Saturday, May 16, 2009

Canning - Victoria Sauce

In the manner of Alaskan Dave Down Under, I thought I'd document the making of my annual batch of Victoria Sauce (a fabulous rhubarb chutney that's great on ham or pork).

To do this, I highly recommend a canning pot, which, in addition to the large pot, also has a handy metal rack for holding, lowering, and lifting the jars and lids in and out of the water baths. I'm doing without, however, because we gave our pot away a few years ago, and I'm just using a large stockpot.

One thing you'll DEFINITELY want, though, is a Ball Canning Utensil Set, in addition to jars and fresh lids. The Utensil Set has a handy gripper for raising and lowering jars, a magnetic lid grabber, and a wide-mouthed funnel, which keeps your jars clean (this assures an effective seal).

Here's the canning process I use:

  1. WASH and rinse jars, and set out to dry on a clean dishtowel, while you bring your large pot of sterilizing water to a boil.

  2. STERILIZE jars and lids by submerging in simmering water that fully covers them. Be sure jars are not touching to avoid breakage, and leave in water for 15 minutes.

  3. COOL jars and lids by using tongs and lid grabber to pull jars and lids out of water. Set them out to dry on the towel.

  4. COOK the item you're canning while your jars sterilize. In my case, I'm making Rhubarb Victoria Sauce chutney. I love the sweet-sour scent that fills the kitchen when making chutney.

  5. FILL jars, just to bottom of jar threads - the filled jars need a bit of air room at the top. Use the wide-mouth funnel when filling jars, which prevents spills on the jar top edge - very important! Wipe all jar top edges to remove any spills, just to be on the safe side.

  6. LIDS and bands are then screwed on firmly, but not extra tight.

  7. BOIL covered jars for 30 minutes.

  8. COOL jars by using tongs, pulling jars out of water, and setting them on towel. After about 1/2 hour, check to make sure lids are slightly indented for a complete seal. If you find any that have not done this, set them back into the boiling water again. That should do the trick. Label jars with pretty labels available in the grocery or craft store. My favorites are some that I bought a few years ago, made by Susan Branch - so pretty!

PS - I swear by the Ball Blue Book, which is full of detailed canning instructions, plus lots of great recipes.


Beth said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I've been trying to remember which of the 40 or so blogs that I read had this recipe on it. Yay! I'll bookmark it right now.

LoveANewIdea said...

Happy to help! Let me know if you try it - it's a REQUIRED food item in our house.

Alaska-womom said...

Thanks! I have been looking for a good chutney recipie. Great photos of the canning process. Canning is a beautiful art. BTW if you love a good read that includes some thoughtful discussion about canning as well as other lovely thoughts you must read Heather Linde, If you Lived Here I'd Know Your Name.

LoveANewIdea said...

This one is so good AND so easy. Really requires so little effort. The cute jars also make great gifts. Thank you so much for the book info - I've never heard of her or the book before, so will have to check it out...sounds like something I'd like.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Very cool, nice descriptions too. Ummm, what's the purpose of step #7?

LoveANewIdea said...

Good to hear from you - WHERE have you been!?
Step 7 is the sterilizing step, for destroying any bacteria - very important!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

After the lids are already on?

LoveANewIdea said...

Oh yes, the jars are sterilized separately. Then, when the food is put in the jars, lids go on, then more sterilizing of the jarred item. This is definitely a necessary safety step.


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