Saturday, October 1, 2011

taking the plunge... into canning!

I went to Chinatown, bought a 20 litre stainless steel pot, and took the plunge into jam making. (The pot was for water-processing the jars, a method that seals the jars so you can store them on the shelf indefinitely, instead of filling up your freezer or fridge).

This year's jam recipes:

Peach Butter
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Peach-Raspberry Jam
Raspberry Curd
Blueberry Freezer Jam

I would recommend Food in Jars for all things canning related. My favourite recipes of the bunch were both from this website - a slow cooked Peach Butter, and a perfect Strawberry-rhubarb jam that was not too sweet, with just enough sugar to balance the tartness of the rhubarb. You can also get good information at the Certo and Bernardin websites (brands of pectin), however, most of their recipes have lots and lots of sugar.

Benefits of making your own jam: imagine opening a jar of strawberry-rhubarb jam, the taste of summer in the dead of winter, the adorable little jars lined up on your shelf. Also, as soon as you start canning, everyone else you know who cans will trade with you! I've already acquired pickles and peach spice jam.

This year I conquered jam, next year, pickles and tomatoes. Also, next year, when I have a larger canning budget, I will definitely invest in some tongs for lifting jars out of the boiling water. I would not recommend trying to lift large, boiling hot mason jars out of a giant vat of bubbling water with spatulas and oven mitts. It can be done! But tongs would have made it easier.

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