Pectins 101

Jam-and-Jelly-Preserving-Pectins-101So you are ready to make jam, jelly, conserve, marmalade or some other type of jellied product and you know what type of fruit you want to use.  You go to the store to get pectin – and you find that there are several brands and types of pectin available.  Can you just buy whichever brand costs the least and use it?

The quick answer is no. Continue reading

Choosing the Right Canning Jar Starts with Knowing What to Avoid.

Early-April-Feature-Inset-ImageSo you thought that all jars are created equal? Not really.

Once you understand the best practices of safe canning, you realize that not every jar should be used for food preservation.  In fact, I tell my canning students that there are three types of canning jars to avoid (for canning purposes, of course).

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Where to Find Safe Canning Recipes

Avoid-Food-Poisoning-Feature-PicWe all know people who have secret family recipes.  Usually those recipes are for foods that we make and serve to our families at mealtime.  Tweaking these recipes – making changes for health or taste reasons – is perfectly acceptable – you make it and you eat it. Of course your tweaking may change the taste enough that it isn’t as flavorful as you would like, but it’s a safe thing to do.

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Shirley’s Spring Canning Checklist

It looks like the meteorologists are saying that spring will finally get here.  In the Midwest it seems as though we’ve had snow every week and that is delaying some of our preparation for gardening.  The upside is that we are getting some moisture back into the ground which will help the trees and other plants in the future months.

Keeping all that in mind, I’m offering up my five essentials for a successful canning season.

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