Thursday, September 22, 2011

Busy Canning Season

I had so much fruit this year, I've been canning and drying as much as I possibly can. It is a time-consuming and overwhelming job. When the amount of fruit is more then I can process, I give it away to friends, family and our local homeless shelter. I hate for the fruit to spoil if someone else can use it.

At present I've canned and dried; 25 jelly jars of plum syrup (I was trying for jam), 7 pints of pears in light syrup, 2 quarts of dried cherries, 19 jars of cherry jam, 1 1/2 pints of dried apples and I'm not done yet. I still have a small amount of plums and apples on the trees. The peaches on one of my trees are ready and about 1/2 have been picked. The other peaches on the second peach tree are still too green.

Today I plan on drying apples and preparing for canning peaches; hopefully I'll have enough time to can part of my peach harvest today. I like canned peaches best out of all my fruit and look forward to the end product.

The light syrup recipe I used for my pears is: 4 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar. I'll be using a medium  syrup for my peaches. The recipe is: 4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar. I haven't used these recipes before, but I will write a review later on how well they worked.

My first batch of dried cherries I attempted in the oven. The dryness of the fruit varied and a small portion burned. The cherries I dried in my new dehydrator came out perfect. But it took about 18 hours for them to dry.

The plum syrup was my first attempt at plum jam. I looked up several recipes and none had suggested pectin. I just put the plums in a pot with sugar on the stove to cook, as suggested. After a few minutes of cooking, I  blended, put the mix in jars and canned them. And ta da, syrup. Tastes sweet with just a hint of plum tartness.

I haven't tried the pears yet. The apples turned out wonderful. Sweet and slightly chewy. I dried them in the dehydrator for about 8 hours.

To prevent my pears and apples from browning, I soaked them separately in a solution of 1 quart water and 2 tbsp lemon juice. The pears didn't brown. The apples only have a light browning on a few of the slices.

The labels are designed and printed by my husband who is a graphic designer. He wanted my jars to look pretty for gift giving.

Cherry Jam
Plum Syrup
Dried Apples
Canned Pears
Dried Cherries
Finished products
Apples to dry. 
Peaches to can. 

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