Gathering my supplies! Now I know some people say that canning is expensive, and to get started, yes it is, but many of the supplies can be used over and over again. I have had my large hot water bath canner, pressure cooker, jars, wide mouth funnel, and rubber coated jar tongs for many years and will use them for years to come. The things that must be replaced yearly are really just the lids, I re-use my bands as long as they are free from any rust or dents. The lids are fairly inexpensive to replace yearly, a few dollars a dozen around my area. I also use the pectin when making my jellies and jams, which is a bit expensive. (I usually use the powdered pectin, but the store was out so I tried this gel pectin this time) The fruits/veggies you use can be cheap or free, depending upon where you get them. A friend gave me a huge box of mulberries a few years ago, so the only cost in the jelly was my lids and pectin, which was a total of around $4 for around 15 jars of jelly.
Now you can make jams and jellies without adding the pectin, because pectin is a naturally occurring substance in many fruits, it just makes it a bit quicker and the jams/jellies set up nice. I just follow the directions on the package of the fruit pectin for my jam. The store bought pectin is safe and natural, made from apple pectin.
Now to preserve those delicious summer berries!! (Peaches to follow later this summer!)
I like my jam chunky, so I leave my berries in small chunks and mash just a bit as it boils and cooks down.Measure out the washed/cut up fruit into a large saucepan. Add the sugar and let sit for a bit. The recipe I use is here:
I do not add the butter, I just use a spoon and skim off the foam that forms on the top.
I go ahead and begin bringing my water in my big pot to a boil, because it takes a while. My canner has a rack in the bottom, so the jars are not sitting directly on the bottom of the pan.
I use the small jelly jars, because it seems fresher to open a new jar more often. They are also very pretty for gift giving! A large mouth funnel is a must for jam/jelly making, I bought mine at a local dollar store for a few bucks years ago.
Once the jam has cooked according to the directions, ladle it into the jars, leaving a space at the top of the jar. Wipe off the rims of the jars to ensure a good seal.
The rings and lids should be placed into boiling water, then using tongs place on the prepared jars of jam, I use a dish towel to tighten them down, as they are very hot. Then using my handy dandy jar tongs, I carefully place the jars into the boiling water canner rack and boil the specified time. When I remove them from the canner, I place on a clean dry towel on my counter, they will start popping (sealing) within a few minutes. Always check to make sure they’ve sealed, if they do not seal, just place in fridge to use first.
Now it’s time to eat it! If your family loves strawberry ice cream topping or topping for waffles and pancakes, you can just leave out the fruit pectin( or cut in half the amount) and make yourself some topping. My family loves this! Make it just the same, just without (or less) pectin. It will not set up like jam, but will be pourable, perfect for toppings!
Summer break for school has officially begun (although I have a few more days to work in my office) and I am so excited for summer! We are planning a few short trips this summer and I am so ready! I hope all have a very blessed week ahead!!