***Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
While I absolutely love the cook, there are some things that are completely foreign to me in the culinary world. One is desserts, and the other is anything canned.
You see, while I can make any breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizer out there, desserts are something I don't personally eat, so I never really had the desire to make them. (Much to my husband's dismay.) Yes, I am one of those odd women who doesn't care for cupcakes, chocolate, or ice cream.
Canning is another thing I have always found incredibly intimidating. I have heard so many horror stories about shards of glass flying everywhere, as well as explosions in the kitchen. Eeek! But now that I have a huge fruit and veggie garden in the works, canning is something I want to do to preserve the many different crops we grow. I'd love to make some yummy preserves, jams, and of course, pickles! Plus, canning has tons of health benefits, since it takes fruits and veggies at the peak of freshness and preserves all of their nutrients.
So when the awesome folks at Fagor America contacted me to see if I'd like to check out their new Pressure Canning Set, I decided to take the plunge. I was already curious, so this was the perfect opportunity to learn the process myself. (And hopefully not "blow anything up" in the process!)
The Fagor Pressure Canning Set includes everything you need to start canning your own foods. It includes the spectacular, best selling Duo 10-qt. stainless steel pressure cooker/canner, and it also has a DVD, cookbook, and canning tools. (Yes, there are specialty tools needed to avoid burning yourself, since the cans will get extremely hot!) I especially love the inclusion of a funnel and ladle to help transfer your food into the jars!
For my first adventure in canning, I decided to make Strawberry Jalapeno preserves. This is a different take on classic strawberry preserves, and the jalapeno gives a little bite to what would be a sweet spread. The jalapenos complement the strawberries beautifully, and it tastes much better than it sounds. Let me assure you, it's not overly spicy at all, so even kids will love this.
First, I had to slice and crush my strawberries and jalapenos. I did this using a potato masher. Then I added about 7 cups of white, granulated sugar, my fruit pectin, lemon juice, and honey.
I let this mixture cook to a boil, stirring constantly. Be careful to keep little ones at a safe distance, as this mixture gets VERY hot, and could cause some nasty burns!
Once the mixture is cooked down, it's time to transfer it to the canning jars. I don't have photos of this process, since I was home with nothing but toddlers. But it was super easy to do.
Using the ladle and funnel, carefully deposit your food into the jars. Then, using a thin knife or spatula, make sure all air bubbles are out of the jars. Then add the lids and seals, making sure to leave just a little "wiggle room" so the pressure canning process can do its job.
Place the rack into the bottom of the pressure cooker, and place your jars onto it. Make sure there is a little room between them so steam can properly circulate.
Also, it's very important to have 2-3 inches of boiling water in the bottom of the cooker. You can add and remove water until you're at the proper level.
Then you need to secure the lid to the pressure cooker. It screws on, and locks into place. If there is pressure present, the lid will not open. (A wonderful safety feature!)
To make my preserves, I set the pressure to the high setting. Since I have an electric stove, I turned my burner to a medium heat setting while pressure built.
It's easy to tell when pressure has built, since the Fagor Duo has a visual pressure indicator. When the proper pressure had built, I reduced the heat to low and started my kitchen timer.
The cooking process only took 10 minutes. It's REALLY fast! After my timer went off, I removed the unit from heat and allowed the pressure to decrease naturally. This takes about 15 minutes. It's very important to do it this way rather than the quick release method when canning.
After I was absolutely sure that the pressure was released, I used the jar lifting tool to carefully remove my jars. I then placed them on a cloth-covered wooden surface to cool. Cooling takes between 12-24 hours, and the jars will be VERY, VERY hot during much of this time. So no touching, please!
I have to admit, this was a lot easier than I thought it would be! Yes, I read the instructions about 10 times and watched the DVD twice before starting. Thankfully, I had no mishaps at all. Nothing broke, nothing exploded, and there were no hassles. I honestly don't know why I was so intimidated by canning! The Fagor Duo 9 piece canning set make it so easy!
And our strawberry jalapeno preserves turned out to be absolutely amazing. It is tasty, has a different flavor, and isn't even spicy! Here's the recipe for those who might want to try it, too!
The Recipe :
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I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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