As a young girl, I can recall long summer days in the garden, orchards, and “patches” with my mother and grandmother. The days started early and then progressed into the kitchen of my mother’s cottage on the Old Mission Peninsula, or my grandmother’s home in Williamsburg.
The blueberry patch at Bukins Farm and Penny’s Orchards on the Old Mission peninsula were always preluded by a phone inquiry – “How are the berries right now? Are the apricots ready for canning? ”
This summer, I drove out to Hennings farm for apricots – my mother and I split a lug. The next day we canned them all. Yes – it is a committment – all day in the kitchen – or at least all afternoon – who has time for that – but really it is just a day and the benefits last an entire winter – when in northern Michigan in February – you are starving for a drop of sunlight and then you look in your pantry and see a bit of August – staring at you like the sun over Lake Michigan on a perfect beach afternoon.
Before you committ to the canning operation… be ready to spend at least 4 -5 hours in the kitchen – and it’s not laborious work… it’s just BEING THERE. To can apricots… follow directions below.. you can also can cherries, blueberries, pears, applesauce, peaches, tomatos, etc.. Peaches, pears, and tomatos involve skinning.. an additional step that takes considerable time… i will post that step later…
a canner – a simple black big pot with the wire holder for the glass canning jars. They are about $20 at any large market/grocery store.
canning jars – I bought mine at Shop and Save in Benzonia. any grocery store should carry them. New canning jars will come with lids and rings. You can buy new lids and rings by the box as well.
also.. a simple knife, potholders, tongs, and dish towels.
A lug of apricots will produce approximately 18 quart jars
1/2 lug – 9 jars and etc..
5lb bag of sugar – I’m not a fan of refined sugar but for canning… it’s recommended…you can experiment with turbino or maple sugar, and tell me what you think. You won’t use it all.
water – reverse osmosis is recommended, otherwise make sure it’s not too hard….
1. Make sure no other cooking or food preparation occurs while you are canning. The kitchen counters, sink and stove should be clean and sanitary. Clear off counters of unnecessary equipment.
2. Clean jars – if new and in box, sanitize the lids and rings in boiling water for a few seconds. For jars – wash and rinse with boiling water and place them upright on dishtowels next to sink. If your jars are used, run your finger around the top of jar to check for “knicks.” If you feel a knick, do not use the jar for canning – use the jar for a bouquet.
3. Wash apricots in sink. Be gentle with fruit to prevent bruising. Repeat four times. If they are organic you may only opt to do this once or twice. When washed, place them in colander.
4. Apricots will split gently if you part them at the seam. Place halves face down in the jars. When placing fruit in jars, make sure your hands, wrists, and arms are VERY clean. Fill jar just below the mouth. You may press down fruit with little pressure, but do not smash. Depending on the canner capacity – you may want to do 7 – 9 jars at a time.
5. When jars are filled with apricot halves, add 1/4 cup of sugar to each jar. Fill jar with water. Don’t fill to top… stop when jar reaches mouth. Take table knife and probe down each jar, releasing
air bubbles out.
6. Place lids and then rings. The sealing process will occur when placed in the boiling water bath.
7. Fill canner with water to half full, and place on stove.
8. Place canning jars with fruit, water and sugar and tightened lids and rings in the canner. The water should rise up near the top, but not to the top. Leave at least 5 inches of space between water and lid.
9. Bring canner to boil with lid on. This should take a while – sometimes up to 45 minutes. There is alot of water in that canner. Once it is on the cusp of a rolling boil, watch and wait. As soon as it hits rolling boil, time the boil for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is up, turn off the burner and let the canner sit until the entire pot cools. This should take a few hours. Do not move the canner until it cools completely. This is part of the canning process. The lids seal during and after the rolling boil.
10. When canner as cooled, lift out jars at the same time by the way of the wire basket in the canner.