Cooking With Botox! (Part 2)

Previously on Cooking With Botox!, we covered the amazing fresh tomato sauce and mentioned that we canned it, mostly successfully.* I took lots of photos of the sauce making process, even edited them a little to improve my craptastic photography skills, and then dropped the ball completely when it came to documenting the canning process. Of course I did.

But! In an effort to document everything in case I ever decide to try this again (or, you know, just to prove that I actually did this once in my life), I made some jam yesterday and canned that too. Yes, I realize -- my marbles, I have lost them.

Onward! To nectarine jam! I love peaches most of all, but nectarines are delicious too, and as was pointed out in Canning for a New Generation, you don't have to peel nectarines. Sign me up!

I pretty much followed the recipe provided in Canning for a New Generation, which called for 4 lbs. of nectarines, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and 3 tbsps of lemon juice. The notes mentioned how delicious throwing in some vanilla beans can be, so in went a half of a bean, split. Also, to make this as peach pie like as possible, I threw in a couple of shakes of cinnamon. It simmered for an hour or so, and looked and smelled AMAZING at this point.

Good, right? Here's the thing: it never really gelled, which is totally my fault. The recipe didn't call for pectin, but I bought it just in case, and then promptly forgot all about it. GENIUS. Anyway, it's more of a nectarine syrup with fruit. Tasty, sure, but I wouldn't necessarily spread it on toast. Moving on...

Ok! Time to can! So, did I ever tell you about when we renovated our kitchen? I desperately wanted to upgrade to a gas stove, but the gas line enters our house in the back, services the laundry and HVAC and dead ends there. The cheapest estimate we got to run a gas line into the kitchen was $4200, and that did not include repairing any of the drywall that they would be ripping out along the length of our family room ceiling, into the foyer, up the stairwell, and into the kitchen. HAAA, NO. As a result, I have a ceramic topped electric stove, which works well enough in general, but happens to be the one surface with which the cheap canning pots are not compatible. I was certainly not shelling out for a more expensive canner, therefore, this is my setup:
Elvis, is that you? "In the ghet-toooo..."
I was dubious, and it took awhile to come to a full, rolling boil, but it worked. (JOY.) So here's what I did:
I assembled clean jars in the canning rack...
...and dropped them into the simmering water bath for 10 minutes to sterilize.
At the same time, the lids and rings simmered on the stove.
Time to fill the jars. They were pretty tiny, so the funnel I used for the tomato sauce seemed a little much; I just tried to ladle carefully. Next, I used a wooden skewer to break up any air bubbles. (This seems to be the only thing I didn't photograph.)
I used a clean towel to wipe the rim of the jar, because apparently the food residue can prevent the jars from sealing.
Carefully fish a lid out of the hot water, trying to avoid sticking your finger in there too. Not that I did this myself, noooo.
Gently drop the lid onto the jar, making sure the gummy seal is positioned properly.
Fish a ring out of the hot water and drop it onto the jar, trying not to shove the lid out of place. Tighten the ring loosely, just as much as you can do using only your fingers.
Arrange the filled jars on the rack and gently lower the rack into the water.
Cover the pot and let it come to a rolling boil before you begin timing the processing. The recipe called for 5 minutes, but let's be honest, it was probably more like seven over here. (See: fear of killing loved ones with my cooking.)
Using jar lifters, remove the jars to a clean towel. Ideally, they would sit untouched for 24 hours, but here in my, um, let's call it an "outdoor kitchen," I used a towel covered baking sheet so that I could move them back into the house.
Luckily, within minutes of pulling the jars from the water bath, I was treated to a chorus of popping lids, sealing themselves onto all 12 jars. Hooray! We're going to have to start eating more blue cheese, biscuits, and other things you'd put syrup-y fruit on.

*You know, for now. We'll see if anyone dies after eating it.


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