Summer in a Jar

It all started with Nicolas Appert in early 19th-century France. At the time, Napoleon, knowing that his army marched on its stomach, offered a handsome cash prize for anyone who could come up with an improved apparatus for preserving food.

Appert won the competition with a system of precooking, air-tight sealing and final processing in a newly designed glass canning jar. His wide-mouthed pint “bottles” were filled with hot cooked foods, stoppered with hand-cut corks fitted to the irregularities of the blown glass, sealed with a compound made of lime and skim milk and then finished in a boiling water bath.

Appert declared that the meats, vegetables, fruits, soups, and gravies thus prepared would last for at least a year in the same excellent state. And he thus inspired a new industry.

In France,  in 1810,   François Nicolas Appert came up with a canning method using glass jars. These were the ancestors of the mason jar.

Food preservation has always been essential to human survival. Before modern refrigerators and freezers, mason jars were an important part of many family pantries. The term “mason jar” has now become a generic name for several kinds of home-canning jar

In the days when families depended on the fruits and vegetables  from their bountiful gardens for year-round survival, preserving food was a necessity. Today, with easy supermarket access to fresh fruits and vegetables, people are choosing time-honored food preservation to preserve the best flavors of the season and to carry on a tradition.

canned-vegetables-preserving-jars-590The concept of canning is simple: When food is processed in jars at extremely high temperatures for a long period of time, the heat kills microorganisms and inactivates enzymes that could cause the food to spoil. The heating process also drives air from the jar, creating a vacuum seal as the food cools. This prevents air, and the microorganisms it contains, from entering the jar and recontaminating the food.

There are two types of canned foods: raw pack — uncooked food put into jars and processed; and hot pack — food that is heated before it is put into jars.

While some store food for religious purposes, it all boils down to the fact that we all need to eat! Having a little food put away in food storage is no different then having money put aside in a savings account.

If the jars and fruit don’t come out even when you are canning, better sit down and do some figuring before you start to can. Here are some tips to help you…


1.  Make sure you have all the supplies you need, and enough time to complete the canning project. Start small if you’re a beginner.

2.  Clean your kitchen thoroughly before you bring in the produce you’re going to preserve.

3.  Always follow the canning recipe to the letter. Do not leave out or substitute any ingredients.

4.  Check your jars of preserves before you open them. If the contents are discolored, don’t taste—do call a food safety hotline for advice.

5.  Be scrupulous about how you dispose of any spoiled food


Approximate Canned Yields per Bushel

Fruits Vegetables
Apples – 16-20 Quarts
Apricots – 20-24 Quarts
Peaches – 18-24 Quarts
Pears – 20-25 Quarts
Plums – 24-30 Quarts
Tomatoes – 15-20 Quarts
All Berries – 12-20 Quarts
Asparagus – 11 Quarts
Beans, lima – in pods – 6-8 Quarts
Beans, snap – 15-20 Quarts
Beets, without tops – 17-20 Quarts
Brussels sprouts, 1 pound – 1 Pint
Carrots, without tops – 16-20 Quarts
Corn, in husks – 8-9 Quarts
Okra  – 17 Quarts
Peas – 12-15 Quarts
Spinach – 16-20 Quarts
Approximate Pounds per Bushel
Fruits Vegetables
Apples 1 bu.= 48 lbs
Apricots 1 bu.=50 lbs
Cherries 1 bu.=56 lbs
Peaches 1 bu.=48 lbs
Pears 1 bu.=50 lbs
Plums 1 bu.=56 lbs
Tomatoes 1 bu.=53 lbs
Asparagus 1 bu.=45 lbs
lima beans 1 bu.=32 lbs
snap beans 1 bu.=30 lbs
Beets, without tops 1 bu.=52 lbs
Carrots, without tops 1 bu.=50 lbs
Corn, in husks 1 bu.=35 lbs
Okrs 1 bu.=26 lbs
peas, green, in pod 1 bu.=30 lbs
pumpkin 1 bu.=50 lbs
spinach 1 bu.=18 lbs
summer squash 1 bu.=40 lbs
Sweet potatoes 1 bu.=55 lbs

Canning Utensils

      Helpful items for home canning and preserving:
  • Jar lifter: essential for easy removal of hot jars.
  • Jar funnel: helps in pouring and packing of liquid and small food items into canning jars.
  • Lid wand: magnetized wand for removing treated jar lids from hot water.
  • Clean cloths: handy to have for wiping jar rims, spills and general cleanup.
  • Knives: for preparing food.
  • Narrow, flat rubber spatula: for removing trapped air bubbles before sealing jars.
  • Timer or clock: for accurate food processing time.
  • Hot pads
  • Cutting board

There are also many specialty utensils available like apple slicers, cutting spoons for coring and pit removal, corn cutters and fruit skinners.
Strawberry Pie Filling.
                     Quantities of Ingredients: For     1 Quart                          7 Quart

Strawberries Fresh or thawed                                    3-1/2 cups                          6 quarts
Granulated sugar                                                           3/4 cup + 2 tbsp                6 cups
Clear Jel®                                                                        1/4 cup + 1 tbsp               2-1/4 cup
Cold water                                                                         1 cup                                     7 cups
Bottled Lemon Juice                                                   3-1/2 teaspoons                   1/2 cup
Wash Strawberries well and drain fruit in a covered bowl or pot. Combine sugar and Clear Jel® in a large kettle. Stir. Add water.  Cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained berries immediately and fill jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, refill is necessary. Wipe rims, add hot lids/rings and process in water bath for 30 minutes at a full rolling boil.

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Canning Methods
Following are some methods used to cure and preserve high-acid and low-acid foods. High-acid foods can be easily preserved and are therefore, favored.

  • Inspect your equipment i.e. boiling water-bath cooker, jars, lids spatula etc.
  • Gather all the ingredients that are mentioned in the recipe, go through the recipe and keep in mind the time needed to process the food items. Choose the jars of the correct dimensions to store the food prepared.
  • Inspect your jars and lids for scratches and dents, while also making sure that once sealed, they will remain so. Discard unsuitable jars and lids. Use hot water and soap to rinse them.
  • Place all the jars along with their lids in water, and heat it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit to sterilize them. After doing so, keep them in hot water, to be ready to use.
  • Prepare the food that you have planned on. Fill the jars with the food prepared one at a time.
  • Take the jar out of the hot water as and when needed. Taking all jars out of the hot water at the same time will defeat the purpose of sterilization.
  • Don’t fill the jar with food up to the brim. There must be space between the underside of lid of jar and its contents.
  • Use a non-metallic spatula to stir the contents of the jar to let the trapped air out.
  • Clean the rim and threads of the jar to remove food residue. Apply sealing paste along the rim of the jar and fix the lid. Seal the jar, using a sealing band but make sure you do not fasten it too tight. This will allow the air to escape, during the next step of processing.
  • testingjarsealsWhen you have sufficient number of jars to fill the boiling water-bath cooker or when you have exhausted your foodstuff, place them on the rack in the boiling water-bath cooker.
  • Fill the cooker with water and immerse the jars in it. Close the cooker and maintain heat at medium.
  • Start counting the processing time, when the water starts boiling. Allow for extra time, if you are canning the food 1,000 feet above sea-level.
  • After it is done, turn down the heat and open the cooker. Allow the boiling water to cool down and then lift the jars out of it, while taking care not to tilt any of them.
  • Place them in a locked room, undisturbed for 24 hours. Check the cooled jar’s lids, for perfectness of the seal. If you press down on the center of the lid, and it does not budge, then it is sealed well. Store the jars with faulty seals in the refrigerator, or repeat the process.
  • Store the jars with the perfectly sealed lids in a cool place and consume the contents within a year.

Garden Tomato Relish

  • 10 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 large sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 medium green peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 4-1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canning salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Add tomatoes, a few at a time; boil for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately place tomatoes in ice water. Drain and pat dry; peel and finely chop. Place in a stockpot. Add onions and peppers.
  • Place mustard and celery seed on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add spice bag and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 60-70 minutes or until slightly thickened. Discard spice bag.
  • Carefully ladle relish into hot 1-pint jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in boiling-water canner for 20 minutes. Yield: 10 pints.

Note: The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. For altitudes up to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes; 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes; 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes; 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes.

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Adjustments for Altitude:
Canning food safely requires your filled jars to be processed at a specified temperature or pressure level for a specified amount of time. If you live at altitudes higher than 1,000 or 2,000 feet above sea level, adjust your canning recipes for food safety. If you live higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, follow these guidelines:
Water-Bath Canning….   For processing times of less than 20 minutes: Add 1 additional minute for each additional 1000 feet of altitude.  For processing times of more than 20 minutes: Add 2 additional minutes for each 1000 feet of altitude.
My Pressure Canning……Pressure canning recipes are written for altitudes of less than 2000 feet. If you live higher than 2000 feet above sea level, make this adjustment: Increase pounds of pressure by 1/2 pound for each additional 1,000 feet.
Canning Green Beans
Pick your green beans when they are young and tender. Keep an eye on this. When green beans start coming, they come quickly. You’ll need to pick them every 2-3 days so they don’t get too big.

Put 1 teaspoon of plain salt in each quart jar. Do a ½ teaspoon for each pint jar.

Then cut your beans into 1”-2” pieces.

Fill your jars with green beans. This is where the canning funnel will come in handy. It makes loading your jars a lot easier.


Pour hot water into each jar covering the green beans. Leave about a one-inch head-space (space between water and rim of the jar).

Put the lid on and screw the ring down. Do not over tighten, but make sure it’s snug. A pressure canner must be used when canning green beans because they are a low-acid food.
Pressure cook quart jars of green beans for 25 minutes & pint jars of green beans for 20 minutes.

Lid Sealing – How do you know if your lid sealed?

The lids will seal as they cool. You’ll hear a popping sound when they seal. This is good.

After the jars cool, check the lids for a seal by pushing down in the center of the lid. There should NOT be a popping sound now. If you can push it up and down, or if it makes a popping sound, the lid did not seal.

If the lid did not seal, check the rim of the jar for dings and nicks. Once in a while you will get a jar that does not have a level rim. Check for this by turning the jar up-side-down on the table. Look to see if there is a gap between the table and the top of the jar. If so, mark this jar and only use it for storing dehydrated food.

The lid won’t seal if there is food on the rim. This could happen if there was food on the rim before you put the lid on, or if the ring was not screwed on tightly and food boiled out of the jar during processing.

If the lid did not seal, you can reprocess the food within the first twenty-four hours. Remove the food from the jar and put it in a clean jar. Reprocess the food just like you food that hasn’t been processed yet.



A Favorite Pickle Recipe……..
Bread and Butter Pickles
7 pints
4 qts (6 lbs) unpeeled, sliced cucumbers (pickling works best)
1 1/2 cups (1 lb) sliced onions
2 largs cloves garlic
1/3 cup pickling salt
2 trays of ice cubes (I figure about 50 ice cubes — one version says 2 qts or 8 cups, don’t skimp)
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1 1/2 tsp celery seeds
2 T mustard seeds
3 cups cider vinegar

Combine the cucumbers and onions. Add the garlic cloves and pickling salt and mix. Cover with ice and let stand 3 hours.
Rinse and drain. Remove the garlic.

Combine the sugar, tumeric, celery seeds, mustard seeds and vinegar in a large pot. Stir, then add the drained cucumbers and onions. Heat for 5 minutes.

Pack the pickles into hot, sterilized pint or quart jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal. Process in boiling water bath canner 5 minutes for pints, 10 minutes for quarts. Cool on a rack (air circulation will help them cool faster).

To keep the processing time as short as possible, have the water boiling as you pack the jars, put all the hot jars in at the same time, and count the time as soon as the water returns to a boil.  (I got this recipe from Cooking Light a favorite  recipe of mine….)


Do not store your jars with the rings still on. Remove rings so that if you have a bacteria problem the lid can come away from the jar exposing the problem. (ie. smell, lid comes off easily)

If you don’t have an insert use a dish cloth on the bottom of your water bath canner or pot. Never let the jars sit directly on the bottom.

Only use 6 cups of fruit when making a batch of preserves or jelly with pectin or it may not set properly.

Add 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to the water bath and sterilizing water if you have hard water to avoid hard water spots and hard water film on your jars.



Once you remove your jars from the water bath or pressure canner do not move, shake or tilt until the next day when they are cool.

Always label your jars with the contents or name of recipe and the date they were sealed.

Make sure you always clean the rims of your jars. An improper seal can cause a jar to open during pressure canning. For water bath canning it will cause your jars not to seal after you remove them from the water bath. If they don’t pop you can re-water bath them or put them in the refrigerator, they are ready to eat.

Recognize food that has spoiled in jars – Remove the Ring look for mold, cloudy white liquid in your pickling jars, or jar lids that are bulging. Once you’ve opened the jars smell the contents – If it doesn’t smell right immediately pour it out.

Canning Jars
It is important to not use just any jar for canning. You must use a proper canning jar with the proper 2-piece lid to ensure an air tight seal. Discard any jars that are nicked on the thread or are cracked

The 2-piece lid consists of a sealing cap and a screw cap. The screw cap can be reused but always use new sealing caps to ensure an air-tight seal. Boiling the lids is no longer required. Heat to 180*F/82*C only. They must be placed on the jar hot for a proper seal. There is no preparation needed for the screw cap as it doesn’t come in contact with the food

About Head-space……..

I want to emphasize that you should ALWAYS use the head-space that is prescribed in your safe recipes, but if it is omitted this is the basic rule of thumb:

1/4″ head-space for Jams, Jellies, Marmalade, Chuntney, Spreads & Butters
1/2″ head-space for Pickles, Tomatoes, Fruit1″ head–space for Vegetables (not pickled)1″ – 1 1/2″ head-space for Meat, Poultry, and Fish
When you are water bathing your jars you want to put them into the canner when the water is hot but not at a boil. You want to bring the heat up and start timing when the water is at a full rolling boil.

Home Canned Peaches…

When canning peaches in syrup you will want to select firm and fully ripe peaches. They should be a healthy golden color with no green colors.

This recipe will make about 8 pint jars or 4 quart jars and uses the Raw Pack Method.


– 10-12 lbs of peaches

– One batch of hot syrup (shown below)


1. Prepare jars and lids

2. The Peaches should be peeled, halved and pitted.



3. You are now ready to pack the peaches in to the jars with the cavity side down in overlapping layers. You want to make sure that you leave at least a 1/2 inch of space from the top of the jar. You can now ladle the hot syrup into the jar covering the peaches.

Again, make sure that you leave at least 1/2 inch of headspace when adding the syrup. You want to make sure that you remove air bubbles and add more syrup in necessary.

It’s very important that you wipe the rim of the jar to make sure that no particles interfere with the sealing process. You are now ready to put the lid on the jar. The next step is to screw the band down and finger tighten.

4. Put the jars in the canner and make sure they are completley covered with water. Cover with lid and bring the water to a boil. Process the pint jars for 25 mintues and quart jars for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the canner lid and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Remove the jars and let cool. 

Fruit Syrup Recipe(Medium) – Home Canned Peaches

We are using a Medium Syrup for Canning Peaches.

– 3 1/4 cups of Granulated Sugar

– 5 cups of water

Note: This yields about 7 cups of syrup.

A sweetened syrup helps to maintain the fruits flavor, color and texture. It has been tradition to use heavy syrups when preserving fruit, however if a person needs to watch there sugar intake it might be desirable to use a lighter syrup. Again this recipe is for a medium syrup. You can certainly make it lighter or use unsweetened juice or water as alternatives.

How to make the medium syrup:

1. Combine the water and sugar in a stainless steel saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

3. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

4. Reduce heat and keep warm.

In general you will need about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of syrup for each quart jar.

Home Canned Peaches… Yummy!
Online Vegetable Gardening Class

Grape Juice Recipe (Homemade Grape Juice Tastes So Good!)  I have another recipe listed on my Just Grapes page that I have done for years.  Go and check it out as well!

Extract the natural juice of grapes with the power of steam. Just boil water in the bottom container and place grapes in the top container. Natural concentrated grape juice drips into the center pan where it can be extracted.

– Ladle the hot juice into hot your canning jars, leaving about 1/4 inch head-space.grape juice 005

– Wipe rim of jar.

– Center lid on jar.

– Screw band down until resistance is met.

– Place jars in canner

– Make sure the jars are completely covered with water.

Put lid on canner

– Bring water to a boil and process for 15 minutes.

– Remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes.

– Remove jars and let cool.

The Recipe below needs a  Juice Steamer Below……

Canning Glossery….

Acetic Acid. A pungent, colorless liquid acid that is the primary acid in vinegar (vinegar is 5% acetic acid). Acetic acid is what makes vinegar sour.
Antioxidant. A substance, such as citric acid (lemon or lime juice), ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or a blend of citric and ascorbic acids, that inhibits oxidation and controls browning of light-colored fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are believed to neutralize free radicals, harmful particles in your body that can cause long-term damage to cells and lead to disease.
artificial sweetener. Any one of many synthetically produced non-nutritive sweet substances. Artificial sweeteners vary in sweetness but are usually many times sweeter than granulated sugar.
Bacteria. Microorganisms, some of which are harmful, found in the soil, water and air around us. Some bacteria thrive in conditions common in low-acid preserved food and produce toxins that must be destroyed by heating to 240°F (116°C) for a specified length of time. For this reason, low-acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner.
Blanch. To submerge a food in boiling water or steam for a short period of time, done to loosen the skin or peel or to inactivate enzymes. Blanching is immediately followed by rapidly cooling the food in ice water.boil. To heat a liquid until bubbles break the surface. At sea level, this happens at 212°F (100°C). At elevations above 1,000 feet (305 m), the boiling point is reached at a lower temperature. A boil is achieved only when the liquid is continuously rolling or actively bubbling. See also boil gently or simmer or boil, full rolling.
Boil Gently or Simmer. To cook food gently just below the boiling point (180°F to 200°F/82°C to 93°C). Bubbles rise from the pot bottom, only slightly disturbing the surface of the food.
Boil, Full Rolling. A rapid boil, usually foaming or spurting, that cannot be stirred down, achieved at a temperature of 220°F (104°C). This stage is essential for attaining a gel when making cooked jams or jellies.
Boiling Point. The temperature at which liquid reaches a boil (212°F/100°C at sea level).
Boiling Water Canner. A large, deep saucepan equipped with a lid and a rack to lift jars off direct heat. The pot must be deep enough to fully surround and immerse jars in water by 1 to 2 inches and allow for the water to boil rapidly with the lid on. If you don’t have a rack designed for preserving, use a cake cooling rack or extra bands tied together to cover the bottom of the pot.

Boiling Water Method. The fresh preserving method used to process high-acid foods. Heat is transferred to the food product by the boiling water, which completely surrounds the jar and two-piece closure. A temperature of 212°F (100°C) is reached and must be maintained for the time specified by the recipe. This method is adequate to destroy molds, yeasts and some bacteria, as well as to inactivate enzymes. The boiling water method must not be used to process low-acid foods.

Botulism. Food poisoning caused by the ingestion of the toxin produced by spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulism can be fatal. The spores are usually present in the dust, wind and soil clinging to raw food. They belong to a species of bacteria that cannot grow in the presence of air, and they do not normally thrive in high-acid foods. The spores can survive and grow in any tightly sealed jar of low-acid food that has not been processed correctly. Using the correct processing temperature and time to preserve low-acid foods will destroy toxin-producing spores.

Bouquet Garni. A spice bag, or a square of cheesecloth tied into a bag, that is filled with whole herbs and spices and is used to flavor broth, soup, pickling liquid and other foods. This method allows for easy removal of the herbs and spices after cooking.
Brine. A salt-water solution used in pickling or when preserving foods. Although salt and water are the main ingredients, sugar and spices are sometimes added.
Bubble Remover. A non-metallic utensil used in fresh preserving to remove or free air bubbles trapped inside the jar. To ensure appropriate headspace, air bubbles should be removed before the two-piece closure is applied.

Candy or Jelly Thermometer. A kitchen thermometer that usually comes with adjustable hooks or clips to allow it to be attached to the pan. During the preparation of soft spreads without added pectin, it is used to determine when the gel stage is reached (this occurs at 220°F/104°C, or 8°F/4°C) above the boiling point of water). Always insert the thermometer vertically into the jelly and ensure that it does not contact the pot surface.

Canner. Either one of two pieces of equipment used in fresh preserving to process jars filled with a food product and covered with a two-piece closure. The two types of canners recommended for use in fresh preserving are a boiling water canner for high-acid foods and a pressure canner for low-acid foods.
Canning/Preserving Liquid. Any one of many types of liquids, such as water, cooking liquid, pickling liquid, broth, juice or syrup, used to cover solid food products. Adding liquid prevents darkening of food exposed to the surface and allows for heat penetration.
Cheesecloth. A lightweight, woven cloth that has many uses in the kitchen. For fresh preserving, it can be used in place of a jelly bag to strain juice from fruit pulp when making jelly or homemade juice, or it can be formed into a bag to hold whole herbs and spices during the cooking process, aiding in easy removal.
Chutney. A combination of vegetables and/or fruits, spices and vinegar cooked for a long period of time to develop favorable flavor and texture. Chutneys are highly spiced and have a sweet-sour blending of flavors.
Citric Ccid. A natural acid derived from citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes. It is available as white crystals or granules and is used as an ingredient in commercial produce protectors to prevent oxidation and in pectin products to aid in gel formation by increasing the acidity of the jam or jelly.
ClearJel®. A commercially available modified food starch that is approved for use in fresh preserving. Unlike regular cornstarch, products thickened with ClearJel® do not break down when heated to high temperatures and/or cooled and reheated. ClearJel® can be ordered from online sources or by mail order.
Conserve. A soft spread similar to jam, made with a combination of two or more fruits, along with nuts and/or raisins. If nuts are used, they are added during the last five minutes of cooking.
Crisping Agent. Any one of many substances that make pickles crisp and firm. Some older pickling recipes call for pickling lime, alum or grape leaves to crisp pickles, but these are no longer recommended. Using fresh, high-quality produce, the correct ingredient quantities and a current, tested fresh preserving recipe will produce firm pickles without the addition of crisping agents. The texture of some quick-process or fresh-pack pickles, however, can be enhanced with the use of a product called Pickle Crisp® powder.
Cucumber, Pickling. A small variety of cucumber used to make pickles. Pickling cucumbers are usually no more than 6 inches (15 cm) in length. Cucumbers deteriorate rapidly at room temperature and should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 24 hours of harvest.
Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner. A pressure canner fitted with a one-piece pressure regulator and a gauge to visually indicate the correct pressure level.
E. Coli. A species of bacteria that is normally present in the human intestines. A common strain, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, produces high levels of toxins and, when consumed, can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, chills, headaches and high fever. In some cases, it can be deadly.
Fermentation. A reaction caused by yeasts that have not been destroyed during the processing of preserved food. Bubble formation and scum are signs that fermentation is taking place. With the exception of some pickles that use intentional fermentation in preparation, do not consume fermented fresh preserved foods.e
Fingertip-Tight. The degree to which screw bands are properly applied to fresh preserving jars. Use your fingers to screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Do not use a utensil or the full force of your hand to over-tighten bands.
Fruit Pickle. Fruit, usually whole, that is simmered in a spicy, sweet-sour syrup until it becomes tender or transparent.
Funnel. A plastic utensil that is placed in the mouth of a fresh preserving jar to allow for easy pouring of a food product into the jar. Funnels help prevent spillage and waste.
Gasket. A rubber ring that sits along the inside circumference of a pressure canner lid and comes in contact with the base when locked into place. The gasket provides a seal between the lid and the base so steam cannot escape.
High-Acid Food. A food or food mixture that contains sufficient acid — naturally or added as an ingredient — to provide a pH value of 4.6 or lower. Fruits, fruit juices, tomatoes, jams, jellies and most soft spreads are naturally high-acid foods. Food mixtures such as pickles, relishes, salsas and chutneys contain added vinegar or citric acid, which lowers their pH, making them high-acid foods. High-acid foods can be safely processed in a boiling water canner.
Hot-Pack Method. Filling jars with preheated, hot food prior to heat processing. Preheating food expels excess air, permits a tighter pack in the jar and reduces floating. This method is preferred over the raw-pack method, especially for firm foods.
Jam. A soft spread made by combining crushed or chopped fruits with sugar and cooking to form a gel. Commercial pectin may or may not be added. Jams can be made with a single fruit or with a combination of fruits. They should be firm but spreadable. Jams do not hold the shape of the jar.
Jelly. A soft spread made by combining fruit juice or acidified vegetable juice with sugar and cooking to form a gel. Commercial pectin may or may not be added.
jelly bag. A mesh cloth bag used to strain juice from fruit pulp when making jellies. A strainer lined with many layers of cheesecloth may be substituted. Both the jelly bag and cheesecloth need to be dampened before use.
Jelly strainer. A stainless steel tripod stand fitted with a large ring. A jelly bag is placed over the ring. The stand has feet that hold it onto a bowl to allow juice to strain from the bag into the bowl.
Lemon juice. Juice extracted from lemons that is added to food products to increase the acidity. Lemon juice can also be purchased commercially. In fresh preserving, lemon juice is added to certain foods to increase acidity and ensure proper processing. In some soft spread recipes, especially those prepared with added pectin, the acid in the lemon juice also aids with gelling. The acidity of freshly squeezed lemon juice is variable, depending on the lemon variety and harvest conditions, whereas bottled lemon juice is produced to consistent acidity standards. In recipes that specify bottled lemon juice, it is crucial for the success of the final product not to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Where bottled is not specified, either freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice may be used.
Low-acid food. A food that contains little natural acid and has a pH higher than 4.6. Vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood are all low-acid foods. Bacteria thrive in low-acid foods. The only recommended and practical means of destroying bacteria naturally found in low-acid foods is to heat the food to 240ºF (116ºC) (at sea level) for a specified time in a pressure canner.
Marmalade. A soft spread that contains pieces of citrus fruit and peel evenly suspended in transparent jelly. Marmalade is cooked in small batches and brought rapidly to, or almost to, the gelling point. Marmalades are similar in structure to jam.
Pectin. A naturally occurring carbohydrate found in fruits and vegetables that is responsible for cell structure. The natural pectin content decreases as fruits and vegetables ripen. Thus, they become soft and lose their structure. Pectin is available commercially in powdered and liquid forms. Commercial pectin is used to make jams, jellies and other soft spreads.
Pickling. Preserving food, especially cucumbers and vegetables, in a high-acid (vinegar) solution, often with spices 13168_2011_001_PRadded for flavor. Pickled foods must be processed in a boiling water canner.
Preserves. A soft spread in which the fruit is preserved with sugar so it retains its shape and is transparent, shiny, tender and plump. The syrup varies from the thickness of honey to that of soft jelly. A true preserve does not hold its shape when spooned from the jar.
Preserve. To prepare foods to prevent spoilage or deterioration for long periods of time. Some methods of preservation are fresh preserving (home canning), freezing, dehydration, pickling, salting, smoking and refrigeration. The method used determines the length of time the food will be preserved.
Pressure canner. A tall, usually heavy pot with a lid that is locked in place and a pressure-regulating device. The lid is fitted with a safety valve, a vent and a pressure gauge. Pressure canners are used to process low-acid foods, because steam at 10 lbs (68 kPa) of pressure (at sea level) will reach 240°F (116°C), the temperature needed to destroy harmful bacteria that thrive in low-acid foods
Pressure canning/preserving method. The fresh preserving method used to heat-processs low-acid foods. Low-acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner in order to destroy potentially harmful bacteria, their spores and the toxins they produce.  In practical terms, this can be done at 240°F (116ºC). Because the steam inside the canner is pressurized, its temperature can exceed the boiling point of water (212°F/100°C). In a weighted-gauge canner at sea level, the temperature will reach 240°F (116ºC) at 10 lbs (68 kPa) of pressure.
Processing time. The time in which filled jars are heated in a boiling water canner or a pressure canner. The processing time must be sufficient to heat the coldest spot in the jar. The processing time is specified for every current, tested fresh preserving recipe and depends on several factors, such as acidity, type of food product and size of jar.
Raw-pack method.Filling jars with raw, unheated food prior to heat processing.
Relish. A pickled product prepared using chopped fruits and/or vegetables cooked in a seasoned vinegar solution. If a sweet relish is desired, sugar is added. Hot peppers or other spices may also be added for flavor.
Reprocessing. Repeating the heat processing of filled, capped jars when a lid does not seal within 24 hours. Thehome_canning original lid must be removed and the food and/or liquid reheated as recommended by the recipe. The food and/or liquid must be packed into clean, hot jars and covered with a new, clean lid with the screw band adjusted. The filled jars must then be reprocessed using the preserving method and full length of processing time recommended by the recipe.
Salt, kosher. A coarse-grained, textured salt that is free of additives. Kosher salt may be used when making pickles. Because of the variance in density and form, contact kosher salt packers for information regarding equivalencies.
Salt, pickling or preserving. A fine-grained salt used in pickling and fresh preserving. It is free of anti-caking agents, which can cause the pickling liquid to turn cloudy, and iodine, which can darken the pickles.
Screw band. A threaded metal band used in combination with a flat metal lid to create vacuum seals for fresh preserved food. The band holds the lid in place during processing.
Spice bag. A small muslin bag used to hold whole herbs and spices during cooking. The bag allows the flavor of the herbs and spices to seep into the food or liquid, and makes removing the spices easy when cooking is complete. Spice bags come in various sizes. If a spice bag is not available, tie herbs and spices in a square of cheesecloth.
Syrup or Canning/Preserving Syrup. A mixture of water (or juice) and sugar used to add liquid to canned food, usually fruit.
Vacuum Seal. The state of negative pressure in properly heat-processed jars of home-canned foods. When a jar is closed at room temperature, the atmospheric pressure is the same inside and outside the jar. When the jar is heated, the air and food inside expand, forcing air out and decreasing the internal pressure. As the jar cools and the contents shrink, a partial vacuum forms. The sealing compound found on the underside of fresh preserving lids prevents air from re-entering.
Venting. 1.) Forcing air to escape from a closed jar by applying heat. As a food or liquid is heated, it expands upward and forces air from the jar through pressure buildup in the headspace. 2.) Permitting air to escape from a pressure canner, also called exhausting.

How many times have you had runny jam and did not know how to fix it?  I have a solution that will work………..

if you don’t want to invest any additional work in that jam, all you have to do is change expectations. If it’s just sort of runny, call it preserves. If it’s totally sloshy, label it syrup and move on with your life.However, if you’re committed to getting a nice, firm, jammy set, there is still hope. Here’s what you can do.



  1. If it still hasn’t set, it’s time to open all the jars back up.
  2. Pour the jam into your widest pot.
  3. Set
  4. First, you wait. Give the jam 24-48 hours to set up (because truly, sometimes it can take that long for pectin to active).
  5. heat to high and begin to bring the jam to temperature.
  6. Whisk in one tablespoon of powdered pectin as it heats.
  7. Cook vigorously until jam appears visibly thickened. Test set using plate or sheeting test.
  8. When jam has reached the desired thickness, remove pot from heat.
  9. Pour jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply brand new lids and screw on the same old bands.
  10. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  11. When processing time is up, remove jars from bath. Let jars cool and then test seals.

That’s it!

Blackberry Jam
Yields: 6 (½ pint) jars

5 cups blackberries, washed and drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) package dry pectin
6 (1/2 pint) Canning Jars with lids


In a large saucepan over high heat add blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir frequently while bringing to a rolling boil. Stir in pectin and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim any foam from the top if necessary.

Sterilize jars and lids directly before using for 10 minutes in simmering water or in the dishwasher. Remove one at a time when ready to fill. While blackberry mixture is still hot, ladle into the hot sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath (making sure water level is 1 inch over the top of the jars) for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on the counter.

One of the most important rules of food storage is to “store what you eat, and eat what you store.”

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

Freezing Homegrown Fruits and Vegetables

Homemade Tomato Juice and Vegetable Juice

National Center on Home Food Preservation

Canning Equipmentir?t=thegardensnet&l=as2&o=1&a=B000X1O8BI&camp=217145&creative=399385 - Summer in a Jar

Free Canning Labels For Your Jams and Preservatives by Ira Pavloyich, Cherry, Blueberry, Strawberry, Mix-berries, Apricots, Raspberry, Grape, Peach and Marmalade.






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