This week I had the pleasure of using my Aunts lovely large Fowlers Vacola Urn and we made the most of it being in the house by putting up jars and jars of Bread and Butter Cucumber Relish, Cooked Apple, Lemon Curd and Tomato Passata. Below you’ll find out about the lowdown of canning at home as well as links to recipes I used.
Go here for a brief overview of what canning is and what it involves!
You don’t need a Fowler’s Urn to can (although it did make things easier.. as I could fit whole batches in it!) at home. All you need is a pan deep enough to fit your jars in standing up with an extra inch of water above the lid line. I collect jars year round, the only prerequisite for canning is that it needs a metal lid and a glass body. Woolworths and Big W now stock the Ball Mason jars which are the perfect size for home canning. If you can get your hands on the quilted jars, they make perfect gifts filled with your home-made preserves!
If you want to get all funky and count on using your jars year after year, I suggest that you get your hands on some Fowlers jars. They come with metal lids and clips. The rubber seals come separately as you need to replace them after a few uses. I was lucky enough to buy a few boxes of second-hand various sized Fowler jars from Gumtree for a tenth of the price, so keep that in mind and keep your eye out on the local classifieds if you are ok with secondhand!
Most seasonal fruits can be preserved, but keep in mind what you would actually use as its futile to have jars and jars of lovely peaches taking up shelf space if no one in your family likes peaches!
Kids can help out with canning. Get them to wash the fruit, peel the apples, cut up the cucumbers and onions, turn the mouli and squeeze all those lemons for juice! Older kids can help with washing the jars, lids and clips. If you are confident your kids won’t hurt themselves, involve them in putting the jars in and out of the pan. This all needs supervision!
Hygiene is of paramount importance. Hands need to be washed, benches wiped and jars sterilised and dried before filling.
Here are links to the recipes I used for the Lemon Curd and the Bread and Butter Cucumbers. Lemon curd can be used for pie fillings, spread on toast, scones and pancakes. The Bread and Butter Cucumbers are perfect on sandwiches, burgers or with cheese and crackers.
For the cooked apple I simply peel, then core and slice (woah.. now that’s a youtube clip you’ll watch over and over again!) all the apples. They are brought to the boil in a mixture of water, some sugar and cinnamon to taste. Fill the jars up with mainly fruit and then fill to an inch below the lid with the sugar syrup. The cooked apple is used in Muffins, Cakes and Slices. It can be further processed for apple sauce to accompany your roast pork!
The tomato passata is so easy to make as it is simply raw tomato! Just cut off the core and then squeeze all the juice and seeds out. Chop them roughly and then pass through a mouli. I added a few basil leaves to each jar to add a little extra flavour. Passata is best made in the height of Summer when the tomatoes are ripe and full of flavour. Autumn and Winter tomatoes usually have a higher water content which will separate from the tomato flesh when canned, which you just need to shake up before use! Tomato passata is perfect in simple pasta dishes, added to soups, can be used in vegetable smoothies or cooked down to a thicker more intense base for use as a sauce.
The options are endless. And it’s all messy, productive fun!
If there is one thing I can pass onto you is.. make sure those jars are sterilised well, and when you boil them when full, make sure that water is boiling! Check your jars to make sure they have sealed well when they have cooled down. If the lid comes off with ease, you need to boil them again.. the seal hasn’t worked and you’ll find mouldy jars of food in your cupboard in no time!
Go get your hands on some jars this weekend and can something! It’s fun! I’d suggest trying the Bread and Butter Cucumber Relish!
Have you canned before? If you are going to give it a go.. what will you make?