Canning Adventures!

As a component of my graduate practicum project, I have decided to learn a very old-fashioned, yet sustainable way of preparing food- canning! This is a very intriguing practice to me, as I have never canned before in my life…but it’s never too late to learn something new, right? Especially when it pertains to your profession!

Canning has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and is a great way to preserve your seasonal fruits and vegetables. The biggest concern when it comes to this practice is making sure that you are canning properly and using safe methods. It also consumes a lot of time and requires some equipment, so make sure that you have the appropriate equipment, space, and a lot of free time on your hands to can successfully!

In order to learn the tricks of the trade, I asked my friend and classmate Jessica Oswald to help me out with my practicum project. Jessica is a Registered Dietitian and is an NC Cooperative Extension Agent for Orange and Alamance Counties in NC. She has just recently started teaching a canning and gardening class called, “From the Garden to the Pantry,” where she teaches the community how to can safely and effectively.  She has been nice enough to take me under her wing and teach me the basics of canning. I am also in the process of observing and assisting her with the summer canning classes, which I am super excited about!

If you are new to canning (like I am), there are three resources that I suggest you use before experimenting. Although it is temptin to jump right in, if canning is not completed safely, it could cause food bourne illess.

1. Make sure that you are using standardized recipes as found in the “Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.” These recipes are tested for safety and quality, and are tasty too!

2. If you have any questions, please contact your county’s Extension Agent. They really know their stuff!

3. For additional information, visit The National Center for Home Food Preservation a the University of Georgia: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp

For my first canning adventure, Jessica and I decided to try a batch of strawberry jam. Although it involved a lot of work and precision, it was really fun, and the jam turned out delicious! Here is the recipe we used, taken from the “Ball Blue Book.”

Strawberry Jam

Yield: 8 half-pints

2 quarts fresh strawberries

1 package powdered pectin

1/4 cup lemon juice

7 cups sugar (yikes!)

Wash strawberries and drain. Remove stems. Crush strawberries one layer a time.

Combine strawberries, pectin, and lemon juice in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim foam if necessary.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps.

 

*Don’t mind the writing on my arms, I was swimming in a triathlon the following day 🙂

Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

I strongly encourage everyone out there to try canning at least once in your life…it is really rewarding to see the fruits of your labor!

Have you ever canned before? If so, what do you enjoy about canning, and what are the best foods to can? Help the newbie canner out!

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2 Comments »

  1. Ann Noland said

    I just put up 7 pints of “Bread and Butter Pickles” – one of my favorites. I mostly make jams and preserves that we particularly enjoy and that I can use for Christmas presents. I agree it really feels good to have something so nice to show for your work.

    • That sounds great! I hope to become good enough at canning and get my owning equipment so that I can make gifts for my family this year as well. Your bread and butter pickles sound delicious!

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