Canning / Jams / Freezing fruits, veggies? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 03-19-2003, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Last night, I tried making strawberry jam for the first time. I got one of those Certo Pectin packages, and it said in big bold letters "Do not reduce sugar, do not substitute sugar" well, I used fructose instead of sugar. Not sure if it's going to come out or not - I guess I'll find out tonight.

But that made me want to come here and ask a few questions.. I'm sure there are lots of experienced canning/jamming chefs here . We're also going to start a little garden, so I am trying to learn more about canning / freezing / dehydrating, etc.

Certo Pectin is a preservative, right? I noticed the organic jams we have at the house list Fruit Pectin as an ingredient.. and organic sugar... Anyone has a recipe that would get me closer to a natural food store-bought jam? There are tons of cheap strawberries around here, I'd love to take advantage of that and make jams, freeze them, etc.

any tips on canning for a beginner? Do I need to buy a canner thing? How much do those usually run?

any recipies, ideas, tips, suggestions would be muchly appreciated!
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#2 of 2 Old 03-19-2003, 06:03 PM
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I do a lot of canning and preserving so I'll tell you what has worked for me.

For jams, I started making preserves because you don't need pectin and can just use sugar to taste. The pectin is to firm up the jam but like you read, it needs a LOT of sugar to make it work. There is no a low sugar pectin which I have tried and it works fine but preserves are easier. Just boil down the fruit, add sugar and can.

For jams and jellies, you don't need any special canning equipment but for vegetables you must have a pressure canner which I invested in a few years ago. I don't think it was that expensive. I always look for jars at garage sales, thrift stores etc. For jam, I reuse old jelly jars that people save for me. I also use almond butter and tahini jars. Mayonaise jars are strong enough to preserve fruit or apple sauce in using the boiling water bath type of preserving but cannot withstand the pressure canning method for vegetables.

There are lots of great books on canning - even Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker have sections on how to do it and recipes. My favorite reference for canning and almost every old-fashioned country thing is THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COUNTRY LIVING put out by Sasquatch books.

Good luck and feel free to post or pm me with any specific questions.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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