As with most gatherers, summertime is a busy time! And this weekend was no exception.
While I attempted to complete some of my 3 IN 30 goals (ie: car and cellar cleanup!), they were put to the back burner for a few more days as the apricot harvest was upon us!
I have kept the dehydrator going for over a week now, pluggin' away on building up on a dried fruit supply for winter! Apricots, pears, peaches, plums, and apples all make delicious little nuggets of chewy goodness. But this week, the cots took center stage.
I spent Saturday up at a my folk's place canning the cots. Canning with company is so much more fun that doing it alone! I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I love my Mom.
My friend Melanie also came to help out! Hey Melanie! (I love Melanie too!)
Now here's somethin' I didn't know before. I feel silly. I feel like a novice. But I had no idea…
IT IS POSSIBLE TO CAN WITHOUT A SUGAR SYRUP.
Did you know that?
Oh, you did? Hmmm…I feel even more silly now, then.
While I love canned fruit, we have all but eliminated white sugar from our diets. I hated to put up a ton of fruit for winter that was swimming in a sugar syrup, even an extra light one. I'd prefer to drizzle the fruit with honey, should it need to be sweeter (which most the time, it doesn't!). So while I was reading through my Ball Canning Book, I just happened upon a paragraph about hot packing fruit (ie: slightly cooking the fruit before putting it in the jars) and how when the fruit is hot packed, you can just substitute straight water for any form of syrup. Ell I be!
My Mom and I put up 35 quarters total – 18 with no syrup and 17 with an extra light syrup (for her). Here's a few observations:
1. When the fruit was hot-packed (in only water), we were able to fit a lot more fruit per jars. This is a bonus in that you could free up more jars to can something else! Plus, it meant less jars to process in the waterbath.
2. That was pretty much my only observation.
I am eager to try the no-syrup cots to see how they hold up their flavor and texture in comparison to the traditionally canned cots. Will they turn brown? Will they get all mushy?
I don't know, people!
But what I do know is sometimes, you gotta take risks. Sometimes, you gotta live on the edge. The only way to learn a new way…is to try it!
So I stand before you uncertain of my dearest cots future. But I will tell you, if it works, I'm gunna be one happy lady!
Oh, on a side note – I'd like to thank all of you who prayed for my poor, heirloom, late-blooming, buds-falling-off, growth-lethargic, tomatoes. I'm happy to report that we have one…yes, one, tomato.
Roughly half the size of a pea.
So that's something to look forward to. Sigh.
Looks like I'll have to hit up Mom's garden while she's sleepin'…“Gosh, Mom, I can't believe that the raccoons came in and ate up all your red tomatoes! How horrible! Those little vermin!”
She'll never know it was me…unless of course, she reads this post.
For my canned tomatoes sake, let's hope she doesn't.