The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John from Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
I was really excited when I found out what the challenge for this month was, hot water canning is something I’ve been wanting to try my hand at for awhile. I’d gotten as far as buying a book on the subject, attending a preserving basics class at Oded’s Kitchen and even had a few Consol canning jars patiently waiting for me to start.
I chose to make the apple butter and I used 1.25kg of granny smith apples which I peeled and cored before proceeding with the recipe. This produced enough apple butter to fill two 500ml canning jars, with about 200ml leftover to put in the fridge for eating over the next few days.
So I had the jars, but I didn’t have a pot deep enough to submerge them in or anything to lift them out of the hot water without burning my hands. I spent some time debating if I should use smaller jars or buy myself a pot that was deep enough to accommodate the jars I already had. Then I had an inspired idea, why not borrow my mom’s pasta pot? It was deep enough for the jars and it had an inner basket I could use to lower the jars into the hot water and lift them out again after they had been processed. And as an added bonus the basket had a raised base eliminating the need for a rack inside the pot. I’m happy to report that the pasta pot worked perfectly in it’s new designation as hot water canner.
Although I completed the challenge I’m not sure if I did it successfully. I guess I didn’t do a good enough job removing the air trapped in the jars because once they where cooled I noticed these tiny bubbles inside. Anyway this is definitely something that I’m going to do more of in the future and perhaps improve my air bubble removing technique as I go.
All recipes from this month’s challenge can be found here