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so you think you can can

True confessions: I know very little about canning. 

What I don't know and you don't know, we both can find here at the Ball jar canning site, which is pretty much a food preserving lifesaver. 

What little I do remember from my childhood consists of scrambling to make jam the night before the country fair, the kitchen being unnecessarily hot, the awful smell of vinegar and a lot of angst.

Let's just say the memories aren't all that great. 

Or maybe they are. 

I also remember spending time in our red kitchen with my mom who always wore her vegetable-print apron, getting to use the super-sweet magnetic lid doo-hicky to nab lids out of boiling hot water and getting to eat Mom's delicious canned peaches even when the wind was blowing and snow was falling in the middle of cold Iowa winters. 

So today I tried my hand at canning some raspberry jam . . . as an adult . . . but not without texting my sister . . . and my mom . . . and enlisting my farmer's help when I couldn't figure out how much pectin I needed to use because, well, math.

It takes a village, ok?

And because cucumbers were on sale at Aldi, I tried my hand at pickles too. 

A lot of pickles. 

All right, so I went a little overboard on the pickles and ran out of jars. 

Now the kitchen floor is sticky, and there are about 200 dishes to wash sitting in my sink. 

The stove looks like it's been through a war it didn't win, and I'm pretty sure every wooden spoon we own is saturated with either sugar or vinegar. 

But I'll say this: I do feel just a little bit accomplished, maybe even a little grown up, and just a tad bit like my mom. 

We don't have cupboards of pickles and jelly and peaches like when we were growing up, but we have some, and that's a good place to start. 

Plus, only one jar shattered, and that counts for something, right?

*Yes. The answer is YES.*

And then, because I know my sisters love those pictures where life looks perfect, children always behave, dogs are never dirty, houses are always vacuumed and the blogger looks like Suzy Q Homeworker, there's this. 

But . . . just to be clear . . . my kitchen is still really hot and the house smells like vinegar and my heart rate hasn't come down yet.

And to be fair, I won't actually know until the morning if the lids sealed. So, let's chat again tomorrow, shall we? I'll bring my own angst.

What do you like to can? 

Raspberry Jam

3 1/2 cups crushed raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1/2 tsp butter or margarine, optional
1 3-oz. liquid pectin

Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Wash lids in warm soapy water. 
Combine prepared berries with lemon juice and sugar in a 6-8 quarter saucepan. Add up to 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to a full roiling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring frequently. 
Add pectin, immediately squeezing entire contents from the pouch. Continue hard boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. 
Sadly hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply bad until fit is fingertip tight. 
Process jars in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. 


  1. I'm learning as I go! I like to can blackberry jam, salsa and applesauce. I tried refrigerator pickles last year but haven't yet canned pickles. I think our generation is going to revive the art of canning! :-)

    1. I agree! How did your applesauce turn out? Do you have a good recipe to share?


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