So, I decided that this weekend would be a good time to overcome my fear of canning. Maybe fear is not really the right word. It just all seems so daunting. All those rules and tools and steps. OK, yeah, I was afraid.
A few weeks ago, I won a contest over at Sandy's wonderful blog. The book below is what I won. A few days before her contest appeared, 2nd Man and I were talking and he said "maybe there is a canning for dummies book you could get?". I saw this on her contest, entered it and won it! 2nd Man told me it was a sign, LOL, and that I should just break down and do it.
|Canning and Preserving for Dummies, available HERE via Amazon|
The other day, I had some time off from work and so I gathered my tools and equipment and headed to the freezer. I pulled out four 2-cup bags of dewberries vacuum sealed and frozen since 2012 and thawed them out in the fridge overnight.
I bought a case of pint jars at the store and washed and prepped them. Once clean, I put them in a large stockpot of boiling water.
Then I got out the first two bags and put them in a large, shallow pan. I missed the photo, but I smashed them as they cooked with a potato smasher. Bring them to a simmer.
Next I added a half a package of pectin. I know not everyone uses it, but for newbies, it really makes it much easier. I stirred that in and continued simmering for a few minutes.
Lastly, I added the sugar. I noticed that a lot of recipes used a lot of sugar. We like jam sweet but not overly sweet. So I used a 1:1 ratio for this jam. 4 cups of berries, 4 cups of sugar.
I added that to the berries and stirred for a couple of minutes or until sugar was dissolved. I immediately turned off the heat. It thickens up fast, so work quickly.
While the berries were first heating up, I took the sterilized jars and lids from the water and let them dry. I also sterilized all tools, including the funnel. Then it was a matter of ladling the jam into the jars. I got better after the first few.
I cleaned the edges with a clean cloth and put the lids on. Lastly, I screwed the bands on until finger tight and placed them into the still boiling water. I processed them for 10 minutes at a full boil.
I did the above process twice, making two four cup batches. It was much easier to make them in smaller batches. Here is the end result! Ten pint jars of dewberry jam! All the lids popped and they all sealed.
After cooling overnight, we put one in the fridge for eating and we gave a jar to 2nd Family. The rest are in the pantry...for now anyway.
|Homemade Dewberry Jam|
They look just as pretty as I imagined they would if my Grandmother had made them! So my first venture into canning, appears to be a success. 2nd Man was so excited to see them when he got home from work. I have to thank Sandy of course for the book, and Tonya for giving me encouragement way back when I first thought about doing it, not to mention the many others of you who commented with words of wisdom along the way.
In the end, it was not as hard as I imagined it to be in my head. Don't get me wrong, it IS a lot of steps and you definitely need to be organized. There is also a time element that you have to be prepared for. Oh, and it can make quite the mess (more on that another time, ha). I'm already thinking of my next project!