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  1. Tuesday, January 30

    2018 New Year’s Resolution: Learn How to Can

    If you’ve been reading my blog for longer than a year, you are probably aware that each year I make a New Year’s resolution that supports my overall goal to Eat Well and Heal the Planet. Food production has a huge impact on the environment and I love finding ways to do our part in the kitchen. Usually my resolution is easy to figure out, but this year I’ve struggled a bit with settling on something. Then, this morning, lightning struck: canning!

    2018 New Years Resolution: Learn How to Can @janemaynard

    I’ve always been scared of canning. First off, I don’t know how to do it and was scared of messing up. Second, I was being lazy about learning. Third, I was being lazy about actually doing it. 😉 But this year I am committing to at least learning how and then going from there!

    Last year Nate started gardening. He learned a lot and is ready to do the whole gardening thing even better this year. Over this past year, as produce was harvested in our backyard, our only options were to freeze the food or eat it, otherwise it went to wast (and we all know how I feel about food waste). While I’m really good at freezing stuff (yeah, I’m totally bragging…I mean, it takes great skill to throw something in a container and toss it into the freezer), for some foods freezing doesn’t work. And for other foods canning is just plain delicious. Also, I store a lot of bread and jam in my freezers, so I am limited on freezer space. Since I had NO CLUE about canning, it was simply not an option. This year, however, is going to be different.

    2018 New Years Resolution: Learn How to Can @janemaynard

    For years I’ve been watching my friend Aimee from the blog Simple Bites can food like crazy from food they grew in their backyard. She is really inspiring and I think those years of gawking at her skills have finally sparked me to give it a try. I’m going to start with Simple Bite’s Canning 101 guide. I’m actually excited, albeit a bit nervous.

    If you are a canner and have any tips, please share them in the comments! And if you are a canning virgin, perhaps consider joining me on the journey. I promise to report on how my canning efforts go!

    Here’s to another year of happy, earth-friendly eating!

  2. Tuesday, June 16

    The #1 Freezer Jam Tip You Need If You Plan to Use Sure-Jell Pectin

    If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I make freezer jam every year. It’s my favorite kind of jam. We never buy jam at the store. We’re completely spoiled and addicted to freezer jam and I blame my mom.

    instructions for making raspberry and strawberry freezer jam from @janemaynard

    ANYWAY…most years when I make my many batches of jam, I share a new tip or two on the blog. Far and away the most awesome freezer jam tip I gave was how many berries to buy for making strawberry or raspberry freezer jam. I don’t know what I would do without that post – I use it every year! If you want to read through the rest of the tips, click here – there is a lot of handy info in all those posts.

    This year’s tip, however, is CRITICAL to success if you’ve ever tried to replicate what I do. Every year I say the following: “Just buy Sure-Jell pectin and follow the instructions for freezer jam. Works like a charm!” Well, DO NOT DO THAT. This year I cracked open my box of pectin and immediately noticed the directions were different. I did a lot of google searching and discovered that last year Kraft inexplicably changed the directions. They have since fixed the problem, but apparently there are still boxes out there with the wrong directions inside. If you follow the wrong directions (which tell you to mix the sugar with the pectin and water and then boil the three together), your jam will absolutely not turn out. So, I’m going to put the CORRECT directions here on the blog, mostly for my peace of mind. I really don’t want you buying bucket loads of berries only to have your jam bomb on account of me telling you to use the directions in the box. Argh!

    Also, lest you think I am a domestic goddess (because I am not), my raspberry jam didn’t come out this year. It’s more like raspberry sauce than jam, but it still tastes like heaven, so whatever.

    With that vote of confidence (I swear this recipe works 99.99999% of the time!), here are the instructions for raspberry and strawberry freezer jam!

    Raspberry or Strawberry Freezer Jam
    Instruction for using Sure-Jell pectin to make raspberry or strawberry freezer jam. If you want to make another kind of jam, the instructions on the inside of the box have a chart indicating the amount of berries and sugar needed. Be sure that you follow the directions below for making the jam, however, as Kraft misprinted the jam technique in 2014.
    • FOR STRAWBERRY JAM: 2 cups crushed strawberries + 4 cups sugar
    • FOR RASPBERRY JAM: 3 cups crushed raspberries + 5¼ cups sugar
    • FOR BOTH KINDS OF JAM: 1 box Sure-Jell Pectin
    • FOR BOTH KINDS OF JAM: ¾ cup cold water
    1. Freezer jam can be stored in any airtight container. Make sure containers are clean and dry.
    2. Crush berries and, using a dry measuring cup, measure the exact amount of prepared fruit into a large bowl.
    3. Measure exact amount of sugar then add to the berries, stirring well. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. Once berries have been sitting for at least 5 minutes (to time everything properly), mix the pectin and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly. Once mixture is boiling, boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
    5. Add to fruit-sugar mixture and stir constantly for 3 minutes, until sugar is dissolved (a few crystals may remain).
    6. Add to containers, leaving ½" space at the top for expansion when freezing. Cover with lids and let stand for 24 hours. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw frozen jam in refrigerator.



  3. Thursday, April 18

    Those Berries Got Jammed! {Yearly Freezer Jam Tip}

    I just finished my annual task of making strawberry freezer jam for the upcoming year! I ended up with twenty-two 2-cup containers, but I’m worried that it might not be enough jam. I’m probably going to have to make more since, apparently, I’m raising a wild pack of rabid jam eaters.

    I write about my jam escapades every year and I find that I’m constantly finding new little tips that help out with the process. This year is no exception! You know how you’re not supposed to puree the fruit because then it won’t gel properly? (If you don’t know that, true story.) My least favorite part of making strawberry jam is smashing the strawberries. They’re tricky little buggers. I noticed in the directions this year, though, that it said you could use a food processor. You simply process the fruit to a fine chop, but do not puree. Since I finally have a food processor, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

    Yes, that container is almost empty! It’s been two days. These kids are rabid, I tell ya. RABID.

    Using the food processor worked beautifully. The whole process went SO MUCH FASTER and I liked the final texture of the jam a lot. The fruit is more uniform in size and there aren’t any of those giant berries floating around in the jam. (I’m sure some people like the giant berries in the jam, but I’m not a fan.) So, that’s this year’s tip! Don’t be scared to use your food processor ”” just make sure you don’t process too much and you’ll be good!

    P.S. Those berries got JAMMED. (Please, someone, get the joke! Here, maybe this will help…) Those berries got retro-jammed! (Now? Anyone?)