Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Can!!!

Last year I bought two dozen canning jars. Though I had planned on water bath canning, and I've always had a strong desire to can, a huge vat of boiling water and easily shattered glass makes me anxious. I filled about 18 with freezer strawberry jam (which is delicious and we haven't had to purchase any jam all year), and I also made applesauce but chickened out of canning it and stuck it in the freezer in ziplock bags.

When I saw this canning set at Target for $9.98 last month, I bought it because I thought it was a worthy $10 risk. It might have been really low quality, or it might serve its purpose for several years. $10 was enough to tip me to the side of trying it to either get used to canning, or get it out of my system.

All of the pieces seem quite a bit higher quality than $10! My two complaints would be that the spatula thing was a little rough and could use sanding, and the lid to the pot is difficult to grip with an oven mitt.

Can you see the terror in my eyes??? Look hard. It's there!

After emptying the contents of the pot, I filled her up over half full of water, then got ready to can some fresh pineapple. Get that water heating! Pineapple's probably not the wisest choice for your first canning experience, but I got five pineapples for $1 each. AND I DIDN'T WANT TO FREEZE THEM!!!

Prepare the pineapples by cutting off the skin, and cutting out the eyes. I used a bread and parring knife to accomplish the task.

Slice up the pineapple. I quartered, then sliced out the cores of the pineapples. I threw the cores in a pot of heating water (about 9 cups water plus 2 cups sugar) and let them get warm/let the sugar dissolve while I chopped the pineapple. This made a lite syrup.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the cores from syrup, then carefully dump or spoon in the chunks of pineapple.

Allow pineapple to simmer 10 minutes. Also, heat rings and lids until simmering, then remove from heat and leave in hot water until ready. Wash glass jars and then put them in hot water. I filled my sink with the hottest water I could and left the jars there until I was ready to fill them. I've since learned that I'm pretty sure I should have boiled them 10 minutes.

Fill those pint jars up leaving 1/2" head space. Using a canning funnel, I used a slotted spoon to fill them with pineapple, then I used a non-slotted spoon to add the syrup. Wipe rims, place lids on, then tighten rings to fingertip strength.

Place the jars in your water bath. Add more water to ensure that the water covers them by 1-2 inches, and bring to a boil. Check your processing time per elevation. I processed mine for 15 minutes, starting the timer once the water was boiling.

Using your canning tongs, pull out the jars. CAREFUL!! Set them on a couple of layers of DRY towels. You want to do your best to help the glass ease out of the boiling temperature.

Let them cool completely. This took close to 12 hours for me.

Take the rings off, once completely cooled. Stack them up and enjoy how beautiful they are.

I've used mine in muffins and homemade pizza. Tastes WAY better than commercially canned pineapple!

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