You Can CAN it – Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Strawberries

I went strawberry picking and picked 8 quarts of strawberries.  Oh My were they good!!  I can’t even compare fresh picked strawberries to what they call “strawberries” in the grocery store.  Simply delicious!!

I went from Pasta Princess to Canning Queen in one day and canned 8 jars of Strawberry Salsa, 8 jars of Strawberry Jam and 8 jars of Strawberry Balsamic Jam.  I wasn’t sure how I would like the Strawberry Balsamic Jam, but after a taste test it was hands down the winner!  Give canning a try – it really isn’t hard and so delicious!

The recipe for Strawberry Jam that I used is on page 8 of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and below.

Strawberry Jam

Here’s what you need:

  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 cups whole strawberries
  • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice*
  • 1 pkg (1.75 oz. to 57 grams) regular powdered fruit pectin

To can, you also need:

  • One large stock pot
  • One rack, to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot
  • jar lifters
  • jar funnel
  • empty jars with band lids

Instructions (Abridged)

1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids. If you’ve never canned, you’ll want to buy the book or look up instructions online. You cannot skip these prep steps; doing so could result in food spoilage or serious health risks.

2. Premeasure sugar and berries.

3. In a glass pie plate or bowl, place a single layer of strawberries. Crush berries and transfer to heavy saucepan. If you use 8 cups of whole strawberries, you’ll end up with 5 cups of smashed strawberries.

4. Add lemon juice to crushed strawberries in pan. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and, stirring constantly, and return to full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and, using a large spoon, skim off foam.

5. Fill one jar at a time. Remove jar from canner and empty hot water back into canner. Place jar on towel-covered counter and put in your canning funnel. Ladle hot jam in, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Slide a non-metallic utensil around the jam to get out air bubbles. Add more jam to adjust headspace. Clean rim with damp cloth. Center the hot lid onto the jar, and tighten with band.

6. When all jars are filled, take the rack out of the canner and fill with jars. Lower rack back into canner and ensure jars are completely covered with at least 1 in. of water. Bring to a full rolling boil, and then set timer for 10 minutes. At the end of processing time turn heat off and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, remove jars and, without tilting, put them on a towel in a draft free spot. Let them sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

7. Check lids for seal. If you can push down on the lid and hear it pop, it hasn’t sealed. These jars must be refrigerated and used immediately.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Use the above recipe.  *In place of the lemon juice, use 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons high quality Balsamic Vinegar.

Coming NextScone recipe for this delicious jam!

Strawberry Jam

Tilapia with Pear Salsa

Tilapia with Pear Salsa

This is one of my favorite after work dinners.  It is quick (once you have canned the salsa and have it on hand) and really, really good.  Canning is not difficult at all, give it a try, you’ll be glad you did!  Enjoy!

Peppery Pear Salsa (Canning Recipe)

Makes six 8-ounce jars

This recipe is from “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 8 cups coarsely chopped, cored, peeled pears
  • 3 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 green bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare canning pot, jars and lids.

In a large steel saucepan, combine vinegar and pears. Add red and green peppers, sugar, salt, mustard, turmeric, allspice and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar.

Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Place jars in canning pot, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process 8-ounce and pint jars for 20 minutes. Remove canning pot lid. Wait 5 minutes to remove jars.

Cool and store the salsa.

Tilapia with Pear Salsa - Blog H

Blueberries, Blueberries, Blueberries and more Blueberries! You Can Can It! Blueberry Chutney

I went to the local Farmers Market looking to score some pickling cucumbers.  I found some and then my eyes lighted on a sign “Case of blueberries $5.00”.  That was too good to not at least investigate even though I had no intentions of buying blueberries … well … you know how that goes!  Same with the cute dress or shoes you can’t pass up because “they are on sale”!  I looked them over and they were good … good to go, paid for the blueberries and my husband toted them out to the car along with my bags of pickling cucumbers.   Somehow I always get myself into these predicaments … not planning on doing a lot of canning and spending the day in the kitchen, but how could I pass up that deal!

So my next dilemma was what to do with all these beautiful ripe blueberries?!  I had not canned for a very long time and in fact, sold all my canning equipment and jars at a garage sale many years ago – call me crazy!  This year I decided I would start canning since I had a garden and fresh produce.  I had already purchased all the equipment and jars so I was halfway there.  I found a canning recipe for Blueberry Chutney – I’ve never had it but I liked the ingredients.  So Blueberry Chutney it was.

I canned about 8 jars of Blueberry Chutney and was so happy to see all my jars had sealed – Yeah for me!  I let them sit for a few weeks and decided open one up and serve it with grilled chicken.  It was really good and made for a quick easy dinner after work!  I think this Chutney would also pair very nicely with fish and pork.

Give it a try …. You Can Can It!  Enjoy!

Blueberry Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup gold yellow raisins
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Rinse and stem blueberries

Place blueberries in a large stockpot with onion, vinegar, raisins, brown sugar, mustard seeds, ginger root, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes.  Bring mixture to a boil.

Lower heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes, or until chutney is thick.

Ladle hot chutney into sterilized jars, leaving ½” headspace.  Wipe rims; cap and seal.

Process in water bath canner 15 minutes. Cool.

Put in a cool, dark place; leave 6-8 weeks before using

What to do with all those beets – try canning some Pickled Beets and make Your Own Beautiful Canning Labels!

Do you have a lot of beets in your garden or do you just love pickled beets?  Try canning them.  It’s super easy and you’ll have delicious pickled beets in the winter.  I love almost all vegetables, and although I like beets, I could take them or leave them.  But … pickled beets that is entirely another story!  I could eat them by the jar full.  I loved my mother’s pickled beets and it’s been years since I’ve tasted devoured them.  I don’t know why I never tried canning beets myself, but I am so glad I finally did.  I’ll have to save a jar for my mother …although, they won’t be quite as good as hers!

I’ve spoken before of my Dad having a huge garden and now that I have my own small garden, I appreciate so much more all the work my Dad put into the garden and all the work my mother did preparing, canning, and cooking the vegetables.  Considering the size of their garden I would find that quite overwhelming!  Isn’t it awesome the things our parents pass on to us, perhaps, without even realizing they are doing so and what a gift it is!

My Mother’s Pickled Beets

  • 3-4 pints beets
  • 1-1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 pint of water
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups of sugar

Prepare your beets by trimming all but 2 inches of the stem and leaving the root on and cover with water.  Boil approximately 40 minutes or until tender.  Cool, slip off skins and cut into chunks or slices.

Prepare canner, jars and lids (get easy to follow instructions here).

Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar and bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes.

Add beets to mixture and return to a boil, simmer 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, ladle beets into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar.  Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover beets, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more pickling liquid.  Wipe rim with a clean damp cloth.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight – do not overtighten.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Enjoy … and pass on the tradition!

After you’re done why not make some pretty labels?  I wasn’t loving the canning labels I saw to buy, so I created my own!  I designed the labels in Publisher and used Avery mailing labels – 6 per sheet. Get creative and show off your hard work!