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Home Canning

I have noticed a resurgence in interest in home canning this summer. A local hardware store says supplies are flying off the shelves. I get a number of younger customers looking for canning goods and info in the shop. This week I am going to help 2 friends learn to can tomatoes. Today I got my stuff out and made 4 little (jam sized) jars of hot dilly beans with haricot verts. I may do more later in the week. It is such a quick and easy thing to do and they make great Christmas gifts.

I had kind of just not done much of it in the past few years. What are you putting up? Jams, jellies, preserves, pickles, tomatoes etc. Do you have any interest? Are you an old hand at it or a newbie?

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  1. newbie here, this is my second summer of canning. I've made (knock wood) everything i've tried with success! My favorite was the blueberry preserve I made last year - the first thing I ever canned and it was so exciting that it really worked. This year I frooze a lot of berries and will make more in the fall. I made cherry jam with pectin this year and freezer peach jam, but so far I much prefer the blueberry which had no pectin, just berries and sugar...

    I've also had luck with applesauce and sliced apples in syrup - makes a great crumble and so easy! This past week I just put up 12 pints of sliced peaches - they look gorgeous and can't wait till winter to crack open a jar and hopefull give some away as gifts...

    I find this a fun adventure, but a bit of a time comitment, probably because I'm so new and afraid of missing a step...I forgot to take the bubbles out of the cherry jam, but looks like it did not cause any problems...

    1. I'm a newbie at doing it myself, but I grew up assisting Mom, her sisters, and my grandmother in canning all sorts of stuff. A few years ago I was house sitting for Mom and her huge garden. After eating, blanching and freezing more green beans than I could stomach I decided to try canning since Mom has all the supplies. They turned out great.

      Since then I've canned spicy bread and butter pickles, and corn relish. I'm thinking I'll try something else for Christmas presents this year, but not sure what ... I missed strawberry season, so no attempting jam this year. I might try apple butter.. Or mushrooms.

      1. This is my second year canning, and I've had so much fun with it! Last year I canned probably about 20 pounds total of plum tomatoes, and this year I'm going to do more, because they were so useful and fun and easy to do, once I got the hang of it. I made fig jam today, blackberry jam last weekend and a few weeks ago (my favorite), and apricot and apricot/cherry jam earlier this summer. Last year I made raspberry jam, which was a hit, so I will make that again soon. My mom's neighbors have an overgrown quince tree, so I might make some quince preserves soon (once I figure out what you do with them once they're made into preserves), and I've been intrigued by the descriptions of tomato jam in some other threads, so I might try that out. So far I've only done jam and whole tomatoes (and I made some pearsauce in the fall), but I want to try pickling too, I just need to decide what. I ate my jam all winter long, and gave lots of little (4 oz) jars of it away as Christmas presents, so I've made sure to make some small jars again.

        6 Replies
        1. re: JasmineG

          quinces are lovely - like a tropically scented apple. Last season I canned some quince butter, and quinces in syrup. The quinces in syrup were great in apple pies, on top of upside down cakes, and several people I gave jars to as gifts drained and tossed the quinces in salads.

          1. re: Gooseberry

            Thanks for the quince recommendations! Do you have a recipe for quince butter?

            1. re: JasmineG

              Not really. Basically follow the recipe for apple butter, but recognizing that quinces are a lot harder than apples, so will require more water and cooking time to soften. Chopping them smaller than you would apples helps. Then puree and proceed as with apple sauce to make butter.

              Otherwise, if you're going to be poaching them in syrup, I'd simply poach some extra, and then puree some poached slices and proceed from there, adding less sugar than you normally would.

          2. re: JasmineG

            Quince is also wonderful in applesauce. I've done it with Gravensteins and a mixture of cider-type apples and it's always a hit. It's amazing warmed up-- it's so fragrant. I made gifts of it and encouraged people to have it alongside of a pork roast. I'm trying to source quince this fall just for that purpose.

            The only problem is cutting the darn things up-- they are SO dense!

            1. re: Vetter

              I find the quinces hard to work with, too. I peel them with a vegetable peeler, then cut them into rounds with a big cleaver. If I am doing poached quince pieces, I halve the rounds and remove the woody core/seedy area with a round cookie cutter. It's a bit of a nuisance, but as you say, so delicious.

            2. re: JasmineG

              Quince paste is great on a cheese plate!

            3. I started teaching myself last year too. I did strawberry jam, lemon curd and chicken stock last year, and am planning on doing a big batch of spaghetti sauce with meat. Maybe a few pints of chicken stock, too, to supplement the quarts.

              1. I am a newbie at home canning, but I have a date next week with some cherry peppers, and have already found a great source of some beautiful peppers! I am looking forward to pickled cherry peppers.

                In the past I have been intimidated by the process, and have only done refrigerated products, or freezer jams.

                I do have a silly question (please remember- newbie here!). I am intrigued by the thought of putting up home-made tomato sauce. I once received a gift of the most heavenly tomato sauce from an Italian grandmother, and have been dreaming of canning my own sauce. But from what I can gather from my book of preserving, thisis a low-acid product, and to be safe, I must do something called "pressure-canning" if I want to make it safe to store in the cupboard. Is this true? It certainly sounds like sage advice, but I am completely intimidated by the concept of pressure-canning!

                6 Replies
                1. re: moh

                  Pressure canning involves a big pressure cooker. :) I tried it, and succeeded as a completely newbie. I plan to can some tomato sauce as soon as it cools off. The thought of having the canner going for 90 mins right now is depressing.

                  1. re: moh

                    Homemade tomato sauce can be canned in a water bath, you just need to have a tested recipe with enough acid in it.

                    1. re: JasmineG

                      I must disagree. Modern tomatoes do not have enought acid the be safe in a water bath. When I was growing up we canned a lot of tomatoes and tomato juice, etc. using hot water bath, but now USDA recommends pressure cooking.

                      1. re: pepperqueen

                        Or add acid such as lemon juice or citric acid.

                        1. re: pepperqueen

                          That's not true, USDA and Ball both say that you can can tomatoes in a water bath, as long as you add a little acid to the jars.

                          1. re: JasmineG

                            According to my 2008 ed. of Ball, you can safely water bath tomatoes, but you generally have to boil pint jars for 65 mins, plus add a little lemon juice. The pressure canning doesn't require lem juice, and you can safely can in only 30 mins for a pint (depending on the recipe, of course).

                            This summer, I've pressure canned crushed tomatoes, basil marinara, and plain pasta sauce- it's my first try with the pressure canner, and I'm finding it much less intimidating than I expected.