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How-To with Nicole: Preserving

by in Main on

I love me some mason jars. Useful, versatile and cute, these glass jars often show up in the most unexpected places but seem to fit in everywhere. However, let’s not forget why we started using mason jars in the first place. As summer winds down and we start bunkering down for winter (I’ll be the first to admit, even an inch of snow means I’ll be hibernating), we begin the process of canning little pieces of summer to get us through the cold months.

In today’s How-To, I’ll be covering the basics of preserving fruits. So grab your apron, pick your peaches, and let’s get started! By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to make your own canned goods. And if you feel so compelled, you can even offer them to weddings guests as a favor!

You will need:

-Your choice of fruit
-Mason jars, sterilized
-1 pot to boil fruit and liquid
-1 large pot for water bath
-Wire rack for the bottom of the water bath
-Jar rack or jar lifter
-Ingredients to preserve (This changes based on your recipe or if you choose to make jams or jellies)

Image Credit: Steep Street via Green Wedding Shoes

What you do:

1. Pick the right mason jar. They should be made for canning, so buying Mason or Ball jar is ideal. Make sure there are no cracks or knicks in the jars. This can cause them to break or seal improperly.

2. Wash your mason jars well. Sticking them in the dishwasher is a good idea, since the heat and water pressure ensure that contaminates are removed. You don’t want that in your food! When they’re washed, try not to touch the inside of the can or the inside of the lid. You can also boil the jars. Make sure they stay hot so they don’t break when you pour your preserves inside.

3. Grab your fruit! Hardier fruits like apples and peaches can be preserved really well, as opposed to soft fruits like plums and figs. Although, any fruit can be preserved if you’re up for the challenge! Peel the fruit and remove the core and stem. Then, cut it the way you prefer — whether into chunks or wedges.

4. Follow your recipe here. Most of them call for you to boil the fruit in water and sugar so that it forms a syrup. You can adjust the amount of sugars and other spices you use based on your taste.

5. When you’re done making your syrup, pour the mixture carefully into your mason jars. Leave about a quarter of an inch of space on top, so the jars will seal correctly. Keep in mind that some recipes might call for a different amount of space.

Image credit: Josh Goodman via Style Me Pretty

6. Place the lid and band on top of your jar and tighten it (but not too tight!).

7. Place the jars in the water bath. Make sure they’re sitting on top of a wire rack so they don’t break while processing. There should be an inch or two of water about the mason jars.

8. Process your jars for the length of time recommended by your recipe.

9. After the processing time is up, carefully remove your mason jars from the water bath with a jar lifter. Let them sit and cool down, then wipe them down with a towel so the lids don’t rust. As the jars cool, the lids should seal with a “pop.” If you don’t hear a pop, then your fruit isn’t preserved correctly and needs to be refrigerated and used soon.

10. Label your jars and store them in a cool, dry place. Your preserves will last up to a year if preserved and stored properly. Just enough time to enjoy them until summer comes again!

Next time, learn how to pickle your veggies!

Anything you’d like to know how to do? Leave a comment or email me!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole

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