Making Holiday Gifts/Canning
In hopes of saving some $$$ this year, we're thinking of making gifts for family. I'd love to do something canned (like, with Mason Jars) and buy some cute labels from the site listed below. Does anyone have any good ideas for Canned gifts?? And, say I wanted to make something like tomato sauce - would I have to do anything special to the can (like boil it) or do I have to be careful with ingredients like garlic (I seem to recall some connection with the possibility of botulism)???
I really don't know anything about canning... I've always wanted to learn, but heard it's a pain in the a**! However, there are three bbq sauce recipes in "Not Your Mother's Slowcooker Cookbook" and I had thought about doing a trio of those for everyone for Christmas. I decided not to do it, just because we are doing a gift exchange, but I still think it could be fun. The book says they keep for up to 6 weeks, so that's not bad. Just an idea!
I have made canned albacore for gifts.
I used a neighbor's All American Pressure Cooker. IIRC, 20 minutes at 10 lbs. 18 to 19 pints at a time. I won't can fish inside the house again because of the smell. The cooker costs ~$200.
FDA and UC Extension have canning guidelines available on the internet, the cooker has an instruction book.
I think there are other (non pressure) canners that are not as expensive as the pressure canner.
You could also give away frozen tomato sauce, I have given as gifts, "Sunday Sauce", frozen in plastic containers.
I'm with prior poster, if making sauce just put in plastic container and have them freeze it. One year I made a huge pot of sauce and made up baskets (painted wooden clementine containers red and green), put in a pretty dish towel, container of sauce, macaroni and homemade biscotti and had my pups make decorative wooden spoons...I recall my grandmother canning a lot of things, namely jars of tomatoes and beans and pickling all sorts of stuff, I've never attempted it. Good luck!!
I don't want to discourage you, but the canning season is pretty much over for this year. It depends on what you have in mind,you could make a jam or a sauce from frozen fruit or a bbq sauce at this point, but finding jars at this time of year is difficult also. Best of luck, and try canning next summer and fall, it is work, but so satisfying too. Get the Ball Blue Book of canning, the instructions are all there.
PS You could try a hot pepper jelly at this time of year if you can find the jars.
re: Amy G.
sorry, no suggestions for gift ideas, but i believe fishes eddy carries the ball mason jars year round, so if you can't find any jars this'll be a good place to look. and if you're not in nyc, they do ship, but by ups so it might be expensive depending on how many jars you need. goodluck.
The botulism issue depends on what you are making, it requires an anaerobic and non-acid environment. It is a bit late anyway except for making some jams and jellies with winter or frozen fruit. Do get a copy of the Ball Blue Book, it is inexpensive, a large oversized thin paper book which will tell you all you need to know. One thing I used to make as Christmas gifts were hot dilly beans. In one case I had to give a husband and wife each their own jars becuase they got so territorrial about them. There is a recipe in the book. I always pack the jars with garlic slices which were cooked up in the brine to begin with, fresh dill and hot peppers.