Canning and Preserving – A Year-Round EndeavourOn March 2, 2021 by Pam
I grew up on a small farm in Wainfleet, Ontario, Cananda. For me, it was a HUGE vegetable garden that, as it ripened became food for the winter. We put potatoes in crocks in the basement and froze corn and beans and peas and carrots. We searched in ditches for elderberries, went cherry picking and always had a strawberry and cucumber patch for making pickles and jam. This all happened between June (strawberry season) and Thanksgiving. I have embraced the delicious opportunities for myself but, definitely with a twist. I don’t freeze carrots because I can buy them in the store fresh all year for a reasonable price – same with potatoes. We live in an urban center and, although we have raised beds for herbs, lettuce, beans, tomatoes, eggplant and other vegetables, I don’t raise them in quantities that would make sense for canning – we eat them fresh in the summer and then we are done.
This week; however, at the end of February, I made marmalade and apricot jam. I ran out and I use them as gifts and to make my apricot chicken recipe, a family favourite. I also make Indian Chutney and apple/pear sauce. I don’t wait for “canning season” anymore. I sometimes even can or freeze tomato sauce when I find myself with too many tomatoes of any kind (grape, cocktail, roma, etc.), I just throw them all in my instant pot and make a batch. Of course, I love the Farmer’s Market and I always try to make fresh strawberry rhubarb jam in spring but, I also love the freedom of preserving year-round.
For jam…I use less than half the sugar recommended and ALWAYS make sure it boils or simmers to 220 F. I do not have any problems with it setting and I rarely use pectin (but, it never hurts to throw in a package or two). I boil the dry pectin in the jam and I add the liquid pectin after it has come to temperate.
10 cups of dried apricots (reconstituted in enough boiling water to cover them for 30 minutes and then pulsed in a food processor with the water so they are chopped but, still have afew lumps)
5 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla
2 packages of liquid or dry pectin
Put apricots, vanilla in the pot and bring it to a boil. Add the sugar and the lemon juice (and dry pectin) and low boil until it reaches 220 F. If you are adding liquid pectin, do it now.
Sterilize your jars (I got 16 jam jars) and fill with jam (leave room at the top and wipe the rims well) firmly put the snap lids on and boil (water just covers the jars) in a canner for 15 minutes.
I rarely don’t have jars seal but, when you do, just put new sealing lids on and re-boil them.