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Old 05-21-2010, 04:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
Oh wow! That sounds good! Do you need to pressure can that one or is water bath sufficient?
Yes, I water bath can it. I got the recipe from the local homemaker's extension office when visiting my uncle in Oklahoma. It's a good 'ol Southern recipe. The spices you can adjust to your taste depending on how much heat you want. You need to keep the vinegar to vegetable ration the same, though, otherwise I'd pressure can it.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:16 PM   #12
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OK, I'm going to give this a go. How long in the bath?
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:23 PM   #13
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I do not have a canner. Since I was intending on making small batches, I planned on converting my enameled stockpot, with a rack, into a water bath canner. This will work, won't it?

I got some wide mouth mason jars today in pint and half-pint sizes. Much to my surprise, I'm having trouble finding canning utensils or canning salt.

I love the chow-chow recipe. It sounds awesome. Many of the ingredients were available at today's farmer's market. The unsafe pickle recipe sounds like what grandma made. It's the unsafe part in the title that stops me there. :)

~Kathleen
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:49 PM   #14
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I don't think your stockpot would be deep enough. You need a rack of sorts in the bottom to keep the jars away from the direct heat and you need 1"-2" height above the jars for the water and another 2"-3" above that so the boiling water does not come out of the pot with the lid on.

At minimum you should get a 5-8 qt stock pot with lid. I got a variety that has a glass lid so I can ensure the water is boiling without removing the lid.
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:46 AM   #15
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The stockpot is huge. It has a rack that allows everything to sit about three inches from the bottom. It's big enough to handle a half of a bushel of MD Blue crabs. Once I put the jars in, I should have another five or six inches at the top. Truthfully, it is taller than it is round.

It's also enameled with the dark blue with white specks enamel.
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:25 PM   #16
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First Item of Seasonal Canning

I found the most delicious Maryland strawberries on Saturday, and made the Strawberry Balsamic Jam recipe located on page 95 of the Well Preserved: recipes and techniques for putting up small batches of seasonal foods cookbook by Eugenia Bone. The jars sealed and there was a bit of jam leftover that I put in the refrigerator. It tastes unbelievably delicious.

The recipe calls for strawberries, sugar (lots and lots), balsamic vinegar, and a half of a pat of unsalted butter. Personally I prefer recipes listed in steps, but Ms. Bone's recipe was in long paragraph form....which means, I did not end up following the recipe. Not being a concrete-sequential person, I really should have made a note card prior to starting, but I do think the jam turned out anyway with one exception: I'm pretty sure that I overcooked it.

The jam was supposed to be cooked to a "soft loose jam" stage. For the life of me, I could not find what this meant. I resorted to using my canning bible (Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving.) The jam never sheeted like described in the spoon test nor did it behave like described under the refrigerator test. The result seems to be very thick jam, which I believe will tear cooled bread before it spreads right.

On the flip side, notes are made and the taste is wonderful. The yield is a very dark red jam. I will likely use this jam in other recipes, like over poached pears, etc. Ms. Bone should give a few indicators as to when the jam is ready. Or perhaps I should have simply followed the recipe and blindly trusted when 40 minutes had passed.

Suggestions are welcome! How do I know when jam is at a soft loose jam stage?

~Kathleen
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:45 PM   #17
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I'm a long ways from being an expert in the art of making jams and jellies, but I've never heard the term "soft loose jam stage". I don't suppose the book provides any terminology explanations in the first pages?

I also assume that the recipe does not use adding external pectin since those recipes have specific timing requirements and you do not use/need the spoon or frozen plate process to determine the gel stage, which is used for fruit only recipes.

BTW, if you have a candy thermometer, use it the next time and watch for a temperature of 220°F (at sea level). That's the temperature for gelling to occur and it may help you understand what it looks like in the pan.
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:52 PM   #18
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Thanks, Mcnerd...I will get a thermometer. I'd feel better about judging with one anyway.

Also, correct in that there is no pectin added. The book gave a lot of terminology, but I could not find soft loose gel/jam stage. :/

~Kathleen
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:02 PM   #19
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If you don't already have one, get one of those with the probe on a long cord. They have a big display, magnetic for holding on the stove, and will beep when the temperature you want has been reached. They cost about $20.

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Old 05-31-2010, 03:30 PM   #20
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Thanks! I don't have one. I'll definitely look into it.
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