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Old 07-10-2008, 10:25 PM
 
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OH, BTW! I forgot... who was asking about meat recipes? There are some in the Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook along with directions for basic "how to can meat" instructions.

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