Mastering Food Preservation: Canning Acid Foods

The eighth class in the Master Food Preserver Program built on knowledge gained in previous sessions, and introduced us to additional techniques for canning and preserving high acid foods, particularly fruit.

Shown above: The new stainless steel boiling water canner from Ball in use. The clear glass lid makes it easy to monitor the process, and a built-in vent keeps the lid from sputtering as steam builds up underneath.

We’ve gone over various ways of freezing fruit, and tonight’s labs focused on a selection of recipes to expand our preserving repertory: Apple Chutney, Peach Salsa, and Gingered Pears. The Sauerkraut we made in the session on pickles and relish was also ready for processing.

It’s been four weeks since we packed this large crock with Sauerkraut. This mix of shredded cabbage and salt was checked 2 to 3 times a week as it fermented, and any scum forming was removed. Fermentation is complete once the bubbling stops, leaving the cabbage tasting both sweet and slightly briny. It was an unexpected treat that evening, sampled just as it was, unadorned and on plain saltine crackers.

The fully fermented sauerkraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months, or processed in a boiling water canner for longer term storage. We divided the sauerkraut and, to compare the two, processed a batch each of cold and hot packed jars. In the photo above, the hot packed jar is to the left, and the cold packed one to the right. The somewhat brighter color of the cold packed sauerkraut on the right reflects that it was under heat for less total time than the hot packed one.

A chutney is a spicy pickled condiment made of fruit and/or vegetables, and vinegar and sugar. Of the evening’s labs, this one for Apple Chutney took the longest time to cook, requiring over an hour to simmer until thick, and necessitating constant stirring to keep from scorching. The two photographs above show how drastically the color changes as it cooks down.

Though the Apple Chutney includes low-acid ingredients such as onion, and sweet bell and hot peppers, the recipe contains enough vinegar to allow it to be canned safely by boiling water bath. I’m imagining this served up with Thanksgiving turkey, then slathered on the leftover turkey sandwiches that are sure to follow.

Though we’ve already had a unit on making tomato-based salsas, I was glad to be introduced to this recipe for one based on peaches. Without tomatoes, the sweet peaches balance nicely with the fruity heat of the peppers.

Just follow directions for Mango Salsa, using diced hard, underripe but yellow peaches in place of the mango. This was one recipe I made sure to make as soon as I could and catch what remained of the local peach season.

The last lab was on making Gingered Pears. Following the basic directions for canning pears, we used unsweetened apple juice in place of syrup, and a small nugget of peeled ginger added for extra flavor. The apple juice lends a golden hue to the finished jars, and will be wonderful to give for the upcoming holidays. That is, if you can bear to part with any of these beauties.

Recipes & Resources
Apple Chutney
Mango or Peach Salsa
Gingered Pears
Canning Fruits and Fruit Products
Selecting, Preparing, and Canning Fruits and Fruit Products

This series of posts follows the Master Food Preserver Program being offered through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

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4 Responses to Mastering Food Preservation: Canning Acid Foods

  1. The breadth of this course continues to amaze me! What beautiful cupboards you must have; if not now, you certainly will next year.

  2. Lou Murray's Green World says:

    Tis has been a great series of posts. Thanks for sharing your canning course with the rest of us. Lou

  3. azita says:

    Ginger pear! Yes! I’ll have to say it again: love this series. Stellar.

  4. Liz says:

    They all sound great. I must get round to doing some preserving – my cupboards stocks are running low, but as with everything its a matter of finding time.

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