Judging Preserves At The Alameda County Fair

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I was asked to be a judge at the fair. I’m very naive thinking I was going to taste some wonderful home made preserves. They had me tasting butters, marmalade, curds and hot sauces. They had other judges tasting jams, pickles, olive oils, honeys, relishes, chutneys, canned fruits and jellies. The butters had too much spice and sugar. I couldn’t taste the fruit. The marmalade had big pieces of peel, very bitter. The curd had the smell of eggs and you could see the egg whites. The hot sauce was in a new category for professionals. This is a category for people that sell their products and want to say they won in the Country Fair. We all know the first thing you do when opening a jar is look, smell and taste. The ” look”  you are looking for is bubbling and or mold. The “smell ” will be stinky if there is a problem. If a jar has bubbles, mold and smells bad please do not taste. After opening one of the hot sauces it started to look like a volcano, pouring out all over the table. This is a bad jar with a lot of bacteria built up inside. This could have happened because the room was warm. They had another category that was mixed fruit. This is where I found the best jar of the day. It was a Cherry Balsamic Chutney. It was a beautiful color with great texture. The balsamic was the perfect hint of vinegar and it had some nuts for a little crunch. After I was done I walked around to see what was out there. I asked where is the Pie Filling and Mustard. They wrote them down, so maybe they will be doing that next year.  There are a lot of bad canners out there and I hope they find All In A Jar Private School. Remember to keep jars in a cool dark place. Happy Canning.

See you in class

4 thoughts on “Judging Preserves At The Alameda County Fair

  1. There is one guy who wins all the categories in home canning so a lot of people stopped entering. I’m shocked that someone turned in something that exploded…way to get your judge really sick…

  2. Penny: what seemed like a day of fun turned into something potentially dangerous. Hope there was more than just 1 successful jar of preserves in those entries! Obviously, many folks need your classes or at least Ball’s Blue Book of Canning as a guide. May you have continued success with your private courses.

    • Hello Donna, Hope all is well with you. It was a fun and dangerous day. I learned how important it is for me to have this school. Yes, the Ball Blue Book is a great guide for people to use. Thank you, I hope to have many year of success here at All In A Jar. Take Care. Happy Canning.

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