Monday, August 20, 2012

My Biggest Domestic Fear...

I have wanted to try canning for over a year. My Dad and stepmom always have homemade pickles, salsas, and jams and jellies and they taste wonderful. My husband loves homemade bread and butter pickles, but hasn't found a favorite store bought version. I love fresh jelly on a hot biscuit. It made sense for me to do it, but it scared me. What if I went to all that work and it didn't set? or taste good? or it molded? What if in the end, I wasted a whole day when Smuckers tastes fine?

I bought this magazine at the grocery store last fall and read it over a few times. It sounded easy enough. So, last winter I invested a little more and bought a canning set from Ball, also at the grocery store. Along with the big pot, it had all the little tools I would need. I put off the project until Spring with the excuse "that is when the fruit is better and costs less". I realized it is now August and my window for jelly was just about up!

Strawberries were very inexpensive at the grocery store last week, so I made myself do it. I bought 6 pounds and with a little prayer, started to make my own jelly. There are lots of recipes online- I just started with the basic. Along with strawberries, I used sugar, pectin and a little butter.

My recipe called for the Sure Jell on the right; however, the green bottle on the left is a fast pectin and you can make jelly in under an hour and the recipes for various fruits are inside the bottle's label. I will try peach with their method next!

Here are my pureed strawberries and the cooking process.

 I'll be honest, the jelly cooking was super simple. Boil it all up for one minute and pour into jars. Let it set for 24 hours and enjoy. The work comes from the jar sterilization and sealing process. 

The jars must boil for 10 minutes to sterilize and then remain hot until the jelly is poured into them. Then, you must boil the full jelly jars  to seal them. It took forever to get my big Ball pot hot and boiling! 

I made 4 points of jelly and will give it a try tonight. It is cooled and ready to eat and I couldn't be more excited! I searched online and found cute labels here. I hope to try a few different recipes before the winter so that I can share my favorites at the holidays. 

So, now that I have conquered my fear, tell me, what is your biggest domestic fear?