The Kitchen Witchery & Brew Master (my own personal titles) got creative this weekend & decided to can some magic for consumption later in the dreary winter months.
My ingredients: honey, cardamom pods, a wee bit of bourbon and fresh-fresh apricots!
I really wanted to create Sunshine in a Jar (which is a term I stumbled upon while doing my research that another Brew Master termed their peach magic).
Honey Syrup - I wanted to use honey & not refined white sugar. Better flavour.
* 2 cups honey
* about 12 cardamom pods & 2 star anise (or other subtle spice blend you want)
- boil the mixture for about 5 minutes to draw out the flavours of the spices.
- simmer & keep hot while working on filling the jars with fruit
Cold Pack Method - I've not done a whole lot of canning before, but in my research, I found that the cold pack method (cold fruit with hot liquid poured on top & then processed in hot water bath) seems to be what will allow the fruit to not become mush in the jar. Do your research, ask questions from others & don't be scared to explore all options.
* prep the pot for the hot water bath - fill about 3/4 full of water & put on to boil
- if you can find something to put in the bottom of your pot to keep the jars up off the bottom of the pot, that would be prevent the jars from bouncing on the bottom of the pot & possibly cracking. (I use a clean wash cloth & will continue my hunt at garage sales for a round metal rack that will fit my canning pot)
* prep the jars - I use 500 ml jars. Wash & sterilize the jars & the lids & rings.
* gather all other equipment such as wooden spoons, jar funnel, jar tongs, towels, etc.
* fill a bowl with ice water & a bit of lemon juice. This is for the apricots. I cut the apricots in half & flipped out the pit. Then I cut them into quarters & put the fruit into the ice water to keep them cold & from turning brown.
* start filling your jars - put the fruit in cut side down as this allows for more fruit to be put into the jars. Fill the jars only to the neck of the jar as any fruit above this will not be covered in syrup & will turn brown after processing.
* ladle in the hot syrup (without any of the spices as you don't want to over power the fruit with too much spice). If using bourbon - put a tablespoon or 2 in first and then the syrup.
* tap the jar on the counter to remove air bubbles & screw on the lids. Once you have enough to process (my pot holds 6 jars comfortably & that's about how many I do each time to ensure that the fruit are all relatively the same temp going into the hot water bath).
* process the jars. I did it for 5 minutes as the water in the pot was boiling & I didn't need to wait to bring it back to a boil. I did not want mushy fruit and 5 minutes should be enough to safely process the fruit.
* remove gently & cool on the counter. I cool my jars on a tea towel.
* let mellow in your pantry for at least a month (if you can!) and enjoy!