Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.

6/27/2008

What the canning folks don't tell you.

I recently taught myself how to make jam and do water bath canning. It was surprisingly difficult to find all the supplies that I needed locally, sadly it is a dieing tradition. I don't think canning is all that difficult really. The hardest part is managing everything that has to happen at the same time.
  1. The water bath pot needs to be almost at a boil.
  2. Large pot holding clean cans put on a simmer.
  3. Small saucepan filled with the flat lids also on a simmer.
  4. The large pot you will actually be making jam in also occupies a burner.
You will need a standard stove to accomplish this, anything smaller would either be impossible or extremely difficult. Watch this tutorial from Ball's website before you start. It's a great resource.

So here is what was never told to me that I think would be helpful information for a newbie.
  • I used KitchenAid tongs, and it worked out great for retrieving lids and lifting the jars in and out of the water. If you plan to use jars larger than a pint I'd purchase the jar lifter. Otherwise save the bucks you'd spend on buying something that only has one purpose and go for the tongs that you can use for grabbing meats and veggies.
  • Save the foam that you skim off the top of the jam, before pouring it into the jars. Store in the fridge, it's great in cottage cheese and yogurt and on ice cream! YUMMY!
  • Buy a funnel, will save you tons of time and will help keep the canning mess to a minimum.
  • Wear clothes that you don't care about because the first time canning you will get berry juice on them.
  • Plan to make jam/can when you have undisturbed time. You can prep everything beforehand but once you put those smashed berries in the pot you are tied to that stove until all the jars are filled.
So I hope this helps you stumble through the learning process with ease. I think my generation is going to bring back the canning, you wouldn't believe how many people I've met who either are also learning or really want to. My great grandmother would be proud.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can simmer your lids for a little while and then take them off the stove while you are putting the jelly in the jars.
This fall you can come and watch how long it takes for apple butter.
Love,
Mom

TX Poppet said...

I love to see posts on canning. Well done!
TX Poppet at Canned Laughter

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