About a month ago I picked up a box of pears and set them out on the counter to let them ripen. I thought it would only take a week or so, but I was wrong. A few pears were ripe around week 2, so I made pear cranberry jam (7 half pints) and carrot cake jam (5 half pints, 2 pints). A few days later there were enough ripe pears to make ginger pear sauce (4 pints).
The next week I canned pears in syrup (14 quarts ) and finally, today I did another batch of ginger pear sauce (4 pints.)
I will be quite glad to scrub out my canner and put it away for 9 months.
I will be thrilled to get my counter space back that has been, for a month, taken up by actual pears, or pears in jars.
I will not be glad to finally clean the drip pans on my stove top, but it must be done. For some reason, my giant canning pot does bad things to my stove top. Easy Off oven cleaner will be required, but I'm not under the illusion that anything will come "off easy."
I was so excited for canning season back in June when I got my fresh strawberries. There is something about making and storing my own food that brings out the giddy obsessive compulsive in me. I could look at all my jars of preserves lined up on the shelves in my garage for 10 minutes and not get bored. Through out the winter and spring, I'll spend time re-organizing them as we use them, moving things up that need to be used first and taking inventory of jams to prepare for the coming season.
See? Just a little OCD.
Now, however, I'm ready to be done. I've worked hard this canning season and have used almost all my canning jars. This, by the way, is my OCD dream: to have every single canning jar that I own filled with some kind of preserve at the beginning of Fall. I have yet to see this dream fulfilled because we keep using up preserved food and returning clean, empty jars to the garage.
Here are all the preserves in my food storage from the 2010 harvest. (I should note that I did not grow any of these foods myself, which is unfortunate. Last year I canned all my own tomatoes that I grew myself, but I still have so many tomato preserves on the shelf, I will easily get through next summer with what I have. I did, however, pick all the fruits I canned myself, with the exception of the strawberries and the pears, which came from Salem and Medford.)
June - strawberry jam, strawberry lemonade concentrate, strawberry sauce (for ice cream and waffles, and no, it's not failed jam, it was an actual recipe for strawberry sauce.)
July - cherries in syrup, cherry chutney, black forest macaroon compote, apricots in syrup, apricot jam, apricot butter
August - peaches in syrup, peach almond conserve, apple sauce, red hot cinnamon apple slices in syrup
September - pears in syrup, carrot cake jam, pear cranberry jam, ginger pear sauce
No wonder I'm a little burnt out on canning.
If you would like any of the recipes for the things I've mentioned, I will tell you right now, I'm not going to type them all out for you. You may borrow my incredibly awesome canning cookbook (but not during canning season), check it out from your local library, or buy your own. Although I think my strawberry lemonade concentrate recipe is here.