Monday, October 13, 2008

merry christmas! hope you like botulism!!

so i had my first foray into "canning" yesterday. i say "canning" because i didn't actually properly do ... well, just about anything!!

we had 36 pounds of apples from our apple-picking venture while oma was in town. the timing of that event was truly poor, since i didn't have the extended time i needed to do anything with the apples until this weekend, which means they sat on a shelf in our pantry (which is really just a green bookcase in the living room), apple-smelling up the whole apartment for two weeks!

now at least there is only one 12 pound bag of macintosh left - i am thinking pie filling, but i haven't decided. maybe crumble? four nights in a row? presuming we can eat each one on the night it is baked? might be time to invite some dessert-lovers over.

what we have here is the pile of peelings after one pot full of apples had been peeled:

bascially what we did was peel, core and segment all the apples (i invested in one of thost push down apple corers/wedgers, which made m's job a lot easier! i still had to peel all the apples with the potato peeler, but that's so much better than using a knife that i can't complain.)

then we filled a pot with apples wedges:

threw some water (not too much) into the bottom of the pot, and put them on to mush down at a boil into homemade chunky applesauce. we filled that pot three times!

unfortunately, i don't have any photos for the rest of this process. i am still a little untested at documenting my domestic arts experiments!

after we had all our applesauce, we filled the slow cooker with applesauce, spiced it up (sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice) and turned that puppy on to cook down overnight - it's the only time that i use the slow cooker with the lid off (because of course, if you cook it with the lid on, it doesn't ever thicken). basically, the first two pots of applesauce filled the crock, so with the third pot, i had two and a half plastic quart jugs left. i put the half one in the fridge for eating (signal seems to really like it). i put one of the full ones in the freezer for eating later. and the other full one was added to the slow cooker the next morning, along with a tad more spice.

once the cooking was all done, i had apple butter! i use this recipe from for the apple butter. it refers to this recipe from for applesauce, which is the first ingredient in their apple butter! in turn, the applesauce recipe got me to this one, for applesauce without specialized equipment. but i seem to be moving backwards in my account here.

so, once the apple butter was done (much thicker and chunkier than last year's, much to m's delight), it was time to "can" it. so i pulled out six of the pint mason jars i bought with canadian tire money a few weeks back. washed and rinsed them with scalding water, as per the manufacturer's instructions in preparation for sterilizing them (since i was not going to put them through the proper boiling water bath for proper canning). only to realize that the largest pot i have is not even big enough to sterilize the jars.

the only really good thing to come of that is the awareness that i did not avoid proper canning because i am lazy so much as that i didn't have the correct hardware! whew - that's a load off my mind!

so the jars were scalded, but not sterilized, and the vacuum seals are incomplete and not official. but i have five pint jars of apple butter, hanging out in the fridge, hopefully not growing anything terrible before the great gifting begins!

if you happen to be a lucky recipient of my kitchen flailings, please do not feel bad if you decide the risk is not worth the reward - just lie to me about how much you enjoyed it!

oh, and because no post is complete with the requisite photo of the boy, this should serve as a warning to those thinking of embarking on "canning" adventures that require the simultaneous participation of all supervisory persons in the house:

that's right: sitting on the arm of the couch in a bamboo flat diaper with his diaper cover on ... his head!


FireMom said...

We have a soaker with the same exact coloring.

And I always forget to document my stuff halfway through as well. WIN!

omaopa said...

I'm an old cow hand.....even with a diaper cover on my head!!

kidletsmum said...

Wait... diaper covers don't belong on heads? Well that explains why my kid leaks so much...

I'd be a willing participant in dessert night! Apple crumble all the way!!! (If you go that route, you should check out the crumble recipe in the rebar cookbook-- best crumble ever!)

Julia said...

I love that you have "botulism" as a tag on that post. I'm hoping it doesn't become one of your most used. It'll probably be safe until Christmas anyhow, as jam lasts that long, and if in doubt you can always stash it in the freezer until then, a la freezer jam. I doubt that it's safe enough to mail overseas, unfortunately...

ru said...

julia, i am the QUEEN of the one-shot joke tag. they are my favourite sort. and it will only show up again if someone gets it from my apple butter!

i do have them stashed in the fridge for now, but i will likely throw them in the freezer this weekend, when i have a chance to rearrange everything.

and if you really want some, surely we can rent baba a plane full of dry ice and give her a jar. and she wouldn't even have to go through the renous!

librariana said...

Bought a large cheap pot this summer when I went on a red pepper jelly making binge... please feel free to borrow when required.