Friday, August 27, 2010

I feel so very domestic!

I also feel sweaty and very, very tired....

I've just completed Adventures in Canning, Parts 1 & 2. Part 1 was a resounding success, but took a mighty long time. Wild Plum Jelly. Starting with a slew of wild plums. Washing and inspecting each and every one of those little buggers took much longer than I'd anticipated. I don't actually know how long, but the flour sack towels I bought to strain the mush made it through the entire wash cycle before I'd gotten half way. Gently cooking and not-so-gently mashing the little spheroids took just over an hour. Then stirring and stirring and stirring. Plum juice, sugar and pectin. Boiling and stirring and boiling and stirring. The friendly sheet of paper in the pectin package said I'd only have to boil hard for one minute while stirring continuously. Yeah. No. The stuff was nowhere near setting after a minute. After about six minutes, it finally started "sheeting" off of the spoon (aren't you proud of me? I now know official jelly-making terminology!). Twelve half-pint jars are cooling in my cupboard. And, of course, the hot water bath canner I bought only held nine. And it seemed so wrong to can just three jars of jelly.... So, Adventure in Canning, Part 2A: pineapple preserves spiced with Poudre Fine (or Poudre Douce, if you prefer)(officially "conserves d'ananas avec la poudre fine"). One 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoon poudre fine. And another spat of boiling and stirring and boiling and stirring... Then the preserves began to set. Two and a half jars. Yeah. No. Adventure in Canning, Part 2B: another can of crushed pineapple, sugar, spice. Unfortunately, I was getting so very tired of the whole boiling and stirring thing that I rushed the second batch. I'm not sure that it's going to be pineapple preserves. It might be vastly tasty pineapple syrup. But, it's canned. And cooling in the cupboard.

Just in case you wanted to know, the coolest part of the canning process was gently lifting the jars out of the very hot water, coaxing them in to place in the cupboard without actually touching them, and hearing the "ping" of the lid going concave as I turned to get the next jar. Which means the seal is good!!

So, yeah, I have 12 jars of great jelly, 2 jars of great preserves, one jar that's half great preserves and half possibly-not-preserves, and 2 jars of possibly-not-preserves. And they are all perfectly sealed! And that means success! And I'm looking forward to tasting the stuff when it's cool enough not to burn my tongue (yes, jelly and preserves are quite hot after being boiled hard for much more than a minute... oops!)