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First Canning Experience

I had a pretty productive weekend….I canned for the first time! I wish I could say I had an overabundance of fresh apples someone gave me from their orchard, but that was not the case. The only people with an overabundance of apples were the fine folks at Costco. I understand that the whole point of canning is to preserve foods when you have too much….not go to the store, get foods, then preserve them. But ya know what? I wanted to try it so Costco did not let me down. At least the apples were a good deal so it wasn’t too ridiculous.

I bought a canning kit a couple months back with the intention of canning blackberry jam (back when blackberries were in season). Well, I got the blackberries before my canning supplies came, then the supplies got lost in the mail so what were we to do? I suppose we could have froze them but we ate them instead. No jam. Anyway, since then I’ve been itching to can something¬†but sort of felt like that ship had sailed (at least until next summer).

We had some family in town this past weekend and they brought some freshly canned goods so they definitely inspired me to hit up Costco and buy me some apples. Their foods did actually come from family and friends gardens….you folks are lucky up in Oregon!

 

(I think) Applesauce was a good choice for my first canning recipe. It’s really easy. You can make it as complicated (add other fruits?) or as simple (just apples and water) as you’d like. Mine was pretty simple:

Canning Applesauce (or eat-right-now-applesauce)

  • 5 1/2 pounds of apples (I used Gala)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

For canning, this is a very small amount. Probably not worth doing. Most recipes call for between 10-20 something pounds of apples so yes, this was a low amount.

Anyway, I started by peeling and slicing the apples. No fancy gadgets here…just a knife and an apple.

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Next, I threw all the apple slices into a large pot and poured about a 1/4 cup of water in with them. Basically, you want about an inch of water (or juice) at the bottom so the apples don’t stick. I cooked the apples for probably about 45 minutes…maybe even an hour…until I thought they were mashable. I also stirred them every once and a while.

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When the apples were getting close to done, I sterilized the jars. First, I washed the jars and lids in soapy, warm water. Next, I got out another large pot, added the jars (just jars), and covered with water. I brought that water to a boil and let it boil the jars for about 10 minutes. Next, I turned the heat off and added the lids and the end of the tongs I was going to use. I let that all sit for about 15 minutes.

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I like my applesauce chunky so I mashed the apples with a potato masher. Then added the remaining ingredients. That’s it I was ready to can!¬†*If you like your applesauce smooth, just add to a blender, food processor, or food mill.

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Once everything was ready, I took the jars and lids out of the hot water with my tongs and placed them onto a paper towel. I put the handy dandy funnel on top of the jar and scooped the applesauce in. My little canning kit came with a magnet and a plastic tool to get the bubbles out of the jar. The bubble remover (official name?) could probably be anything even a butter knife. Just stick it down the side of the can and press the food in the opposite direction. Once  applesauce was bubble free I used the magnet to pick up the lid and place it on top, then just screwed it on!

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I brought my hot water back to a boil and placed 2 jars in my basket (I could have done more but I was nervous). I lowered the basket into the water and let it boil for about 35 minutes. Applesauce usually needs to sit in the water for about 20 minutes but since I’m at higher altitude, I adjusted the time.

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Once my 35 minutes were up, I let the cans cool. If you hear a pop (and I believe you should) that means the cans have sealed and you’re good to go. I only heard 2 pops so we will see….

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Brooke was helping me…couldn’t have done it without her!

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I made 4 full jars with a little left to spare. Brooke and I ate the little that remained. Warm applesauce is delicious by the way.

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Baby hand!

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So was it worth canning for 4 hours for 4 jars of applesauce? Probably not, but I’m glad I did it so I feel a little more comfortable in the future when I might be canning 20 jars. It’s a little hectic with a baby running around, but I would love to do more of it in the future. I think if you have a garden with lots of goodies, it’s definitely a good way to preserve your food. I personally love getting homemade foods as gifts so it is also a great gift idea.
Have you ever canned?

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