With my NEW GIFTS, it's time to start some canning!
I kind of wanted to do something simple that allowed the full flavor of the fruit to come out in the end product. After much research online, I began seeing a theme. And it was all summed up perfectly at this site. I found this great three ingredient recipe over at The Yummy Life (thank you Monica for doing all the hard work first so the rest of us will have this great method!).
|Three Ingredient No Pectin Blueberry Jam|
There are only three ingredients. I chose blueberries as they are everywhere in stores and farmers markets right now. Plus sugar and Lemon. That's it.
And I bought my jars, choosing half pint jars for this project...
|Sterilizing jars in dishwasher|
I used our dishwasher's sterilize setting for the jars and just kept them in the hot, steaming dishwasher until I needed them.
Hmm, something about this picture makes me feel like I was being watched...LOL!
I didn't realize that new canning guidelines were put out a couple of years ago and the lids no longer need to be kept in boiling water. The boiling water can affect the sealant. So I washed the rings and lids and got them out and ready...
This is six cups of blueberries, three cups of sugar and the zest and juice of a large lemon. For a small batch like this, I could have used half the lemon but I wanted the lemon flavor to be noticeable with the blueberries.
You just start heating until it boils...it will foam up at that point but you just have to get past this stage (some people will skim it off, and you can, but it will disappear as it thickens, just have patience).
Once you get past that point, you keep cooking as it reduces and thickens. The use of pectin would make this happen quickly...
...but I wanted to be in the moment and see the process through...turn the temp down and keep simmering. It will happen. At this point (I missed getting a photo) I took a potato masher and smashed the blueberries so we could have a chunky type jam). This is all personal preference, we like thick and chunky.
While the berries were reducing, I put the jars over on the counter and got everything ready (the water was already boiling on the water bath canner).
|Blueberry Jam with no pectin|
Finally, it was ready. I checked the texture using the chilled plate method. I put a plate in the freezer, put a tsp of jam on it, placed it back in the freezer for a minute or two and checked to see if it ran when I tilted it. You can also do this with a spoon. If it didn't run or ran very slowly, it was ready.
My batch of jam was ready! I got my canning funnel out and started filling the jars. I was a bit messy the first few times but I got better. I removed the air bubbles, cleaned the rims with a damp cloth...
...topped them off to make sure I got the headspace at 1/4" and put the lids and rings on the jars...
...and then put them in the boiling water. Once the water was back at the boiling point, I set the timer for 15 minutes.
After the timer chimed, I turned the heat off and let them sit in the water for about five minutes and then took them out. Voila!
Four, half pint jars!
It was so much fun, I went out, bought six more cups of blueberries...
...and made four more jars!
So now we have eight jars of blueberry goodness in the pantry. Well, one is in the refrigerator now...
|Homemade Blueberry Jam on English Muffins|
It was SO delicious this morning as we got ready for work! This method really brings out the true flavor of the fruit. It was amazing.
I'm already planning the next batch...I'm thinking peaches...
Is there such a thing as the canning bug?
'Cause I think I've been bitten by it!
PLEASE NOTE: You are responsible to know and understand the current canning and processing recommendations for safety. Canning is fun but you MUST follow guidelines to make sure you are doing it safely. I had to learn (and still am) so do your research on safe canning techniques.
A great link to official information is http://nchfp.uga.edu/ and
of course, the literal bible of home canning information, the Ball website.