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My New Favorite Hobby

If I had known how fun it is to experiment with canning my excess, I would have started years ago! There is so much satisfaction in seeing my jars filled with different vibrant colors of fruits and vegetable all lined up on the kitchen counter. You know how I have this habit of looking at things and asking, "Can I make it?"... well, now I'm looking at "stuff" and asking, "Can I preserve it?" I am having a blast with my new experiments! Here's what I've canned this week:

Apple Pie Filling, Apple Juice, Clementines, Orange Marmalade, Strawberry Sauce, Sweet Dill Pickles,

Sweet Dill Pickles

6 cups sugar
4.5 cups water
3 cups apple cider vinegar
6 T. sea salt
1 heaping cup of dill

  1. Sterilize jars. (I used 6 pints)
  2. While brine is heating up, slice cucumbers (a bunch. I didn't count...maybe 6-10 cukes), fill jars.
  3. Top cucumbers with brine. Leave a little head space.
  4. Tighten lids and turn upside down. Leave overnight.
  5. DONE! It's that easy!

Oh My Darling Clementines
Bunch of Clementines
3 cups Sugar
7.5 cups Water
  • Sterilize jars. I used quarts because I was out of pints.
  • Pack jars with peeled and sectioned clementines. Because I was scared a quart would be too much for a week of clementine eating (after going to the work of canning, I want to avoid any waste), I didn't pack the quarts full.
  • While packing the jars bring a simple syrup (3 cups sugar and 7.5 cups water) to a gentle boil. This filled 4 quarts.
  • Hot Water Bath for 15 minutes.

Orange Marmalade makes 5 half pint jars
12 clementines
2 lemons
4 cups water
4 cups sugar

  • Slice and dice lemons and clementines.
  • Add a few slices of peel if you wish.
  • Bring water and fruit to a boil. Turn heat down to med and and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add sugar.
  • Gently boil for 35 minutes.
  • Pour into hot, sterilized jars.
  • Hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Strawberry Sauce ~ I had a bunch of strawberries (maybe a pound or so) that needed to either get eaten up quickly or "put up". Since we had a load of clementines and apples to eat up, I decided to make a couple jars of strawberry sauce. I sliced up the strawberries, added a little water (about 1 cup) and a little sugar (about 1/4 cup) and brought it to a boil. Mushed up the strawberries a bit and filled two pint jars. Finished the canning process with a hot water bath. The strawberry sauce will be a great addition to smoothies, a bowl of ice cream, waffles or shortcake.

Apple Pie Filling (makes 5-7 quarts)

14 lbs of apples

5 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
2 t. salt
10 cups water
3 T. lemon juice
  1. Peel and slice apples (don't throw away the peeling or the cores. I'll tell you what to do with those later!)
  2. While sterilizing jars mix the pie filling ingredients and bring to a gentle boil, stirring often.
  3. Fill jars with sliced apples
  4. Top with sauce/filling.
  5. Tighten lids
  6. Hot water bath for 20 minutes.
I was short one jar so I filled a freezer bag (after letting the sauce cool a bit) with the excess apples and sauce. The contents look to be too much for one pie so I will probably use it for an easy apple crisp!

Apple Pie Filling and Apple Juice

Using Apple Scraps
As I peeled and cored apples for my pie filling I tossed the scraps into a big stock pot, topped it with a little water and let it simmer on the stove. Soon my stock pot was overflowing and I had to get another pot. Two pots of scraps simmering on the stove took up too much space as I needed a burner to make my pie filling and another burner for my hot water bath. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed as I looked at the chaos - stove filled with big pots, counter space consumed with a big tub 'o apples as well as jars and lids.

As I debated my plan of action, I thought about how long I wanted the scraps to cook (a LONG time) and decided to pull out my handy dandy crock pots. My scraps filled TWO large crock pots. I turned the crock pots to low, added a little water and a few sprinkles of cinnamon-sugar, a forgot about them for the rest of the day. OK, I really didn't forget about them because every time I walked into the kitchen I was was welcomed with the wonderful smell of baking apples. Mmm.......

Before I went to bed, I turned the crock pots to "warm". In the morning I turned the crocks off and let them cool for an hour before dumping their contents into the "Squeez-o". My intent was to make apple sauce but my scraps had something better in mind. There was more liquid than sauce. Approximately 12 quarts of scraps, which would have just been thrown to the chickens, was turned into 3 cups of applesauce and 3 quarts of apple juice/cider..and the chickens still got scraps. The kids enjoyed churning the scraps through the Squeeze -0 so much that we kept feeding the scraps back through. When I was finally ready to clean up the mess, I had about a half gallon of scraps left to give to the chickens. Next time I cook up my apple scraps I will attempt to make apple cider vinegar.
Pot of juice and the sticky Squeez-o-matic mess
The only recipe that I've taste tested is the sweet dills. YUMMY. My dad liked the pickles so much that he picked a bunch of cucumbers for me and said, "I think it's time to make some more pickles." I'm anxious to try the rest of my goods!


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