Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DEWBERRY JAM MY FIRST ADVENTURE IN CANNING

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!

Happy Canning!

52 comments:

Jenny said...

Way to go! I've been doing home canning for winter for a while now, and my hubby loves it! We make our own sauces, pickles and jams and I think my favorite is strawberry with lemon jam - lemon makes it more refreshing and cuts down on sweetness.

deergarden said...

yummy... You will never eat store bought jam again!!! Nothing more rewarding than a pantry filled with different jams and canning... Great host gift when going out to dinner...!

Daphne Gould said...

Congrats on your first canning. I've always found that making the jam is harder than the actual canning. But then I tend to do the no added pectin jams and they can be much trickier. I do keep telling myself to go out and buy some pectin, but I never do.

beachdaddy said...

Curious if you've tried freezer jam. We think it has a much more fresh taste ... We use low-sugar recipe .. there is special pectin for that ... and the included recipes in the box are quite easy... just circle the one you are using, as there are always more recipes than you need and it's easy to get on the wrong one in the hustle of jam making!! I'm guessing you have access to various hot peppers there ... some time try the hot pepper jams.... wonderful with cheese plate or in a grilled cheese sandwich!! Congratulations on your first jam job!!

Mary said...

Well done, home made is so much better, taste and you know what is really in that jar. Enjoy.

Marcia said...

Good for you. Now if you offered a can of that jam in one of your contests (hint, hint).

Moonwaves said...

There's no coming back once you've gone done the rabbit hole of preserving. Your jam looks great. After a few years of jams and pickles as well as lots of dehydrating, this year I may finally move on to fermentation. Too many things coming together and, as 2nd Man, says, sometimes it's just a sign that the time is right to try something. It may help that I've discovered how much I really, really love kimchi!

Katie C. said...

Wasn't that fun? I haven't tried jam yet. Two years ago, I canned my first tomatoes. Last year my tomatoes didn't cooperate so I had to buy seconds at the farmer's market. This year I want to try pickles. If you want to see something funny about canning, go to "The Bitten Word" which is a blog, mostly (is that a really word?) about food, written by two guys in DC. Look for their tomato canning adventures. They're a hoot!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Good for you! They look quite tasty and now all you need is some homemade scones to cover with your jam.

Margaret said...

I've canned a couple of times in the past, making raspberry jam, and it was amazing - my husband still talks about it. Then I had kids and no more time for that. But now that the kids are older, I'm itching to start up again...it's definitely addictive.

Sandy said...

1st Man,

Once you've canned your first batch of jam, vegetables, fruits ect.......
you have the bug and don't want to stop.
Your Dewberry jam does look delicious :-)
Enjoy canning my friend!!!

kymber said...

teehee! +25 million to Marcia - she's freakin brilliant - bahahahahahah!

u no hoo

kymber said...

moonwaves - i've been making my own kimchi for years. you can get my recipe here, if you are interested:

http://framboisemanor.blogspot.ca/2013/08/kimchi-or-as-i-like-to-call-it.html

kymber said...

Sweet Sandy above is dead right! once the bug hits you, you start canning sauces, veggies, fruits, cats, dead relatives....the list just goes on - bahahahahahahah!

i'm soo glad that you had such a good experience! now go and re-read Marcia's comment - hint hint - bahahahahahah!

much love to you and 2nd Man! your friend,
kymber

Moonwaves said...

Way ahead of you Kymber - check out what I posted on my blog earlier today. LOL

Gail said...

Ball also has a wonderful canning book.

Congratulations on your prize. Sandy is a great friend of mine.

You did not work as a dummy at all. You did it just right. It will not be your last.

Ian's Girl said...

So so jealous! Your jars are gorgeous!

I am in that intimidated/paralyzed phase. It just seems sooooo....... scary!

kymber said...

Moonwaves - THAT is waaaaay toooo funny! and as a few people have already mentioned about signs and circumstances....it's just too weird!!! thanks for the plug on your blog.

your new friend,
kymber

langela said...

Those jars are so pretty! Great job on your first try. Soon your shelves will be full of pretty jars.

FionaG said...

Well done! I am always impressed with people who can produce the proper way. Being a lazy so & so, I reuse jars. I just clean them really well with hot soapy water then let the jars dry in a low oven. When the jam, sauce, etc is ready the jars are removed from the oven one by one and then the lids go straight on. I love hearing the 'pop' of the metal lids as everything cools and the lids are sucked in. You will find this jam is only the beginning.......

FionaG said...

I'm an idiot! I mean people who preserve the proper way!! Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful job of canning! Good on ya!! Now that you have your feet wet (or your hands sticky!), you're going to become a canning machine!!
You have motivated me to get back into canning. I have my grandma's food press with the wooden pestle (like this: http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1276115). My squash is ripe, so with your inspiration, I'm going to try a new recipe for pickled squash.

Texas Rose

Texan said...

Well crud my first attempt at this comment seems to have been eaten LOL.. so try again... When I first started canning I was scared! Yeppers... now its old hat! It will be old hat to you in no time. Nothing wrong with using Pectin. My best jelly ... Jalapeno Jelly uses it! :O)

Practical Parsimony said...

I canned with my mother when I was young until I went to college. When I was married and 21, I started canning solo.

Now, every fruit you see will make you want to take it home and can it. Free fruit is best. I have free figs and pecans lined up for this year. Just give people a jar of jelly for their free fruit. Now, I need to get a few more free fruits lined up. Or, maybe I will pay for blackberries!

Those jars look very pretty. A trio of jellies in a basket makes a very nice Christmas gift.

Anonymous said...

Hi 1st man - what a pleasure to come across your blog. After living in the city center for years, then graduating to having a weekend farmlet one and a half hours drive away, me and my own 2nd man have taken the plunge and moved out to a new place in the middle of South Africa's winelands. We literally bought a fallow wheat field and started from scratch two years ago - we now have a house, veggie garden, small vineyard and (future) olive grove on the go. I wouldn't trade it for anything. How about some pics of your land?

Alison said...

What fun. I'm glad you had such a fun time.

1st Man said...

I'm definitely hooked. Strawberry lemon? YUM!

1st Man said...

I do believe that. It was so easy to make and I can't wait to try new things. And great idea for a host gift! Thanks!

1st Man said...

I started to do the no pectin but being my first time I thought I'd do the pectin first. I read that it takes longer. I'll branch out eventually, ha . thanks!!!!

1st Man said...

never have done the freezer jam. I'll have to do some research about it. I like the idea. I know what you mean about the recipes in the box...I glanced through them and thought the same thing, ha.

Thank you for the kind words! Lots of hot peppers will have to try that too!

1st Man said...

Definitely know what's in it, heck this is three ingredients, ha. Thank you!

1st Man said...

Y'all are cracking us up. Well since they are canned and they should keep for months, we'll see what happens. ;-)

1st Man said...

Do you know I've never eaten kimchi. I feel like I'm missing out on something. You'd think living in a metropolitan multi cultural city like Houston I would have had it but I haven't. I might have to try it first before attempting to make it.

I guess I could say you've both given us 'food for thought', LOL!!!!

Thank you both for your posts and links!!!

1st Man said...

I can't wait to try tomatoes. Thanks for the advice. I haven't heard of The Bitten Word but I will check it out!!! Thank you!!

1st Man said...

We had some biscuits tonight with the jam. It was good!!!!! Very good!!!! More on that coming soon.

1st Man said...

Ha, I understand, I think I have 'the bug'. It's amazing how much better it tastes as opposed to store-bought huh?

1st Man said...

Amen! I'm already scouring the book (and others) for recipes and ideas. Thank YOU for the push that I needed. :-)

1st Man said...

Kymber, you are such an awesome friend. Thank you for always being there!! I am already figuring out what to try next. (except those dang jars are expensive, I need to find some at a garage sale or something). Much love to both of you!!!!

1st Man said...

Sandy is awesome isn't she? Too funny you mentioned the Ball canning book, I got a copy!! I certainly felt like a dummy when I started but felt like a pro when I finished and looked at the end result, ha. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Aww, thanks!!!! don't be jealous I think the big secret that they don't want you to know is that it really IS easy, ha. They do put the fear into you about the botulism and sterilization etc, Keep the jars boiling and use the tongs and don't touch the rims with your fingers. Everything else is simple. :-)

1st Man said...

Oh I can't wait!!! Thank you!!!

1st Man said...

You know how I read that? I read it as "people who CAN (as in canning) PRODUCE (as in the generic term for fruits and veggies) the proper way". See, it works that way as well!! Oh, we wild definitely be reusing the jars. I've already got some (of varying sizes) in a box in the pantry. Just have to buy a package of lids.

If i hadn't been sure of the popping ahead of time (the book told me) I would have thought something was wrong. but it sure is a satisfying sound isn't it??

1st Man said...

Oooh, I like that food press!!! Hmmm....my mind is wandering now!! I might have to have one of those (even though I'm not to that point yet, ha). Let us know how your pickled squash comes out, sounds yummy!!

1st Man said...

Thanks for the assurance. It is pretty intimidating at first, they make it seem like if you screw up you'll kill everyone with botulism! LOL! I wasn't sure about pectin, but I think there are times when it's needed huh? And as long as you get good quality, all natural, at least you know what you're putting into it. Jalapeño jelly, yum!!!!

1st Man said...

We so can't wait to have our fruit trees full size and producing. I planted a couple of figs, and a pear and a peach etc etc. Still need a plum. Oh, and have a pecan, about 6 feet tall, still in the container in town, I need to find the right spot for it, since it's a very large "forever" tree. What a nice idea about a trio of jars in a basket. Love it!! Thanks!!!

1st Man said...

Well, welcome!! And thank you for the kind words. You sound like us. We live in the city center while we work and save and plan. The farm is our weekend getaway (and my everyday day dream subject). In a few years, we hope to start transitioning to being out there more than in town and then eventually, just be out there all the time. That's why we're doing stuff now like planting fruit trees, and building the garden beds, etc. Even if they aren't producing yet, we know they will be eventually.

There are pics, I think if you click over on the side bar under the labels the tab that says property, I think a lot of posts with pics will come up. BUT, that being said I will make it a point to take some around the property soon.

Thanks for coming by and we hope you'll come back soon!!!

1st Man said...

It was so great!! Very rewarding!!! Luv ya!!!

Katie C. said...

If you can find it, they have a little video of canning tomatoes that's very funny.

langela said...

I make all my dill pickles out of zucchini. They are much crisper than cukes and have a great flavor.

Sandy said...

1st Man,

You're welcome.......but I don't think you needed a push...........
When you have a garden you want to harvest, and save the vegetables and fruit.
I believe you knew you were destined to can :-)

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

it is great reading comments on your post about jamming i cant do it yet ,.. if i ever can,,. but its great seeing that you have progressed. love ya! Ginny

1st Man said...

YAY! I'm so excited to see you commenting again. Thank you so much for stopping by. You are so awesome. Everyone, visit her blog and send her some love, she's a great lady and has been going through a lot but is doing better every day!!!