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The other day when I went to the grocery store I saw that strawberries were on sale, 88 cents a pound! I bought a LOT of strawberries. I love a good strawberry, and it was perfect for the strawberry spinach salad I was going to make for dinner that weekend.
However, I had several pounds of strawberries, and PH and I are only two people. I didn't want them to go bad, and so I was planning on building our food storage with them. I have a lot of fruit and veggies that I've frozen to have on hand when necessary, but this time around, I decided I wanted to try my hand at canning.
My mom has talked to you about canning a few times on this blog. I remember growing up all the canning she would do. She'd make different types of jams, and she'd can various fruits and veggies, and even meat!
You may remember this post where she told you how to can peaches using a water bath. She also gave you some jam canning tips (including strawberry jam!) here and here.
My mom is kind of a canning pro, and since I have never canned anything before in my life, I asked her if she'd come help me make some strawberry jam!
She came over, and we decided to do something a little different this time and film the process for you to watch and enjoy! Check out our videos below.
Now I have to step in here and let you know that this is where we had some technical difficulties with our camera and had to switch to a different one. Unfortunately, by the time we realized our camera wasn't filming we had missed a few crucial steps. The main one being that once the jam was boiling after the pectin and butter were added we added the sugar. A few tips from my mom. The recipe calls for A LOT of sugar (seven cups!) You can make a low sugar variety of jam, but you have to use a special pectin or it won't work. Since we had regular pectin, we had to use all the sugar. The second thing about the sugar is, you have to add it all at once. I measured all seven cups into a large bowl and when my mom told me it was time to pour in the sugar then I poured it all in at once.
We kept stirring continuously until the jam came back up to a rolling boil. Then we turned the head off. All while cooking our strawberry jam our jars were sterilizing. We filled the jars up with boiling water, and we put the lids in a bowl and covered them with boiling water as well. That water also helps the lids to soften so they'll be ready to seal once your jars are filled.
Once you turn the heat off you'll see some foam in your pot. Mom took a regular spoon to skim that foam off the top. She put it in a separate bowl. There is nothing wrong with the foam, but when it cools it kind of looks like a hardened skin and isn't very pretty inside the jars. So just use a spoon to skim around the top and get all the white foam out. She also saves the bowl because at the end there is always a little extra jam that you can pour into the bowl and you can use it right away. It gets you started on enjoying your jam!
Okay, continue onward now that you know the rules about the sugar and the foam!
Making my own jam and canning it was a lot of fun, and actually much easier than I thought! This recipe we used used up three pounds of strawberries. So I actually have three more pounds that I intend to use to make even more jam this weekend! It's exciting to be able to do something that helps build our food storage, and it was a fun little project to do with my mom! So get together and make some strawberry jam!
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There are those who think canning peaches is time consuming and messy. I am here to show you that doesn't have to be true. I love to can! And peaches are so delicious when you can them yourself. Home canned peaches are a staple in my pantry. I found a fairly good buy on peaches the other day, so I bought a bunch. I thought I would show you my canning process.
To begin with, you need some basic canning supplies:
Now you need to find a really good price on peaches, or have a peach tree or have someone give you peaches off of their tree. I like to can freestone peaches, because that means the pit comes out really easily. If you are canning cling, that is okay, but I would do slices because it is easier to slice them off of the pit that way.
But, first, you have to peel them! The peeling process is much easier that you may think!
Here is my trick: When you start canning, you want to start the water boiling in the canner right away. It is a lot of water and it takes it awhile to get to boiling. And, before you ever start to put the jars in, there are other things that you can use the boiling water for. So, here is the step by step after you start the water on the stove:
All of this time, the water in the canner will still be heating up to boiling hot. When I have peeled all of the peaches, I set my empty jars on the rack to sterilize and heat them. This prevents breakage! In all of the years that I have been canning, I have only had one jar break.
While the jars are heating, I make the simple syrup for the peaches. The ratio for the syrup is 1 cup sugar to 2 cups of water. Plus, 2 tsp. ascorbic acid per 2 cups of water. I made my recipe with 6 c. water and 3 c. sugar and 6 tsp. ascorbic acid. Heat it all in a sauce pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Leave on the heat until you are ready to use it.
Now, your jars should be ready and you are ready to fill them!
This step is very important! Use a damp paper towel and wipe off the rim of your jars before you put on the lid and ring. Any residue left on the jar rim could keep your jars from sealing.
Now, put the lid on the canner and wait for the water to start to boil again before you start timing the canning process. For quarts, they must boil for 30 min. For pints, 25. So, once you hear the water boiling a good rolling boil, set the timer!
When the timer goes off, lift the jars out with the canning tongs! I usually lift the rack first, but that can be difficult, so you can just lift them with the tongs without lifting the rack if you want. There will be more water dripping if you do, just to warn you. Now, wait to see if all of your jars seal! Let them do that on their own, no fair pushing the middle of the lid.
I was going to make a printable label for the tops of the lids, but I didn't get to it. Before you put them away, wipe your jars off well, and then write with a Sharpie on the lids what you have in the jar and the date you canned it!
For a reference, when I canned these peaches, my 8 jars held about 24 peaches. So, that is around 3 peaches per jar. Even though I did some halved and some sliced, it came out to be about the same amount of peaches per jar.
The best part about canning is the satisfaction of seeing those jars all lined up in your pantry! You really feel like you've accomplished something! What do you like to can? I hope that you will give peaches a try!
Here are some past canning posts you might enjoy:
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Blackberries and strawberries have been alternately on sale the past few weeks, so of course I have been canning them because I love to can and I love blackberries and strawberries! I usually just eat the blackberries, or make them into Blackberry-Lemon Marmalade, or turn them into cake, or Blackberry Lemon Bars. This time I decided to can some to keep on hand.
Canning Blackberries is super easy because there is no peeling or coring. Here is how you do it in a nutshell.
With the strawberries, I made a ton of Strawberry Jam. I gave you jam making tips on this post.
One of the things that I have mentioned before is that instead of putting labels on the jars themselves, I like to put them on the lids that will be discarded anyway. That way you don't have to spend time peeling them off of the jars when the jam is all eaten and you want to use the jar again. I found some printable labels at Dollar Tree! They have round ones in the store, as well as square shipping labels. You can't beat the price on these, for just a dollar! I designed some simple labels to put on my jars and I decided to share them with you! This is a small way for me to say "Thank You!" for all of your support on our blog! This week we achieved over 31,000 views per month and it makes us so happy to think that the things we talk about have value to you.
To print the labels, click on the button to get the pdf file. Then click print. Make sure you click the "fit to page" option. There are some blackberry and many Strawberry Jam labels on one page. You may only need one or the other, but you can always cut them off and save the ones you don't use. These are designed to print on the Polaroid Round Adhesive Labels. You can also find them on Amazon here.
jam labels jam labels
We have many more fun ideas to write about. I am having so much fun working on this blog with my girls. Thanks for your support. Keep coming back to see what else is in store!
If my labels are too simple, here is a link to some really sweet choices on Etsy! They aren't free, but if you want something a little fancier, there are some really cute things there.
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to seven so far. I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Read more about us here!
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