Posted by: JerseyOrganic | June 20, 2011

Canning 101

I apologize for my lack of posting within the past week, it has been crazy around here! My sister graduated high school, I had to can large quantities of jam and I started a new schedule at work. I finally can make a blog post.

So today I am going to really just talk about canning. How do it, what to make, and when to make it.

This week I had to fill many orders for jam. Since strawberry season is now officially over I had to pump out as much as I could. Last Sunday I went and picked 40 pounds of strawberries as well as blueberries from my own garden, raspberries and blackberries.

-First thingis to decide which kind of jam to make. Because New Jersey, specifically zone 6B, has a quick straw berry season (May-June) I am canning Strawberry Jam mixed with other fresh berries. It really doesn’t get any fresher.
-First you need to hull all your berries. Do this simply by cutting off the green or using a paring knife to cut away the stem.

I do not wish to give away my recipe but there are, different recipes that can be found online or in books. “You Can Can” by Better Homes and Gardens is a great starter book. The basic ingredients are fruit, pectin, sugar(or sugar substitute).

-Once the proper amount of berries are hulled, set aside and get the water bath canner ready. Fill 3/4 of the way with water and bring the water to almost a  boil.
-Get the mason jars ready; I use Ball jelly jars for this. They are 8 ounces or half pints. First you must clean with hot soapy water and take off lids
-Using the proper canning gear sterilize each jar in the hot water (not submerges) for a few minutes. Make sure each jar has some water in them to help weigh jar down

-Wash the berries and start mashing away with an old school potato masher.

-Make your jam in a  8 quart saucepan. Mix the berries, sugar, and pectin and bring to a boil. Scooping any foam that may form.*Some people add some butter to help keep from foaming. Let the mixture come to a rolling boil for a full minute before taking off the heat.

-Take out sterilized jars and get ready for jam. Slowly and carefully ladle out the liquid in the jars being careful not to make a mess.

-After the jars are filled leaving a 1/4″ head space wipe down the tops so the lids can be cleanly placed.

-Take each lid with the magnetic tool and dip in boiling water for a second or two. Put on top of jar and put on screw cap. Make sure not to screw the lid too tight. The lids will tighten up on their own while being sealed.

-Process in  water bath canner (submerged) for 5- 10 minutes or whatever your recipe calls for. When complete take out with tool and let cool on wire rack or towel.

-It may take a week for jam to get that jelly consistency and remember to shake the jars every now and then to avoid separation until settled.

The varieties I did today include- Strawberry, strawberry-blackberry, strawberry- blueberry, and triple berry which is straw, rasp, and blueberries. Of course they are ALL made with Agave which is great for anyone monitering their sugar levels. It also cuts the calorie content way down.

All in all making jam is pretty simple, it’s a  little work but a great reward!
And people LOVE jam. I was considering selling some on but I  have so many orders through word of mouth I don’t need to! Although if anyone is interested feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment and I will send you some. 8 Ounce jars are 7 dollars a piece and are only available while supplies last. Since strawberry season is over, I can only sell what I have until next year. Yummy yummy!

In other news, the vegetable garden is doing quite well. My pea plants are starting to die back, leaving room for my pumpkin plants and we have been eating delicious salads from my salad garden!My tomato plants are bearing green fruit as well as peppers. I will update again soon, I promise! Until next time 🙂


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