What happened to my pot!!
Posted 11 September 2006 - 10:14 PM
Basically, every inch below the water-line is black. Kind of gross. I expect it's due to minerals in my well-water reacting with the aluminum. My concern is that something was deposited on my jam-canning jars?
So I decided to make jam, using AB's blueberry jam recipe. Two 12 oz packets of wild blueberries, 1.75 oz (gs?) powdered pectin, 2 T lemon juice, 5 T cider vinegar, 3 C sugar, some freshly grated nutmeg. I followed AB's recipe, but didn't have anything to mash the berries with. I let them boil a while longer and tried mashing with my wooden spoon. So, so results.
I didn't have canning equipment. Whoops. And I could only find 12 oz, two-piece lids.
I put the jars (sans sticky lid), in the big pot, with tongs, a metal ladel and a small cake rack. Boiled. Turned off, let sit minutes, put in the tops.
When the jam was cooked and cooled a tad, I used the tongs to remove the jars and used the metal ladel to spoon the jam in. I did pretty good -- very little wasted. But the tongs and ladel had this "dusty" deposit on them -- again, I assume from the minerals/salt in the water.
Used the tong to pick out the sticky lids and place them on the top of the jars. Screwed the tops on. AB says to screw them "finger tight." What the hell does that mean? I understand why I don't want to screw them too tight, but, you know. Some air bubbles came out of each pretty quickly. Boiled for ten minutes, took them out. Each lid popped fairly soon.
I had one left-over jar -- about half full -- that I didn't boil. This set up firm fairly quick. A small taste was pretty good. The cider vinegar was a little too strong.
The boiled jars haven't set firm, even though they're now cool (room temperature). But the lids haven't popped back up or anything.
Posted 11 September 2006 - 11:40 PM
Good for you!
Not sure what to tell you about your pot and the blackening. I wouldn't be too worried about deposits on the boiled jars though, as long as they were boiled long enough to be sterilized. I usually boil my tools and soften my lids in a separate pot of water, apart from the canner. I also normally sterilize my jars in the oven, which the big jar companies don't recommend, but I have never had a problem doing this in 20-some years of canning.
Generally speaking, jams that don't set well are that way because they aren't boiled hard enough, or because a commercial pectin was close to or over its best before date. In jam and jelly recipes, they assume you know that the product needs to be at a full rolling boil (that cannot be stirred down) for the full length of time specified. If you did this, it might still set up for about 24 hours. If it is not set enough, you do have the option of opening the jars and re-cooking it, but you wil need to use different lids of course. Since you used pectin, you might want to call the 1-800 number and ask if this is recommended for the recipe you made.
If you want to continue canning, it is a good idea to get a canning funnel - makes filling the jars very easy. You can get inexpensive plastic ones, but I like the Lee Valley Tools one.
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Posted 12 September 2006 - 02:39 AM
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