strawberry fields
handmade beginnings :: 24 sewing projects to welcome baby & giveaway

and she asks herself, "can you do the can-can?"

canning 1

Did I really just write that title? I did. And that's about the extent of my sense of humor, friends. Thank you for the polite chuckle.

Despite growing up amidst blackberry brambles with my own mother making jam like a factory, I had never made my own jam. Of course, I have picked a gazillion berries and have eaten truckloads of jam, but somehow I avoided the actual making of the jam - until now. With my new can-do attitude (groan, eye-roll) and my Mother's Day gift, I was prepared to preserve.

canning 2

My gift consisted of my choice of kitchen "gadget." I briefly considered a crock pot, toyed with the idea of a bread machine, and fantasized about a stand mixer, but I ultimately went for something supremely practical and sure to be used quite a bit: two books, a jar lifter, and some more mason jars. I also went ahead and bought a pressure cooker/canner because I know we'll be wanting to preserve low-acid foods such as pinto beans and soups of all kinds. You don't need a pressure cooker if you're only making high-acid preserves such as jams, pickles, condiments, or tomato sauces. A bit ol' pot will work just fine.

canning 6

Old-fashioned jams looked right up my alley. Only two ingredients. Mashed fruit and sugar. How could I mess that one up on my first try?

canning 5

My biggest surprise in this whole process was the mountain of sugar that homemade jams require. Mind you, it's a lot better than high fructose what-not and who-knows-what-else they add to commercial jams, but my goodness. I think I'll be having my toast and jam for dessert from now on!

canning 4

With the Bob Marley's classic playing in my head, I stirred. And stirred. Stirred some more, then finally poured the aromatic goop into the jars, placed the jars in the pot for ten minutes at a rolling boil, removed the hot jars using the jar lifter, and set them on my counter for 24 hours to set.

canning 3

The result?

Well. I suppose this means I'll never again buy jam from a store. The other result is that my kitchen is a mess. Not only did we make jam, but we made strawberry syrup for pancakes and waffles. Suddenly, we went from never having canned before to wanting to can everything in sight. Is that something edible? Quick! Can it! Our crazed gazes twitch from side to side, waiting for the next box from our CSA to arrive on Tuesday ...

Actually, I have other things in the works - fabric things! I'll be hosting Anna Maria Horner's book tour tomorrow (actually, I'll be gushing about her work and showing off projects all week long) so be sure to stop by!