Guys, I have been holding out on you. This summer, I learned how to can. You need not be scared, you can do it, too! I stumbled upon Amy Bronee’s cute cookbook The Canning Kitchen, and I was hooked. An almost accidentally vegan cookbook, her recipes are for small batch canning: perfect for a small family and nothing too overwhelming.
I started with the Crunchy Dill Pickles. Nearly as simple as pouring hot brine over fresh cucumbers with a water canning process, it was easy and I was hooked. It was so hard to wait 3 weeks before chomping through them. I actually made three batches as I obtained cucumbers throughout the season. Next was the apple butter that was not too thick but sweet and syrupy with a hint of spice. It was amazing to see all the apples condense to such a small amount. These were super easy recipes and gave me the confidence to try something a bit more complex, such as the Peach BBQ Sauce. Only a tad more complex because I had to skin the tomatoes and peaches but otherwise, it was as simple as simmering them and then blending it into a sauce.
The sheer diversity of the recipes, from Beer-Hive Grainy Mustard to Chipotle Cherry Tomato Relish and Peach Chutney with Garam Masala and more classic canning recipes like Peach Jam, Blueberry Sauce and Bread and Butter Pickles makes this a book great for beginners and novices, alike. The small batch recipes means that you are not a slave to your kitchen for a monumental canning expedition and could make something simple with a few hours to spare. And, of course, allows you to try out many different recipes without overfilling your pantry. 🙂
While I am sharing the recipe for canning Cinnamon Brown Sugar Applesauce today, I urge you to find a copy of her cookbook. If there is one recipe you must follow exactly, it would be canning recipes. Improper canning techniques can kill you. Botulism is nothing to ignore. The biggest outbreak of botulism in the USA for over 40 years happened earlier this year in Ohio following a church potluck when someone brought a potato salad made with potatoes canned in a water bath. One person died.
Low acid vegetables should not be canned with a water bath but recipes with high acidity with addition of vinegar or high acid fruits/vegetables such as apples and tomatoes are excellent.
A note about the recipe, the applesauce was delicious. A bit tedious because we had to core and peel the apples in advance but our random mixture of Ginger Gold, Paula Red and Northern Spy made for a delectably sweet applesauce without any extra sugar. A mix of apples allows a ore robust and deeper flavour. If fussy kids are any barometer for yumminess, my 1 year old niece loved it. 😉
It is also worthwhile investing in a jar lifter (I liked this one from Starfrit) and a metal canning rack (this is the one I used) so that the jars are not at the bottom of your pot. I also borrowed a super large pot from my mom so that I could maintain a 1-inch of water on top of the jars.
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in North America. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me whether you have canned before and what you like to can or if not, what you would like to can. The winner will be selected at random on October 29, 2015. Good luck!
Recipes from The Canning Kitchen shared elsewhere:
Author’s note: My grandmother used to make me homestyle applesauce with brown sugar and cinnamon, and it was better than any candy childhood had to offer. Enjoy this sauce in packed lunches, use in baking or grab a spoon and enjoy straight from the jar when no one’s looking.
8 lb (3.5 kg) saucing apples, such as McIntosh, Spartan or Golden Delicious (I used Ginger Gold, Paula Red and Northern Spy — a mix of apples is key for a better depth of flavour)
1 ½ cups (375 mL) water
½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar (see tip below, I omitted)
2 ½ tsp (12 mL) cinnamon
1. Remove and discard the apple peels and cores. Coarsely chop the apples, adding them to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Pour in the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the apples are fully broken down. Remove from the heat. Smooth the sauce with a masher, if desired. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.
2. Ladle into 5 clean 500 mL (2 cup) jars, leaving a ½ inch (1 cm) headspace. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes using the Processing Checklist on page 17.
MAKES FIVE 500 ML (2 CUP) JARS
TIP: If you like your applesauce less sweet, reduce or even leave out the brown sugar. Or, if you like it more sweet, add a little extra. This applesauce is a handy top-up when you’re a little short on mashed banana when making muffins or banana bread.
Note: I was given a copy of the cookbook from the publisher. I was under no obligation to share a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.