Friday, June 24, 2011
Adventures in Canning
Strawberries are all over the place right now so I bought a whole ton of them thinking Maggie would enjoy them since she liked strawberry puree. I was wrong. She spits them out if she even puts one in her mouth anymore. Maybe the texture bothers her? Since we leave for vacation soon, it was looking like my strawberries would go to waste.
I cannot stand wasting anything so I decided to invest in canning supplies to save my $2 quart of strawberries. Yes. I know this makes zero financial sense. Really, I have wanted to try canning for a while and used this as my excuse.
The jam-sized jars plus lids and metal rings were on sale at the grocery store. A box of 12 4-oz jars with lids and rings was $6.49. (If you coupon, there was a coupon in last Sunday's paper for Ball jars, which would make that even lower!). My aunt J recommended the instructions and recipe in the package of Certo pectin so that is what I went with. A box containing 2 pouches cost $5. (In my experience, one pouch made 9 4-oz jars of strawberry jam using the recipe inside the box.)
I thought I needed to have one of those big canning kettles with the wire racks so I called HB to see if she had one. Thankfully she informed me that I only need to have a pot big enough to hold the jars and that the wire rack mechanism only serves to assist in lowering the jars in to the hot water. I took HB's suggestion to use tongs.
After Nate made fun of me, he offered his assistance. We started the process after Mags was in bed. Making strawberry jam is actually pretty easy! It was a little hot in our small kitchen during the whole process from the gas stove and boiling water steam. It didn't help that I sloshed boiling jam onto Nate's bare foot. It worked well - Nate filled jars while I wiped the rims off and capped them. He then screwed on the metal rings and I used our huge grill tons to put them into the boiling water.
The curing time ended last night and all 9 jars seemed to have worked (photo above)! I am excited to have some fresh jam for winter!
Next up - using some rhubarb from my MIL for rhubarb jam, courtesy of Martha's Recipe via Tara's blog.