Spaghetti Sauce

Next on my canning list was spaghetti sauce. I didn’t want to make a large batch on my first attempt. Here is my recipe:

10 lbs           Tomatoes

2 lbs              Ground Bison

1/4 c              Chopped Fresh Basic

1/4 c              Brown Sugar

1 tsp               Ground Rosemary

2 cloves         Minced Garlic

2 tsp               Salt

1 tsp               Black Pepper

1 tsp                Oregano

1 c                    Diced Sweet Onion

Deep red, slightly soft tomato!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Fresh leafy basil, sweet onions, ground rosemary, garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, oregano – is there anything better? Fragrance drifting through the house while it reduces. I didn’t follow any one recipe for this sauce – rather just cooked the tomatoes and pressed it through a sieve to remove the peels and seeds. This left a thick juice that needed to be reduced. So I put that into a large pan and added everything except the bison and 1/2 cup onion. This was brought to a slow boil and left to reduce.

Sauce Reducing

Sauce Reducing

Next I cooked the bison with the remaining 1/2 cup onion. This was drained and added to the reduced sauce. Your choice – or leave it out if you just want the sauce.

Bison

Bison

The sauce was now ready to can.

Prior to making the sauce, I prepared all my canning equipment – the canner, jars and lids. As this sauce contained meant, it needed to be pressure canned. This was going to be my first use of the pressure function of my canner – I’d always been wary of using pressure cookers.

Prep Jars

Prep Jars

Following the instructions in the book, I placed the rack in the bottom of the canner, filled it with 3 inches of water and starting heating it.

canning_book

 

Next, I filled the jars with the hot sauce using a funnel. Remember to run a spatula around the inside wall of the jar to get the air bubble out of the jars. Leave about an inch of head space in the jar.

Ready to Fill Jars

Ready to Fill Jars

After filled the jars, wiping the rims, placing the lids and the rings on the jars, I put them into the canner and closed the lid. This sauce needed to process for 60 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Steam has to vent for 7 minutes prior to putting the regular weight onto the unit. After placing the weight onto the canner, the pressure rises inside the canner.

Pressure Reading

Pressure Reading

Weight

Weight

Watch it until it gets to 10 pounds and then turn the heat down to maintain the 10 pounds. Make sure you read the instructions when using pressure canners! After reaching 10 pounds, you can start the 60 minute timer count down.

Pressure Canner

Pressure Canner

After 60 minutes, turn the heat off and let it set until the pressure reads 0. Then take the lid off and remove the jars. You should hear the distinctive sealing ping in a couple of minutes after lifting the canner lid.

Jars Done

Jars Done

Now you can store your sauce and enjoy it later!

Let me know how yours turns out :)

Canning Plum Jelly

Well, actually restarted. My mother had a large garden for a number of years in the great state of Ohio. (Best tomatoes are grown in Ohio – IMO). We also had several fruits growing in the yard – strawberries, raspberries and black berries. She made jellies and jams with the fruit and canned the veggies. I recall one bad experiment — she tried to make ketchup. She reduced and reduced – and burned it. Smelled very bad; that batch was thrown away. I’d helped her with the canning process – mostly washing the jars and watching the timer – and keeping my brothers out of the kitchen. Good memories.

I’d been wanting to do some canning and when I saw those plums, I decided to go for it. So I fired up Amazon and ordered jars and tongs. I also ordered the smaller All American Pressure Canner. This one can handle pint and quart jars. You can also use it as a pressure cooker.

Canner

Canner

I’ve always wanted to experiment with the pressure cooker but have been a little afraid of it. This model has a couple of safety features that I liked. As I wrote in my last post, you don’t need the pressure component for jellies and jams – which is good because I’m still working up to using the pressure part.

Using the recipe in the Ball book, here are the steps I used to make 8 pints of Plum Jelly:

canning_book

Ball Book

 

Step 1: Gather the equipment and ingredients. This included purchasing the jars, canner, jar labels, plums, lemons, sugar and pectin. You’ll need a small pan in which to warm the lids and rings and a large pot in which to make the jelly. You should also have tongs, jar holders, oven mitts, paper towels or washcloth, towel (or silicon mat), wire rack, a ladle and funnel.

cannings_equip

Canning Equipment

 

Step 2: Make the juice. Following the juicing steps in my last post. You can do this ahead of time and store the juice in the refrigerator until ready to use – the sooner the fresher tasting.

Step 3: Prepare the jars and lids. First wash them; you can run the jars through a dish washer cycle if you wish. Fill the small pan with about 2 inches of water and add the lids and bands. Set on low heat on back burner – this is just to keep them warm – don’t boil them. Next, put the rack in the canner and fill the canner about half full of water and set on a big burner on high heat. Fill the jars with warm water and set them in the canner – do not let the jars touch. The water should cover the jars.

Prepare jars

Prepare jars

Step 4: Prepare the work area. Not that the other steps aren’t important but this is very important for speed and also safety. I am lucky in that I have a large straight path from from stove burners to the sink to the rest of the counter. So I am able to line up everything. I set  a towel on my counter (you could probably use a silicon mat as well) to hold the filled jars while I put the lids and bands on them. Have ready a paper towel or cloth to wipe the rims after filling and before putting on the lids and bands.

Step 5: Make the Jelly. Add the juice to the large pot and bring to a roiling boil. Add the pectin to the juice – stir to completely dissolve. All the sugar all at once and bring back to a rolling boil. Let boil for about a minute – the jelly should be thickened. Remove from heat.

Step 6: Fill and cap the jars. This is the tricky part for me; I do the jars two at a time. Using jar lifter, pull one jar out of the canner and dump the water out of the jar and back into the canner. Place the jar on the towel for filling. Using a ladle and funnel, fill the jar to within 1/4 inch of the jar rim. I fill a second jar in the same way. Wipe the rims to ensure there is no residue on the rims; if you don’t do this, it’s possible your jar won’t seal and your jelly cannot be stored. Using tongs, lift a lid out of the warming pan and lay on a jar top. Do this for the second jar. Using a oven mitt, hold a jar and put a band on the jar to ‘finger-tight’. This means it is barely tight; this allows excess air to escape during the canning process. Do the same for the second jar. Continue this pattern until you have all 8 jars capped.

Step 7: Process the jars. This is where you will boil the heck out of the jars – by heck I mean any remaining bacteria that could cause your jelly to spoil during storage. Read this for more information on bacteria spoilage. Place each jar back in the canner, again not allowing them to touch. You may have to adjust the amount of water in the canner – just make sure there is about an inch of water covering the top of the jars. Close the canner according to the non-pressurized instructions and bring the heat up to high. After steam begins to come out of the steam vent, start your processing timer. Allow to boil for the amount of time directed by the recipe. This was 15 minutes I believe. Turn off the heat. Again, following the directions in the receipt, remove the canner cover and let the jars sit for 5 minutes.

jars_in_canner

Processing Jars

 

Step 8: Remove the jars from the canner. Using the jar lifters, pull out the jars and set on the wire rack to cool. They should remain untouched for 12 hours.

plum_jelly_jars

Cooling Jars

 

Step 9: Clean up. Let the canner cool completely before emptying — it’s very heavy and hot — this could take a couple of hours. Clean the rest of the equipment and kitchen.

Step 10: Checking for proper seal. If you’ve done everything right, you should hear the seal ‘ping’ within a few minutes of removing the jars from the canner. After 12 hours, test the seal by 1) pressing down in the center of the lid – it shouldn’t move and 2) removing the ring and holding the jar up by the lid – it shouldn’t come off the jar. The sealed jars should be labeled with the contents and date of canning and can be stored in a non-refrigerated cabinet and used within a year. If a jar doesn’t seal, you can freeze the product or refrigerate and use within a week. OR you could reprocess the jelly. If you reprocess, you’ll need new lids. I just froze mine.

I also canned apple pie filling (my own recipe) and another recipe from the Ball cook called ‘Apple Pie in a Jar’. Yummy.

apple_pie_in_jar_jars

Apple Pie in A Jar

 

Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

I was only able to achieve 50% seals on these first attempts but I am certain I will get better with more practice.

I plan to create an amazing spaghetti sauce and can it next. I’ll have to use the pressurized method with that one.

Happy canning!