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Jun 25, 2011 02:12 AM

Better Homes and Gardens Canning special issue

Anyone seen this on a local newsstand? I got it recently and bookmarked about a dozen things I really want to try.

I just finished the Cider 'n' Spice jelly and I'm up late waiting for the jelly in the jars to thicken enough to hold cinnamon sticks in suspension. Can't wait to try it. I looks so pretty and smelled fabulous when I was boiling it. The prep and water bathing didn't take all that long. The cooling to the gel stage is taking forever! If anyone decides to give it a whirl I highly recommend not waiting until 9PM to get started...

The recipe specifies freshly pressed cider but I used bottled apple juice from the refrigerated juice section of Trader Joe's. That stuff is great and tastes like the fresh pressed cider I remember from growing up in the Hudson Valley. Plus, it's so available that this stuff can be made year round.

Next will be peach jam. There are cardamom and chipotle variations. Will have to think about which way to go.

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  1. I'll look for it on the newstand at the grocery store. Thanks for the head's up......

    5 Replies
    1. re: jeanmarieok

      Hope you can find it. It's got a ton of interesting recipes. And, pretty wonderfully I think, it's arranged by the type of produce: tomatoes, tropic fruits, vine crops, root crops, etc. Also lots of mouth-watering photos. I think canned foods can be so gorgeous.

      1. re: rainey

        I didn't see it at Kroger, but really they are mostly big on People and US Weekly. I am going to check Lowe's - believe it or not, they have a big magazine section.....

        1. re: jeanmarieok

          Lowes had it ! Nice magazine - I want to make the tomato jam - looks delicious!

          1. re: jeanmarieok

            Yes, that tomato basil jam does look terrific. I'm thinking of doing the onion & maple thing too.

            I see they're recommending 4oz jars for their savory things. I use a lot of 4 oz. jars myself for jam. We don't eat a lot of it and I like getting to the bottom and cracking a new jar rather than having something languish in the fridge and take up space forever.

            1. re: rainey

              I haven't seen 4oz jars in my usual places. I'll have to look for them.

    2. Oh, thanks for the heads up--I have a bounty crop of peaches, so may make both the cardamom (which I love) and chipotle jams. I'm also in a saffron & peach craze now, so may make that too. Getting hungry!

      1. I just picked it up. I do like some of the recipes (pickled blueberries with bourbon!). They have some interesting flavor combinations. But to me too many of the recipes call for liquid pectin. I've used that before and I am not a fan. I'll have to look around for equivalent recipes to see if it's possible to switch it to powdered or Pomona's. Also, I find most of their jam recipes to say 5 minutes of processing. I have *never* seen that. The lowest processing time I've ever come across in a reputable source is 10 minutes. So I will be wary of their procedures (and I'll probably process for 10 minutes anyway).

        13 Replies
        1. re: LNG212

          Sorry if I steered you in a wrong direction.

          As for processing, you should certainly process until you feel good about it. I canned for the first time back in the 70s when we still "fresh packed" things like tomatoes and often didn't water bath jams at all due to the high sugar content and high temperatures of the fruit mixture. So 5 minutes sounds fine to me for jam. But it's certainly not fun if it makes you apprehensive so better safe than sorry. ;>

          I hope there will be some recipes worth trying. (And I had the impression it was about half liquid pectin and half powdered. I had to go out and buy liquid because the pectin I keep on hand is powdered too.)

          1. re: rainey

            Oh no steering wrong at all. I looked at the issue before purchasing so I knew what I'd be getting. And I do think many of the flavor combinations sound really good (esp. the one you wrote about above which I'll try when it's apple season).

            Maybe I just noticed the recipes using the liquid pectin because those were the ones that interested me! I just wasn't happy with the results when I used it previously but I'm certainly willing to give their recipes a whirl.

            As for processing times, like you say, if it makes me feel better to do jams for 10 minutes then that's what I'll do. I still do some raw pack but always with enough processing time that I'm okay with it. I just try to look at someplace reputable (like Ball) to make myself feel comfortable with the safety issues. I don't want to make friends and family ill. :)

            But thanks for posting about the issue. I really do like a lot of their ideas and plan on doing that pickled blueberry-bourbon one this coming week.

          2. re: LNG212

            I've seen quite a few recipes for the 5 min processing (of jams). The 5 min. is fine IF the jars, etc. have been sterilized. Anything processed for 10 min. or longer just requires clean jars.

            (I ran that by my canning instructor at the coop ext. office when I first saw the 5 min. recipes.)

            1. re: meatn3

              meatn3, thanks for the info. I do sterilize my jars. Maybe I'm a freak but I think I'll still do the 10 min. 'cause it makes me feel better! :)

              And I'm jealous about the coop ext offices that everyone else seems to have (you are not the first to talk about them). When I called ours here, I was told they don't do that sort of thing (meaning anything related to canning). Bummer! (Just to clarify, I'm in Manhattan and I guess this isn't their top priority.)

              1. re: LNG212

                My county seems to have dropped the classes. I've been attending "Canning College" once a month at the next county over. Its an hour drive each way, but it has been very worthwhile!

                I imagine each county has to decide how best to use their yearly budget. It would be nice if they reassessed the need in urban areas. While city residents probably aren't trying to preserve their harvest, there are so many people interested in canning for many other reasons! Perhaps there is an office a reasonable distance from the city that could make for a nice field trip?

                An aside, I always get a kick out of your avatar! I buy one of his calendars each year and never get tired of them!

                1. re: meatn3

                  Hey! I grew up in an area of NYS with a reasonable amount of agriculture AND Extension Offices (and granges). But now that I've been living in Los Angeles for 3 decades I still like to preserve the fresh produce I can grow in my backyard and buy at the farmers' markets.

                  How interested you are in fresh food and adventurous you are about mastering new things has nothing to do with city/country. ;>

                  1. re: rainey

                    I agree with you on your last comment. And I do know there are plenty of people canning here in the city (evidenced by the various "where can I find canning jars" questions on the local boards!). But as meatn3 said, I guess with a limited budget they have to set their priorities and here, at least, those priorities tend more toward nutrition classes and obesity prevention, eating on an ebt budget and things like that.

                    @meatn3, I should definitely look at counties upstate or something (somehow I think the suburban counties immediately outside the city wouldn't be fruitful either). Then it would just be a matter of transit - like convincing DH to rent a car and drive me so that he can continue having his canned jams and fruits and the like through the winter! :)

                    1. re: rainey

                      I'm saying this is most likely the logic the powers that be are using when trying to decide how to best utilize an ever shrinking budget. In urban areas they may assume few gardens = little interest/need.

                      If you read my post more carefully you'll see I noted (hoping ag offices will realize) that there are many other reasons people want to can besides the traditional/rural need to preserve a harvest in order to eat later in the year.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        Absolutely! I use only produce from my farmers's market to do my canning. So even though I don't have a garden, I'm "preserving the season" too.

                        You are probably right that they don't realize the interest. Then again, maybe they are stretched so thin already that they just can't do canning classes/lectures. I don't know which (or combination) it is. Too bad for me. I may take your advice and look into other counties's extensions. Thanks for pointing that out.

                        1. re: meatn3

                          Yes, of course. I was just saying that wherever the resources are targeted, canning is something that crossed the city/country divide.

                          No offense intended.

                          1. re: rainey

                            None taken! Wanted to be sure you didn't think I felt only folks with homegrown surplus should be canning....


                            With my gardening dramas I'm always amazed that people actually have enough surplus to do anything with it!

                2. re: LNG212

                  LNG212--quick question for you. In step 2 of the pickle blueberries with bourbon, it says to let the cook blueberries to sit fo 8-12 hours. Then, in step 3 it says to spoon the hot blueberries into hot jars. How did you do it? I mean, if the blueberries have set at room temperature for 8-12 hours, they're not going to be hot! did you reheat them? I really want to make these, but I'm not sure about this...Thanks for any help you can provide.

                  1. re: IndeliblePoet

                    I had the same question you had about the "hot blueberries" step. I did not reheat - I figured the syrup was going to be boiling again and that would be okay.

                    btw, I ended up with about maybe a cup of the syrup leftover. It works really nicely as a salad dressing!

                3. It looks gorgeous, but wasn't it like 11 bucks? That seems like a lot to shell out. I could be persuaded, though.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LauraGrace

                    It was 9.99 cover price. But there are no "articles" or ads or anything - just recipes. So I didn't mind the price.

                    1. re: LauraGrace

                      It is well worth the price, in my opinion. Lots of recipes. And, if you can find it at walmart, they discount cover prices of magazines....

                    2. Does it contain information for first time canners/preservers? This is something I've wanted to get into for awhile but am a little nervous about the whole process. I'll take a look for it today at lunch!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ladooShoppe

                        Yes. At the back there are pages with info about the equipment and process. But, in truth, it's not extensive.

                        If you've never done it before the Ball Blue Book or any of the more recently published books on preserving will give you lots more specific info about the process of canning. The US Dept of Agriculture also has info on the web. That said, even the directions on a box of pectin will give the info you need to make a basic freezer strawberry jam that will have excellent flavor and lovely color. And, for what it's worth, I started with a recipe for bread and butter pickles in an old cookbook and didn't poison a single person. ;> So I moved on to corn relish. I was rather proud of not killing a single loved one until I had teens and might have benefited from a convenient "excuse" for their disappearance...

                        Seriously, there are very, very important points of sanitation and preparation to take care of but once you do that -- and it's not all that challenging --- it's not difficult and many, many generations have survived home preserved foods. Give it a whirl!

                        1. re: rainey

                          Glad you didn't kill anyone, Rainey! LOL