What We’re Canning

This wasn’t a banner canning year for me. The last couple haven’t been, actually. I’ve found it rather difficult to find the time to spend hours in the kitchen, putting up heaps of summer produce with a toddler running around at my feet. But with Taylor’s help, I’ve still managed to put up a few of our favorites each season.

I resolved not to buy any new seeds for the garden this year, so I couldn’t exactly plan out my canning beforehand. The good news is we had a bumper crop of tomatoes that, while a bit later in the season than usual, was beautiful and delicious. I didn’t get to can tomatoes last year and missed them sorely. I didn’t get as many put away as I would have liked to make it through chili season, but some is better than none.

Living on a berry farm means that access to fresh, in-season berries is a luxury I’m well accustomed to. Not to mention being able to walk across the street to pick (and eat) them straight off the vine. I made a huge batch of both Marionberry and Strawberry jam this year, one for the freezer and one for the pantry, and they should last us just fine until next summer. I wish I would have frozen some Marions this year because it was such a good year for them and I would love to be able to bake fresh marionberry pie in January and February, but we were pretty pooped by that point of busy season and I just didn’t get to it.

I almost didn’t get to my annual peach canning as things were kind of crazy around then, but we buckled down and squeezed it out, even if the peaches were a day or two past ideal ripeness. I’m not a huge fan of canned peaches anyway, but Taylor and Emmett will enjoy them in those long, cold citrus months. We didn’t get to the pears which is a bummer, but you can only do so much.

Finally, we put up a large batch of applesauce this year with the fruit from the trees in our yard (second year running) which has got to be just about the most satisfying thing ever. I wasn’t paying attention and added a bit too much lemon juice, so this batch is a bit tart, but still homemade and delicious. Taylor’s taken to calling it “lemon sauce” but had zero complaints when I used it to make Emily’s Applesauce Cake last weekend.

Here are the recipes for what we put up this year:

STRAWBERRY FREEZER JAM (from SURE-JELL box)
Ingredients

1 qt. ripe strawberries
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 box Fruit Pectin

Directions
Mash strawberries thoroughly. Using a glass measuring cup, measure exactly 2 cups mashed strawberries into large bowl. (Save any remaining fruit for another use.) Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 minutes; stirring occasionally.
Mix water and pectin in saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute. Stir pectin mixture into fruit mixture. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Pour into small plastic containers, leaving 1/2 inch head space; cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Now jam is ready to use. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or freeze up to 1 year and thaw in refrigerator.


MARIONBERRY JAM (adapted from PDXFoodLove)
Ingredients
8 cups marionberries
4 cups sugar
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 Tbsp. Ball Classic Pectin

Directions
Start by sanitizing all of your jars and rings by either boiling for ten minutes or running through a sanitation cycle in the dishwaser, and gently heat but DO NOT boil the lids in a separate small pan.
Add the berries, one layer at a time, to a nonreactive pan such as enameled cast iron over medium heat. Smoosh each layer with a potato masher before you add the next. Stir in all other ingredients except pectin. Bring to a boil, and hold at a rolling boil for about five minutes.
Next, add the pectin, stirring constantly while you sprinkle it in. Bring back to a boil for another five minutes, then remove from heat. Transfer to hot, sterilized jars and process via a water bath.


APPLESAUCE (from the Ball Fresh Preserving)
Ingredients
9 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, quartered, treated to prevent browning and drained
Up to 2-1/4 cups brown sugar – to taste (optional)
Ground cinnamon- to taste
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions
Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
Combine apples with just enough water to prevent sticking in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 20 minutes, until apples are tender (time will depend upon the variety of apple and their maturity). Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Transfer apples, working in batches, to a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée until smooth.
Return apple purée to saucepan. Add sugar, if using, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Maintain a gentle boil over low heat while filling jars.
Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
Process jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


CRUSHED TOMATOES (from Ball Fresh Preserving)
Ingredients
2-3/4 lbs tomatoes per quart jar
½ tsp Citric Acid
1 tsp salt to each quart jar or 1/2 tsp salt to each pint jar

Directions
Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Trim away any green areas and cut out core. Leave tomatoes whole or cut into halves or quarters.
Cut tomatoes into quarters to measure about 2 cups. Transfer to a large stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a potato masher, crush tomatoes to release juices. While maintaining a gentle boil and stirring to prevent scorching, quarter additional tomatoes and add to the saucepan as you work. The remaining tomatoes do not need to be crushed, as they will soften with heating and stirring. Continue until all tomatoes are added, then boil gently for 5 minutes.
Add ½ tsp Citric Acid to each hot quart jar. Add ¼ tsp Citric Acid to each hot pint jar.
Pack hot tomatoes into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar. Press tomatoes into the jar until the spaces between them fill with juice, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar, 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot tomatoes. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


PEACHES (from PBS Food)
Ingredients
4 quart or 8 pint jars
20 medium barely ripe, firm peaches
3 cups granulated sugar
6 cups water

Directions
Begin by peeling the peaches,To peel them with ease, bring a large pot of water to a boil and set up an ice bath nearby. Make an X in the bottom of each peach. Drop the peaches, maybe 5 at the time, into the water and allow them to boil for up to 1 minute. Be careful not to cook the peaches, but make sure the skin starts to split and peel away from the flesh. Using a large slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the boiling water and drop them into the ice bath. Once you’ve shocked all of them, start peeling them using the X as a guide. Once they’re all peeled, cut them in half, remove the pit and quarter.
Sterilize your jars and add any flavoring elements you wish, and start stuffing the quartered peaches in the jars, cavity side down. This is harder than it looks but very important. If the cavity is facing down, you’ll be able to fit more peaches in the jar. The idea is to get as many peaches in the jar as you can, then try to get one more.
As you fill the jars, heat the sugar and water to make the syrup. I like to do this in a tea kettle. It makes pouring the syrup into the jars easier. Once the jars are stuffed with peaches, pour the hot syrup slowly over top, allowing the syrup to creep its way through all the peaches. Cover the peaches by 1/2 inch with syrup. Process the jars immediately in the canner for 30 minutes.

What are your favorite canning recipes? Do tell!

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