Tuesday, March 15, 2011
pressure canning clementines
Late in February I embarked on a new canning adventure - pressure canning clementines. This was my first time working with a citrus fruit and found it to be surprisingly easy.
I used instructions from the University of Florida Cooperative Extension and opted to pressure can them using the raw pack method. Most of my readers know that I will always opt to pressure can when given the opportunity. It's usually faster as I don't have to wait for a big pot of water to come to a boil, I don't have to boil the jars for 5 minutes prior to filling them, and I have greater confidence in the safety of foods that have been pressure canned versus water bath canned foods.
First, I started with 10 pounds of clementines that I purchased at a nearby Costco store.
I peeled them and separated them into sections. The instructions were very clear about removing all of the visible pith - that's the icky white stuff. Once they were all peeled and sectioned I began getting ready to can.
First I put the canning jar lids in a small saucepan of warm water and turned the burner on low to warm the lids. Lids need to be warmed prior to pressure canning to help ensure a good seal.
Then I selected clean pint jars, filled them with warm water, and put them in my All American pressure canner that had been filled with warm water up to the mark line.
Since I was planning to fill the pressure canner with two rows of jars I also put some clean pint jars in my dishpan filled with warm water. When pressure canning it's not necessary to boil the jars in advance like it is with water bath canning. It is, however, a good idea to warm the jars to reduce the chances of jars cracking due to rapid changes in temperature.
Then I laid out all of the tools I'd need for the canning process - magnetic lid lifter, canning jar tongs, canning jar rings, canning funnel, and a damp dishcloth to wipe down the jars.
I also put the bowl of clementines and a pitcher of fresh water on my work space.
Then I began to work on filling the jars with clementines.
The first step was to remove one of the warmed jars from the canner and empty the water into the sink. Then I filled the jar loosely with clementine sections. I filled the jar up to about 1" of the top. A good eyeball guide for me is to fill to just below the threads on the jar.
Then I filled it with water from the pitcher. Again, I stopped at about 1" below the top of the jar. This is called headspace - that empty space between where the food ends and the top of the jar begins.
Then I lifted a warmed lid out of the saucepan of water using my magnetic lid lifter and placed it centered on the top of jar. I put a canning jar ring over the lid and tightened it down.
I placed the filled jar back in the canner and repeated the process until all the jars were filled.
Then I put the lid on the pressure canner and tightened down the screws. I made sure the heat on the burner was turned up to high. When I saw steam coming out of the pipe vent in a steady stream I set a timer for 8 minutes. This time period is called venting.
After the canner had properly vented I put the weight on the vent pipe and waited for the pressure canner to come up to pressure. In this case I needed 5 pounds of pressure because citrus fruits process at 5 pounds of pressure at my altitude.
When the gauge read 5 pounds of pressure I set a timer for 8 minutes. At my altitude raw pack citrus processes for 8 minutes at 5 pounds of pressure.
One of the things I love most about my All American pressure canner is the fact that is a weighted gauge canner and has both a steam gauge and a weight. In particular it has a weight that jiggles or rocks and I can know by the sound of the weight whether the canner is at the right pressure or not. That gives me the freedom to do other tasks in the kitchen during processing time and not have to visually watch the gauge the entire time.
When 8 minutes had passed I turned the burner off and waited for the gauge to return to zero. I waited another 5 minutes and removed the weight. Since no steam escaped when I removed the weight I knew it was safe to remove the lid of the pressure canner and I unscrewed the lid. With this pressure canner I also have to use a screwdriver to lift the lid. The All American pressure canners utilize a metal-to-metal seal and no rubber gaskets are used.
I removed the jars using my canning jar tongs and set them on a piece of cardboard on the countertop to cool.
When the jars were completely cooled I removed the rings, washed down the jars, dried them, and wrote the contents and date on the lids. Then I stored them in a cool dark place (my basement).
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
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