By Kimi Ceridon
Student Kimi Ceridon offers her picks for fall canning cookbooks and tutorials.
It is October. The garden is on its last legs. It is time to start looking into the pantry for the saved morsels of summer. It is past peak tomato season, but canned tomatoes and tomato sauce are excellent first projects for a beginning canner. However, fall in New England offers another great crop for canning in abundance – apples. And with the holidays around the corner, canned apple preserves, apple jelly, apple chutney and apple pie filling make beautiful homemade gifts. It takes just 20 apples to make seven 8-ounce jars of apple jelly.
There are an abundance of online and written resources to learn the basics of canning. So, rather than reproducing a recipe, here are a few places for beginners to start.
The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving – Many people have not tried canning for fear of botulism. Botulism is rather rare with only 145 cases reported each year according to Center for Disease Control. However, botulism does thrive in an anaerobic environment like that created in a canning jar. So, its risk is a reality. So, beyond the tried and true recipes that grandma used to use, the USDA recipes are scientifically tested for safety. The guide is available for free download on the USDA website in PDF format. It includes information on equipment and hundreds of recipes. Guide 02: Selecting, Preparing and Canning Fruit and Fruit Products has recipes for Apple Butter, Canned Apple Slices, Apple Juice and Applesauce. Guide 07: Preparing and Canning Jams and Jellies contains directions for Apple Jelly.
- Pickyourown.org – The overwhelming and busy design of this website makes it tough to use, but Pick You Own is a great free resource for recipes and finding local pick-your-own farms. Most of the recipes are step-by-step tutorials with pictures. Check out their Apple Jelly Recipe.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 delicious and creative recipes for today – By Ball, they are indeed referring to the iconic canning jars used by many home canners. This book edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine is part of a tradition of Ball canning publications. Like the The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving, these are well-tested recipes for safety. Here is a gift idea – Mom’s Apple Pie in a Jar on page 38.
Put ‘em up! – This 2010 book by Sherri Brooks Vinton is a go-to favorite for small batch canning. This book offers ways to preserve without special equipment, including refrigeration, freezing, infusing, drying and, yes, canning. Most of the recipes are for smaller batches, so they are ideal for a beginner home canner who doesn’t want to purchase large canning pots and other canning gadgets. The Apple Jelly recipe on page 109 is made with only sugar, apples, lemon juice and time. No pectin required.
Well-Preserved – This canning book by Eugenia Bone has more gourmet contents than other resources mentioned here. There are only 29 preservation recipes. However, for each preservation recipe, there are at least three accompanying recipes for how to use it. So, not only can you make four pints of spiced apples, but you can use those spiced apples for a pork tenderloin, a strudel, or a pie.
So, while you are out there enjoying the New England Foliage, pick up some apples and make some homemade gifts.