Storing egg noodles

Here’s a poser for you: I have a ton of dry egg noodles. Would it extend their quality/shelf life if I broke them off to fit in jars and pressure canned them? Wouldn’t the vacuum extend their useful life? That way I could keep the noodle jars next to the chicken soup jars. Or am I wasting my time?

Dan Norgard
Prescott valley, Arizona

I’ve never had noodles go bad or rancid during long-term storage. But as with all long-term storage foods, do rotate and use some of them in your daily cooking. One tends to “save” their long term storage foods and buy “new” foods to use daily. This is counterproductive. Be sure to store your noodles and other dry foods in airtight containers that are insect and moisture proof. I store many of my “store” bought foods in their original bags, in another airtight container. — Jackie

Making pectin and cider

We were given lots of apples; want to make apple pectin and apple cider maybe some hard cider. How do we proceed?

Chuck and Judy Criswell
Chiloquin, Oregon

To make apple pectin, chop whole slightly unripe apples into quarters or smaller pieces, with the skins left on. (If you use ripe apples, they sometimes do not have sufficient pectin.) Put them in a large pot and add barely enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until the apples are very soft. Strain through an old pillow case or other lightweight fabric. The resulting slimy, slightly thick liquid is your pectin. This pectin is not the same as SureJel. You’ll first need to test it for pectin content.

To test the strength of the pectin, pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol into a glass and then drop in a spoonful of cooled pectin. The pectin will coagulate into a jelly-like mass. If this mass can be pulled out with a fork and it forms a heaping gob on the tines, it is concentrated enough to jell perfectly. If it can be picked up by the fork, but mostly hangs from it, then it will jell loosely. If it cannot be picked up by the fork in mostly one mass, then the concentration is too weak for it to jell. In this latter case, you just have to boil it down to increase the concentration of the pectin. (The alcohol test doesn’t work right if the pectin is hot. Let it cool first.) When your pectin level has tested adequate, you may freeze or can your pectin using the cider canning method, below.

When you want to make jam or jelly, mix nearly half apple pectin with juice, then boil well. You can use the alcohol test to check the jelling ability of your juice after it has cooled. If it seems adequate, add 5 cups pectin/juice to 7 cups sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Keep at a rolling boil until it reaches the jel stage.

To make apple cider, you need to grind your whole apples, then press the pulp with a cider press. There are several available at a fairly reasonable price. Strain the juice to remove bits of pulp and skin, then bottle and refrigerate. Canning the cider can be easily done, but fresh cider tastes orchard-fresh; canned cider tastes more like apple juice. To can it, heat the cider to simmering; don’t boil. Pour hot into hot, sterilized quart jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your processing time to suit your altitude, if necessary.

We don’t use alcoholic products, but you can find hard cider instructions by typing “making hard cider” into your browser. Cornell University has a very good site that is easy to read. — Jackie

Canning pear sauce and pear juice

Just canned up some pear sauce and used the time listed in your book for apple sauce, 20 minutes. I actually did them for 30 minutes because I am at a high altitude. Is that the correct time for pear sauce?

Years ago you said I could can pear juice. I can’t find the print out of the information. How long to process that in quarts.

Helper, Utah

You can pear and apple sauce for the same length of time: 20 minutes. You’re fine. Pear juice, though, should be processed for 25 minutes, for quarts. As you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, increase your processing time to suit your altitude. — Jackie


  1. thanks for the countryside tip. i am going to try this as i live in the southern country and am having to keep meal,flour etc. in the freezer.

  2. A recent issue of Countryside Magazine had a tip about oven-canning dried foods, like dry beans, oatmeal, flour, and pasta. The column took about a page and a half, but the short version is, fill canning jars with whatever dry goods you want, heat the oven to 200 degrees, and bake the filled-but-open jars for 1 hour. After they’ve baked an hour, take them out, wipe the rims with a slightly damp cloth, and put the lids and rings on, then set aside to cool.

    200 degrees is not hot enough to actually cook most foods, but it is hot enough to kill bugs that might be in the foods, it makes sure the dried foods are absolutely dry, and it creates an airtight seal when the lids are put on, just like with other canning methods.

    Just another tool to add to the homesteading toolbox.

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