Monday, December 10, 2012

Can It! Canning Veggies & Fruits

Ok, let me throw out a disclaimer first thing.  I am not an expert in canning.  I cannot tell you the right temperatures to reach in canning and depending on your elevation levels how it may vary.  Let, me say that again. I am not an expert on canning.  I know enough that I know some things can be canned with water baths only, but other things must be done in a pressure canner. I know enough to refer you to the experts.  This is one website that my father recommended I share from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Here is what I am an expert on- the fun and memories created in making such fresh foods.  The pride I feel from helping getting fresh ingredients from the garden, creating something wonderfully tasty and safe for our families' multiple allergies, and knowing they are eating healthy each and every time I open it for lunch or dinner.  Each time we can new foods I will share our recipes and experience.  Go ahead and purchase your canning kit and be ready for the next time we play in the kitchen. Our canning kit is similar to the one above.  I personally would recommend purchasing one with all of the accessories with it.

This is one of my favorite jams we have ever, ever created!!!  One of the special things about creating your own jams and jellies is sharing them with friends and family.  This elderberry jam is so delicious that I did not want to share it at all.  (Um, I'm not kidding.  If you got a jar, consider yourself blessed!)  We actually made two batches of it.  The first one we created an elderberry syrup because um, well, that's what happens apparently when you purchase the wrong kind of pectin (tip number one- purchase the right pectin for the job!).  Elderberries are so succulent and sweet that they allowed our mistake to become an amazing syrup for pancake breakfasts in the morning. 

My father however, is not a quitter.  Despite our oohing and aahing over how delicious this "mistake" was, in his book, it was still a mistake.  So, he went back out and painstakingly picked more of the wonderful, TINY purple berries and returned another day to can yet again.  You won't hear any of us complain.  We love time in the kitchen with my father, well, we just love time with my father period. This time we really did make jelly. (And we also learned that if you move the very large pot of steaming water over too far from the center of the eye it will make your laminate wood cabinets warp.  So, tip number two, be sure the pot is perfectly centered on the burner.)

A few weeks later we made blueberry jelly too.  The blueberry jelly is not as sweet, but it taste just like fresh blueberries.  Deliciousness!

Blueberry Jelly

Elderberry Jam

The covers were simply made by cutting felt into the needed shapes and hand stitching them onto the felt fabric.  I handstich because I do not know how to use a sewing machine!  It's on my list of things to learn.... along with how to create better photographs, get my already purchased domain name on my blog, and organize my blog a little better. All in due time I suppose.

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