It’s time! The garden harvest is plentiful, and now at the end of the season, it’s time to can and freeze what can’t be immediately used, for use later this winter. I’ve done very limited canning in the past and, quite frankly, been a little scared of messing it up. Typically, I try to freeze any excess produce from the garden and since our gardens have been small, have had ample freezer space to make that work. This year, I was determined to learn to can safely and efficiently, though, and Ball made it easy with three new tools in my kitchen. The first was The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and the second was my new Ball Jam and Jelly Maker. Add to that the Home Canning Discovery Kit and I was ready to get started making the most of our garden harvest.
The Home Canning Discovery Kit, along with the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving have been indispensable tools in giving me the confidence that I can use canning to safely preserve food for my family. I liked the Discovery Kit because it was just the basics: 3 pint jars with lids and screw bands, a beginner’s guide to canning and recipe book, plus a canning rack that makes it easy to immerse jars into, and remove jars from, the boiling water canning bath. It also made me realize with just my own stainless steel stock pot, I would be canning in no time. No special equipment or pressure canner was necessary. My 8 qt stock pot was the perfect size. All that’s required, so the canning rack and 3 pint jars can fit into the pot at the same time, is a kettle that is at least 7½ inches tall and 9½ inches wide. Now, anyone can successfully manage small batch canning in their own kitchen without going to any huge expense.
The real treasure trove is the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving! It puts detailed canning instructions in language beginner’s can understand, so it’s simple to get started, without worry. Besides providing lists and descriptions of canning supplies, instructions for preparing to can and detailed instructions about processing and storing your canned goods, this handy guide is packed cover-to-cover with delicious recipes that will make the most of all your fresh garden fare. The recipes include everything from fruit and vegetable juices to jams, jellies and preserves, soft spreads to ketchup, plus relish and pickles, and so much more. You’ll be able to can Irish potatoes to beets, beans and corn or even pie filling and fruity ice cream toppings with confidence. Since it’s all about preserving and not just canning, though, it doesn’t stop there. You’ll find even more recipes and tips for freezing and dehydrating food, too! It’s a one-stop information guide for making the most of your garden or farmer’s market bounty. Our giveaway winner will receive their own copy of this great guide, too!
With these handy tools in tow, I unpacked my new Ball FreshTECH Jam and Jelly Maker and started mashing fruit! 🙂 Now, I have made jam, before, without this handy appliance, and if necessary, I could technically do it, again. But I definitely don’t want to! Who knew? I didn’t realize there was a beautiful machine out there, not receiving nearly enough of my love and attention. It’s nice because it makes small batch recipes. I don’t need a bushel basket of peaches or apples to can some great jams for my family AND because they are small batches, the next batch can be a completely different kind of fruit, which means lots of variety in my pantry. That’s always a good thing. Being able to make the jam so quickly and easily, means that jams and jellies for gift giving is a real option, now, too. The Jam and Jelly Maker comes with its own guide and recipe booklet, which made it so simple to get going, right out of the box.
The best feature of this cool appliance is the built-in stirrer. Mmmhmmm – built-in – no more standing over the pot stirring your arm off to keep things from scorching. The FreshTECH Jam and Jelly Maker does that for you. It also has a built in timer, with a pre-set for jelly and a pre-set for jam and + and – so you can make adjustments if your recipe requires it.
I made three batches of jam, that first day – plum, strawberry and peach. They’re so good! I’m going to give you the recipe for the peach and the pictures will be a mix from all three batches, so you get a feel for how to use this simple Jam and Jelly Maker.
- 2⅔ cups peeled & crushed peaches (about 2 lbs)
- 3 Tablespoons powdered pectin (I used RealFruit Classic by Ball)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon butter (helps prevent foaming)
- 3⅓ cups sugar
- Prep your jars and lids and get the water started in your kettle or stockpot so it's boiling when you get ready to can. I like to keep hot water in my sterilized jars while my jam is cooking. That way they stay warm and I don't risk cracking one when I pour in the hot jam. However, you decide to do it, it will be important to keep your jars warm.
- Wash, peel and pit the peaches. Then coarsely chop them.
- Crush the peaches with a potato masher. Measure out the exact amount for your recipe and set aside.
- Make sure you have inserted the stirrer into your Jam and Jelly Maker, then sprinkle the pectin evenly across the bottom of the pot.
- Add the peaches, evenly, over the pectin. Then put lemon juice and butter over the fruit.
- Press the jam button on the Freshtec Jam and Jelly Maker and the time will automatically default to 21 minutes. Press Enter.
- There will be four short beeps at the end of 4 minutes. Now add the sugar, evenly over your fruit, allowing the appliance to continue running and stirring as you work.
- Place the glass lid on the pot.
- Stay close by. The jam and jelly maker will beep again, in 17 minutes, when the jam is done.
- Press cancel and unplug the appliance.
- Use a hot pad to remove the stirrer from the pot.
- If you have any foam on your jam, skim it off. (In three batches, I never did.)
- Empty the hot water out of your jars.
- Ladle the hot jam into the jars.
- Leave about ¼ inch to ½ inch head space at the top of each jar. Wipe away any jam drips from the rims and then center the lids on your jar. Twist the screwbands on finger tight.
- Place three jars (pint or half-pint) into a canning rack with lifter.
- Lower the jars into your pot of water that has reached a steady boil. The jars should have 1 - 2 inches of water over them.
- Place the lid on the canner and process the jam for 10 minutes (Adjust the time for your own altitude.)
- Turn off the heat, remove lid from pot and let jars sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove jars from water and allow them to cool. I like to keep a folded bath towel on the counter next to where I'm canning. It protects the counter from my hot jars and absorbs any water that drips as I remove the rack from the canner.
- Lids should have sealed within 12 to 24 hours (though mine rarely take that long - usually within an hour or two.) If a jar hasn't sealed within 24 hours, stick it in the fridge and use it first.
- Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry for up to a year.
Now for the awesome giveaway! Enter to win a Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, a Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit and a coupon for a free case of Ball canning jars.
Leave a comment on this post telling me the first thing you would like to preserve if you’re the giveaway winner. That’s the only mandatory part of entering and it must be complete before any optional entries will count. Then register your comment on the Rafflecopter form below and select any other optional entries you would like to add. Good luck!
Rules: You must be at least 18 and a resident of the U.S. to enter. Mandatory entry must be completed in order for other optional entries to be counted. Winner will be selected in a random drawing. Giveaway is administered by Busy-at-Home and prize fulfillment is through Ball.
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