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Preserving Your Harvest (Making Molasses and Canning Apples) Zack Holcomb Appalachian History December 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Preserving Your Harvest (Making Molasses and Canning Apples) Zack Holcomb Appalachian History December 2006."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Preserving Your Harvest (Making Molasses and Canning Apples) Zack Holcomb Appalachian History December 2006

3 Molasses Hundreds of years ago, molasses was used to sweeten food Hundreds of years ago, molasses was used to sweeten food Sugar was expensive, so farmers grew their own sweetener–molasses Sugar was expensive, so farmers grew their own sweetener–molasses Farmers were more self-sufficient with something they grew themselves–sorghum cane crop Farmers were more self-sufficient with something they grew themselves–sorghum cane crop Molasses making was a skill that not everyone possessed Molasses making was a skill that not everyone possessed

4 Molasses Molasses has become more scarce, because sugar is more available and cheap Molasses has become more scarce, because sugar is more available and cheap Another reason for scarcity is the tremendous amount of labor involved in making molasses Another reason for scarcity is the tremendous amount of labor involved in making molasses Nowadays, molasses making has become more of a novelty than a necessity with modern shopping Nowadays, molasses making has become more of a novelty than a necessity with modern shopping

5 Molasses Work for making molasses begins in early May by planting BB-sized sorghum molasses seeds Work for making molasses begins in early May by planting BB-sized sorghum molasses seeds A few weeks later, the ground is plowed to remove weeds and loosen dirt A few weeks later, the ground is plowed to remove weeds and loosen dirt Then the plants have to be thinned with a broad hoe–one plant to every 6 to 8 inches Then the plants have to be thinned with a broad hoe–one plant to every 6 to 8 inches

6 Molasses A cane stalk in the field ready for harvest A cane stalk in the field ready for harvest

7 Molasses Leaves must be stripped from the cane stalk while it’s still standing in the field Leaves must be stripped from the cane stalk while it’s still standing in the field

8 Molasses The seed pods (tops) are cut off, and the stalks are taken to the mill The seed pods (tops) are cut off, and the stalks are taken to the mill

9 Molasses In the early days, power to operate mills was provided by mules or horses In the early days, power to operate mills was provided by mules or horses The animals were harnessed to a pole that turned the mill The animals were harnessed to a pole that turned the mill Tractors are used today Tractors are used today Pulleys are attached to the engines to turn the belt to power the various devices Pulleys are attached to the engines to turn the belt to power the various devices

10 Molasses The rollers squeeze the juice from the stalk The rollers squeeze the juice from the stalk

11 Molasses The juice from the cane stalks is piped into the boiler pan and strained through clean cheese cloth The juice from the cane stalks is piped into the boiler pan and strained through clean cheese cloth

12 Molasses The discarded cane strips are piled up for disposal The discarded cane strips are piled up for disposal

13 Molasses This is the cooking location This is the cooking location

14 Molasses Once the juice is strained, a fire is built underneath Once the juice is strained, a fire is built underneath to begin to begin the cooking the cooking This requires This requires a lot of a lot ofmanpower

15 Molasses The juice must maintain a boiling temperature for about six hours to make the liquid a thick, golden-brown syrup The juice must maintain a boiling temperature for about six hours to make the liquid a thick, golden-brown syrup

16 Molasses The juice must be constantly skimmed to remove residue The juice must be constantly skimmed to remove residue

17 Molasses The pan is removed from the fire when molasses is done The pan is removed from the fire when molasses is done

18 Molasses The cooked molasses was strained into a large pot The cooked molasses was strained into a large pot

19 Molasses The molasses is now ready to be dispensed into glass jars The molasses is now ready to be dispensed into glass jars

20 Molasses My favorite part was “sopping the pan” My favorite part was “sopping the pan” Any remaining residue was cleaned overnight by bees (honey bees and yellow jackets) Any remaining residue was cleaned overnight by bees (honey bees and yellow jackets)

21 Apples In the not too distant past, drying, salting and live storage were the only ways for preserving produce In the not too distant past, drying, salting and live storage were the only ways for preserving produce In the 1790’s, Nicholas Appert discovered that heating food in sealed glass bottles prevents the food from deterioration; this became known as canning In the 1790’s, Nicholas Appert discovered that heating food in sealed glass bottles prevents the food from deterioration; this became known as canning

22 Apples Canning became widespread in the middle 1800’s, but nobody understood why it worked Canning became widespread in the middle 1800’s, but nobody understood why it worked Louis Pasteur discovered that bacteria caused most food spoilage Louis Pasteur discovered that bacteria caused most food spoilage He discovered that heating food in a closed container killed bacteria and kept other bacteria from getting in He discovered that heating food in a closed container killed bacteria and kept other bacteria from getting in This discovery sped up the canning process and led to many new canning methods This discovery sped up the canning process and led to many new canning methods

23 Apples I learned to can apples at a workshop at the SW Virginia Museum. I learned to can apples at a workshop at the SW Virginia Museum. First, you First, you must wash, must wash, peel, and peel, and core the core the apples. apples.

24 Apples To prevent discoloration, ascorbic acid is added to the water To prevent discoloration, ascorbic acid is added to the water

25 Apples The sliced apples are placed in a large saucepan to be cooked in a light syrup The sliced apples are placed in a large saucepan to be cooked in a light syrup

26 Apples The apples are boiled for five minutes in the syrup, sugar, and water solution (this is called a “hot pack” because we are precooking the fruit) The apples are boiled for five minutes in the syrup, sugar, and water solution (this is called a “hot pack” because we are precooking the fruit)

27 Apples Wash jars and lids thoroughly in hot soapy water Wash jars and lids thoroughly in hot soapy water

28 Apples After the apples have cooked, we fill clean jars with apple slices and syrup, leaving a ½ inch After the apples have cooked, we fill clean jars with apple slices and syrup, leaving a ½ inch headspace headspace

29 Apples The jars are placed in a boiling-water canner that has a wire rack inside for placement The jars are placed in a boiling-water canner that has a wire rack inside for placement

30 Apples There should be 2 inches of water above the tops of the jars There should be 2 inches of water above the tops of the jars

31 Apples After processing time is complete, remove the jars with tongs and allow it to cool and seal After processing time is complete, remove the jars with tongs and allow it to cool and seal As the jars As the jars cooled, we cooled, we listened for a listened for a “plink,” which “plink,” which means the jar means the jar sealed sealed

32 Apples Here is my finished product Here is my finished product

33 Apples Canning must be carried out with scrupulous care if bacterial contamination and spoilage are to be avoided Canning must be carried out with scrupulous care if bacterial contamination and spoilage are to be avoided Most types of spoilage cause only minor illnesses Most types of spoilage cause only minor illnesses Botulism, however, is extremely dangerous and often fatal Botulism, however, is extremely dangerous and often fatal This form of food poisoning is caused by toxins produced by germs that multiply in the right environment This form of food poisoning is caused by toxins produced by germs that multiply in the right environment

34 Apples Be sure to use the correct time, temperature, and method of processing (because the spores that cause botulism are killed only at temperatures well above boiling) Be sure to use the correct time, temperature, and method of processing (because the spores that cause botulism are killed only at temperatures well above boiling) Always take safety precautions and discard if food is discolored, has a foul odor, or a leaky rim Always take safety precautions and discard if food is discolored, has a foul odor, or a leaky rim It pays to be careful when canning food It pays to be careful when canning food

35 Other Preserved Foods Apple Butter Pickled Corn

36 Sources SoEasyToPreserve.com SoEasyToPreserve.com SoEasyToPreserve.com Canning workshop at SW Virginia with Canning workshop at SW Virginia with Susan Herndon and Paxton Allgyer Susan Herndon and Paxton Allgyer Reader’s Digest – “Back to Basics” Reader’s Digest – “Back to Basics” Doug Jones (Local molasses maker and farmer) Doug Jones (Local molasses maker and farmer) Mary Rhoton (Grandmother) Mary Rhoton (Grandmother) Charlie Morris (Local Farmer) Charlie Morris (Local Farmer)


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