Canning & Preserving

Today’s post is about freezer jam, canning and preserving

…so lately, you’ve heard me talk about how much I love making freezer jam.  My girlfriend Amanda was talking about it one day and then later, brought me a jar and we LOVED it.  I asked Amanda how she made it and bam.  I was off to make me some jam…

I quickly became obsessed with making freezer jam and friends, I now have over 50 jars in my freezer.  I know.  I need to stop.  But I LOVE making it!!  I find it easy, relaxing and quite satisfying to eat.  Here’s what you do…

1: First, you buy pectin at the grocery store.  Now, my store sells two different kinds, and I’ve tried them both.  The one of the left is powdery, so you boil it with water as part of the recipe.  The one of the right is liquid, so you literally just add it in (you get to skip the extra step of boiling it with water).  My store sells pectin in two places…by the pudding/Jello and such and then also by the canning jars.  After you pick your Pectin, you…

2: Get out the recipe list from inside the box.  Easy as that.  Right in each box there is a recipe for all sorts of freezer jams.  YOU MUST FOLLOW THE RECIPES EXACTLY.  I’ve been reading a ton about making jam (see below) and the number one thing I’ve learned is to follow the recipes EXACTLY.  Do not modify the amounts of fruit, sugar or especially citrus (because that’s in there for a reason).  If you do it wrong, not only will your jam not turn out, but you could cause bacteria to grow inside your jar.  No thanks.  So far, I’ve made raspberry, blackberry and strawberry freezer jam.  Another tip is to make sure you are using fruit that is in season.  If your fruit is blah (my blueberries right now are blah), then your jam will be too.  So, wait until your fruit is at its peak and then make jam.

3: You process your fruit and start making jam.  Easy.  On this day, I was making strawberry freezer jam.  I use my blender to crush my fruit and then measure it exactly into my measuring cup.

This recipe called for 4 cups of crushed strawberries.

I have found that it takes more fruit than you think, so buy enough!  Also, check your recipe in advance and make sure you have enough sugar too.  I like to make my freezer jam and store them in 8 oz jars (that have been cleaned!!).  To clean my jars for freezer jam, I use my dishwasher and wash all three parts (jar, ring and lid).   You have to start with clean jars!!!

This stuff seriously makes things so easy!!  With one recipe, I can typically get 8 little jars of jam.

 

So, that’s freezer jam.

Canning is a whole other thing.

Whew.

Here we go.

After I realized how much I enjoyed making freezer jam, I decided to dive into canning and preserving.

After a little research, I learned two very important things:

  1. Don’t use other people’s recipes.
  2. Go to a trusted source ONLY

At first, I did what I always do…I went to Pinterest and started pinning.  Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that other people’s pins might be fantastic…or they might not be exactly right, and if you can something incorrectly, your food could easily become contaminated with things that could kill someone who ate it.

Let me say that again.

If you can incorrectly (and eat it!), you could die.

Yeah.

It says that on the internet.

A lot.

Insert me being really nervous at this point.

So, TONS of people online (and even you guys!) told me to read these books…

The All New Ball Book of Canning & Preserving and…

The Ball Canning Back To Basics.

Side note, I do not know the people at Ball and this is not sponsored…but after all of my research, I seriously consider them the authority on canning and preserving, and I would not start off canning and preserving without using their methods and recipes.

As you can see by my sticky notes, I read through both books more than once and marked the heck out of them.  I was underlining, highlighting, tagging and memorizing major segments of both books because I don’t want to can something and then it have a bacteria in it that could harm someone.

(Another side note, it was about at this point that I realized canning and preserving is not the relaxing hobby I thought it would be.  Hahahahaha!)

After all of my research, I realized step one was having the right material on hand for this process.

Here is what I already had:
1: A dutch oven (see my white one back there in the pic below)
2: Non-reactive spatulas
3: A large medal spoon
4: A candy thermometer
5. A food processor

Here is what I needed to buy:
1: Jars that were the correct size for the correct recipes
2: A stainless steel waterbath canner and rack (pictured on the right back there in the pic below)
3: A canning kit that included all of the utensils I would need to remove air bubbles, funnel in my food, etc.

So, I marked down a ton of recipes that I want to try (Worcestershire Sauce, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, pickles, candied jalapenos and more!), but thought I would start off with good old-fashioned marmalade.  It took me two hours and only produced three large jars, but friends, it made me proud.  Ha!

I did not anticipate it taking me so long, but the process is tedious (washing jars, keeping jars warm in hot water on the stove, chopping and preparing fruit, boiling down fruit in my dutch oven (stirring pretty constantly), removing foam, adding hot marmalade to hot jars and then processing them…which is when you add the jars back into the boiling water).  When it was over, my jars had to sit for 12 hours and then I had to remove the rings and “test” the lids to make sure they were sealed tight.  I was so nervous because if they weren’t, it was all for nothing.  Agh!

Here I am about to get my fruit/sugar mixture going…

…and here it is after it’s been bubbling a bit.

My jars, meanwhile, have been staying warm in here.

And then the next day (after sitting 12 hours), I had this…

JARS OF MARMALADE!

Hahahahaha!  I was so proud!  We have already opened one jar and it’s so good!!!  The other two jars and tucked away in the pantry and can be saved for up to 12 months.  How cool is that?!

And now…I’m off to can something else.

I’ve decided that canning and preserving has its peaceful moments (which is what I love when cooking), but it also has its share of stressful moments too.  My takeaways from my first adventure in canning are to make sure you use trusted recipes only (I will not be using the random recipes I pinned on Pinterest), make sure you have the right jars, make sure your jars, lids and rings are properly cleaned BEFORE you start and do not alter the recipe one bit.  My kiddos think it’s so fun that we’re diving into this.  Plus, I’m excited that this summer when my veggie garden gets out of control (like it does every year), I can can some of the produce to eat later on.

Whew.

Okay, all of you home canners and preservers…give me your tips.  I covet all of them!!

And one last thing for fun today!  Head on over HERE to see my recipe for Bacon Marmalade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches that you can make with homemade marmalade (or store bought!)…

Bacon Marmalade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

…this is like my favorite flavor combination.  Ever.  In the history of the world.

xo

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog April 24, 2018 at 4:41 am

    Thank you for this super helpful guide, Shay! I feel like this post was written for me, been really considering making my own jam with summer rolling around. It isn’t too difficult, too! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Erika Slaughter April 24, 2018 at 5:05 am

    You’re like the Little Red Hen and I’m one of those other animals not interested one bit in canning but when you whip up those Bacon Marmalade Griled Cheese, I’ll be knocking at your door. I won’t blame you one bit if you don’t answer. #lessonlearned 😝😝

    • Robin April 24, 2018 at 7:13 am

      I’m with Erika. Multiple steps? Bacteria? People might die? Way too much pressure! I’ll just by the store stuff (didn’t realize I was putting our lives in their hands either🤦‍♀️) and make that sandwich – yum!!:)

      • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

        Hahahahahaha!

  • Jordan@the2seasons April 24, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Oh my we were obsessed with canning a few years ago. We used this book a friend told us about and it is awesome. The Spicey carrots are amazing and not stressful. I dream about them hahah . They also have great dilly bean recipe which is tasty on a summer sandwich. Check this one out you will like it. https://www.amazon.com/Put-Up-Comprehensive-Preserving-Creative/dp/1603425462/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317131183&sr=8-1

  • Tara G. April 24, 2018 at 5:24 am

    I love to hear the *pop* of lids sealing! 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 5:36 am

      Made me so nervous!!!!!!!

  • Kristine April 24, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Crazy question but….your Dutch oven pan, is it super heavy? I bought one on amazon that is so heavy just empty I hardly use it because when it’s full I can hardly lift it 😳

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 5:36 am

      Mine is from Le Creuset and yes, it’s heavy. I can still lift it, but it’s heavy!

  • Elspeth Mizner April 24, 2018 at 5:31 am

    It’s always fun to try something new especially in the kitchen. What’s been you favorite thing to can/preserve?

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 5:35 am

      Freezer jam 🙂

  • Narci Dreffs April 24, 2018 at 5:49 am

    I love that you are doing this!! Also, you know where I live. Bring me all the freezer jam! 😉

  • Abby April 24, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Ok, I might have totally missed it but did you ad sugar? When I’ve used Suregel I’ve always had to add quite a bit. Thanks!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 6:16 am

      Yes! You add it to your processed fruit when making freezer jam.

  • Ella | The Bookish Expedition April 24, 2018 at 6:12 am

    This was so interesting to learn about! I don’t think I know anyone who cans or preserves. The only time I’ve heard of preserving is when I read Anne of Green Gables (have you read it? If not, I highly recommend it! It’s about an orphan girl growing up in the early 1900s in Canada. and it is just a delight to read and so heart-warming and just a sweet story and a total classic). But anyway, preserving seems a lot more complicated than I thought! I never knew how much time went into it.

  • Sheaffer Sims April 24, 2018 at 6:31 am

    I like jam. You know where I live.

  • Johannah April 24, 2018 at 6:46 am

    I don’t have any tips, but making jam is so much fun! I also really really love making bread and butter pickles during cucumber season. I use my dads great aunts recipe and oh my word they are SO good!!

    • Heath April 25, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Send me the bread and butter recipe
      Thanks

  • Lisa D April 24, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Freezer jam is so easy and yummy, we love fresh strawberry jam. My kids would make toast with strawberry jam for a snack and just like that the whole jar would be gone!

  • Kristi April 24, 2018 at 6:50 am

    I think this is so cool! People don’t can anymore. My mom canned tomato sauce using tomatoes from our garden. Then she would use it all winter in chili, stews and sauces. My dad would also drink it. She and my aunts canned all kinds of jams and jellies too. We never had store bought jam!

  • Laura April 24, 2018 at 6:56 am

    You should make your own salsa!

  • Brooke Richardson April 24, 2018 at 7:00 am

    This is so interesting! I might have to try this.

  • Dana April 24, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Maybe you’ll start a canning trend with our generation, ha! I have to be honest- this looks super intimidating. Someone gave us some marmelade a while back and I’ve always been scared to eat it because I don’t know if she was meticulous in preparing it. I tell you what though- I have memories of both of my grandmas making some killer homemade sweet pickles and if I could recreate those it would all be worth it! Also, I saw a sign here the other day with the canning goods that said you have to always use new lids and rings? I don’t know if they were just trying to upsell, but it might be worth checking. Maybe I’ll start with some freezer jam and see how that goes. 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 7:12 am

      In my books, it says that you can reuse the jars and rings but not the lids. So many rules, Dana!! I’ll keep you posted 🙂 .

      • Stacy April 27, 2018 at 6:43 am

        As long as you open carefully and don’t bend the lids – they can be reused too. (We take a butter knife and find a spot that doesn’t have the rings and then gently pop it up. If the lid looks new, it can be washed and re-used.

  • Brooke April 24, 2018 at 7:13 am

    #1 TIP! Skip the stovetop canning, except for your jam it’s easy enough to do small batches. Use a camp chef and two big canners and do it all outside! Saves the mess and you can can a huge batch of anything! I process at least 12 quarts of spaghetti sauce or sliced peaches or whatever I’m canning at a time by using my camp chef and big canners.

    • Katie A April 24, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Yes! All outside! That’s what we do! It takes my electric stove FOREVER to boil those big pots. So we moved it all outside and boom done!

  • Natalie April 24, 2018 at 7:16 am

    I’m gonna try this. I get so many ideas from you Shay. Have a great day ..

  • kathy April 24, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Is there anything better than blackberry jam on a biscuit?
    I wish you shipped jams!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

      Nope. There is not!

  • Debbie K April 24, 2018 at 7:22 am

    I use a pressure cooker canner and preserve things from my garden every year. Love the popping of the seals! My mom/grandma always told me that you can’t open the jars until the first snowflake flies. We are sure to watch for that first flake!!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

      Well, I just love that 🙂 .

  • Chrystianne Santos April 24, 2018 at 7:23 am

    My grandma makes all her jam in her tiny little kitchen in Portugal and I do not recall all those steps. As a kid I used to watch her boil it all with some sugar and a cinnamon stick and call it a day. Maybe I wasn’t being observant enough? Either way, I will stick to letting grandma and my aunt make all the jam….I’ll just eat it. 🙂

  • Abigail Carter April 24, 2018 at 7:24 am

    So fun! I froze corn with my grandma for years growing up. Now that she is gone I still do it & it always reminds me of her. Freezer sweet corn is SO easy and SO good – it is done with freezer quart bags…you don’t have to mess with jars. My 4yr old is now a corn snob…he can tell the difference between that corn and canned! HA!

    • Cindy April 24, 2018 at 8:37 am

      So much fun.

  • Lauren Barnett April 24, 2018 at 7:26 am

    My family loves to can! My grandmother and I spend one week every July canning green beans! We canned so many one year that we gave them away as Christmas presents! It is such a fun family tradition.

  • Mother Henn April 24, 2018 at 7:28 am

    My mom and grandmothers always canned what came in from their gardens and made jellies and jams. As a kid, I didn’t appreciate it. Now, I want to learn and my grandmothers have passed on. It’s kind of like a story you pass down, and I regret not learning it from them. I’ve helped my mom make freezer jam and can green beans, and you’re right….it’s so satisfying when you’re finished, but man it is work! I think the memories you make when doing it together are the best part, and want my girls to get to experience their mom and grandmother doing these acts of love in the kitchen just like I did.

  • Debbie K April 24, 2018 at 7:29 am

    PS… Yes you can reuse jars and rings. You are not supposed to reuse lids, but some people do. I’m not willing to chance it.

    • Katie April 24, 2018 at 8:43 am

      You can reuse lids to freeze it, but if you actually can it the seal on the lid is only good one time.

  • Stacy Beach April 24, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Oh I love that you are doing this! Keep sharing! I tried to get into this several years ago, but got intimidated by the whole…YOU MIGHT DIE IF YOU DO THIS WRONG…part! Haha!! Maybe I’ll give it another go.

  • Rachel April 24, 2018 at 7:44 am

    I think I might crumble under the pressure of canning! But I’m glad you are enjoying it! haha

  • Stacy Beach April 24, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I forgot to add, before I got scared off from canning, I was loading up with supplies and went to my Farmer’s Market and told the farmer what I was buying tomatoes for and she said…oh here take all these “ugly” tomatoes, I won’t be able to sell them! I got BOXES of tomatoes for super cheap. So it pays to talk to the Farmer’s! (I ended up pouring my spaghetti sauce into muffin tins and freezing)

  • Lindsay D April 24, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I remember my mom and grandma canning when I was a child. My parents had a huge garden! They canned lots of tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, salsa and pickles. It was such a huge process! 🙂 Enjoy! Hard to beat sauce with homegrown tomatoes!

  • Karen Ivy April 24, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Are you storing your freezer jam in the pantry? (Is that a dumb question?! ha!) And do you know how long it lasts that way?
    Thinking freezer jam might be nice gifts at some point in the year, but wondering how much in advance I could have them done and stored! 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 9:15 am

      That’s a great question! In the freezer!!

  • Meagan Ruse April 24, 2018 at 8:01 am

    You’re making me nostalgic, watching my Grandpa make jam….His go-to jams are: Apple Butter, Peach, Apricot, Raspberry, Blackberry, Pear, and Plum. You should try the last two and then let me taste test!

  • Tracy April 24, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Great canning post. Love all the pictures. Would love it if you’d start adding more photos to your recipe posts. Love seeing the process. 🙂

  • Lauren April 24, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I use the Ball Fresh TECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker!!!! It is so easy!!!!

  • TrishR April 24, 2018 at 8:24 am

    So fun to read this, as I caught the Canning Bug a few summers ago. Yes, it is a bit intimidating at first, but doesn’t stay that way. Like anything else, you learn to “know” when something seems off. And as long as you follow the recipe, you won’t kill anyone I promise. Honestly I got over some of my fears of canning much like I did with fears of childbirth – I kept reminding myself that women have been doing this for a very long time just fine, so I can do it too!!! 😀 I would strongly recommend following Marisa at “Food In Jars.” She knows EVERYTHING about canning, has excellent FAQS and answers, and wonderful recipes on her blog that vary from the Ball ones. And my number one suggestion is to can some whole tomatoes this summer. Tuck them away, and you will not believe the taste and smell next winter when you pull out and open one of those jars! I always use Roma tomatoes and I truly hoard them, thinking “Is this recipe good enough for the home-canned tomatoes?” Have fun!!! Happy to help if you have any questions 😉

  • Emily April 24, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I recently saw where you can use an instant pot for canning. May be worth a try if I don’t have to buy a ton of more stuff. I make my own spaghetti sauces and usually just freeze them but could be interesting to try canning it (at least the marinara one). My grandmother always had green beans and corn canned. When I want jam I take the easy way out and just ask my MIL to make it. 😉

  • Sara April 24, 2018 at 8:30 am

    As you get more comfortable with it, it gets more relaxing. I have a friend who has a large garden and we get together every fall to can tomato sauce, beets, pickles, salsa, and a million other delicious things. We always reuse the cans and rings – but never the lid. My kids are careful save the empty jars … because we can return them the “Uncle Phil” for a full one 🙂

  • Katie April 24, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Welcome to the world of canning! My husband is a farmer and I spend all summer canning local fruits and veggies and love pulling them from the basement all winter long. One quick tip: keep an eye on your headspace in your jars (distance between the top of the canned food and the rim of the jar. Almost everything I’ve canned requires 1/4″ headspace (or at most, 1/2″). As I understand it, having substantial headspace like you do on your marmalade can decrease the integrity of the seal on the jar and increase risk of bacteria. Also, this website is super old school, but in addition to the Ball resources, I get many of my recipes and instructions for canning here: http://www.pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm Have fun!!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 9:14 am

      Just looked up that website. Thank you so much!!!!

  • Mandee April 24, 2018 at 8:37 am

    You should try fridge pickles! Maybe there’s a better name for them? It’s kind of like lazy canning. Much less pressure because they stay in the fridge and therefore don’t have all the rules about sealing and such. Of course it means they’re good for a much shorter amount of time, but totally worth it and so delicious!

  • Katie April 24, 2018 at 8:39 am

    My biggest tip, that I tell everyone who asks me how to make jam, is to buy Pamona’s Pectin. It is a pectin derived from citrus peels that uses calcium water (included in the pack when you buy) to set instead of the sugar, so you don’t have to use so much sugar and you can’t can honey or other alternative sweetener. I make a ton of jam every year (family of nine) and can make it so quickly with Pamona’s Pectin because you can multiply the recipe (I do quadruple batches or more), which you can not do with Sure Gel. You may have to order it, but I have found it in the natural/organic area in some stores. I love it so much I buy it in bulk by the half pound 😂.

    • Katie April 24, 2018 at 8:47 am

      That should say “can use honey”, not can’t 😬. I make my jam with honey or very little sugar and just super tasty fruit.

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Love this! Thank you, Katie!!

    • Katie April 24, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Also…I just rinse my strawberries and leave the tops on them (the tops have a lot of vitamin c) and blend it all up really well in my vitamix. My kids want very smooth jam anyway so blending makes it easy and no cutting makes it super fast.

  • Darr April 24, 2018 at 8:51 am

    My Mom’s side of the family was a total of 9 kids, my dad’s side was a total of 10 kids, all farmers and mom did all the canning just as grandma did. She picked fruit and vegetables and canned everything is sight also fruits. She made clothing, took care of the house and food on the table for all meals with such variety. She had a large kettle in the back yard and made her own soap, laundry and had barrows to catch rain water for many uses and seperated the milk and made her own butter. laundry on a scrub board and remember how happy mom was to get a washer with a ringer, sometimes catching her finers in it but than goodness for the release bar. Cows to milk, eggs to gather, livestock to feed. Potatoes stored in the barn under hay. Never time to dilly dally around. We had a root cellar and there was canned items along all the walls and sometimes after canning tomatoes in the cellar you could hear some of the jars Explode as some would not take….She used them for years and we survived. I also worked for a produce company that supplied to restaurants and such a variety of foods and i took things home and canned everything i could get my hands on. I made bread and butter chips and put them in the back of the closets and panty floor, in Arizona no basements, what a shame. When i moved after 10 years i found some pickles still in a closet. They had turned a bit darker but i opend one up and tasted it. WOW! so incredibly good and we ate the four remaining jars.
    I do not remember any dates being put on the jars at home. we just looked at them to check if color had chaged and popped them open , looked to see if any mold or different smells and a tiny taste and could alway rinse out eh mouth if it tasted “off”. .Never any problems. Now at 78 i can no longer do any of that as i am battling cancer for the last two years. I do miss the good days and no one works like they did years ago. They had it tough compared to today, none of the appliances they have and the ice man commith to refill the bottom of the ice box. Not everything in the “good old days” was “good”. But he would give us kids chips from the ice in teh summer, so good. Gas was .12 a gallon and candy bars were .05. Talk about change…..during the depression you work in the fields all day and lucky to get .50 for a full days work.
    Never use a lid on a canning jar twice….never, just the rings can be reused and after they are “set” you can actually remove the ring if you would like, they stay sealed.. boil the heck out of everything and wipe the rin of the jar afer filling to insue no food is on it before sealing and you should not have a problem. home canning beats the pants off anything from the stores and remember when you have leftovers, the wide mouth mason jars work wonders for putting thing in the refrigerator. I have used them for years and forget about the plastic and storage of those.
    Reuse what you have and you will not regreat it.
    Darr Arizona

  • Amber Friehe April 24, 2018 at 8:53 am

    My mother in law taught me to can a few years ago and I joked with her that there had never been anything that made me feel more “I am woman hear me roar” 🙂 never mind that I had grown inside me and pushed out 3 babes, I had a career, was well traveled etc. etc. it was making and canning my own jam 😂. such a proud feeling when you carry the whole process through to the end and see the end result! I found myself the next day at the grocery giving people who bought store bought jam the side eye…never mind that had been me for 28 years literally the day before 😂

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

      I’m laughing so hard!! YESSSSSS!

  • Skimama April 24, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I’ve been wanting to start canning ever since I made freezer jam last summer…but was too nervous about the whole killing-my-people-risk. Maybe I will be brave now and give it a try!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

      I’m nervous about that too. Eeeeeks!

      • Katie April 24, 2018 at 11:09 am

        HIgh acid canned goods (like jam) are VERY low risk for botulism (which is the big canning bacteria).

  • Tish Ferry April 24, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Oh my goodness, your jam looks delicious! I read the recipe on your sandwich and it sounds like heaven! Where do you buy candied jalapeños? I’m going to add this to my lunch menu! Simply Tish

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

      My grocery store typically has them, but if not, Amazon!!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick April 24, 2018 at 9:06 am

    None of this sounds fun to me (I know you’re shocked..haha) but I do love jam. And I still have your cup. Can we barter? A cup for a jar of strawberry jam?? 😉 That Inspired Chick

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

      Deal!!!

  • Deb Weber April 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Has anyone tried canning with an instant pot?

  • Corbie April 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Wow Shay, great post. My husband has been on me to make this a new “hobby”… his parents canned everything. After reading this I will take this on when Im ready (not now) and take it very seriously! Geeze, the responsibility of it all! – who knew?!?! Thank you for the education and tools- keep us updated!

  • Sandy Dishmon April 24, 2018 at 9:14 am

    My mother-in-love canned all the time. She passed down several receipes for several family favorites. The one I still put up is Zuchinni relish. It is very time consuming but well worth the effort.

  • Julie April 24, 2018 at 9:17 am

    ok I am going to try freezer jam… I can do this.. I can do this! 🙂

  • Kristin Bannister April 24, 2018 at 9:25 am

    You have totally convinced me to give the freezer jam a try. Putting it on the list to do this summer with the kiddos! 😉

  • AMYECD April 24, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Hi Shay! I love to can jellies and jams! You should try blueberry jalapeno jam! It’s great on cream cheese with crackers.

  • Linda Filtzkowski April 24, 2018 at 9:33 am

    We have a huge garden in central Wisconsin. My mom canned pickles and tomatoes so I just did the same thing when I got married. On good years I will can up to 200 quarts of tomatoes! Most years I am at around 100 quarts It takes a ton of time but it is so worth it in the dead of winter! We are in the process of doing maple syrup right now. Good luck!

  • Nori D April 24, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I love to can though I’ve only done fruit. It’s so satisfying to bring out that jam in February or the tomatoes in December and realize YOU made them and now you’re going to make something homemade WITH them! You go, girl!
    And yes, Ball is THE trusted source!

  • Lois April 24, 2018 at 9:39 am

    There is a specific brand lid that is to be used repeatedly when canning, but I don’t recall the name. I understand that brand is more expensive than the “regular” Ball (or Kerr or such) lids, but they are intended for safe use repeatedly. I’ve been canning & freezing fruits, veggies, & meats during our 48 yrs. of marriage, & learned as I helped my mother prior to that. I DON’T appreciate the jam recipes from Ball & others that call for so much sugar; there are better options.

  • Alexis deZayas April 24, 2018 at 9:41 am

    I am so impressed!! This sounds like an intense project!

  • April Davis April 24, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I recently found and used a crock pot strawberry jam recipe. My “granny” would never have approved of this but I love a crock pot, as I know you do too! 💕

  • Leslie April 24, 2018 at 9:59 am

    I have canned for all of my married life — 38 years — and helped my mom before that. Everyone canned back then, at least amongst the farm families. (This is making me sound ancient! I’m only 57!) When I started, we water-bath canned green beans! Not the safest method, but pressure canners were pricey! We had to boil them in the jars for 3 HOURS (was there any nutrition left after that???) and then boil the beans for at least 15 minutes before serving them. Ha! I’m happy to report that no one died. It’s true that you need to be very careful with canning low acid foods, but with experience, you learn the signs that something might not be right with a jar. I think it is possible to use other people’s recipes, but never stray from the procedures for canning recommended by Ball Company. Canning used to be a way to save money, and if you grow your own produce, it still does. Mostly now, I do it because it tastes better. Good luck on your new canning adventures! It gets easier and less scary as you go.

  • Tausha Manis April 24, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Thanks for sharing the excitement Shay! I love canning too! I haven’t done it the past two summers as we have added 3 beautiful girls to our family in the past 4 years! However, my baby is about to turn 1 and my husband and I have been planning our garden so that I can can this year! I’m getting excited! It is hard work, but so satisfying. Especially when you open up a jar of something and your family comments on how good it is!

    My only suggestion that I don’t see you doing is to get a buddy! It’s sometimes so helpful to have an extra hand or two. My husband helps me. I remember growing up and several of my aunts and uncles and my dad and grandparents would all can together! You should have seen the amount of tomatoes they could put through a hand cranked juicer!!

    Anyway, hope you continue to enjoy your canning journey! I love your blog!

    Also, the lady named Darr that commented above, I just loved reading your comment! I love hearing about the past and how hard people worked to provide for their family and what pride they had in their quality of work!

  • Sarah April 24, 2018 at 10:08 am

    This might be a stupid question, but is a medal spoon a special type of spoon for canning? I think I need to gather some supplies and start reading up! Sounds so fun!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      Just a regular old metal spoon!

  • Lois April 24, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Also wanted to let your readers understand there is no reason to freeze jam or anything else in glass jars which can be broken more easily when frozen due to the temperature. Plastic freezer boxes are ideal & can be purchased in a variety of sizes & at various locations. We’re using the same boxes we purchased & filled with fruits & veggies in 1969, the summer prior to our wedding. The dishwasher cleans them well, & we’ve no concerns about broken glass in our freezer.

  • Janell Huntsman April 24, 2018 at 10:55 am

    I used to make and can cinnamon pickles and there’s nothing quite like them. You just may have inspired me to make some again this year!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      I am beyond intrigued by cinnamon pickles!

  • Emily H. April 24, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I second the Pomona’s Pectin! I bought a few boxes on Amazon last year and made strawberry and peach freezer jam with it and it was so nice to not have to use as much sugar! I like the jam made with it so much better because you can actually taste the fruit. It’s still very sweet and doesn’t taste at all like you’re eating healthy or low-sugar jam.

  • Amanda Wilson April 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I think I already said but my fave thing to can is peaches….yummmy!! That can popping sound is the best sound. My friend and I who can’t together laugh that we must have been the gatherers in another time because we just love to have canned food in our pantry!!!!! it so satisfying!! Lol

  • Peggy April 24, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    You can give it away as gifts! People are always so happy to receive home made gifts!

  • Tiffany Stegall April 24, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    You have picked a great time to start canning in earnest (hello, summer bounty!) and really that is what will let you learn to find even MORE peace in it. When you can more frequently it really does give you more confidence and lessen the “we can die by eating this” feelings. 😬😜 So as you continue to can through the spring and summer, you will feel like a pro by the time fall rolls around and it will seem more relaxing. Also, as far as the lids and rings go, I make sure after my rings come out from being warmed that I dry them off completely. They rust SUPER easily. I dry them really well when they come out of the dishwasher, too. And while you can’t use the lids again because of the seal, you will start to find you accumulate a lot of used lids. I use a sharpie marker and do an X on the inside of the (cleaned) lid after I use up the contents of the jar so I know not to can with it from season to season. Then if I ever make someone a gift and put it in a Mason jar, I always pull out one of those marked ones to put on it so I don’t waste my canning lids. So excited to watch your new hobby unfold! ❤️

  • Jayme in MN April 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Canning can be so much fun once you get over the fear of making someone sick. Recognizing you have to be careful is the first step. 😜 I love candied jalapeños, pickled Brussels sprouts, and blueberry lime jam. I don’t do much that requires a pressure canner, that whole fear of making someone sick thing but I would love to try a bacon jam.

    • Jayme in MN April 24, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Oh! I think it’s that ball book that has a recipe for Pilsner pickles. They are Amazing! Like a bread and butter but less sweet and more flavorful.

  • Mary April 24, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    It gets much easier & less intimidating as you do it. Just like with cooking, you learn it & get more comfortable. We can literally every fruit, vegetable and sauce we’re able to & freeze the rest. We do not can meat bc I do not care for it, but we freeze it. I do not prefer many of Ball jam recipes due to added sugars. You will like salsas, pickles (cucumbers, okra, squashes, beets, etc) relishes, pasta sauces and tomatoes are my favorite! I prefer frozen corn and green beans. Good luck!

  • Mary Johnson April 24, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    All my canning books have cautioned to use Porcelain Pots for cold water bath canning . This included Ball and Kerr books. It specifically banns aluminum and other metal. Have I been overly concerned to be so particular the last 60 years or have I missed something new. I also find keeping my jars hot and ready is in the dishwasher. PLEASE do not take this as criticism of anything. I love this blog

    • Mix and Match Mama April 25, 2018 at 5:31 am

      I don’t at all! I heard about the dishwasher tip too. I think I might try that one. My canner is actually from Ball (that’s the brand!), so I have to believe it’s right.

  • CATHY TRACY April 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Peaches and pickles. So much fun and so yum!
    You would enjoy the chapters on canning in Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”.

  • Betsy April 24, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Oh gosh, I’ve always wanted to be inspired to can from my garden each year as my mom did. But when the bounty is coming in, it is like 100 degrees outside and the last thing I want to do is work hard in a hot, steamy kitchen all day! Can’t wait to hear how your process goes–I can live vicariously through you!

  • Cindy April 24, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Now you can move to Vermont with Liv and Fitz and make jam! HA!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 25, 2018 at 5:30 am

      Hahahahahahaha!

  • Chelsa April 24, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    My husband’s family was Amish so I learned to can when I were dating. Salsa and pickles are my favorite!!

  • Casey April 24, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    My grandmother always made plum jelly and even picked the plums from the thicket near her farm! When I was in college I decided to learn how and it was a big job for sure! Fun but a lot of work!

  • Michelle April 25, 2018 at 4:55 am

    How long can you keep freezer jams in the freezer? Also, when you start enjoying one of those freezer jams, how long does it keep good for in the fridge? Would frozen fruit work or just stick to fresh fruit? Sorry for the millions of questions, I just want to make sure I get it right because I’ve red your previous posts about freezer jams and I’m super excited to try my own!!

    • Mix and Match Mama April 25, 2018 at 5:30 am

      Freezer jams stays in the freezer up to 12 months! Once you open a jar, it should be eaten within three weeks.

  • Emily M King April 25, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Plant a fig tree! They are beautiful and produce fruit after just a few years. I can fig preserves in July/August and give them for Christmas presents with little holiday stickers on top. So easy! So good! Fig preserves make great sandwiches with Brie and apples. Also brie + fig preserves + slivered almonds wrapped in pastry dough and painted with egg is impressive and delicious : )

  • Jodi April 25, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I have only canned one time and it was to make my husband candied jalapenos for Valentines Day. It took me 4 hours and I ended up with 4 jars. But wowzer they were amazing! I learned my lesson the hard way skipping the gloves while cutting the jalapenos and my hands burned for days so don’t skip the gloves if you make jalapenos!