Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just Crazy About Canning

I have a new hobby!  And a few weekends ago I spent a lot of time on my newest hobby - CANNING!  In truth, I have been very spoiled growing up, as my mother and grandmothers all canned and were willing to share their harvest with me, but I have never really participated in the act of canning, nor did I really want to.  This year, all that changed.  Since all my family is across the country, I am left to fend for myself in the canning arena.  I am excited about the outcome of my canning adventures, but I do have a new appreciation for all the hard work that my family did to share their canning with me.

I knew that I wanted to can this year, but our yard does not have the space nor the sun light to produce much of a garden.  In the little bit of yard that the sun actually hits, we have 2 zucchini plants and 1 cherry tomato plant, all which have taken over. :)  Growing up in a rural area, I am used to eating things "fresh from the farm", so not having access to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as soon as I step outside the door has been an adjustment to me.  To compensate, this year I had 20 lb. of green beans delivered from a local farm.  When I told people that I was doing this, they looked at me like I was crazy.  20 lb. of anything is a lot for only 2 people!  But I knew that I wanted to can them.  On top of that, my kind co-worker brought me back red pears and tomatoes from her recent trip to California.  With all these fresh fruits and veggies, I planned for a busy weekend.  Below is the end result of all that was canned: peaches, tomato sauce, salsa, applesauce, green beans and cinnamon-pear jam.

As I said, my co-worker brought me some beautiful red pears from California.  Yum!  I scoured the internet to find what I wanted to make with this beautiful gift and found a recipe for Cinnamon Pear Jam at Food in Jars. I will admit that I choose this one because you don't have to peal the pears - I am terribly slow at pealing fruit!

What you Need:
16 cups of pears (cubed)
8 cups of sugar
Juice from a medium sized lemon
2 Tbsp of Cinnamon
2 Tbsp of Pectin

Cook down the pears & sugar, on medium heat, in a stainless steel pot.  When the pears are soft, mash the fruit with a potato masher until the mixture is fairly smooth.  Add the lemon juice, cinnamon and pectin into the mixture.  Continue to cook until the jam starts to thicken.  For me it was about 15-20 minutes.

Once the concoction has thickened, fill the jars and place the lids, which were heated in boiling water while the pears were cooking, and screw on the rim of the jar.  Put the jars in a boiling water bath for about 10 minutes, start the timer once the water returns to a boil.  After the 10 minutes, remove the jars from the pot and let them cool on the counter for about 3 hours.  Hopefully the lids will seal during this time - all of mine did thankfully!

I will tell you, it is mighty tasty jam! :)  I am actually thinking about trying it as a marinade for a ham in the future, but I guess we will just have to wait and see. :)