Preserving
the taste of Summer
in a jar

Canning has taken America by storm and while the process is basically the same, there’s new equipment out there, creative new recipes and even a new pectin.

Preserving summer’s bounty is something our grandmothers used to do and as these items became mass produced, the home canning process got labeled ‘old fashioned.’

Not anymore.  There is a resurgence in both back yard gardening and kitchen canning across the nation.

The basic canning technique is straight forward and is covered in detail inside every new canning cookbook and magazine on the shelves.  In the confines of this blog post, I won’t be going into depth on the method of safely preserving fruits and vegetables.  Instead, I’ll be sharing a couple of recipes, a new method for preparing fruit and a cute way to present a jar of jelly as a gift.  For a few dollars, you can pick up a canning magazine and read about the specifications of safely sterilizing your jars and properly preserving your fruits and vegetables.  

All of the recipes presented here use Universal Pomona Pectin.  This is a low sugar method for canning.  Other pectins on the market require an obscene amount of sugar. Using Pomona Pectin for its low sugar properties is in no way a compromise on flavor; it just does not require cups and cups of sugar to work and that is a good thing.  There are excellent directions on the box and they’ve even produced a cookbook - ‘Preserving with Pomona Pectin’.  To learn more about this pectin, swing by their web-site: 

http://www.pomonapectin.com

Part one of the Pomona Pectin Process requires that you mix up a little calcium water and have it ready to go.  Spend a little time reading up on the Pomona Pectin process before you start canning.  It’s not difficult, it’s just a little different. 


Strawberry Jelly


4 pounds of strawberries, hulled and sliced in half

4 teaspoons of prepared calcium water

2 cups of sugar

4 teaspoons of Pomona Pectin

1/4 c fresh lemon juice, strained


I just don’t have the patience to endure capturing strawberry juice via the jelly bag dripping method.  I used my Omega macerating juicer to juice the berries and then I strained the juice.

I end up with 4 cups of strawberry juice in no time using this method.

While you are preparing your fruit, your jars should be boiling away in your canner getting all nice and sterilized.  Refer to the instructions in a canning cookbook or magazine for the proper method of safely sanitizing jars, lids and bands.  As I mentioned earlier, I won’t be delving into those details in the confines of a blog post.

In a separate bowl combine the 4 t of Pomona Pectin and the 2 cups of sugar.

Once I have 4 cups of strawberry juice, I pour the juice into a large pot and add the 1/4 c of lemon juice and the 4 t of calcium water.  Bring the juice mixture to a full boil over high heat and then slowly add the pectin-sugar mixture; stirring constantly.  Stir vigorously until pectin is dissolved completely.  Jelly will then need to come back to a full boil.  Once this happens, remove from heat source.

Remove the sterilized jars from the canner and ladle the hot strawberry jelly into the hot jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Remove any trapped air bubbles and clean off the rims with a clean cloth.  Put on the lids, but only just tighten the bands - don’t crank them super tight.  Lower the jars back into the water bath and don’t let the jars touch.  Also make sure there’s 1 - 2 inches of water covering the jars.  Put the lid back on the canner, crank up the heat and return the water to a rolling boil.  Process jars for 10 minutes and adjust the time for altitude.  Your canning cookbook will have information for altitude time adjustments.  Turn off heat after required processing time and let it all hang out for 5 minutes.  Remove the jars onto a clean cloth and don’t touch them for 24 hours.  You’ll see water pooled on top of the lids - just leave it - it will evaporate.  Once again, I want to stress that you need to spend time reading about the process of canning in a cookbook and follow the instructions as specified to ensure the safety of your food product.  

This recipe will yield 4 half-pint or 8 ounce jars.

I picked up some cute strawberry fabric and using an embroidery hoop as a pattern template, cut out circles that would fit the jar lids. 

I machine-stitched the edges and attached a little strawberry that I cross-stitched to the center.  Perfect for a gift, don’t you think?!


Apple mint jelly


One of our favorite uses for this jelly, is a side condiment, for grilled lamb or chicken.

1 cup of firmly packed mint leaves

1 cup of boiling water

4 pounds of apples

1/4 c lemon juice

4 t calcium water

1 cup of sugar

4 teaspoons of Pomona Pectin

Combine the mint leaves with the boiling water.  Using a pestle, crush the mint leaves a bit to release oil.

Let the mint and water stand for an hour and then strain leaves, pressing to extract juice.  Measure out a 1/2 c of mint water.


Once again, I totally avoided the whole jelly bag dripping method and just used my Omega macerating juicer to obtain 4 cups of apple juice, which I strained after juicing.

As you can see, I don’t peel the apples which is another time saver.

Prepare your jars, lids and bands according to the instructions provided in a canning cookbook or magazine.

Combine 4 t of Pomona Pectin with 1 c of sugar in a bowl.

Combine 4 cups of apple juice and 1/2 c of mint water with 1/4 c lemon juice and 4 t of calcium water and place in a large pot.  Bring juice to a full boil over high heat and slowly add the pectin-sugar mixture; stirring constantly.  Stir vigorously until pectin is completely dissolved.  The apple mint jelly will come back to a full boil; once it does, remove from heat source.

Remove sterilized jars from the canner and ladle hot jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Remove any trapped air bubbles and clean off the rims with a clean cloth.  Put on the lids, but only just tighten the bands - don’t crank them super tight.  Lower the jars back into the water bath and don’t let the jars touch.  Also make sure there’s 1 - 2 inches of water covering the jars.  Put the lid back on the canner, crank up the heat and return the water to a rolling boil.  Process jars for 10 minutes and adjust the time for altitude.  Your canning cookbook will have information for altitude time adjustments.  Turn off heat after required processing time and let it all hang out for 5 minutes.  Remove the jars onto a clean cloth and don’t touch them for 24 hours.  You’ll see water pooled on top of the lids - just leave it - it will evaporate.  Once again, I want to stress that you need to spend time reading about the process of canning in a cookbook and follow the instructions as specified to ensure the safety of your food product. 

This recipe will yield 4 half-pint or 8 ounce jars.


There is just something supremely satisfying about canning your own jelly.  Give it a try and make a little extra for family and friends.  Believe me, they will appreciate it so much that they’ll be bugging you next year about making the gift jar list!


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