Time To Let Them Go

It’s time to get ready for the new canning season. Say goodbye to the 2014 Bourbon Peach Butter you forgot you had and so many more jars that we’re not consumed. I have to admit, I have been bad about this. One should go through their pantry every year. You may be asking why. Here is why. You should be taking note of how much jelly you have left over, or how you have no more pasta sauce left, or how you have very little jam left. With the new canning season here you will ned know if you need to make more jam and less jelly or more pasta sauce. This is also the time where you check seals on jars, look for discoloration or separation. This is a great time to get your pantry organized. Pull old jars to the front of the cupboard and when you have new jars place them behind the old jars. Always eat the older jars first.
I think the last time I did this was in 2013. So you can imagine I have a lot of jars to empty. Not one of them had the seal broken. i had some separation and discoloration with some jars. I’m very lucky in having a great storage room that is well insulated for All In A Jar’s pantry, tools, supplies, jars, and spices. It stays nice and cool in there. That is probably why I had no jars with broken seals. It’s OK to say goodbye to those old jars. It is making room for the new jars. Let them go. FYI I emptied 53 jars (4) one ounce jars,(92) half pint jars (21) pint jars, (4) quart jars. They are clean and ready for this canning season.

Over the years, I have learned, I don’t care for Jelly and relish. So this year I won’t can jelly and relish for my personal pantry. I will be mindful of what to grow in my garden for canning. My fruit trees will not be producing for a few years. I will go to the fruit stands and farmers market for my peaches, pears, apples and apricots.
I will always try to come up with new recipes for my family and students.
That is half the fun of being a canner.

Next, I will be cleaning out the two freezers. Then it will be the spice drawer.
Happy Spring Cleaning. Happy Canning.

See you in class

Freeze it … for those cold winter nights !

100_2654You don’t have to know how to can to be a good preserver.

I love winter and the food that comes with the cold wet weather. My husband and I enjoy hardy soups, stews and chili. I like to make a big pot , but it usually is to much for just the two of us. So, did you know that  you can preserve that great meal for another cold wet day? Yes, pop it in the freezer for later.
Soups, stews and chili are always better a few days after making them, so let them sit in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Always use wide mouth jars for freezing, and never feel to the top leave 1 inch head space, because food expanse when frozen. I like to put a small piece of clear plastic wrap on top to keep the ice from build up on top of the food.
If you use small mouth jars you run the risk of the jar cracking from expanding.

What do you do after making soup. I like putting it into jars for the refrigerator. It is a great way to store it, instead of trying to fit a big pot or big bowl in the refrigerator.

The jar on the left is Tortilla Soup, Butternut Squash Soup, Venison Stew, Venison Chili, and Vegetable with venison meat balls. Chicken soup in the pot in the background.

Go warm up your home and make some soup.

Happy Preserving.

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