Summer Canning

Our current temperature in Kansas is roughly the surface of the sun with like 1,000% humidity. So why wouldn’t I want to haul out all my canning supplies and heat up my kitchen? I was having some anxiety related to world events and general unrest so I felt the need to make something. That feeling turned into one batch of strawberry rhubarb jam, two batches of blackberry jam, two batches of peach jam and one batch of strawberry jam.

Jellybean helped me off and on saying that he “didn’t like the hot and sticky parts”. Which we all know is almost the whole process. He did like how dark and ruby colored the blackberries cooked down into. All this fruit, except for the strawberries, was homegrown from my families gardens. To me this gave me a grounded feeling and a connection to people I can’t visit right now.

This project did make me feel a bit better. I did have a tiny bit of frustration when my peach jam didn’t set and I had to haul all the supplies back out to re-cook and add more pectin. But the re-do process did seem to work. Now I have some jelly stores for the next year and enough to give as gifts this holiday season.

How is everyone else coping lately?

Let’s Make Pear Jelly

My neighbor has a pear tree that was LOADED this year. I managed to be the recipient of two grocery sacks of pears this fall. I managed to get the bulk of them ripe at the same time and decided to make pear jelly.

The hubby did his best to keep the tiny humans away from the boiling hot liquids. I managed to get all the pear juice I needed and then sieved the pulp into pear-sauce for the kids.

In the end I got six pints of jelly. It is a very loose set though. I can tip my jars and see the contents move around and I see some juice on top. I need to consult my grandmother, the expert jelly maker, to see if this is a problem or not. I’m pretty sure you can attempt to re-set jelly but I’ll need to use the inter-webs.

But for now I’m feeling proud of this amber colored goodness!

Canning Day

I had some rare toddler free time thanks to the miracle that is a friends sleepover. I decided to put my butt in gear! I harvested fresh basil from the garden and made some yummy pesto! I froze this batch into little discs to pull out this winter.

And I picked five lbs of apples for making jelly. I was a little disappointed that after cooking I only got four cups of juice when the jelly recipe called for seven. Jam and jelly require precise measuring so I had to fudge a little and used some of apple sauce pulp mixed with some purified water to get to seven cups of liquid. The jelly is very cloudy as a result and set very very firm. I’m definitely going to taste this before sharing with anyone…

I had been cleaning out the freezer and found four gallon sized bags of last years tomatoes. I decided to cook them down into sauce. I managed to get eight whole pints!

The house was very warm all day and I ended up running the dishwasher three times but it was very nice to stock my pantry and feel like I accomplished something off my list!

FO Friday: Summer Canning

My feet and I survived our canning session last weekend!

What were my spoils you ask?

– 11 pints of brown sugar/cinnamon apple sauce
– 5 full pints and 11 1/2 pints of apple jelly


And 16 glorious pints of tomato sauce!!


I’d still like to put up more salsa and tomato sauce but that will be schedule and pregnancy permitting. Just going with the flow at this point!

What’s in your canner lately?

Fall in Kansas = Homemade Jam

I grew up in the sticks… waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere Kansas. My family hunted, fished, and gardened all passed down through several generations. For as long back I can remember we have canned tomatoes, froze vegetables, froze meat, and preserved jam. As a child I didn’t see the point but as I have gotten older (presumably wiser) I find that I have the desire to do all those things that I used to think were dumb.

I just bought 1/2 a prime Kansas side of beef from a local rancher friend. This means our freezer will be FULL of beef for the year. I love locally grown Kansas grain fed beef (drool). However, I had some fruit I harvested from my grandparents trees, vines, bushes, etc in the freezer that needed to be worked up to make room. So I decided to can some jam!

A short trip to Walmart for sone essentials and I was ready to go! I had the fruit for and wanted to make sour cherry, mixed red/black raspberry, and mixed berry. My grandmother always used Sure Jell and got great results. So that’s what I use. It’s great because the recipe inside usually only calls for fruit, sugar, and pectin. I follow the instructions inside the box in case any one is wanting my recipe, lol.

I love cooking and watching the food transform, especially with home grown hand picked produce! Downside to this process, I only have one large burner on my stove so I had to do a lot of pot and pan swapping and shuffling!


I cooked the fruit in the large burner and sterilized my jars in my canning pot on the small burner. (And drinking a coke to keep my energy up). When the jam was fully cooked I poured into the jars on the counter while moving the canning pot to the big burner to bring it to boil so I could seal the jars. And then switching back again to start the next batch.

On a side note, I don’t like big chunks of fruit so I run it through a food processor to make smooth before I cook it. I like the nutrition (ha, that is before the multiple cups of sugar added of course) and flavor of the whole fruit, just not the chunky texture.


After four hours of processing, cooking, switching, and shuffling I had seven batches of jam that made the equivalent of 41 half pints of jam!


My notes on this project:

– I had waaaay more fruit than I thought and now I have waaaay more jam than I can eat! Undoubtedly some of this will end up as Christmas presents πŸ™‚

– I was not as exact as I should have been on my measurements as I should have been. Therefore some of my jam batches set “harder” or thicker than others. Oh well, it still tastes good!

– Having only one larger burner slowed this process down way to far. Argh….

– Some of my jars didn’t seal right away after canning and I freaked. If they don’t seal you have to freeze them and they don’t have as long if a shelf life. Turned out I panicked early because by morning when they were completely cool, they all sealed! Thank heavens πŸ™‚

Mostly I found that I enjoy working with food and my own two hands. Probably why I also like knitting because I create things with my hands. While I spent hours in the hot kitchen I still had a good time and have goods to show for my effort!

Happy Knitting! (And canning!)