Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In response to a question...

I had an email from a reader the other day, but her return email address bounced. So I've decided to publish the email and my response to it here, minus names and other incriminating evidence *grin*

She Said:
Hi Ali.  I actually wanted to ask you a question about
preserving, but I couldn't figure out how to leave a comment on your blog
(sorry!). I was wondering if you could tell me your method of using the
FV to waterbath jams and such - I'm interested in doing the same for jams
and chutneys. Thanks!!
My Reply:

It's really simple to use the FV to waterbath jams and chutneys. If you have an electric FV unit, put water in it and get it to almost boiling. Then you fill your HOT jars with HOT jam/chutney/whatever (note - wearing gloves is a good idea here, hot jam BURNS!). Wipe rims, finger-tighten lids (or put rings and lids on, depending on the jars you are using) and using tongs, place into the FV unit. You won't have a problem with jars cracking as long as everything is hot - jars, jam, and water in the unit.

Once all your jars are in there, check the water level. If it's not covering the jars, top up the FV with fresh boiling water (I have my kettle going as well to make it all faster).

Once the water level is about 2 inches over the jars, make sure the unit is switched on. Let it come to a rolling boil - then time it for 5 minutes.

Using tongs, pull the jars out carefully, and place them on a bench in a draft-free spot. I usually put a couple of thicknesses of towel under them so the shock of the cold bench doesn't cause jar breakage.

That's about it really. 5 minutes is enough to waterbath jams for. If you do it much longer it can cause the jam to over-set. Chutneys you can easily waterbath for 10 minutes if you feel the need - for me it would depend on the proportion of vinegar and what types of fruit/veg are in the chutney - eg: a naturally low acid food like zuchinni made into a chutney I'd most likely waterbath for 10 minutes, but tomato or apple ones I'd be happy with 5 minutes on.

Hope that helps, and happy preserving!

Thanks! Ali

PS. To add comments to the blog, all you do is click the spot where it says "0 comments" under the relevant post. That will open up a pop-up window where you can enter your comment/question.

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