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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canning or Bottling Apricots

I know the apricots are not on anymore, but maybe next year you will be able to use this!  Sometimes that's how the posting goes around here, there just isn't always time to post when the canning is happening.

Bottled apricots are yummy and easy.  Well, unless you don't like apricots, but that's just unnatural. ;)

Get some apricots.  It's actually a good thing if they're not quite ripe.  Super ripe apricots kind of turn to mush in the jar when they are canned.  Use any extra ripe or mushy ones for apricot freezer jam or fruit leather, and save the firmer ones for canning.  It is really best to get your apricots from a tree rather than from the store--they taste better (isn't that true for any fruit?), but do what you can.

Get some water heating in a pot for syrup (don't add sugar yet) and your boiling water canner heating up.

Get your jars washed and ready and your lids out and put them in a pot of hot water also so the rubbery stuff can soften up.

Now wash your apricots.  Don't wash them and then use them another day--the water gets inside and turns it brown.  Wash them and use them right away.  You do not need to peel them.

Use the crack in the apricot as a guide to cut around the apricot and get the pit out.  If they are nice and firm, you can just tear them apart at the crack and they'll split in half.

Once your apricots are halved, drop them in a solution of 2 TB Fruit Fresh and 2 quarts water.  You could also use lemon juice or crushed up vitamin C tablets or ascorbic acid powder in your water.  This step helps preserve the color of your apricots when they are canned.

When you've got a bunch in the Fruit Fresh solution, pull some out, shake the excess liquid off, and put them in jars.  If you want to mess with them and get them all round side up, be my guest.  It looks nice, but I never want to take the time to do it.  They taste the same either way.

Now, we're going to make syrup as we process the jars instead of cooking it up separately before, so add 1/8 cup sugar to each pint or 1/4 cup sugar to each quart of apricots.

Once the sugar is added, pour your hot water from your pot into the jars and use your butter knife (even though Ball doesn't recommend it, I've used a butter knife for years) or chopstick or special bubble freer tool to get the air bubbles out.  Stick your tool into the jar along the side in 3 or 4 places and kind of wiggle the jar contents around to get any air out that was trapped among the apricots.  Top the jar off with more water if needed so the liquid comes to the neck of the jar (just below the threads where your lid screws on).  In the picture above, the two at the bottom are ready for lids.

Wipe the rims of the jars so you get any goo off of them and apply the hot lids and screw the rings on.  Once your jars have their lids on, put them in the canner.  Drop them into the water, put the canner lid on, and process pints 20 minutes and quarts 25 minutes in boiling water.  If the water isn't boiling when you put the jars in, start timing when the water starts boiling.

When they're done in the canner, pull them out and put them on the rack to cool.  I turn my oven rack upside down and put a plate under the one end and use that as my cooling rack.  Easy and free.

After they've cooled off, you might want to wipe them off again if they show any signs of stickiness, label them and put them in your food room or cupboard.  Or dress them up with a circle of fabric under the ring and enter them in your town fair.  :)

Beautiful and tasty too.  Bottled apricots.

The Wilderness Survival - Altoid Stove

There are a variety of different stoves you can employ when you are practicing wilderness survival from MSR stoves to the humble tea light stove. And the large range in cost means you can find just the right thing to fit your pocket book.

A stove really only needs to contain two items - a fuel, and a container in which the fuel burners. Added components can be used to increase efficiency.

The simplest stoves are the tea light, cat food, and Altoid stoves. This article will discuss the bare bones Altoid stove, however the technique can be applied to just about any metal container you have lying around for wilderness survival.

The first item discussed will be the fuel used in the stove. At present, my current preferred fuel is the automotive additive called HEAT. You can get this at any gas station for about 2 or 3 dollars. It will easily ignite but does not produce fumes that can flare up light gasoline (do not EVER use gasoline as a fuel in a stove).

The stove itself is an empty Altoid tin with the top of the container removed prior to use. You do not want to have your cooking container sitting directly on the stove, as this may put the flames out. So you will need to either find an item that will allow your billycan or canteen cup to sit above the flames or you can just dig a small trench in the ground. This will house your stove and you can use the earth as your pot stand.

Place the stove in the trench or under your pot stand and add your fuel. With my test I found that 3 oz of fuel provides about a 20-minute burn, which should be sufficient to boil your water and heat your food. You can then light the fuel with your preferred method (match, lighter, ferro rod) and you are good to go. Just place your billycan or canteen on the pot stand and heat your food.

I thought that 3 oz of fuel was a lot to use in this stove, and you may be able to make the stove more efficient by adding some fiberglass insulation inside the tin. This will hold the fuel and provide a more even burn - but I have not yet tested this.

The knowledge you should keep is that you can basically create a stove from any metal container you have handy, but you may have efficiency issues. If this is tolerable, you can have a small, portable, nearly indestructible stove when you are in the wild. This is just one wilderness survival skill.

Ohio Valley Outfitters reviews gear and gives tips and tricks for wilderness survival.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jason_E_Hodge