It has been an exceptional week of preserving – so many posts to get caught up on. We have pickled onions, garlic and cucumbers. We had made sauce, stewed tomatoes and pears with Kahlua. Our newly minted preserving shelf is overfilling and it is definitely time to do some eating!
We recently had a question in our comments in regards to peaches and how to stop them from floating (you can see the thread and Anu’s question here). We use the same trick for peaches as we do for pickles so I thought I might be able to share a bit about floating fruit and veggies in preserving.
Here is a few thoughts:
- Floating happens to the best of us. As long as your seal is tight and your headspace the right amount, you should not have to worry about it other than a possible loss of color in the fruit at the top of the float. Exposed parts can become tougher and less tasty. Rotate jars from time to time and shake things up in the jar to rotate in the fruit (just not in the first 24 hours).
- Take care to pack them tightly and eliminate air bubbles before processing. Large air pockets will work their way to the top of the jar during boiling – this can loosen your fruit.
- Susan (a friend from work) tells me her mother placed a piece of rye bread at the top of her pickles to keep them submerged. I have never seen this and suspect it would not be seen as a safe practice today though it worked for her family for years. I have never seen this done.
Now for the ultimate tip – something I call seatbelting:
We use bottle neck jars (i.e. not widemouth) for anything that can float. We pack fruit or veggies tightly and start by placing them vertically until we get near the top. As we near the top, we rotate the contents so they are perpendicular to their lower counterparts and ensure they are too wide to float. We essentially use a layer of sideways produce as seatbelt to hold the lower layers in. This has worked great with beans, pickles and pears this year. For peaches I would place an entire half peach at the top of a jar (but lower than the bottleneck) to stop the rest from rising.
Look at the top of the jar of pickles below and note the horizontal pickle wedged in the neck of the jar to hold the others down – there are several sideways pickles in the entire jar:
Note this jar of beans – only one of the beans can be seen as a seatbelt from the front of the jar:
Note here that all of the beans not touching the bottom are seatbelting the others in:
Anyone have any other tricks out there?