Friday, October 26, 2012

Canning 101 (a.k.a. preventing ouchies)

I always like to start with some fresh ingredients, preferably out of the garden.  Note that this is a staged photo.  These are the nice looking smaller beets that I am saving to roast and eat over the next couple of months.  They will keep for a long, long time in the fridge.

These were the humungous beets that took about two hours to cook last night.  They are turning into Spiced Beets, done with cider vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seed, cloves, allspice.  There should be cinnamon sticks too, but, um, I forgot them.

Get out an old ratty tea towel.  This helps to protect the counter from beet stains.  It also protects the jars if they turn out to be hot and you accidentally drop one.  Or two.  Note the green canning funnel.  DH came home with that years ago and it is wonderful.  It gets used year round for filling jars AND filling ziplock bags.

This little baby is the best thing since sliced bread.  It is a magnet for getting the rings and lids out of the canner.  Who'd-a-thunk?
Another nifty invention - a jar lifter.  When the boiling water bath time is up I lift the jar cage out of the pot and put it on another clean/ratty tea towel.  All that leftover boiling water does not go to waste.  I VERY CAREFULLY and WEARING CLOSED SHOES take the pot outside and pour the hot water over the weeds growing in the patio interlocking bricks.

Now I just need to wait until the jars cool.  Then I can label them and take the outside rings off.  I got sick and tired of the rings getting all rusty when I leave them on, and the books suggest that you don't need to leave them on for any reason, so... off they come.

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