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Tonyahky's diary on canning is an excellent resource - print it out and laminate it and keep it in your kitchen for reference!

Mine is similar but focuses on the small batch canner, the person who lives in a city and doesn't have even a quarter acre of land for growing, but relies mostly on the produce section of the grocery store or farmer's markets, or maybe even a CSA or a food co-op.  Half pint canning.  A little bit at a time, done mostly to preserve the purchase of a great bargain or a surplus from the CSA.

Like tonahky's diary, this diary is just about water bath canning.

A great many of us live in cities or suburban areas.  We aren't likely to have easy access to 15 pounds of any fresh produce at a time, not without handing over a lot of money.  We hve to drive long distances to u-pick places, who still charge you for the produce you pick!  When I was growing up and clear up to the 70's, when you went to a farm and picked the produce yourself, you paid in labor, not cash.  The farmer collected 2 buckets of produce to sell or process for every bucket you picked.  No money echanged hands.  These days, at least around here, when you drive all the way to one of the few u-pick farms, you pick the produce, the farmer's helper weighs it, gives you half of what you picked, and you pay for what you get - often as much as if you'd bought it at the farmer's market.  To me, that totally negates the benefits of driving many, many miles out to the orchard to spend practically an entire day harvesting only to have to pay for it.  Needless to say, I don't participate in u-pick programs around here, but if your local u-picks still let you pick 2 for 1, that would be worth it.

Realistically, how many quart jars of apple butter will a single person eat - and can they eat it fast enough to prevent it from molding?  I know that I can't eat  storebought jar of jelly before it starts molding and I end up wasting it unless I re-can it into smaller jars after I get home - which is a perfectly acceptable thing for us urbanites to do!  We can buy large, family sized, giant jars of jams and jellies and re-can them into quarter pint and half pint jars so we can don't end up tossing half a jar of jelly because we didn't have time to eat it all.

You don't need the large batch equipment, either; a bonus if you have a postage stamp sized apartment kitchen or a mere alcove with a refrigerator and tiny apartment sized stove and counter space you could cover with a single sheet of paper.

A 3 quart saucepan with a 6 inch cake rack on the bottom will be big enough to process 3 short half pint or quarter pint jars in a water bath.  

Use only Ball, Kerr, or Leifheit jars and the 2 piece lids for canning if you are a novice.  If you are an experienced canner, the European Weck jars are also cceptable, but they are tricky to use if you don't know how to do them right.  Learn from someone rather than experimenting on your own.

The process is the same as tonyahky wrote about so I won't cover the same ground she did - read her diary on this!

What we're concerned about here is quantities.  In small batch canning, we use small quantities, often canning no more than 3 or 4 half or quarter pint jars at a time.

You will need the same equipment as larger batch canning:  a pot (I use a 3 quart saucepan with a 6 inch cake rack in the bottom), a jar lifter, a magnetic lid wand, a lid rack, jars, lids, funnels, bubble releaser/ruler, and  jelly strainer. You will also need either a calcultor or a pen and paper to calculate quantities.

To calculate, read the recipe. Determine how many half pints the recipe calls for (based on how many quarts or pints it says it will make).  Now determine how many half pints you want to make.  That's by how much you will have to reduce the ingredients.  Say the recipe says it will make 3 quarts.  You want to make a mere 3 half pints.  A quart is 2 pints, so the recipe makes 6 pints.  Halving the recipe will give you 3 pints or 6 half pints. So you will need to reduce the original recipe by 1/4. Calculate each ingredient to reduce it by 1/4.  If it's not easily reducable by 1/4, it is often OK to bring that ingredient to the nearest amount that is easily divisible (A tablespoon, for example, breaks down into thirds easily: 3 teaspoons, and into 4 3/4 teaspoons.  There's not a lot of difference in some ingredients between 3/4 of a teaspoon and a full teaspoon, so use your judgement).

Once you've calculated the amounts, you can proceed with the recipe.

If you want to buy already made preserved goods and break them into smaller quantities, you can do so by reheating the contents of the jars, then ladling them into smaller sterilized jars, and processing them as if you'd had a failed lid.  You rfeprocess for the same amount of time as you would if you were processing it for the first time, so having tonyahky's diary that lists processing times is handy!

Or you can use tried and true recipes such as the ones below or the ones in the books and blogs listed beneath them.

Nectarine Jam - 2 half pints

1 1/3 Cups chopped fruit (approx 3 nectarines)
1/3 Cup water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon low sugar/no sugar pectin(1)
1/2 Cup (or less) sugar

    Add the first four ingredients to a 3 quart sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil (tht can't be stirred down).
    Add the sugar, return to rolling boil for one minute.
    Remove from heat, put into sterillized jars, add lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

(1)a box of pectin has 3 tablespoons in it.

Blueberry Jam - 1 half pint

1 1/3 Cup crushed berries-approx one dry pint, pick through and discard soft ones, de-stem and wash
1/3 Cup water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice(1)
2 1/2 Teaspoons low or no-sugar pectin(2)
1/2 Cup sugar, sugar substitute or honey

Prepare a water bath and sterilize jars.

Crush the fruit, I just put it in the food processor, you should have about 1 1/3 cups. Combine the fruit, water, lemon juice and pectin in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil (one that can't be stirred down).

Add the sugar and when it comes back to a rolling boil set timer for one minute.

Remove from the heat and fill the sterilized jars to within 1/4" of the top.

Add lids and bands, process for 10 minutes.

Remove from water bath and place on a dry kitchen towel.

(1) If the blueberries are slightly underripe, use 2 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice instead
(2) a box of pectin has 3 tablespoons in it

Holiday Pomegranate Jelly - 3 half pint jars

    2 Cups pomegranate juice(1)
    Zest of half an orange
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1 1/2 inches cinnamon stick, broken
    1 Cup sugar
    1 tablespoon dried pectin(2)

Combine the pomegranate juice, zest, lemon juice and cinnamon in large pot-add pectin, bring to a boil that can't be stirred down, stirring constantly - it will probably take about 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved and bring to a rolling boil again. Boil one minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, skim foam and remove cinnamon sticks.

Pour into sterilized jars, add the lids.

Can and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

(1) you can use any juice, really, and change the seasonings to suit the juice
(2) a box has 3 tablespoons pectin

Festive Salsa - 3 half pints

2 cups cubed seeded peeled papaya (about 1 lb or 1 med)
1 cups cubed cored peeled fresh pineapple (about a quarter of a medium pineapple) or canned pineapple (about 1 10-oz can)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup chopped seeded Anaheim peppers (poblano, New Mexico chilies or hot banana peppers may be used as a substitute)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped green onion
1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar

Prepare the boiling water canner. Heat the jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

Combine the papaya, pineapple, raisins, lemon juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, peppers, green onion, cilantro and brown sugar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot salsa. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process the jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. The lid should not flex up and down when the center is pressed.

Prepare the canner, jars, and lids according to manufacturer's instructions.

QUICK TIP: Make your salsa medium or hot by adding hot pepper sauce or hot pepper flakes to taste!

Roasted Pepper Spread - 2 half pints

3 pounds red bell peppers (about 7 medium)
1/2 pound Italian plum tomatoes (about 3 medium)
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
1/2 small white onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Roast the red peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onion under a broiler or on a grill at 425°F, turning to roast all sides, until tomatoes and peppers are blistered, blackened and softened and garlic and onion are blackened in spots. Remove from the heat.

Place the pepper and tomatoes in paper bags, secure opening and let cool about 15 minutes. Allow the garlic and onion to cool. Peel the garlic and onion. Finely chop the garlic. Set aside. Finely chop the onion, measuring 2 tablespoons out. Set aside. Peel and seed the peppers and tomatoes. Place peppers and tomatoes in a food processor or blender, working in batches, and process until smooth.

Prepare the boiling water canner. Heat the jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

Combine the pepper and tomato puree, garlic, onion, vinegar, basil, sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until mixture thickens and mounds on a spoon, about 20 minutes.

Ladle the hot spread into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rim. Center the hot lid on jar. Apply the band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

Process them in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove the jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


National Center for Home Food Preservation  

Cooperative Extension Offices

Food Safety. Gov

The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving:  Over 300 Recipes to Use Year Round - Ellie Topp, Margaret Howard  

Well Preserved:  Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Food - Eugenia Bone  

Canning for a New Generation:  Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry - Lianna Krisoff (author) Rinne Allen (photographer)  

Food in Jars:  Preserving in Small Batches Year Round - Marisa McClellan

Practical Preserver  

Put Up or Shut Up

Well Preserved (Eugenia Bone)  

Canning Across America  

Originally posted to Practical Survivalism and Sustainable Living on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:38 AM PST.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse and Community Spotlight.

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