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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Canning At Our Vacation Home - Plout Jam

Part of traveling for me anyways is discovering new foods and regional dishes.  There are very few times that I don't bring home some type of foodie item to try.  Being Canadian living mainly in Canada but traveling outside of Canada presents a few problems bringing certain foods back into Canada.  There are restrictions as to how much dairy or poultry can be brought back at one time but the fruit and vegetable restrictions are the ones that cause the most concern.  Some fruits and vegetables are not allowed while others may be temporarily disallowed.  The last thing I want to do is get to the border with a box of lovely fruit to find out I can't bring it into Canada.  So I have come up with a solution.  I take my BWB canner with me along with any necessary supplies (eg. Pomona's pectin, pickle crisp, etc) and can the food wherever we are.  Since filled jars of home canned foods come with us I have empty jars for refilling for the return trip.  Once canned bringing the fruit back into Canada is a non-issue.  This is working well so I'm considering taking my extra pressure canner with us the next trip.

pluotsOn our recent trip I discovered pluots.  I simply had to try them.  As produce goes they are a bit more expensive though.  Pluots are an apricot and plum hybrid.  The fruit itself looks like a rather large red plum but without the purplish overtones.  The pit is very much like an apricot.  The flavour is a mingling of the two fruits but more of a distinct flavour.  I cut one open as pictured and immediately thought this would make for a lovely looking jam or jelly.  The flesh is a wonderful, gorgeous almost rosy pink!  The texture is firm yet juicy and the flavour really is quite unique.

Canning outside your normal environment brings a few challenges.  I've canned on camp stoves, in an RV, on the road and now at our vacation home.  Logistically you simply do not have everything you may need when canning away from home.  If you don't have a key ingredient (eg. Pomona's pectin) chances are very good you can't just rush out and buy it either.  This can create both frustration as well as a learning experience in adapting.

pluot jam
I brought exactly 8 tsp of Pomona's pectin with me.  That is enough pectin for 4 batches of jam or jelly.  I brought the monophosphate calcium in the original package since customs on both sides aren't really fond of unlabeled white powders.  What I didn't bring was my kitchen journal with how to make the calcium water but thanks to this blog I was able to carry on.  This is something to keep in mind though when canning on the road.  Make sure you bring your tried and true or essential recipes with you.

The pluot jam just looks absolutely scrumptious in the jars!  It was quick to make taking me only about 20 minutes.  I did learn that the water at our vacation home is considerably harder than at home.  Normally I add a bit of vinegar to the processing water but didn't for this batch and oh my gosh the jars came out almost white!  That will be a mistake I won't be repeating.

Pluot Jam

4 c chopped pluots
2 c organic sugar
2 tsp Pomona's pectin 
2 tsp calcium water
juice of one lime

Wash the pluots.  Rough chop then squeeze slightly while adding to measuring cup to measure out 4 cups.    Pour prepared pluots into large saucepan.  Mix in lime juice and calcium water.  In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and pectin well.  Bring the fruit mixture to a boil.  Stir in the sugar/pectin mixture.  Return to a low boil cooking and stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Ladle into hot jars.  Secure the two piece lids.  Process in BWB canner for 10 minutes or adjusted timing according to altitude adjustment chart for your altitude (please see canning information tab).

Yield: 4 - 250 ml jars

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