Happy National Can It Forward day all! One of my fondest memories growing up involved making homemade apricot jam with my mom. We had a friend who would always give us bags and bags of fresh fruit including apricots from his fruit trees every year. I am not really a fan of apricots (they are fuzzy like peaches ~ it’s a texture thing) but I absolutely love apricot jam. So instead of letting the apricots go bad, my mom taught me how to make apricot jam the old fashioned way.
We would boil all our jars and lids to sanitize. Then, we cut up pounds and pounds of fruit, added sugar, a dab of butter, a little water and put it on the stove to cook for hours. I’d go back to the pan and stir it whenever I could trying to see if I could tell when it was all done. My mom is a pro at knowing when it is thick enough to call it jam. Once it was all “jammed” up, we would carefully ladle it into jars, put the lids on and boil them for as long as my mom said to do it. When they were ready, we would painstakingly take the jars out one by one to allow them to cool and listen for the lids to pop (the best part because it meant we did it right!). It was definitely an all day process but we usually made enough jam to last all year and to share with others.
I haven’t ever canned, preserved, jammed or jellied as an adult because well it was a lot of work and a lot of time…something only mom’s do best. Ok, well, I do kinda….I just freeze everything as The Husband always teases me lol.
Little did I know until a few weeks ago that the folks over at Ball have made jamming, jellying, preserving and canning so easy now.
Enter the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit ~ such a genius idea that takes all the intimidation out of canning!
This kit gives you everything you need to can (except the fresh food of course) along with the coolest holder that allows you to dunk and seal your jars in a synch.
In addition to giving you a recipe book with tips for canning, they break it down in 3 simple steps.
I LOVE the fact that Ball promotes sustainability and being a Loca-Vore ~ buying things from your local market or growing your own.
I will be posting all my canning and jamming recipes for you all this next week. There is something to be said for knowing exactly what is going into your jars and being able to control how much salt is added. I can definitely see making homemade soups for the winter using summer produce!
I found a bunch of green beans, celery, bell pepper and onion at my local farmer’s market so I knew one of the first things I was going to make with my kit was a four bean salad.
Cut, boil to soften slightly and drain.
Put the veggies into your clean jars, ladle your “dressing” over the top. The one thing I learned here ~ put your jars on a cookie sheet to catch anything that doesn’t make it in the jar.
Slide a knife around the edges to get rid of any air bubbles and wipe the rims. Put the lids on the jars.
Add 3 jars at a time to the Green Canning Basket provided in the kit. Put them in warm water and “can” by boiling according to the instructions, about 10-15 minutes.
The green handle actually tucks under the lid making this so easy. Turn the heat off and let the jars stand for 5 minutes. Grab the green handle and remove 3 jars at once! You do not have the balance trying to get them out with tongs.
Set on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 12 hours listening for the “pop” from the lids as they seal. So easy, huh?
As if that wasn’t easy enough, the folks at Ball took Jamming and Jellying a step further with the Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker.
Fresh jam or jelly in under 30 minutes???? Seriously ~ it’s true!
I love that they totally understand how I have canned ~ enjoy now, FREEZE and of course, preserve using the cool kit above. Yes, that kit works for anything you want to jar for up to a year!
Included in the box ~ another recipe book ~ they are totally feeding my cookbook addiction too.
I bought a bunch of organic berries at my local market for really cheap. If you buy in bulk (I bought a flat meaning 12 containers) the price gets cheaper. I mixed and matched raspberries with strawberries for $2 a box – deal!
Rinse your fresh berries and toss lightly in a paper towel to remove any excess water.
Use a potato masher to mash, not a food processor as fruit as natural pectin in it which makes it thicken it which gets broken down too much in a food processor.
Add pectin if you are using it ~ it natural as it comes from apples and citrus fruits but it is what helps you keep the color of your jam as it sits on the shelf and allows it to thicken up nicely.
Add your fruit and a 1/2 tsp. of butter. The butter is needed as fruit foams as it boils so it keeps the foam to a minimum.
Press the jam button and hit start.
4 minutes later you will hear a beeping sound which means add the sugar.
21 minutes later, the jam is done!
Ladle into the jars, wipe the rims and put the lids on. Then can using the kit above boiling in water.
Cool for 12 hours listening for the pop, add these super cool Ball labels that dissolve in water so you can re-use our jars when the jam is all gone.
Tadahhh ~ it really was that easy to make jam in minutes!
To kick off National Can It Forward Day and give you all some fantastic ideas, I am sharing the entire broadcast schedule from Ball that starts today along with the video below that you can watch live all day today.
The broadcast will begin on Saturday, August 17th at 10am EDT. If you do not see the broadcast, please refresh the page once the broadcast has started. You can also click this link to head over to the Ball Website to watch the broadcasts.
10:00am-10:45am: Jam making and water bath canning demo by Jessica Piper
10:45am-11:00am: Craft Corner with Jordan DeFrank
11:00am-11:45am: Pickles Demo by Rick Fields
11:45am-12:00pm: Craft Corner with Jordan DeFrank
12:00pm-1:00pm: Special Guest Host Ted Allen canning and cooking demo
1:00pm-1:15pm: Cocktails in Ball Jars hosted by Mason Jar NYC Restaurant
1:15pm-2:00pm: Jam making and water bath canning demo by Jessica Piper (repeated)
Did I mention they are also giving away fun Canning products every hour today?
I wanted to be able to share in the fun with you all as well so I am kicking off today’s National Can It Forward Day with a fun giveaway too!
THREE LUCKY WINNERS WILL RECEIVE THEIR OWN HOME CANNING DISCOVERY KITS:
I will also be including a box of dissolvable labels to get you started….
And the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving as well!
FOUR ADDITIONAL WINNERS WILL RECEIVE A COPY OF THE BLUE BOOK AS WELL!
HOW TO ENTER:
1) Simply leave your FIRST comment telling me the first thing you will can, preserve, jam or jelly.
2) TWEET and/or Facebook about this giveaway, “ Ready to #CanItForward and win a @BallCanning Home Canning Discovery Kit? Enter this #Giveaway hosted by @danicasdaily http://danicasdaily.com/?p=45112 “. Be sure to leave your SECOND comment to let me know you did.
3) If you have a blog, LINK back to this contest and leave a THIRD comment letting me know you did.
If you do not have a blog, just leave a comment below telling me someone you told about this giveaway.
The Fine Print: Thanks to Ball.for teaching me that canning really can be that easy and sending me the Jam & Jelly maker along with the Home Canning Discovery Kit like the ones I am giving away for National Can It Forward Day to my readers.
The Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Wednesday, August 21, 2013.
Good luck everyone & Happy Canning!