Can you can? Yes you can!!! Interested in canning? Your grandma did it. Your mom thought she didn't want to learn, but now YOU want to learn!! Canning is coming back baby!!! Picking and preserving your food at its height of freshness DOES make a difference. Canning, along with freezing, helps you to extend your harvest throughout the year and make some pretty yummy items. Plus-it's really no hard to learn!
If you've ever made jam before you have probably been disgusted at the sugar to fruit ratio. Typical ratios are 1:1. That is 1 cup of sugar for every 1 cup of smashed fruit you're using! Wowsa! I couldn't take this. I also didn't want to use refined sugars in my jam. After a little research, I found this great company called Pomona's Pectin. They are a small family-run business and have a Jam Hotline that they answer to help with any questions you may have!! They use a pectin derived naturally from apples and allows you to use little to no sugar. Ball low-sugar pectin still require a bit of sugar, and I feel the taste is always a little off. When you use other brand pectins, you are also warned about making larger batches. I feel that the only way to get your canning done is to do it in large batches! Pomona's Pectin lets you do this too.
You may be saying-what the heck is pectin? Pectin is a naturally occurring substance that thickens sauces. Think of it like a vegetarian gelatin. Some fruits naturally have more of this than others, and don't require the addition of pectin. Strawberries and apples to name a few, fall into the no pectin required category. Other fruits require pectin to help the jam set and thicken. Sugar helps with this process, as well as bulking up your recipe. When you make low sugar jams, you will use much more fruit and get less jars made. We're ok with this, since we like fruit and not cupfuls of sugar on our sandwiches.
If you've never canned, you should try it! While it takes some time, there is nothing like your own jam, made with in-season fruits. It makes beautiful presents for friends, family, and teachers. You will be loved! How pretty are these?
Place a homemade label, tie a bow on them, and call it a day! The steps to make one kind of jam, are the same steps you'd do to can any jam (and to can fruits like tomatoes, peaches, pears, etc). You need a little added acid to prevent spoilage and to keep bacteria at bay. You also need to make sure everything is prepped ahead of time and fully cleaned/boiled. Check out my You Tube video on How To Make Blueberry Jam, as I go through the steps in detail (I needed a camera assistant).
For equipment: Invest in the Ball Canning Kit. It comes with a pot, insert, and the tools needed to can like a lid opener, funnel, magnet tool, and jar lifter. Also-invest in the Ball Canning Guide To Canning Cook "Book".
How To Make Jam/Can Jam:
- Fill your canner with water and bring to just under boiling. When canning, the biggest thing is to have all of your jars, rings, and lids ready to go. Make sure they've been washed with hot soapy water. As you're making the jam, place jars and rings into canner with hot, almost boiling water.
- Mash berries/fruit in a pot, add lemon juice, cinnamon, and calcium water (for real recipe-visit www.gardenfreshfoodie.com).
- Place pectin into maple syrup and pour into jam, bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes.
- Fill jars with hot jam. Wipe tops of jars, making sure tops are clean.
- Drop lids into hot, almost boiling water for 10 seconds, remove and place hot lids on top of jars. Place rings around jars and place into canner. Lower into boiling water. Place lid on canner and boil for 12 minutes. Remove from water and allow jars to completely cool. You should hear popping noises, as jam compressing in jars and causes pressure to change inside jars, forming a seal.
- Check seals, by trying to pull up on lids after jars have cooled. They should also appear indented on tops if sealed properly. If jar didn't seal, place into fridge to be eaten withing 2-3 weeks or freezer for up to 6 months.
Canned jam should last for 12-24 months if stored in a cool, dry place.
So-dust off Grandma's old canning equipment, or go grab some new stuff. You'll be so excited to learn how to make your own jams. Invent your own flavor combinations! Get Canning!!!
Here are some of my low-sugar jam recipes-more coming soon on www.gardenfreshfoodie.com this summer:
Coming this summer: Peach Low Sugar Jam and Cherry Low Sugar Jam!!!
Looking For Some Other Canning Ideas?
Until next time.....Happy, Healthy Eating!!
Jessica from www.gardenfreshfoodie.com