Looking to get into canning and preserving this year? Here are 10 of our favourite recipes for early summer, plus some of Char’s canning tips!


Canning Tips


The most important rule is to read your entire recipe and ensure you have everything you need before you start. That includes jars, lids, rings, spices, sugar, salt, vinegar etc. You don’t want to be halfway through making the recipe and discover you don’t have an ingredient or enough lids.  

Clean up your workspace.  

Canning takes up a lot of room, and you’re often working with very hot liquids, so you want enough clear counter space around you to place everything.  

Clean and check your jars

Check all your canning jars for nicks or chips on the rim by running your finger around the rim. Even the smallest chip will keep the jar from sealing properly. My mom used to put an elastic band around the neck of jars with chips to remind her not to use them for canning.  She used them for storage, but I put flowers in mine!  

If the processing time for your recipe is 10 minutes or more, it’s not necessary to sterilize the jars. However, it’s very important to have clean jars. I run them through the dishwasher on a short cycle but with heated dry and leave them in the dishwasher with the door closed until I’m ready to use them. You could also hand wash them and put them on a cookie sheet in a warm oven, set at 200 degrees. You don’t want to be putting near-boiling jam into a cold jar, as it can crack the jar.  

Water Bath Canner

If you’re using a water bath canner, fill it with water and start the heating process.  It takes a surprisingly long time for a full water bath canner to come to a boil.  

Can with a friend! 

It goes much quicker and is more fun when you can share the tasks and rewards with a friend. 


Pickle Facts

Also, a little fun fact. One of our 20lb boxes of pickling cukes are enough to make:

With just enough leftover for snacking! However, make sure you sort them in this order:

  1. Smallest ones for Heritage Dills
  2. Medium Size for Aunt Elizabeth’s
  3. Largest ones for slicing for Shirley’s Bread and Butter Pickles.

Happy Canning!

If you’ve read the jam-making instructions for regular pectin, you might be as horrified as I am to see that it calls for more sugar than fruit. Cutting back the sugar is not recommended, as it will not set correctly. You’ll end up with a delicious, sweet sauce for ice cream or waffles, but it will be too runny for jam as it’s the sugar that sets the pectin. I’ve switched to primarily using Pomona’s pectin for my jams and jellies as it requires far less sugar to set, but strawberries are the exception as I just don’t like the texture of it when using Pomona’s. This recipe using Bernardin’s No Sugar Needed Pectin is perfect, and I do use the recommended added sugar.

It’s been so fun to see the growth in home canning in the last few years, and to meet the demand we started growing pickling cucumbers on Lepp Farms a few years ago.

This is the perfect classic dill pickle recipe and surely won’t disappoint.

A twist on classic dilly beans, this recipe uses Thai chili peppers. With the fresh flavor of dill, garlic, and mustard seeds, these pickled beans are a great new addition to your summer spread.

I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t exclaim, “where did you get those pickles!” when I serve these crisp slices. I love to name the source of my favourite recipes on my cards, and obviously, I received this recipe from my good friend, Shirley! Equally at home with an elegant hors d’oeuvres course or a backyard BBQ, these easy pickles are always a crowd pleaser. There’s no canning involved, so if you can chop, stir and pour, you can make these!

This heritage recipe from Farmer Rob’s mom is his favorite pickle and evokes lots of memories for him whenever I make them. She always made them in an ice-cream bucket and I remember her being very excited when she sourced a studier white bucket with a red lid, which is how I remember them being served at every extended family summer picnic.

This homemade relish is a must-try this summer.

This compote makes an easy but elegant dessert sauce to top ice-cream, cheesecake or drizzle over a Pavlova. Honey sweetened mascarpone cream would also be divine and I promise not to tell anyone if you enhance your morning yogurt with these boozy cherries.

This savoury jam is amazing, and pairs beautifully with meat dishes. It would also be delicious on a cheese board and makes a lovely hostess gift.  It doesn’t use any pectin to thicken, rather you continue cooking it until it’s the thickness you prefer, so make sure it’s the texture you like before removing from the heat as it won’t thicken much as it cools.

Sugar, strawberries, vanilla bean. Puree, simmer, water bath can. That’s it. The result is a sweet taste of spring in a jar, excellent as a topping for ice cream, swirled into yogurt, or spooned over waffles.

Apricot season is so short that it can be an often overlooked fruit – but they’re so easy to work with, which makes them ideal for simple sauces & canning!

Add this to sparkling water on a hot summer day, or use it in homemade cocktails. Or sweeten ice tea or lemonade, drizzle over ice cream, stir it into plain yogurt or use as a glaze on grilled meats. The options are endless.