Tuesday, March 29, 2011

End of winter freezer clean-up

Although we preserve much of our food each year through canning, pickling, fermenting, cold storage/root cellar, and dehydrating/drying, we also still use a freezer for a few fruit and vegetable items.  This time of year we are trying to use up the pesto, beans, and berries that are still taking up space, to make way for newer produce only a few months away.  Today we received our bulk order of fresh maple syrup from a local farm (10 litres) which we decided to store in the freezer rather than canning, so in preparation for freezer space I pulled out the last elderberries, and red/black currants picked from our yard last year and made jelly!  It only made a small recipe, about 6 x 125 ml, but since I am a fan of the "small batch preserving" method this jam making session worked out perfectly in between making dinner and cleaning up the dishes.  I even used a regular soup pot for the canning process, with only a vegetable steamer basket to hold the jars in place - used less water and took much less time to heat up than a huge canning pot.  I used Pumona's low-sugar pectin for the first time, and LOVE it. Using this pectin reduces the amount of sugar by about half to that of a regular recipe (or they also give recipes if you want to use honey instead of sugar), and the jam/jelly gels beautifully.  I am going to stock up on Pumona's, as usually by canning season in August the shops here that carry it are all sold out. 

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