Canning 101: Apricots!

My world has always involved a grocery store where, any time of the year, I can choose from an array of food (apples, bell peppers, kiwi!, asparagus!, and more).

I am guessing that has been your experience too. But that wasn't always an option. Before super markets and international shipping, in order to eat people had to rely on what was growing at the moment or what they could store. And after a snowy winter in Colorado you can bet folks came up with some very resourceful ways to ensure they had food throughout the year - whether that was drying, dry storage in root cellars, to fermenting, and eventually to freezing and canning.

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Those skills are not as widely used here and now. And let's take a moment of gratitude that the collective ingenuity of people has allowed us some freedom from that desparate dependence. But even within that gratitude many of us are questioning how reliable and stable that system really is - where does that food come from, how does it get here, how is it grown? And what would happen to us if our grocery store shelves stopped getting stocked? 

But don't despair, in fact, rejoice! Turns out that here in our river valley and the surrounding high desert there is an ABUNDANCE of food!

For example the fruit trees are having an amazing year! Every time I turn a corner there is another loaded tree with plums or apricots or pears or apples hanging from the branches. (TIP: If you have a fruit tree that needs to be picked or if you are looking for fruit trees to pick, check out the Fruit Gleaning Hub, online bulletin board!)

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I will leave the wild food abundance for another post but in the mean time Katrina Blair and Turtle Lake Refuge are great resources! (Evidenced by the fact that our Thistle Remedy workshop with Katrina included some edible thistle recipes!)

WS_Canning_8.17.16_OKCG_Photos_2016-008.JPGHowever, in the spirit of celebrating all the good (often free!) food available to us here is some information on canning so we can take advantage of these edible resources well into the winter and spring.

At the workshop we canned apricots (I can't seem to walk through my neighborhood without making apricot jam in the street right now!)

Here is our last Canning Blog Post with specific instructions, the basics were:

Follow a recipe

Pay attention to detail

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Use good equipment

Do's and Dont's 

Click HERE to read the details. Plus there is a great canned Salsa recipe!

Here is the Canned Apricot Sauce recipe we used in class:

Just one ingredient - apricots! That's right, no sugar or pectin needed! 

APRICOT SAUCE - Recipe from Rachel Turiel (Find more recipes like this on her blog 6512andgrowing)

Ingredients:

Apricots

Instructions:

Pit apricots with hands. Toss halved apricots into a stainless steel pot without any water and turn heat on low. Simmer and stir for 30-45 minutes. Once soft, blend with a handheld blender (or put cooked apricots into blender or food processor) to desired consistency - can be smooth or slightly chunky. Sauce will be spreadable once cool.

Optional: add cinnamon, vanilla beans (split lengthwise, seeds scraped out, simmer along with apricots)

Sugar and pectin not needed because pectin is naturally occurring and apricots are naturally sweet.  

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(We added some vanilla beans, because...yum!)

CANNING, STEP BY STEP (rough outline)

Remember to check out these Canning TIPS and DO's & DON'TS.

  1. Gather: recipe, high quality ingredients, canning tools. Fill water bath canner with water.
  2. Wash jars with hot, soapy water. Rinse lids under hot water.
  3. Prepare recipe.
  4. Fill jars, leaving 1/4 - 1/2 inch headspace (recipe should specify, if not, leave 1/2). “Bubble” jars with spatula or spoon.
  5. Turn heat on under water bath canner.
  6. Wipe rims completely clean with damp paper towel.
  7. Place lids on jar rims, screw on screwband, not extremely tight.
  8. Turn heat on under water bath canner.
  9. Lower jars into canner. Make sure there is one inch of water above the tallest jars.
  10.  Set timer for recommended amount of time, adding 15 minutes for high altitude.
  11.  When time is up, turn heat off, pull “canner basket” out and let jars cool for a few minutes, then lift jars out with jar lifter and place on towel to cool.
  12.  Listen for “pinging” sound of sealed jar.
  13.  When jars have cooled, remove screwbands and test seals by lifting by the rims, wipe jars clean, label with product and date, and store out of sun and high heat. Food should be good for one year. If a jar doesn’t seal, put it in the fridge and use soon.

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Workshop Presenter  

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Rachel Turiel is a freelance writer, urban homestead tender, and aficionado of all things DIY in the kitchen, much to her children's chagrin.

She teaches workshops and blogs at 6512andGrowing.

 

 


Part of the Conservation Education Series, presented by The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado and the La Plata Conservation District.

Next Workshop:

Seed Saving Basics:
Cultivating Community Resilience
w/ Rachel Bennet, Southwest Seed Library
Wednesday, September 21st
5:30pm-7:30pm
at the Ohana Kuleana Community Garden

Sign up HERE!

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