Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Great-Grandmother Would Be So Proud

Inspired by Amy at Clothesline Alley that canning doesn't have to be too hard, I decided to try my hand at one of her recipes, Nectarine Chutney. I have never done any canning before, even though I have considered it many times. I have checked books out from the library and looked over recipes. I even bought canning jars once. But every time, I chickened out! But not this time!! I got over my fear of not having just the right special kind of equipment and forged ahead! Fortunately, I did this the day before my camera went out of commission (I think it said something about needing a sabbatical...) so I have pictures!

I did go buy some special ingredients though. I didn't have canning salt, for instance.

I guess that's the only thing I had to buy - which is why I was attracted to this recipe.

Don't these nectarines look so yummy? Look at that color!

Once I added all the ingredients, all I could smell was the vinegar! Whew, was it strong. Fortunately for me, I love vinegar. Unfortunately for Jerry, he hates it... Check out the spoonula! I love mine, too. And it's even red, my favorite color!

After I cooked this concoction for an hour, it was ready to go in the jars. I don't have a dishwasher where you can fast forward to a specific spot in the cycle, so the easy method of keeping your jars warm and sterile of putting them in the drying cycle didn't work for me. I put them in the oven instead until I was ready to fill them.

Here is my fancy water bath canner! A stock pot! I put my steamer basket in the bottom so that the boiling water could circulate.

The jars went in just fine! The only problem with this pseudo-canner is that I didn't have a good way to get the jars out of the boiling water! I used my salad tongs. It worked, but I was so afraid that I was going to drop the hot jar on the tile floor and watch my hard work shatter! Aren't the jars so cute in the water?

And here's the finished product:

I only got three jars from the recipe, and it looked awfully dark to me. I expected the molasses to darken it, but I thought it would look a bit lighter. I think one of the problems was the amount of nectarines I used. I weighed them and used the amount called for in the recipe, but I really felt like there were too many raisins and not enough nectarines. I was a little bit disappointed by that, but overall, I am happy with my first attempt. The jars sealed, which was my main worry.

If I make this recipe again, I will do a few things differently:

  • Use more nectarines
  • blanch the skins off rather than hand peeling them with a knife
  • Don't boil as long with the lid off the pot - I could have used a bit more liquid left
  • get a real jar lifter-outer thingy so that I am not so worried that my salad tongs will fail me

But, you know, I did taste some of this, and WOW! it is really good. So I am looking forward to using it. But the only thing I can think to use it for is to put on top of chicken. What else would this go with?

I plan to can again. In fact, tomorrow I am planning to make some strawberry jam with the four pounds of strawberries I got on the cheap this week. I hope it turns out!


Joanna said...

NEATO!!!!! That is sooo coooool!!! I really like canning but my kitchen is just too small. Although I did jar some rhubarb preserves once and that was a hit. I'm so proud of you. It looks fantastic although I'm never quite sure about adding onion to something as lovely as a nice juicy necatrine. I don't get it. I'm a dunce when it comes to pairing chutney with anything, too. Maybe Alton Brown has some good ideas.

Terry, Ornament of His Grace said...

Johanna, you've just inspired me to give this a try! Your Chutney looks great.

Joanna said...

Oh I can't wait to see how everything turns out!

Lawanda said...

I am not sure what chutney is, but that looks yummy! Sounds good with chicken too!

I am proud of ya too, cuz I am not brave enough to can anything on my own yet. I always have my mommy help me :-D LOL

Meagan said...

ohhhhh I so have wanted to can.... then to buy the jars, and tools and actually have a recipie to go in it... well the eggs all need to go in one basket in this case...... Sometimes it feels like I am searching for easter eggs all over the house!!!! (and it isn't even easter.... how sad is that??? I really do need a bigger kitchen.)

Anonymous said...

You amaze me. I don't know that I have the skillz (or patience) it takes for this. It's something I've never attempted...

Kainoa said...

Wow, that looks great! I can't ever said I had chutney so I am not too sure what to do with it. Maybe try it on pork too since that is a white meat also? At least you have tried this, I have always wanted to, but my apartment is too small to try this in the kitchen. Oh I wish I had a house!