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Momsteader 06-22-2013 10:09 AM

I'm a total newbie canner. I have the jars. I have the lids. (I got those neat reusable ones from Tattler.) I've done a few very basic jams. I need to do more though! Any experts here?


Do you can food? From your own garden or do you acquire it some other way? What things are your favorite to can? Do you have good recipes to share? Or a good resource for finding safe recipes for canning? 

kitchensqueen 06-23-2013 06:55 PM

I won't call myself an expert but I've been canning for years by the book and I've done a variety of things. 


One of the most important things to remember is you can only do high-acid food in a water bath canner (jams, jellies, tomatoes with additional acid added, and pickles). Everything else (vegetables, meats, prepared foods) has to be done in a pressure canner. You cannot can dairy at all (no matter what it says on the internet). 


The two safest and best resources for home canners are Ball (get yourself a copy of the Ball Blue Book - it's the bible of canning) and the National Center for Home Preservation


My big thing is canning tomatoes.I can whole tomatoes in their own juices in quart jars, because it's the lowest effort for the most versatile result. Instead of being stuck with a billion jars of tomato sauce, I turn plain tomatoes into sauce, soups, stews, pizza sauce - a ton of different things, very easily when I cook. I've also done pickles and jams over the years, but I don't do them as much in recent years because we just don't eat vast quantities of those. Tomatoes though, we eat at least once per week, if not more. Last summer I put up 27 quarts. My goal is to double that - we'll see if I do this year or not. Not been a great year for the garden thus far. 


In past years I've purchased produce from the farmers market (I got "seconds" - the stuff that doesn't look pristine and needs to have a few bad spots cut out - half the price of retail). This year I'm trying my hand at growing tomatoes for the canner since we've got a plot in a community garden, but as I mentioned the jury is still out on how successful that will be. The weather has been really weird this year. 


Another resource I highly recommend is Marisa McClellan of the blog Food In Jars (and her new book of the same name). She focuses on small batch canning and adheres to safe canning principles as outline by Ball and the NCHP. 

cynthia mosher 06-25-2013 06:54 AM

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Boy this thread stirs up memories for me! My grandmother canned pretty much everything she grew. Whatever was in her garden was eaten through the months and canned at the same time so there was food for the winter. I'd love to give it a try but it seems so time consuming. I'll check out Food in Jars. Thanks for sharing! thumb.gif

kitchensqueen 06-25-2013 05:54 PM

Originally Posted by Cynthia Mosher View Post

 I'd love to give it a try but it seems so time consuming. I'll check out Food in Jars. Thanks for sharing! thumb.gif


It can be, but that's why doing small batches like McClellan does is so great. I love the flexibility of small batch canning so much that I got a mini canning rack that can be used in a standard stockpot, and only holds 4 pints or 2 quarts at a time. 

cynthia mosher 06-25-2013 06:14 PM

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Sweet! And only $7! I'm going to grab one of those and give it a try. Thanks!

kitchensqueen 06-26-2013 10:57 AM

Hope you like it! It's really made "every day" canning so much more accessible to me, especially now that I've got a toddler. Easy to do a little something after bedtime now. :-)

mumkimum 06-27-2013 08:53 AM

I've liked the basic info from pick-your-own for canning as well as the other previously mentioned resources (I love food in jars!).  I have a CSA share, so will sometimes can abundant stuff I've gotten through that.  Otherwise I also usually get cheaper seconds or buy extra when something is way cheap.  


I've found it helpful (as a newbie canner too) to have some recipes I can can during 'off season' - like pomegranate jelly (using bottled juice) or a really good strawberry-cranberry jam (using frozen fruits).  As I'm not always organized to get tons done during spring/summer/fall and if I'm not doing something periodically I'll get too forgetful about the process.  

pickle18 06-27-2013 09:14 AM

subbing - in the same newbie boat! lurk.gif

cynthia mosher 06-27-2013 11:32 AM

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mumkimum, I'd love your pomegranate jelly recipe. love.gif


Anyone have a really good kosher dill pickle recipe?

mumkimum 06-28-2013 08:03 AM

This is (basically) the pomegranate jelly I've made.  I've also done it without the lemon juice (though I like it better with).  I made a great one last holiday season with a quality pomegranate-sour cherry juice I'd picked up cheap.  It's easy, good, and versatile.

cynthia mosher 06-28-2013 10:16 AM

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Thank you! We get fresh pomegranate juice so I'd dying to try this. :)

bruebee 06-28-2013 12:45 PM

I've been canning for a few years now. I love it! It started for me when my husband volunteered at the farmers market and the farmers gave him the extras that wouldnt make it until the next sunday. I had more peaches and pickling cukes than we could ever eat. So I found that pick your own website and went to town! I absolutely loved it. My gram got so excited that I was canning she went and got all the tools for me :-) I've recently started pressure canning using recipes from the lady who runs the site is a certified master preserver. I used her turkey soup recipe and it was amazing! It was the first time I used my pressure canner, I was so nervous I watched that dial like a hawk. It is so wonderful to be able to make great food for my family. I also make all sorts of jams to give as gifts for Christmas. My grandpa loves it especially. I hope you love canning as much as I do, it can be very rewarding and a great way to love and bless people.

Sorry for disjointedness
Tablet typing +excited bad story teller = wonky posting ;-)

cynthia mosher 06-28-2013 12:59 PM

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Is this the Turkey Soup recipe? 

kitchensqueen 06-28-2013 01:02 PM

Originally Posted by Bruebee View Post

I've recently started pressure canning using recipes from the lady who runs the site is a certified master preserver. 


That's another great, safe resource to use. She's got a pretty active FB too. 

bruebee 06-28-2013 02:15 PM

Yes thats the one I used. I made my own stock from the bird and can happily say that I used just about the whole 15 lb bird!

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