Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Steam Canned Spiced Orange Slices

And to think, five years ago I had never canned a thing. Now I have three different ways to can. Water bath canning for high acid/sugar treats like pickles and jams, pressure canning for meats and vegetables, and now I have been turned on to steam canning!

Steam canners work much like water bath canners and are designed for the same high acid or high sugar recipes. The canner almost looks like an upside-down pot, a deep saucer of a pot with a deeper lid. What I love about it is that it uses a lot less water, which also means that you don't have to wait an hour for a giant pot of water to boil, and of course it uses significantly less energy. I am also looking forward to canning in the height of summer and not turning my kitchen into a Turkish steam bath. Don't be fooled, summer in Canada is a hot and humid experience, one that isn't made any more pleasant with huge vats of boiling water.
Back to Basics - 400A - Steam Canner
Save time and energy with the Back to Basics Steam Canner. The 7-quart Steam Canner uses less water than conventional water bath canners and reduces preheating time significantly. So simple and easy to use, home canning will be a joy.


    * 7-quart pot
    * Uses less water than conventional water bath canners
    * Reduces preheating time
    * Dimensions: 9.5"H x 14.75"W x 13"D
I found the canner very easy to use, the design is simple and makes sense, and you are more free to can on a whim rather than with great preparation and ordeal. With the steam canner I know I will be canning a lot more often, and I just love to see those jars lined up like jewels in the pantry. Seriously, they are almost too pretty to use. Almost.

For our first foray into steam canning, we made Spiced Orange Slices. Beautifully fragrant fruit, just perfect for a wine-tasting cheese course, as a topping on a bagel with goat or cream cheese, and even cut up and thrown on some good vanilla ice cream.

Spiced Orange Slices

4 large oranges
8 cups hot water
1 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup each: cider vinegar and water
¼ cup corn syrup
8 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods
4 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long
½ tsp peppercorns
  1. Combine whole unpeeled oranges, 8 cups hot water, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring  to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until fruit is tender. Drain oranges, discarding liquid, and cool. 
  2. Cut oranges in half crosswise and then into very thin slices. 
  3. Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, vinegar, water, corn syrup, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Stir over high heat until sugars have dissolved. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add orange slices, cover, and cook gently for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove and discard cardamom and cinnamon. 
  4. Remove hot jars from canner. Remove orange slices from liquid with a slotted spoon; pack into jars. Pour liquid and whole cloves over oranges to within ½ inch or rim (headspace). Process 10 minutes for ½ pint (250ml) jars and 15 minutes for pint (500ml) jars as directed for water bath canning. 
Makes 4 half-pint (250ml) jars.

We served the Spiced Orange Slices with a homemade goat cheese, but store-bought would be fine.

Goat's Milk Faisselle

  • 6 goat's cheese moulds
  • Flat-bottomed baking dish
1 quart goat's milk
Pinch mesophilic culture
2 drops liquid rennet

  1. Sterilize all equipment. In a large ss pot over medium heat, warm milk to 86°F, stirring gently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. 
  2. Sprinkle culture over surface of milk and let stand for about 5 minutes to rehydrate. Using skimmer and an up-and-down motion, gently draw culture drown into milk without breaking surface of milk. 
  3. Dilute rennet in 1 tbsp col water. Add to milk and, using the same up-and-down motion, draw rennet down into milk until well blended. Cover and let set at room temp in a draft-free location for 12 hours. 
  4. Place moulds in a flat-bottomed baking dish. Using skimmer, gently ladle curd into moulds, taking care not to bread up the curd. The whey will begin draining out of the holes in the moulds right away and will collect in the dish. 
  5. As soon as the curd has drained down below the tops of the moulds, cover the dish and place in the refrigerator. The faisselle is ready to use ans soon as it has drained to your desired texture. The longer it drains, the firmer it will become (because the moulds are sitting in the whey, it will stay fairly moist). Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To remove, unmould onto a plate. 

Makes 6 cheeses, each 3-4 oz.

Moulds - I used my couer a la creme moulds and lined them with cheesecloth.

For the forging challenge, and recipe credits, click here.