I've secretly always wanted to live on a farm with lots of land for vegetable gardens, an orchard, chickens, and fields of wildflowers. Maybe I'm living in the wrong era, but going out everyday with my basket and apron to collect eggs and pick the latest produce from the vine, sounds wonderful! My older sister used to tease me about this saying I would end up 'making my own baby food, having a garden, homeschooling my kids, and wearing Keds and jean jumpers'. Well, I do make my own baby food and I have a garden, we're still debating about homeschooling our children one day (I think this same sister is contemplating the same!) but the Keds and jean jumpers have not and will not enter my wardrobe!
When we planted our garden this spring I was so excited thinking about all of the tomatoes, beans and other items I could can. Well, our beans were attacked by bugs and all died; the tomatoes are growing like crazy with tons of flowers, but only a handful of tomatoes, and our cucumbers were mostly bitter. So much for my great ideas of learning how to can!
I did have just enough cucumbers to make one batch of Bread and Butter Pickles. My Grandmother always had pickles and relish at her house, from my Grandfather's garden, and to this day these are the only ones I like! She graciously gave me her recipe (sorry I'm not sharing it here) and I've already eaten a whole jar!
Because our garden isn't producing enough this year, I decided against purchasing canning equipment right now. But, I have learned that it's possible to can some things with just a stockpot. My freezer is running out of space for freezer jam (check out the strawberry freezer jam recipe), so I decided to buy some peaches and make some cooked peach jam.
In order to set the stage here, I have to explain that our windows were open on this particular day of canning. The morning temperatures had gotten down to the 60's, so we decided to open up and save a little money on our electric bill. This is a big mistake on the day when you plan to can something! Our house was almost 90F when I started the process and it didn't cool down one bit! We closed our windows the next day.
Everything went pretty smoothly until the jam that I was cooking spilled over the pot onto my cooktop. Now, there is sugary jam caked onto my favorite burner. Any suggestions for how to get it off? I've tried warm soapy water and baking soda.
Next time, I'll be sure to use a bigger pot.
We now have six jars of homemade peach jam in the pantry and I can't wait to try it!
|I used the recipe inside of a box of Sure Jell fruit pectin for cooked peach jam.|
My first experiences canning went fairly well and I'm looking forward to maybe finding some tomatoes somewhere to work on trying spaghetti sauce and salsa.
Have you canned anything this year?