Sunday, June 6, 2010

Canning Jam, Jelly, Salsa and Chutney

Canning is something that I've wanted to try for quite a while. For the past several years I've pickled cukes and beets and had them taking up space in my fridge for most of a year. That worked ok, but being able to put them in the pantry would be much nicer. So when I saw that House Party was looking for hosts for a Ball Canning Party, I applied and was chosen. They sent me a water bath canner, a canning discovery kit, about 20 boxes of pectin, canning tools like a lid lifter and bottle tongs and coupons for 4 cases of canning jars. With all that I had more than enough supplies to make a lot of canned food. To learn to use the canner, I made pepper jelly the weekend ahead. The coordination of washing jars, cooking food, simmering lids and processing the cans was a bit of a chaotic dance, but hubby and I got it made.

For the Canning Party I invited some friends over to help with with the chopping and processing... and chatting and laughing. My only issue with the House Party is their invite tool, which seemed to send a lot of invites either into people's spam folders or into never never land. (so if you didn't get an email invite and you live close by it probably went into your spam folder, but we'll do it again in summer and anyone who's interested is invited. ) But even with half of the invites getting lost we had enough people to make Salsa, Strawberry jam and apple chutney. The apple chutney was made ahead and brought by a friend, then we canned it at the party. The Salsa and jam were both made start to finish at the party.

Water bath canning can be used to preserve any high-acid food like pickles, tomato sauces, fruit jams and jellies and the like. Anything that's not high acid must be processed in a pressure canner. That always sounded really intimidating to me. Although water bath canning seemed intimidating as well, and it was a timing challenge but not really hard.

So the basic process for water bath canning is this:

1. run your jars - not lids and bands - through the dishwasher sanitize cycle.
2. hand wash lids and rings in warm soapy water
3. simmer lids but not rings in near boiling water - about 180 degrees while doing everything else.
4. fill your canner or big pot with water half way to the top (make sure that jars submerged in water are covered by water by 1 to 2 inches) and bring to a boil.
5. prepare your recipe. Core, peal, chop veggies and fruits and cook according to recipe directions until mixture is at a boil.
6. When jars are washed and still hot, canner water is boiling, lids are at a simmer and recipe is boiling ladle recipe into warm jars.
7. after filling jars wipe rims with a wet towel then put lids and rings on jars.
8. put sealed jars into boiling canner water and submerge
9. boil for 15 minutes or whatever your canning recipe tells you. The smaller the jar the less time you need to process. 15 minutes was the recommended time for an 8 oz jar.
10. Remove jars from water and sit upright on the counter. When you hear the POP of each lid and can not push lids down with your finger they are sealed.

The recipe for the strawberry jam came from the inside of the pectin box. It was basically 6 Cups of hulled and crushed strawberries, 4 Cups of sugar and a box of pectin. The pepper jelly recipe and the salsa recipe came from the House Party - Ball Taste of Summer site, but I'm sure finding recipes for these would be easy online.
Now I'm just looking around for things to can. I know I'll make all kinds of pickles this summer, and from the look of the strawberry plants in my garden, maybe I'll make some jam from my own garden fruit! Happy Canning!


  1. Thanks for a great night and for posting the photos... FUN! And we are all enjoying the yummy preserves, pickles and salsa!

  2. Congrats on this adventure! Wanna can applesauce in the fall? And all the blackberries we have around here - my freezer can only hold so much.:-0

  3. ooh, blackberry jam would be yummy! I have so many apples in the fall that I really should can applesauce this year rather than freezing. My freezer is always too full.



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