Thursday, June 28, 2012

To Can or Not to Can. That Is the Question.

: meaning that I am new to canning. And last fall I purchased a shopping bag of persimmons. Then I did what all newbies should: scouted for a tested recipe from a reputable source.

The search produced few results–persimmons are, it turns out, not a popular fruit to can. Not a single hit from my favorite resources: the National Center for Home Preservation website (I love the search function), Ball Canning website, or my other canning books. To add insult to injury, the conflicting information online gave me little hope that I could successfully water bath the fruit without a pH meter to determine how much acid was needed to remain safe.

Turns out (pardon me if this is already common knowledge), there are many varieties of persimmons with a variety of characteristics that make some of them unappealing to can, including astringency. Fortunately, I had picked a non-astringent variety.

In the end, I scrapped my processing aspirations for the safest option. One that my Master Canner pals would be proud of: refrigerated persimmon pickles and refrigerated persimmon butter.

To my newbie delight, the un-processing adventure was a success. Refrigerated foods in cans might not last all year in your cupboard but are just as tasty. The butter was introduced at a dinner party (within a thumbprint cookie) and the refrigerator pickles made a debut for Thanksgiving. I’ve taken on a new title that no longer reflects my length of experience but my passion for safe preservation.

As a founding member of our collective, I’m here to tell you that us newbies are doing more than a riding trend and blogging about it. We know our limits. And hopefully, we are helping to creating a forum for conversation about safe preservation.

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