Thursday, August 27, 2009

My first canning... a jarring experience

© 2009 Joshua Stark

Not really, but I couldn't resist a title like that. Akin to my understanding that I shouldn't be a gym teacher (I enjoyed using running as a punishment as a substitute gym teacher), I now know I shouldn't be an editor, either. My title's can be misleading, but I'll do it anyway for a silly turn of phrase.
Anyhow, just a quick note that I put some green beans in with a couple of hot peppers and a clove of garlic, completely forgetting the dill, into some vinegar, and gave them a bath. Having never done this before, I was happy to hear the satisfying pop! of the jar lid. However, I'm sure I'm missing something huge by accidentally leaving out the dill. Can anybody tell me the purpose of dill in pickling?

Well, after that pop!, and drunk on my new-found skill, I decided to make some fig preserves. Living on the Delta, we have many fig trees available to forage, at times as easily as blackberries, and there is one particular patch of trees right on the drive to my parents' house, so this week I collected what I figured to be around 10-12 lbs. of figs. Unfortunately, I let them sit for too long, and I lost a few, but I was left with what amounted to about 80 figs, or ultimately, 3 1/2 pints of preserves.

So I started boiling. And boiling. And boiling. Did I mention we started after 10 pm? Yeah... Around 11:15, I decided they were ready for their bath, so I checked the directions... 45 minutes, you say? Huh.

Just after midnight, I pulled the jars from the bath, and promptly went to bed. Lying in bed, the last sound I caught was the last pop! What a great sound to drift off to sleep in one's mind.

So here, at last, my first real attempt at canning. If you are one of the few to 'get' to try one of these, enjoy! And good luck.


Rebecca said...

Oh wow! That's terrific....congratulations! What equipment did you use?

Josh said...

I used a boiling water bath (just a tall Graniteware 12 qt stock pot), and I bought the canning kit with lid magnet lifter, jar lifter, and funnel.

I boiled the jars, lids and bands, and then cooked down the figs, and then gave them a boiling water bath for 45 minutes. I've subsequently found directions for as little as 5 minutes...

Kari said...

I will trade ya some apricot preserves for fig preserves!

Josh said...