Late summer is an exciting time for the hobby or pro gardener. Why? Because for many fruits and veggies, it's harvest time!
But did you get even more than you wished for? If you have an overabundance of berries, we have just the solution for you. Make a wonderful jam you and your family can enjoy all through the autumn and winter months.
Preserving your own food doesn't have to be an overwhelming undertaking. In fact, it is an absolute joy - and absolutely delicious!
Start small and keep thing simple. As you get a handle on preserving methods, you can get fancier. For now, we have 8 simple steps for creating a delicious jam.
1. Gather Your Product. Obviously, you need fruit - and lots of it. Supplement with berries from the store if you'd like in order to make the recipe we'll describe below.
2. Gather Your Equipment. You'll need about a dozen half-pint or pint canning jars (depending upon your berry yield), caps and seals. You will also need a deep stock pot that will allow water to cover the canning jar sby two inches. If you do not have this, they are easily found in stores or procured as an entire kit on Amazon. Also buy long tongs if you don't have these yet.
3. Have a Recipe Ready. Again, start simple! Here's a simple starter strawberry jam recipe (say that five times fast!) with awesome reviews.
4. Sanitize. ANY microorganisms can lead to lots of nasty food borne illness, and this can happen in the cleanest of kitchens, but it's incredibly easy to prevent. Boil your jars per the directions on the package and keep them warm and ready.
5. Process. Follow the recipe below or your own recipe to find out how the jars should be filled, and how long they require in a hot water bath (boiling water). Then close up your jars, using the seals. Wipe off the lids with a damp cloth.
6. Listen For the POP! Canning jar lids have domed lids. When the vacuum has been created (which is often a bit after you remove them from the water), you will hear a pop, meaning that your jars are sealed and can be stored.
7. Label Your Jars. Beware: once you start canning, you may just get the "canning bug" and start preserving every fruit and veggie you can get your hands on! So get in the habit of labeling your jars, even if you're starting out with just one food item.
8. Store. Now store your preserves in a cool, dark area. When you use/open a jar, DO NOT return it to the pantry shelf. Refrigerate and use within 1-2 weeks.
Enjoy your harvest!
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