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.
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!
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.
Also, a little fun fact. One of our 20lb boxes of pickling cukes are enough to make:
- 1 batch of Heritage Dill Pickles in 1-quart jars (10lbs. – 1.5lbs per jar, about 18 small pickles per jar).
- 1 batch of Aunt Elizabeth’s Fresh Dills (4lbs., about 35 four-inch cucumbers).
- 1 batch of Shirley’s Bread and Butter Pickles (4lbs., about 35 four-inch cucumbers)
With just enough leftover for snacking! However, make sure you sort them in this order:
- Smallest ones for Heritage Dills
- Medium Size for Aunt Elizabeth’s
- Largest ones for slicing for Shirley’s Bread and Butter Pickles.