Saturday, July 11, 2015

We are a Canning Family!

Here is a subject that I Love!  I love to can and know what my family is consuming. This year's crop is pretty much a wash out.  We have good luck with our raspberry bushes:

I was able to make some Raspberry Jalapeno Jam and also a Mixed Berry Jam. We were fortunate also to receive a whole gaggle of strawberries. I'm talking quarts and quarts of strawberries.

I decided it would be a good time to have my kids brush up on their canning skills. To us it is just another life skill that we feel the kids should know. I like to use recipes that have pectin in them. I can lots of things, but when it comes to jams and jellies, I need more confidence. Even though, I probably make 20 batches of jellies and jams a year. I'm not brand loyal, so no pimping products here. For straight Strawberry Jam, I use the recipe on the box. So I'm not going to give a detailed how to. It will mainly be some helpful tips and maybe some wisdom I have picked up over the years.

Always pre-measure out your sugar. When things get going, they tend to get going. The kids usually do this part when the help me.  Also open the pectin you are going to us.  Have a handy dandy timer on hand.  I also like one of the grease skins you can get for pots. It has saved me from a few burns when making fruit butters and spaghetti sauce. 
This is a mat you can get at you favorite "box store."  The design is intended to put drying dishes on, I love it for my jars fresh out of the "canner." I keep everything lined up and within arms reach. You will thank me for this tip.

My little canners have helped me can for a few years. As pre-teen and teen and teenagers, they help more and more every year. Her is Mini Her smashing Strawberries. We like using a potato masher. Mini Him is cutting the strawberries. 

Sometimes it feels like you have to keep.........


It always nice when it starts going (BTW.....after this picture we had to switch pans. Every year, I start with the wrong one. Of course, I never remember.)

You will notice I have no recommendations on Jars, and lids. I'm also not going to add the way of canning and how I do it. The USDA recommends.  You want to download, the number seven pdf.   That is a good way to start. Don't forget in your box of pectin, it also gives you helpful hints.

 Cleaning as you go is also a helpful tip. Of course, trying it as you go, well that is just an added bonus.

In the end, you have these beautiful jars of jam.  We also make different ones with jalapeno's added, plus ones consisting of an array of peppers. We make a Honey Lemon Jelly and my husband likes a pomegranate jelly I make.  All the kids in our lives love our Dr. Pepper, Root Beer, and Mountain Dew flavored jelly. I have made Cherry jam and plum jam. I almost forgot I made a tomato jam one year. I guess you can say that we like our jams and jellies.

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