|Homemade Cinnamon Pears|
The past few years, I have been doing some canning for our family. With having Brecken last November, I didn't even try to can anything. However, this year, I have made four loads (7 qts/load) of cinnamon pears, 2 loads of apple pie filling, 2 loads of peaches and one batch of applesauce (so far). Some of this was done with one of my friends and some of it I did alone.
Growing up, my mom canned every summer and my sister and I would help her. We always got our fruit from a local farm. When I lived in Silt, CO, I had a friend, Kristi, who used to stop at people's houses who had fruit trees where the fruit was dropping unused onto the ground. She would stop and ask them if they were going to use their fruit and ask if she could pick the fruit if they weren't going to use it. I have now been doing this for a couple years and have hardly had to pay for any of the fruit I have canned. I've received tons of free apples, free pears and found free plum trees on the side of a frontage road that wasn't on anyone's property. I've also posted on Freecycle asking for free fruit and have received responses each time. This makes for an awesome deal on fruit for our family. All I end up paying for is sugar for preserving and lids if I need them for my jars.
I was running out of canning jars recently so I also asked on Freecycle for mason jars. Just yesterday, I picked up 7 BOXES full of canning jars. That should keep me busy for awhile! (I'll be sharing them with my friend as well). So, if you're interested in canning but maybe don't want to shell out a lot of money to get started, keep your eyes open for fruit that you can pick yourself and ask on Freecycle. Find a friend who has canning supplies (waterbath/pressure canner etc.) that you can borrow. Canning is also much more fun with a friend. It's a lot of work but it truly is worth it.
I'd like to share my apple pie filling recipe. It's easier to make than applesauce because you just have to peel and slice the apples and stuff them into jars. No cooking down and putting them through the strainer. Here's the recipe. It's a great one!!
Apple Pie Filling
Makes enough filling for 7 quarts of pie filling.
Mix together: 4 ½ cups sugar, 1 cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Wisk together the dry ingredients before adding water to prevent lumps.
Add: 10 cups water
Cook until thick and bubbly while stirring occasionally.
Peel, core and slice about 32 apples. Pack raw apples in jars and pour syrup over. Fill to w/in ½ inch of rim.
Cooking Time in a pressure canner: 5 lbs at 10 minutes add 1 lb pressure for each 1,000 feet
Also, if you'd like to make cinnamon pears, just add a teaspoon of cinnamon to your syrup. They taste so amazing with the addition of cinnamon!