Last year was great and this year will be better I feel. Not because the harvest is bigger but because having done it at least once, I feel more confident in my canning abilities.
Canning is not something that is done in the UK although in France it is the norm. Supplies are difficult to get over here so I have had to be a little creative in getting things together. Some suppliers were not happy shipping to the UK, or would only do so via a Canadian relative ( which was stretching relations a bit) and in the end, I chose to make a large investment order with Lehmans. I did not but a water bath canner but found a very large stock pot instead, in which the holder would sit easily. I ordered a variety of pint jars, quart jars , 8 oz and 4 oz jars. The quart jars are great for soups, stock, plums and applesauce. Pint size is OK but we are a large family so will take about 2 to 3 portions and the smaller ones are used for jams, jellies, salsa and pizza sauce.
It was a bit of a bureaucracy to order via Lehmans. Their service note is excellent, but you can only pay via bank order ( which incurs a charge and you have to add their banking charge too(, then when you get the goodies delivered, expect an invoice from customs to pay duty when you are enjoying your products.
I bought a pressure canner which was expensive to ship and purchase and have not actually progressed to that as yet, its on the list specifically for stews, soups and stock.
Canning applesauce is great and very satisfying. I used the Complete Book of Home Preserving by Ball, providing an array of recipes and instructions on how long things should be in the water bath.
For 8 pints or 4 quarts jars of applesauce :
12 lbs apples
3 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Prepare canner and lids
- In a large saucepan combine your apples with enough water to stop them sticking and stew gently until they are the consistency you like. ( 5 to 20 mins depending on variety).
- Add sugar and lemon juice; bring to the boil and keep on a gentle boil while filling jars.
- Ladle hot sauce into jars leaving 1/2 inch( 1 cm) of headspace. Remove air bubbles by using a spatula around the sides of the jar.Wipe rim, centre lid on jar and screw band down until you meet with resistance.
- Place jars in the canner ensuring that they are completely covered in water. process 1 pt and quart jars for 20 minutes. Remover canner lid, wait 5 mins, remove jars, cool and store.
With the first batch, some applesauce came out as cooked applesauce is larger in volume than chunks so you will need to guess a bit with the head space. I also started sterilising the jars in the water bath and let them boil in that, taking them out when required. In that way the volume of water was about right but you need tongs and gloves to do that job safely.
Then look at rows of applesauce. In this family we love it with roast pork and so I have 12 quart jars put by.
Spare lids and pectin used in some recipes are now on my wish list for Christmas from my sister in law. She buys them during the spring when canning season is over and gets a good deal on it. Easy and light to post and makes me very happy when it arrives during the holiday season.
Other ideas with apples, you can make a lovely apple and cinnamon pie filling. apple and blackberry jelly. For pie filling without pectin, I simply freeze the apple slices soaked in a bowl with lemon juice, blanch them for 2 mins and then pack them in 1 lb bags and freeze. Whatever portion size suits your family.
Some resources on canning :
Noll's home canning ( with pictures)
Canning recipes 1159 of them