Thursday, 16 January 2014

Fowler's Vacola Preserving with Mason Jars Part 2

This is the result of my second day of preserving in the mason jars. Not as colourful as the first batch but I did get creative with liqueurs. The jar on the left is an experiment with apple, the middle one is fruit salad in brandy syrup and the third bottle is cointreau apricots. I thought I would share the recipe for the apricots which came from a combination of sources.

I started with 500g of dried apricots. The finished quantity of preserves filled three jars.

Soak the apricots in two cups of water overnight and they plump out like this. Drain and retain the liquid.

Thinly slice an orange and the rind, removing all of the white pith.

Starting with the apricots, alternatively layer the peel and oranges until filled half way. Then add two tablespoons of cointreau and two tablespoons of sugar to the reserved liquid. Mix and then add to the jar (to about three quarters full). Continue layering until jar is filled. Top with liquid to 1.2cm from the top and seal. Can't wait to try these out after the apricots have been soaking for months. Yummo!

I had some leftover green apples from my chutney making so I decided to bottle them. As they are low in acidity I added a teaspoon of lemon juice to each bottle before sealing. I did these in a light sugar syrup.

In hindsight I should have cooked them a little as they have absorbed a fair amount of the liquid. A lesson to be learned :)

This is my liqueur fruit salad. I had a few peaches, which many recipes suggested preserving with brandy, but I did not have enough to fill a jar. So I added some grapes, apple and mango to the mix. I added the brandy (which I had leftover from my Christmas Cake) to the light syrup with a tablespoon of sugar.

When I was shopping for the jars at Big W, I was impressed with the range of Ball products. These labels, however, were a big disappointment. I thought the dissolvable factor was clever, but they fell off the jars as soon as I moved them. Maybe there is a trick to getting them to stick? There are no instructions with the product to suggest so.

This wide-mouthed collapsible funnel, though, is one of my favourite things. The green rubber adheres to the side of the jar creating a great seal. I did learn (the hard way) to watch the side of the jar as I filled because you can't really tell from the top when you have overfilled. You just see green :)

Having a good quality stainless steel sieve was also handy when making the sugar syrup. It's a good idea to strain to ensure no impurities get into it. Also, by boiling the syrup, it remains clear and does not cloud up in the jar - apparently.

Well, it took me a bit of time to get around to Part 2 of my mason jar preserving posts. The next recipe and process I will share is pasta sauce. We certainly go through loads of it here.

What do you use lots of that you would like to make yourself, preservative and chemical free?

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