Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adventures in Canning

I've been dying to start canning stuff for months now. I just decided to do it and get it over with. See if I could really do it and if it was as easy as some people make it out to be. And after giving it a go myself, I learned that it's really not hard after all.
I canned Strawberry Jam, Raspberry/Blackberry Jam, Triple Berry Jam (strawberry, raspberry and blackberry), Bread and Butter Pickles, and Spicy Pickled Garlic.

The first thing I tried was the Pickled Garlic. I got the recipe online from a site called "Pinch My Salt". It was a really simple recipe. The only problem I ended up having was that my garlic turned blue. It freaked me out pretty bad. I actually threw out the first batch because scared me so much. It looked fine when I canned it but after about 20 minutes, the garlic started to change color. According to a site called Food Preservation (and EVERY other site I visited when inquiring about my blue garlic), garlic turns blue as a reaction to the pickling process and IS safe to eat. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with it. It's just a little freaky if you're not aware that it can happen. The recipe I used called for a chili pepper but I threw in two tobasco peppers. I have honestly never tried pickled garlic. I just know that other family members of mine LOVE it. I'm still a little scared to try but I will say that the batch that I ended up throwing out made the trashcan (and the entire rest of the house) smell like garlicy goodness!

And after it "blued"...

Before the garlic "blued"...

The second thing I tried were the jams. These were crazy easy because my bread machine has a jam setting on it. The recipe called for two cups of chopped fruit, a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of fruit pectin. Throw it all in and turn it on. I made three different jams with it. So far, I've only tasted the strawberry jam and it was amazing.
Strawberry Jam

Blackberry/Raspberry Jam


The final canning project was Bread and Butter Pickles. I was so excited to try and make these since they're a delightful part of my childhood memories. They're also a delicious part of my dad's childhood memories. They were REALLY easy to make. And they're so good. They taste just like the ones my parents used to can when I was a kid. Seriously, eating them took me back to simpler times. I will always have a jar in my fridge from now on. The recipe I used was from Simply Canning.


I can not stress how simple it is to make these. I mean, I was able to do all this while taking care of a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a 5 month old all by myself. No sweat. I highly recommend canning to any one that has the ability to do it. There's something satisfying about knowing that you've prepared your own foods and that you've been able to stock up on random things with out having to spend a ton of money. I got all my jars really cheap at Walmart. Many of the pickling salts and spices I found in the spice isle of Walmart too. If you're able to do it, it'll save money in the long run and you'll be amazed at what you're able to can.

I highly recommend you do your research before you begin canning though. I was surprised at what you CAN can but even more so at what you can't. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is an excellent website to browse through before you begin. It's a website approved of by the USDA and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service System. It provides safety tips and resources. It's easy to can but it's also easy to mess it up if you're not careful.



I'll have to try those pickles! I will get my recipe up on my jam soon as well for you to check out :)

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