January and February aren’t my favorite months of the year. It’s the middle of summer right now and I know it’s hard to remember what those months are like. But they’re the opposite of now – cold, gray, snowy. And did I mention cold and dark? When January comes I’ll be so glad that I made the effort to can some summer fruits this month.
I also have a lot of childhood memories of my parents spending many hours canning food on the weekends. So canning my own food makes me feel connected to summer, my parents, and my childhood. That’s pretty cool in my book!
Last weekend I made Blueberry Fruit Spread and a low-sugar Natural Strawberry Jam. Yummmm! I’ve made jam before, but always gone the full-sugar route because I felt like too much of a novice to venture into other options. Well, this is my third year of canning so I’ve declared myself at intermediate skill level. Plus I really wanted to make some healthier options since I share the jams with people I love.
I use a cookbook from the Ball Jars company, and it’s always been a winner for me. The Blueberry Fruit Spread is just three ingredients … blueberries, tart apples and frozen, unsweetened grape juice concentrate. Sounds easy and it basically was! I simply put everything in one big pot and stirred it until it reached “hard gel” stage. The difficult part … it took about 75 minutes of standing and stirring!
Once the jars are filled with fruit spread they go into the very large pot of hot water (shown above). They sit in boiling water for about ten minutes to create the lid’s seal. I snuck a little picture for you before the water started to boil too hard!
I have to confess … we always open a jar of jam or spread right away. Even though we are preserving summer to enjoy in winter, these look just too wonderful to wait. But I promise when I can peaches and cherries, I will definitely save them all for January and February!
Let me know if you have canned in the past. How did it go for you? Would you be interested in learning? I’d love to help you if I can! (LOL – pun intended)
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