I was making jam on Saturday. I’ve done it many times, and because I have made it so many times, I’ve become a bit lackadaisical about it. I used to stand over it the entire time it cooked. Not this time. Instead of being an attentive jammer, I stepped away from the stove for just a second to double check the recipe on my computer, and I got caught up reading other people’s blogs. Bad move, Laurie! How long was I away? I have no idea. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes, but 5 minutes is a long time when something is boiling on the stove.
Then I heard the dreaded ” pan boiling over” sound. I found this when I removed my pan from the stove to avoid burning the jam on my stove’s burner, making it practically impossible to remove. I know this because I’ve done this once before and didn’t remove the pan. I don’t recommend it. Always clean up first!
Why am I showing you this? Because I want you to know that you don’t have to be perfect to try your hand at canning. You can have great jam/jelly/preserves on your first try! I make mistakes, but I still manage to produce yummy jam despite my imperfections.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about something better. Jam… I love it! Jam, Jelly, Preserves, Marmalades, Conserves, etc. They are all super YUMMY to me! I spread them on toast and PB sandwiches, mix them in my yogurt or ice cream or homemade muffin mix, and slather on pancakes and waffles. I would eat it plain if I thought I could live off of jam alone, but, alas, I cannot. So I use it wherever and whenever I can.
Home canned jams and jellies are a big part of my food storage. It goes hand in hand with my love affair with bread. I figure if I have to live off of my food storage (which consists mostly of wheat and flour with a smattering of other things), I want to have a million flavors of jam to go with it. I definitely won’t suffer from appetite fatigue.
What is Appetite Fatigue, you ask? Basically, appetite fatigue occurs when you eat the same thing over and over and over and OVER! Think everlasting leftovers in your fridge that go bad, because no one in your house will eat another bite.
Now, back to canning jam. I started with these beautiful strawberries.
I bought them on Thursday and started my jam right away. As per the instructions, I washed the berries, trimmed the caps, layered them with sugar, and popped them in the fridge.
After letting them sit in the fridge for a 2 nights (I was very busy on Friday), I continued with the recipe Saturday morning. I prepared the jars (washed and sterilized them), put the lids in hot water, and started the jam. Here are some pics of the process.
Then I skimmed off the foam and put it about 1/2 of the Strawberry Preserves into jars. You do not have to skim the foam, as it won’t hurt you, but it’s not as pretty in the jars. Then I added some vanilla to the remaining preserves to make Vanilla Strawberry Preserves. I put the remaining preserves into jars.
I used a damp paper towel to wipe the rim of each jar to ensure there were no drops of jam. Anything left on the jar’s rim will interfere with the ring’s ability to create a vacuum seal. I put the lids on, then the rings. I usually put the jars directly in the water bath canner, but, since I had two different flavors of jam, I labeled the jars first. Then into the water bath canner they went.
I processed the jars according to the instructions and here is the result!
Doesn’t that look easy? It is!
Now, it’s time to share your experiences or lack there of!
If you could learn to can anything in the world, what would it be?
Or, if you are an experienced canner, what’s your favorite thing to can?