I got the itch to do some canning last weekend. A BAD itch.
So, I asked the Coupon Project Facebook folk where their favorite places were to get bulk produce at good prices for canning. (DO refer to that thread if you’re looking for some local recommendations – there are some great tips there!) Several people mentioned Foley’s Produce and reader Clara was nice enough to forward me an email with their prices for Labor Day – which included a 20 lb box of Bartlett pears for $12.95. HELLO?!
I ended up with a box of Gravenstein apples, Elberta peaches, and Bartlett pears for $49.85. That works out to roughly $0.83/lb total. What’s more, the farm this produce was sourced from does not use pesticides – it’s just not “certified” organic. Works for me!
The 20 lb box of Gravenstein apples yielded me 6 quarts. I made 3 quarts spiced with cinnamon and sugar. The other 3 quarts are no-sugar added, so I threw in a few Gala apples I had handy to sweeten the batch.
On Monday, I went to work on the box of peaches and pears. I started with the peaches, and canned 9 pints in a light syrup. They turned out sooo good!
Here’s a quick tip for peeling them: get a pot of water up to a nice boil and plop a few peaches in for about 30-40 seconds. Then, remove them carefully with a slotted spoon and plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water. After a couple minutes, remove the peaches one at a time and remove the skins. They will peel right off! The trick is to make sure your boiling water is truly boiling and your ice water, icy.
Before tackling the pears, I canned up a couple pints of salsa from my garden tomatoes. After experiencing some issues with blossom end rot, it appears that my toms are starting to make a rally. I’ve not had tons of tomatoes, but definitely enough to make a few small batches of salsa and sauces!
Next, I canned up my very favorite jam: Pear Vanilla! It’s divine! If you make it, DO use the vanilla beans and not the extract. You’ll be glad for the final result. This jam got such rave reviews from my family last year, I’m just planning on making tons of it. I ended up canning 6 jars of it over the weekend, but ended up buying a second box of pears just to make tons of this jam which will be given as holiday gifts this year. I discovered that this jam is particularly good served as a sauce on top of ice cream. Or just eating by the bowlful!
Finally, I made several pints’ worth of pearsauce, which is actually the same method as making applesauce. You just use pears. Obviously. I really like pearsauce served alongside ham.
Here’s my final canning haul – just from this weekend:
- 6 pints pear-vanilla jam
- 9 pints peaches in light syrup
- 3 pints peach butter + one 8-oz jar
- 2 pints salsa (I used the Ball Fiesta Mix, which I LOVE! Plus, it’s super easy!)
- 3 quarts Gravenstein applesauce (no sugar added)
- 3 quarts Gravenstein applesauce, spiced + sugar
- 8 pints pearsauce
- 7 8-oz jars zesty peach barbecue sauce
I feel accomplished, but I can’t say that I plan on doing this again anytime soon, nor do I necessarily recommend attempting a session like this. I was so tired and my kitchen a total mess at the end of it. AND, mind you, I still have that second box of pears sitting on the dining room table for more jam – so I’m not even done!
All of the recipes came from this book:
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (currently $14.46 on Amazon) is a great resource and the canning recipes in them are tested & trusty! The only exception, the Pear Vanilla Jam recipe comes from Food in Jars, a canning blog I highly recommend. You can find some of the Ball recipes on FreshPreserving as well (if I was able to find a recipe there, I linked to it on my list above).
I know this post didn’t cover many tips or how-to’s, but no worries there – I’ve written similar posts in the past. You can also head to my canning category for more ideas.
Here are some related posts you might be interested in:
- Learning how to Can Safely
- Canning Strawberry Jam
- Five Misconceptions I had about Canning
- How to Can Pineapple
- How I Canned my Garden Tomatoes
- Saving on Canning Jars & Canning Supplies
Have you been doing any canning?
Disclosure: Canning is safe and easy, provided you follow the steps and recipes. Before canning for the first time, please read through The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, the Getting Started section at FreshPreserving, and/or take a class near you.