I love my steam canner. I find it so much easier to use then submerging Mason jars into large pots of boiling water.
While searching the web for information on steam canning, I was surprised to find that there are some groups that suggest it isn’t adequate for preserving high acid foods. I find this hard to believe as I’ve been canning preserves with it for many years now and have had no issues.
This weekend I harvested our rhubarb and made a lovely strawberry rhubarb preserve. I also purchased 15 lbs of apricots and made enough apricot preserves for 2 years!
On the strawberry rhubarb I used the technique of sugaring the rhubarb and allowing it to macerate for a few hours before cooking them down. I did the same for the strawberries and then added them to the rhubarb after about 1/2 an hour of cooking the rhubarb.
I don’t use a lot of sugar when I make preserves. In fact for the 15 Lbs of apricots I used about 5 cups of sugar. For the 4 quarts of strawberries I used a cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of sugar on the 4 lbs of rhubarb.
Canning is a lot of work but if I consider how much a single jar of preserves costs at the farmer’s market ($7.00 for Plum!) for 1 rainy afternoon of prepping and canning, my yield was significant.
Granted I’ve been doing this for a few years so I’ve got the method down: Prepping the fruit one day ahead and then reheating it to can the next day (make sure you reheat it to boiling) and then placing all the canning jars in the dishwasher and running them on the sanitize cycle and keeping them hot just before filling, and keeping a pot of boiling water on the stove for all the lids.
If you’ve never canned before, try and find someone who has to get the method down. After all canning historically was a community event. With homesteading on the rise, some local cooking schools are offering classes on canning techniques.
In Boulder the Culinary School of the Rockies (now known as Escoffier) is offering a class on August 14, with a wonderful chef and urban homesteading guru Teresa Brown. Get your homesteading on and reap the rewards all winter long!