Starter Wort

I’ve really been slacking off with the brewing/blogging for the past few months. Oh well, that’s what happens when life/work gets in the way.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about making/canning starter wort.  It seems like a no brainer to me! After all, it would take no time at all to get a yeast starter going during the week.

From some research online, I read that you want the gravity of the starter wort to be between 1.030-1.040.  Using Beersmith, I came up with a basic recipe of 5 pounds of pilsner mashed at 148F for about 3.5 gallons of starter wort. Beersmith predicted a starting gravity of 1.037 which was spot on!

I gave each quart jar over an inch and a half of headspace, to compensate for the hot break when it boils inside the jar while pressure canning.  In total, I filled 14 quart jars, which should last me a long time!

 

 

I processed the jars at 15psi for 15 minutes. Lots and lots of break material. Only 2 of the 14 jars did not seal, and I put those jars straight into the beer fridge to use up for my starter on my next brew.  I’m kinda proud of myself for not making a huge mess! 🙂

Until next time, Happy Brewing!

Soup!

Time for another cooking/canning post.  This weekend, I was in the mood to make and can a soup that was inexpensive to make.  I decided to make Split Pea With Ham Soup.  This was one of my favorite soups growing up (probably because it had ham in it). It was a really easy soup to make but, it was time consuming (an hour and a half just to make the soup). The total cost of the ingredients to make the soup was around five bucks!

The recipe is from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving:

Yields 5 pints or 2 quarts

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup diced, cooked ham
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (I substituted a pinch of ground cloves, because that’s what I had on hand)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine dried peas and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover, simmer about 1 hour or until peas are soft.  If a smooth soup is desired, puree in a food processor or food mill (I chose not to puree).  Return puree to saucepot.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes.  If mixture is too thick, add boiling water.  Ladle hot soup into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 1 hour and 15 minutes, quarts 1 hour 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.
After filling the jars, I had enough left for a bowl for lunch, and it was mighty tasty! I can’t wait to be eating this soup in the fall or winter.  It might not even last that long!

Strawberry Jam

With strawberries in season, I thought it was time to make a batch of jam! This is my first ever attempt at home canning.  I did a ton of reading on it, and slowly accumulated all of the needed equipment.  Excited like a kid on Christmas morning, I headed out to a local produce stand and picked up 2 quarts of strawberries.

The most important thing about canning that I’ve learned so far is to have everything ready! I washed all the jars, started heating the canner, and measured out the sugar and lemon juice needed while I washed and hulled the strawberries. Now it was time to crush the berries! For this task, I used a potato masher which made the job a breeze.

The process of making the jam was actually easier than I thought.  You just add the lemon juice and pectin (whisk well to make sure pectin is dissolved) to the crushed strawberries in a big sauce pot and then bring it up to a boil. Then you add all the sugar and mix well. Bring the jam back up to a boil that can’t be stirred down, then you start the clock for one minute. After one minute, the jam is done!

Now it’s just a matter of getting the jars filled to the correct headspace of 1/4″ and making sure all of the air bubbles are removed. You put the lids on with the bands and then you process in  a water bath canner for 10 minutes. After processing cool the jars on a towel overnight. The next day check for seals and label!

Gotta love hard water (that’s the white film you see on the lids)! No big deal, it wipes off easily. The recipe made eight half-pint jars. Now all I need to do is give some away to family and friends! 🙂