Jam Demo and Book Signing Today at Local in Brunswick, Maine

Local window Brunswick

Just wanted to remind folks that if you’re in the area of Brunswick, Maine, I’ll be at Local (148 Maine Street) today from 5-7 pm, making jam and signing books. It’s a lovely store, chock full of canning jars, Falcon Ware, regionally made preserves, wines, and other wonderful stuff.

Swing by, have a snack, see me make some jam, and pick up a book!

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Canning 101: Can You Safely Can on a Glass Top Stove?

Andrea's stove

Obviously, this is not a flat top stove. I didn’t have a picture a picture of one, so this is standing in.

In the last two days, I’ve gotten three different questions about canning on glass top stoves. And so, I figured it was high time that I added a blog post to the Canning 101 archive to explain why it’s not recommended and how you can potentially work around those warnings. Read on for more!

If you are the owner or regular user of a glass top stove, you may have heard that you’re not supposed to do any canning on your smooth, easy-to-clean stovetop. For long time canners who find themselves with these stoves, this news can be quite a blow.

There are three primary reasons why manufacturers recommend against canning on a glass top stove. The first is that many older canners have concave bottoms. When you combine a concave bottom with a flat surface, heat, and water, there is a risk that a seal will form between the canner and the stovetop. It’s not a huge deal until you go to move a canner that has suctioned itself to the stove. The seal can be strong enough that attempting to move the canner can result in a cracked or shattered stove top (this can also happen if you put a lid on your flat surface).

The second reason that it’s not recommended is that a full canner load of seven quart jars can be heavier that the stove top can bear. Even if your pot has a flat bottom, if it ends up weighing more that the glass surface can bear, you can still end up with a broken range.

The third reason is that some glass top stoves cycle the heat on and off, and so aren’t able to hold a steady boil. If you can’t hold a canner at a constant boil, you cannot guarantee that you’re getting the full level of heat penetration necessary for your preserves to be sterilized and safely shelf stable.

Happily, not all is lost for potential canners with flat glass top stoves. You can eliminate the risk of breakage through suction by using a pot with a flat bottom. A light-weight stainless steel stock pot (like this one) works well as a canning pot and will never seal itself to your stove. It also has the added benefit of being light enough to prevent the surface from cracking or breaking due to too much weight.

There is the issue of maintaining a rolling boil. Some stoves can do it and others can’t. Test your stove by bringing a pot of water to a boil and tracking the temperature with a candy thermometer while it boils. Does it stay at or near to 212 degrees F? Or does the temperature fluctuate a great deal? If you can maintain a rolling boil, you should be good to go.

And, if all else fails, get yourself an induction burner and an induction capable pot and run that as your processing station. Where there is a canning will, there is always a way.

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Low Sugar Spiced Peach Jam

finished peach jam

For the last four summers, I’ve been invited by the folks at the Washington State Fruit Commission and Sweet Preservation to participate in their Canbassador program. Essentially, sometime around mid-summer, they drop me an email and ask if I want to make something tasty with their fruit. When I say yes, the ship a box of delicious Washington-grown cherries, peaches, plums, or apricots.

peach box

Some years, they send me a mix of fruit. Other years, it’s just a single variety. Here’s what I’ve made for this partnership since kicking things off in 2010.

chopped peaches

This year, they sent me a giant box of sweet, juicy peaches. About half the fruit was at the apex of ripeness upon arrival. I triaged the box, sorting the peaches that had to be used immediately from the ones that could stand a couple of days in the fridge. When I was done, I had six pounds of peaches that required immediate action.

And so I peeled them, roughly chopped them, and divided them between a couple of large jars. I added some sugar to help hold them (1/2 a cup for the quart jar and 1 cup for the half gallon), gave both jars a good shake to distribute everything, and plunked them in the fridge for 2 1/2 days while I went down to Washington, D.C. to teach some classes.

peaches in the pan

When I got home from the trip, I poured the macerated peaches into a low, wide pan (in fact, the one I wrote about here). I added a tablespoon of calcium water (Pomona’s Pectin), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and the zest and juice from a lemon.

I brought it to a boil and cooked until the peaches where very soft and the syrup became to thicken. I whisked 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s Pectin into 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar and after about 35 minutes of cooking, stirred it into the jam. A few more minutes of simmering to help everything combined and then the jam was done.

cooked peach jam

Funneled into eight half pint jars and processed for 10 minutes, this jam is lighter on sugar than many, but doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of flavor. It’s a nice one for holiday gifts and eating with fat slices of angel food cake.

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Links: Pickles, Hard Cider, and a Winner

rainbow in the fountain

Last week in Chicago went about as well as it possibly could. I taught a bunch of classes, did three TV segments, and caught up with some dear friends. I got home to Philadelphia on Friday evening, dashed up to New York yesterday, and spent all of today doing not much of anything beyond taking a walk around the city with Scott (it was a beautiful day). Tomorrow when it’s off to New England for four nights of classes, demos, and signings. Now, links!

Last week, I wrote a series of posts for The Kitchn about preserving tomatoes. Check ‘em out!

syrupy plums

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Anolon giveaway last week! The winner is #371/Deborah. She said, “We have an old, large enameled Dutch oven found at a flea market that gets heavy rotation for jam-making, roasting veggie, making stock, you name it. I love that it shows its age, but still does the job beautifully.” Here’s hoping you like your new cookware, Deborah! 

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Upcoming Events: Vermont and Maine

All set up to demo at the @ballcanning International Can-It-Forward. Join us via the livestream!

As you might have noticed, I’ve been traveling a lot this summer. I’ve been up and down the west coast, spent two weeks driving around the south, and flew to Chicago twice. One portion of the country that I’ve pretty well neglected has been New England. However, all that changes this week. I’m going to be doing events in Vermont and Maine and I hope that those of you who live up there will come, bring your books (or buy one!) and say hi!

August 19 – Waterbury, VT
I’m kicking off this New England trip with a canning demo and book signing at Bridgeside Books. The event runs from 6-8 pm and is free and open to all.

August 20 – South Burlington, VT
On Wednesday night, I’ll be VT Food Swap at the Healthy Living Market in South Burlington from 6-8 pm. My demo will kick off the evening, and then the swap will take place immediately after. Registration is required to attend, but is free, so don’t let that stop you. Sign up here.

August 21 – Falmouth, ME
On Thursday I head to Maine to teach a canning class at University of Maine Cooperative Extension Regional Learning Center. The class runs from 7-9 pm and just is $15 and you can sign up here.

August 22 – Brunswick, ME
I’ll be rounding out my trip up north with a canning demo and book signing at Local from 5-7 pm. This is another free event, so please come, hang out for the demo and pick up a book!

After the events are over, Scott and I are spending the weekend in Portland just to hang out and relax. If you’ve got any Portland, Maine must-sees, please let me know!

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Livestream of the International Can-It-Forward Day

peaches

Saturday, August 16 is International Can-It-Forward Day. Canning events are taking place all across the globe in order to help more people discover the pleasures and practicalities of home preserving. I’m going to be at the main event at the Brooklyn Borough Hall in New York to demonstrate the Peach Sriracha Jam from Preserving by the Pint

If you’re in the greater New York region, you should come out and join the fun. If you’re a bit further flung, join us on the livestream!

Here’s the full schedule of events!

10:00am – Pepper Jelly demonstration by Chef Sara featuring the FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker
10:45am – Tips on urban gardening & herb preservation
11:00am – Peach Sriracha Jam demonstration by Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars
11:30am – Crafting in Ball jars with staff from Martha Stewart Living
11:45am – Hugh Acheson Preserving and Mixology demonstrations
1:15pm – Special Mixology demonstration with local mixologists
1:30pm – Salsa Verde demonstration by Chef Sarah featuring the FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System

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