Farm life. Man it was good. As I get older, I remember more and more of the things I used to do with my gram: grow our own veggies and flower gardens, bake real cookies and not worry about calories, enjoy fresh, raw milk from the cow and trade up for eggs with our Amish neighbors.
One of the things I forgot was how my gram would can pretty much everything. We had an entire pantry in our basement full of jar after jar of fruits, jams, and veggies. I always remembered a ton of green beans and sitting around a full kitchen table of them snapping the ends all afternoon while sipping on iced tea and watching gram prep all the jars.
So I thought – why am I not canning now? It’s a brilliant and super easy tradition. Basically if you can boil water, you can preserve food for the winter. Since we’re all big about fresh, seasonal foods all summer, why don’t we save them for enjoying during those cold winter months? We didn’t go out and order food or get tomatoes in the winter at the store, we ate what we have saved up from summer. I can’t believe I didn’t get into this sooner! Plus, it’s a super fun activity for the kids – who doesn’t love to smash berries??
How to start canning
First, you’re going to want to figure out which fruits and veggies you’ll want to save. Then you’re going to want to get the Ball Blue Book: Complete Guide to Preserving- which will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know. (Fruits and tomatoes are easiest because they can preserve in a water bath, while veggies like beans need a pressure cooker – aka higher heat – to preserve).
The easiest way to get started with canning is with fruit. Depending on the season, make a jam with the abundant berry available.
Blueberry Lemon Jam
I use 4 cups of smashed blueberries to 2 1/2 cup sugar (you can use more!). Then I like to squeeze in the juice of one full lemon, and a little lemon rind zest. Heat on high until a steady boil (be sure to stir constantly so it doesn’t stick). After about 10 minutes the berries will become a syrupy deliciousness. Pour into a hot jar and then boil in a steady boil for about 10 minutes (for a pint jar) or 15 minutes (for a quart jar).
Homemade Tomato Sauce
I make this all. the. time. Follow my favorite recipe here, and then add it to a hot jar and a steady boil water bath for 35 minutes.
Really want to get started? Join a live webinar with Ball
On Sunday August 2nd, Jarden Home Brands will host this year’s fifth annual Can-It-Forward Day, broadcast live online at FreshPreserving.com from 11AM – 4PM EST from the new state-of-the-art Jarden Home Brands headquarters in Fishers, Indiana. An event celebrating the joys of fresh preserving, Can-It-Forward Day encourages gardeners & food enthusiasts across the country to celebrate what “Made From Here” means to them by fresh preserving their favorite local ingredients in peak season. The webcast will have an integrated chat function where viewers can submit their home canning questions to be answered in real time. New this year, there will also be an exciting celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the webcast.
Win a set of jars to get started!
If you have a large, covered pot – all you need are pint jars to get started! Enter here to win your own set and become a canner this summer!