Canning 101: Freezer Jam (Recipe: Nectarine Raspberry Freezer Jam)

Written by Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity.

Freezer Jam is a great way to break into the preserving scene. The recipes are made in smaller batches, require little to no cooking (which gives them a fresher taste) and need no special canning equipment.

All you need to do is puree or mash some fruit, mix it with sugar and pectin and throw it in the freezer! [Read more…]

Lacto-Fermentation: An Easier, Healthier, and More Sustainable Way to Preserve

In March we ate the last of 5 1/2 gallons of lacto-fermented vegetables. They stored for over six months in our refrigerator and I didn’t boil a single pot of water.

I think everyone should try lacto-fermentation for three reasons:

  1. The product is a living food, full of enzymes and probiotics.
  2. The process is much faster than waterbath or pressure canning.
  3. The process (and storage) can be done with zero energy usage.

A healthier product in less time and with less energy usage? Yes please!

How It Works

Before the advent of modern day canning, most of our fore-mothers preserved the harvest through lacto-fermentation. Dill pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi are all products of this preservation method.

[Read more…]

In the Pits: Canning Stone Fruits

This is a guest post from Jennifer Murch of Mama’s Minutia. Welcome, Jennifer!

Peach canning has been known to give me conniptions, but of all the foods to can, peaches—and their stone fruit siblings—are straightforward and simple.

When buying peaches to can, choose freestone peaches such as Glohaven, Loring, Sun High. Redhaven is my all-time favorite for the ease with which they relinquish their stony hearts and for their reluctance to turn brown when cut and exposed to air.

Peaches must be fully ripe before canning. If they’re not, they’ll be pesky to pit. So once you’ve carted your peaches home, lay them out in a well-ventilated room on newspapers you’ve spread over plastic (because the peaches may ooze juice), to finish ripening. [Read more…]

Canning 101: Sweet Cherries for Winter Days

Written by Cheryl of Backseat Gourmet

My Baba was the canning and preserving queen. It wasn’t a fun, retro thing for her. It was about survival. And survival meant more than enough food to make it through the winter. It also meant a little bit of sunshine on a cold, harsh winter’s day on the Prairies. For her, that sunshine came in the form of canned fruit.

Her root cellar was filled with more than enough food for two people and any visitors. On one special shelf were jars of jams, obviously, but also jars of canned berries and cherries that grew in her garden. With a significant sweet tooth Baba’s fruit was more like an excellent pancake syrup.

I’ve adapted her canned fruit concept and lightened things up. I’ve also added more fruits to my repertoire, and taken some out. Canned strawberries are actually quite mushy, so I prefer alternative methods of preserving their goodness long term. Now I take advantage of the stone fruit that comes out of British Columbia, our neighbouring province.

Sure, you can make loads of jam with all those peaches, apricots, cherries, and plums. But a girl can only eat so much toast. Of late, I’ve really been enjoying the whole fruit in a light syrup. Cracked open in January, spooned on ice cream or oatmeal, or eaten straight, they are indeed a taste of summer sunshine.

[Read more…]

Canning 101: Fruit Butter (Recipe: Rhubarb-Pear Butter)

Every summer I gravitate toward making fruit butters instead of jam. Don’t get me wrong, I love jam, but the sugar-free, pectin-free, concentrated flavor of a fruit spread has a greater draw.

Despite the warm days, I’ll let a pot of ripe fruit simmer down to a sticky and sweet mess on the stove, pair it with a spice just for fun, add a natural sweetener if needed and jar it up for winter.

It’s the perfect way to capture the essence of summer and store it on my pantry shelves.

So, what IS a fruit butter anyway?

Jam expert Marisa McClellan gives this description in a recent Q & A on making butters:

“A fruit butter is named as such because it mimics the smooth spreadability of softened butter. It is cooked low and slow for a number of hours, in order to evaporate the excess liquid, concentrate the fruit flavors and intensify the innate sweetness in the fruit. Thanks to this concentration, it typically contains a minimal amount of additional sweetener.” [Read more…]