Nothing too exciting, just a report on the Hot Pepper Jam and the Hard Cider Jelly I made Friday night. The actual work of canning was pretty easy, due in part to my big canning related purchase this year. I saw the Ball FreshTech Electric Water Bath Canner at my local hardware store (which has a pretty good housewares section. You can even find replacement rubber rings for pressure cookers there.) But anyway, I saw it, and left it on the shelf, because it was expensive. But a few days later, I went back and got it, and I’ve been really happy. The major advantage is that I can put the water bath canner near my sink (where it can be filled by my sink sprayer & drained by the attached spigot), which is also away from stove. That means the huge pot is NOT taking up more than 25% of my stove. It seems to be very insulated, and heats up quickly. I put the empty jars in there at a medium temp, to sterilize them, and make sure they won’t crack from the hot jelly & jam. Then pull them out and drain the jars, fill them with my preserves, and tighten the two-piece seals. Then crank the temperature on the canner to high, pop them back in, and it is usually actively boiling within about 3-4 minutes. It came with a canner rack for the bottom, and a neat multipurpose steamer rack also. Placing that rack on top of the jars when you are doing the water bath seems to control the biggest bubbles that might try to leap up and burn you, and makes it heat up faster. I haven’t used that rack for steaming any food, but I could – the pot will hold about 3 inches of water under the steamer rack, which can sit on a built in ledge. I’ve also used it to keep my Spiced Cider warm and easy to serve. I’m really glad I spent the money. It has greatly streamlined my canning, and is absolutely part of the reason I got 6 separate jelly batches done the other night.
First canning of the evening was a second batch of Hard Cider Jelly, but slightly different as there was no Quince juice left. This had a 5 minute water bath. Yield was two half pints, and two quarter pints. It looks like this didn’t set up very hard. Might have needed more sugar, but more likely, the purchased apple cider just didn’t have enough pectin in it. The first batch of this had the quince juice, which was VERY high in pectin.
- 12 oz Apple Cider
- 12 oz Glacial Till alcoholic cider
- 2 2/3 Cups Sugar
- 5 apples – various types – green, yellow and pinkish – no red delicious – peels on, cored & seeded
- 4 jalapenos, seeded
- 1 Orange – peeled, seeded (save the peels for making Candied Orange Peel)
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
All rough chopped, then made much smaller in the Ninja. Again, this is where an appliance makes life wonderful. It is also quite small, which is great in a crowded kitchen.
- 1/2 Cup Cherry Wine
- 2 Cups water
Liquid amount is to almost cover, to help the fruit/peppers cook down and soften. Put all in a large pot, and cook about 30 min until all the fruits/peppers are soft. Mash with a potato masher. Let cool enough so you can measure the pulp. Then for every Cup of pulp, (I had 6 Cups) add:
- 1 ounce Red Wine Vinegar – so 6 ounces
- 1/2 Cup Sugar – so 3 Cups
Cook until it is proper jam consistency. Boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Yield – 7 half pints and 3 quarter pints. Depending on how this one turns out, I might be entering it somewhere.