Well we have officially started a new adventure, canning!! It is something I have always wanted to try, but just never had the money to get started with it. Well, my sister started learning some pressure canning with a friend and that got us all wanting to learn more. So my mom gave us some money for the initial investment in a hot water bath canner, some utensils & jars, and we were on our way. One of the first things I had to do was make some room in my kitchen for the jars. So I moved an old microwave cart out to the garage, and brought it a shelving unit we had in the garage. I did that Thursday, and it was a tiring job. I had to move everything around, and scrub it clean. I like it a lot in our kitchen, and want to eventually make some curtains or something for the front of it so it’s not so open. It’s like another pantry for us, and I’d like to be able to ‘close’ it if it gets messy. But that will be another project.
My sister learned pressure canning for peaches on Thursday, but we both wanted to learn hot water bath canning, so she came out on Friday and we decided to learn together. Between what she had been taught by her friend, info. I found online and tips and directions from one of my friends who canned, we started the adventure of canning. It was a great day Friday and lots of fun. We decided to can a box of peaches & try some strawberry jam. I ‘hardest’ thing, which really wasn’t hard, just not really fun, was pealing the peaches. I discovered part way through my box that not all my peaches were ripe enough. Though I did the hot water/cold water thing, they didn’t just peel right off. And then I had never eaten a peach before (shocking I know), so I wasn’t really sure how to get the pit out. So the first hour I was on my own until my sis showed up. That was my hard time, but I was determined not to let it turn me off of canning all together.
After lunch and my sister showing up, things went a bit smoother, and I finally got them all peeled and sliced. We decided to make a light syrup since this was our first time, didn’t want them too sugary. I really enjoyed the actual canning part, that was a lot of fun. Carrie (my sister) put the peaches in the jar, I put the sauce in and put the lids on. I had lots of fun picking up the lids with my magnet. We had just enough peaches to fill 9 jars, which is what my new canner holds. We decided to buy the 33 qt. canner, oh my goodness that thing is huge. But it was nice to have 9 cans done at once.
Since that went pretty well, we decided to try our hand at strawberry jam. I got the recipe online, and the only thing we did different than the recipe was we put the strawberries in a food processor instead of hand mashing them. Now the strawberry jam was LOTS of fun, and so easy to make. We got 7 jars out of 6 cups of mashed strawberries, again, plenty to do all at once. The only thing is that after the processing time our jam separated. Not quite sure why, but I’m sure once we open a jar, we will stir it up, and it will be fine. I can’t wait to taste it tonight. The only bummer is we realized we never had pictures taken of us making the jam. Oh well, next time.
So what are my thoughts of canning? Right now I love it, and can’t wait to do it again. It was tiring, but so much fun. Of course having my sister here was great, and lots of the fun. I think if I HAD to do it every year, and I HAD to do tons of batches, it would be hard. But as another ‘craft’ I do, as another ‘hobby’, I think it’s great. I want to try some more jam, maybe raspberry. The only bummer out here is you can’t find jam grapes to make grape jam. Something I miss from the midwest.
So here is a picture show of our day, hope you enjoy it. I’m off to relax some more and continue to get better from my sinus cold. It hit me hard last night, think I over did myself the last few days this week. I was really busy, and pushed myself hard Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. By last night, I new I had a bad sinus cold, which I’m still dealing with today. So today has been a lazy, relaxing day. I won’t go to church tonight, so I can try and get better. I need to get better soon, so I can do some more canning.