Water-bath canning

You can can.

A year-round treat: You can enjoy summer’s fruits through the winter with homemade jams and jellies.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

It doesn’t have to be a jarring experience. You can can! Summer’s bounty of fruits can be enjoyed through the winter with homemade jams, jellies, butters, conserves and spiced fruits. The following recipe requires a large stainless-steel saucepan, a large bowl, a small pan for jars and lids and a large-deep canning pot. You’ll need a wire rack or a cake cooling rack to fit in the bottom of the pot to elevate the jars, a slotted spoon, a large spoon, tongs and measuring cups, along with a jar lifter — helpful to remove jars from the hot water.

BRANDIED PEARS

4 pint Ball/Mason jars with lids and bands

5 lbs. Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and halved

5 cups water

Juice of 1 lemon

1½ cups sugar

3½ cups water

1 cinnamon stick

4 cardamom pods, optional

Brandy (1/4–1/3 cup per jar)

Put your clean jars into the large-deep canning pot with a rack in the bottom, and fill the pot and the inside of the jars with water to cover them. Bring the water to boil for 10 minutes. Reduce to simmer.

Put your clean lids into a small pot of water, and bring water to a simmer to heat them.

In a large bowl, put 5 cups of water and the juice of 1 lemon.

Peel, core, cut pears in half and submerge pears in bowl of lemon water to prevent browning.

In a large, stainless-steel saucepan, add the water and sugar. Over low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the spices and pears. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer, and cook pears, in a single layer, for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Cook pears in batches, if they do not fit in a single layer. Remove pears with slotted spoon, setting them aside until all are cooked.

Remove clean, hot jars from large-deep canning pot, emptying water back into pot.

Set jars upright on clean dish towels on countertop. Keep pot on simmer.

Pack hot pears into jars. Divide hot syrup to fill jars about ¾-full. Top off with brandy/syrup, covering pears, leaving ½-inch headroom from the tops of the jars.

Gently tap jar sides, and run plastic knife/skewer around edges to release air bubbles.

Wipe the rims of the jar with a damp towel.

Put on lids and bands until just “finger tight.”

Place filled jars carefully back into large-deep canning pot (making sure there is 2 inches of water over the jars). After the water returns to full boil, boil for 20 minutes. Turn off heat.

Carefully remove jars to clean dish towels on countertop.

Let cool. After 24 hours, remove bands and check lids for a tight seal.

If not tightly sealed, refrigerate and use soon.

Age sealed jars 4–6 weeks or up to one year stored in cool, dark location.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Recipe winner:

Congratulations to Adrienne Cianfarini, who submitted this recipe, and was chosen in a random drawing. Adrienne is the August winner of a $100 ShopRite gift card.

Here is Adrienne’s recipe.

OVEN-ROASTED PEACH BUTTER

3 lbs. yellow peaches

1–2 cups sugar, as needed

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut peaches in half. Remove pits.

Arrange cut-side down in a single layer in a nonreactive baking dish.

Roast peaches for 30 minutes until skin is loose.

Remove pan from oven. Remove skins from the peach halves. Discard skins.

Mash peaches in the baking dish with a fork.

Reduce oven to 250 degrees and bake for an additional 2–3 hours, stirring to prevent burning, until all wateriness is gone and peaches are dark in color.

Stir in 1 cup sugar, taste and add more as needed.

Stir in lemon zest and juice.

If canning, process in 15-minute bath.

Makes 3 half pints.

The recipe submissions have been wonderful. Please remember to include exact measurements in your recipes. You could be September’s lucky winner. Send your recipe to:

Readers’ Recipes

c/o Northeast Times

2 Executive Campus

Suite 400

Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com.

Please include your name, home address, and telephone number. ••