Friday, May 13, 2011

Jam and Pickles with my Big Brother

We were super happy that my dad and older brother, Billy, came out for a visit last week. We had a lot of fun with them. Billy is a excellent gardener and every year he has a huge garden. He always gets tons of super tasty veggies. He grows anything from corn to watermelon and everything in between. He and I have lately developed an interest in canning and we thought we'd give it a shot while he was here. We didn't grow our fruit and veggies but went to the farmers market to get them. Here are some pictures of our Strawberry Jam and our Bread and Butter Pickles and the recipes in case you want to give it a try yourself! Alyssa was our big 'helper' and she helped make and eat our goodies!
Ignore my super messy counter tops!!! Our strawberry jam turned out great but I had the bright idea to blend the strawberries (I didn't read all the way through the instructions!!) so it didn't jel up as well as it should have, but for our first try all and all we gave it an A!
Here is our little taste tester :) She's adorable isn't she? She loved sampling the Jam! Kid tested, mama approved!
And here is our finished product! Labeled appropriately as well! Both recipes are from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving. Cost $5.95 and tons of awesome recipes for your canning and freezing pleasure!

Bread and Butter Pickles
Yield 7 pints
4 pounds 4 to 6 inch cucumbers cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp mustard seed
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp peppercorns
3 cups vinegar

Combine the cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt. cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain, rinse, drain again. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Allow 4-6 weeks for fresh packed pickles to develop flavor.

Strawberry Jam
Yield about 8 half pints
2 quarts strawberries
1 package powdered pectin
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups sugar
Wash strawberries, drain and remove stems. Crush berries one layer at a time. Combine berries, powered pectin and lemon juice in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a roling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust 2 piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.