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Get canning!

on August 19, 2013 by Rachel 14 comments

By Rachel, Contributing Writer

Alright gals…whether you are an avid canner, have never canned before, or just need a little encouragement to get back into this amazing homemaking art, this post is for you!

I am slightly biased…I love canning.  It is a wonderful way to make the most of produce when it is in season and put it up for enjoying later in the year…when local produce may not be available and/or you’d have to pay a lot more for lovely, organic fruits and vegetables which helps you save money.

get into canning words

It also is a great way to use up all of your garden’s produce should you have a bumper crop of, say, green beans.  Not that I’ve ever been inundated with them before…  Canned goods make wonderful gifts (who doesn’t like a jar of homemade jam?!?) and they encourage you to eat whole/real foods throughout the year.

That said…how about some encouragement to get back in the swing of this resurging art or help light the fire to get you started?

5 Steps to Help You Get [Back] Into Canning

Find someone to can with

Canning is way more fun if you do it in community.  Yes, I just canned 20+ pounds of raspberries (jam, syrup, preserves, sauce, etc) on my own and loved every minute of it but it’s definitely more fun when you have someone to share it with.  My husband kept me company – and kept our 11 month old distracted – during part of the time but for the most part, I did this round of canning by myself during baby girl’s naps over a few days.  Check out this post on canning peaches for an example of canning with friends…

Gather up “new” mason jars

Mason jars are all the rage on Pinterest and in crafty gals’ blogs which is all well and good but they’re really in their element when used for their original purpose.  Have a little fun checking out local garage sales and thrift stores for some new jars.  You’ll probably find cute/short/square-ish ones, tall/skinny/quilted ones, or, if you’re really lucky, some old blue ones.  They actually revived the blue jar for the Perfect Mason Jar’s 100th anniversary so right now you can buy a 6 pack of pint size blue mason jars for around $10.00.  My hubby picked up a pack as my Mother’s Day present. 🙂  Anyways, even a few new jars will be a fun motivator to get going on a few preservation projects.

Put it on the calendar

Yes, canning takes a little time.  But not too much!  Regardless, if you’re reading this blog, you have lots of things to do to take care of your husband, home, family, job, etc.  You’re busy gals!  So put it in your phone/on your calendar/in your planner.  You just need an hour to tackle a small project.  Like homemade raspberry syrup.  You’ll be glad you set the time aside.

Choose some great produce to preserve

This is up to you!  I would choose something fruity, like raspberries.  I just finished making chocolate raspberry sauce, raspberry syrup, raspberry wine jelly, raspberry jam, and raspberry preserves.  My husband, though he does like raspberries, is a huge fan of dilly beans.  And remember that bumper crop of green beans?  They’re comin’ in again…which means I’ll be making dilly beans even though I can’t stand them.  But my hubby loves ’em so that’s my next project!

Anyways, the point is that you need to choose something you’ll love to open in a few months.  Whether it’s something to preserve the goodness of the present (it’s raspberry season here in the Pacific Northwest!) or something that hits your tongue just right (oh dilly beans…), choose something you can get excited about!

Put yourself in the story

Mason jars have been around for a long time.  The side of the box of the 100 year commemorative blue jars speaks to the hard work that goes into the products in a canning jar as well as speaks to the “spirit of building, craftsmanship, and innovation of past generations.”

I reflected on what I consider Mason Jar Values as

an act of thankfulness for the harvest at hand, an act of diligence to make use of the time and talents bestowed upon me to take care of my family, an act of living out heritage by looking to the past as a means of thriving in the future, and an act of trusting that hard work now will lead to a reward later.”

They’re not just a kitchen preservation tool…they are much, much more than that.  Whenever you take the time and put in the effort to can something, you insert yourself into a great and meaningful story.

So get canning, gals!  If you want/need further encouragement, please please PLEASE contact me.  I will so very happily email you back!  My husband will be even happier because then I won’t keep gushing to him about my latest canning exploits…

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. Ah, I love this! I have never tried canning, but have been wanting to for a long time now! A friend of mine just posted about canning peaches on her blog today so I think I better start thinking about getting some supplies and try it. I pinned this so I can use it when I finally get the chance to start.

  2. My daughter and I just 516 little jars of raspberry jam to give as wedding favors – lots of good fun mother daughter bonding! I love to can – it is work but when my jars are filled it just makes me happy!

  3. Would you care to share the chocolate raspberry sauce recipe? I have made my own made up version but have never canned it. I’m so curious. Btw-peach raspberry jam is fabulous. I mean, my kids would arm wrestle for it and do extra chores!

    • Totally! It’s from Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving.
      1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      1 1.75 oz package regular powdered fruit pectin
      4 1/2 cups crushed raspberries
      4 T lemon juice
      6 3/4 cups sugar
      Combine cocoa and pectin and set aside. Stir together raspberries and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Whisk in the cocoa mixture. Bring to a boil. Add sugar all at once and return to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off the foam (which is delightful over ice cream 😉 ). Ladle into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and fit with lids and rings fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes.
      Let me know if you have any questions!!!

  4. I am just getting into canning and have no recipes. I have always froze my veggies but the hubs and I decided that we need to can some also. Where is a good place to get quality recipes?

    • http://www.foodinjars.com is a great website which is also a cookbook. Her stuff is more out of the box though she does also have a lot of traditional recipes too. You could also head over to http://nchfp.uga.edu/ which is a website run by the University of Georgia. They’re kind of the go-to in terms of the science behind canning and food safety. If you want help with canning peaches, I am actually doing it this week and would be happy to Skype with you if you want to watch the process. But it sounds like you’re doing veggies so maybe not. 🙂 Anyways, you can also get recipes in classic cookbooks like Joy of Cooking. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

  5. I definitely agree that canning with others is more fun and that you have to put it on the calendar or it won’t get done before the produce spoils.

    I would love to hear how you keep jars from breaking 🙂 I’ve done small amounts of canning every year (always jam, sometimes applesauce or pickles) and every year I break a jar. Losing an entire quart of applesauce or tomatoes is NOT fun! Do you have any tips?

    • Oh no! Broken jars are such a bummer…I actually had my first broken jar just this summer. I don’t know what happened but my only thought is that they were touching each other and with the rolling boil inside the canner, they agitated too much against one another and one gave way.
      Do you have a metal rack inside your canner or are the jars just on the bottom? I’ve always used a rack and am thinking that might be a place to start. I’ve also had friends put a towel in the bottom of the canning pot but that just scares me in terms of potential damage to my pot.
      The other thing is the temperature swing of the ingredients. You need to put hot jars with hot product into hot water. If you have too big of a temperature swing – the jars weren’t hot or the product wasn’t hot or the syrup/canning liquid wasn’t hot – you’ll break the glass for sure.

      • Well…mine usually break as soon as I set them into the canner. It’s possible that it’s a temperature swing, but I was using boiling tomatoes last time and it still happened. I’m inclined to think it’s a weakness in the jars, but I don’t know how to predict which jars might be weak! I do have a rack, and I agree with you about the towel thing 🙂

        Oooh, while I’m at it, one more question: do you hook the rack over the side of the pot while you load jars into it, or do you leave it down on the bottom of the pot and just try to guess through the steam where the jars should land. Maybe I tap the jars against the rack and that breaks them? Thanks for your help!

        • I load it with the rack on the side of the pot (I’m assuming you mean like this? http://reprezent98201.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/057.jpg). I load the jars evenly and if I don’t have a match, I won’t load it. If you look in the picture, I only have 5 because I could go 2 across from each other, another pair across from each other, and then one in the middle. If I had 2 pints, I would have thrown them in in those extra slots. Let me know if that helps!