Many of our fall foods are easily preserved for the lean winter months. Preserving can be done in ways such as canning, freezing, drying or curing. These are traditional methods that our ancestors used safely for thousands of years. The recent industrialization of food production has replaced these traditional techniques with chemical preservatives to extend the shelf life of our foods. As a huge supporter of seasonal eating, Rocky Mountain Flatbread hosted a canning workshop Sunday, October 6th.
Canning is a method using a hot water bath or pressure canner to seal foods inside a glass jar. Acidic foods like jams and pickles can be canned using a hot water bath as the acid inhibits bacterial growth. RHN Brendan Young joined our guest to demonstrate how easy it can be store delicious organic B.C. apple sauce and pickle local carrots with a kick!
We started the workshop off by cleaning, peeling and coring our sweet variety apples. Using a pot filled with enough water to cover the surface area of the bottom, we set the apples aside to boil until soft for approx. 15. While the apples simmered we sanitized our jars. Jars can be sanitized by boiling in water, in the dishwasher or in the oven. Once ready, we blended our apples (a sieve can also be used) until we reached our desired texture. If you wanted to season your apple sauce you could now add cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, etc. The apple sauce can then be transferred into the jar. Leaving about an inch from the lid pound the sauce to remove any air bubbles. Use the magnetic lid lifter to remove lids from sterilizing water and transfer to jar. Tighten the ring around the jar and submerge in the hot water bath for 15-20 min. Your hot water bath should cover the top of your jars with an inch of water. Once you have removed the jars from the bath, allow them time to cool. The lid is sealed if you hear a pop and it is sucked down. If you touch the center of the lid after the jar is cool and it can still pop up and down the jar is not sealed and should be re-submerged in a hot water bath.
To pickle our carrots we washed and chopped the carrot spears to the height of the jar. To create our brine, we combined 8 cups water, 8 cups apple cider vinegar and 2/3 cups sea salt. As the brine was brought to a boil, we stuffed our carrot spears into the sterilized jars as tightly as possible (you do not want any room as carrots may float or pop up in brine and/or shrink while in hot water bath). To add some extra flavour we added 4 peppercorns, 1 clove of peeled garlic and 1 chili pepper. Once the brine had been brought to a boil we removed it from the stove top to ladle into our carrot stuffed jars. Ensuring all carrots were covered with the brine, we sealed our jars and submerged them in the hot water bath. Leave carrots to cool and seal. Wait at least 2 weeks for carrots to pickle. It is important to always use new lids, but jars and rings can be re-used if sanitized.
Thank you to Brendan Young for hosting this great workshop! We hope all of our guests will enjoy their fall preserves for seasons to come.
For more great canning tips visit http://www.bernardin.ca/