Kitchen Lessons #1

Well, it’s saturday and I’ve been once again attempting to make peach preserves.  I again say that this is much harder than the directions make it sound and though I was hoping to get through this attempt without any trips to the grocery store due to screw-ups, I will more than likely need to go and get more pectin.  I’ve toyed with a couple of different methods for sealing the mason jars and was pleasantly surprised with the one where it tells me to turn the filled and closed jars of jam upside down and let them cool- this actually worked 😀  I then proceeded to use the boil the filled and sealed jars in a pot filled with boiling water for at least ten minutes version and this did seem to be a bit harder.  I have gotten them all sealed, but will more than likely have to open up and attempt to fix the second batch of peach preserve with the afore-mentioned extra pectin (I used a few too many peaches and probably not enough sugar).

I have always had a great amount of respect for doing things the “old-fasioned” way, but there are moments like these were the new fangled inventions like ready make thickening agents of the fruit variety are just the bees knees.  That being said, the biggest accomplishment of this experiment was that I managed to keep my apartment sized galley kitchen relatively clean during the entire messy process using rigged items to substitute for the “bottling kit” items that would have cost me an additional $50.

So, the main lessons to learn out of this are:

1. There’s a reason why strawberry preserves are typically done WITH some sort of pectin.  They are apparently a low pectin fruit and need the extra help to thicken, but without it the preserves make a wonderful (though runny) syrup.

2. If the recipe tells you 4 cups of the fruit- use 4 cups of the fruit.  I have issues with measuring when it is an item that doesn’t strike me as something that would throw off the chemistry and I am often proven wrong.  Not sure why I continue to hold this belief.

3. If the recipe calls for 7 1/2 cups of sugar and you realize that you might have put in too much fruit- go to the store to get more sugar instead of crossing your fingers and trying to reduce the preserves before adding the pectin.  I promise you that you will STILL have to go to the grocery store again anyway unless you are happy with the afore-mentioned runny syrup state of things.

4. BOILING HOT GLASS HURTS!!  I’ve got about 4 fewer layers of skin on my fingers because I felt like being such a cheap skate and not getting those specialized items used for the bottling of things.

I will continue my journey with preserves and the bottling of things because I fully intend to use some really great combinations of fruit in my future endeavors.  This was a good first attempt, but I hate those moments when you know that there will be three or four more attempts before you can say that you’ve got the process down pat.

Happy Saturday and for all of you parents sending the kids back to school of Monday- Congratulations!

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2 thoughts on “Kitchen Lessons #1

  1. James Roaming says:

    RE: 4. BOILING HOT GLASS HURTS!! its possible you need to look at your method for sterilizing, it really doesn’t need to be so painful. Have a look at this http://britishfood.about.com/od/glossary/ht/sterilizingjars.htm (I use the dishwasher or microwave depending on time and amount of jars I need) For the dishwasher – set it on highest temp tho! It works :-0

    • Simone Ludlow says:

      Yes, sir, this is very true. I had gotten it into my head that I wanted to do things the ‘old fashioned way’- will definitely try these methods next time 😉

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