Canning gifts, canning 101

jennOctober 18, 2012

I am interested in recipes for gifts to give people who don't eat sweets and like foods with 'heat' (peppers, etc.). I have no experience in canning so that would be a first for me.

I asked this in Whatcha making for Christmas gifts this year??? and Booberry suggested I start my own thread and I agreed. :-) Annie recommended any recipes that use the 'hot water bath' method.

And so I Googled canning + "hot water bath". From the results, I picked this site which seems like a good place to start, plus she includes additional resources including a strong recommendation for the Ball Blue Book of Preserving, what she calls the "bible" of canning.

We have a large pot, and a round rack that fits in the bottom. Actually, it's a round cooling rack - would that work, or does it need to be a special heavy-duty rack made especially for canning with feet of a certain height?

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gardengrl

Jenn,

Check out the Harvest Forum, that's where all of us canning addic....umm..enthusiasts hang out! :-)

You'll find lots of great canning information and recipes over there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvest Forum

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:58AM
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grainlady_ks

I'd like to suggest taking a self-study coarse at the National Center for Home Food Preservation as a great way to get started.

My mother used jar rings to raise jars in a stockpot for years before she got a real canner/rack.

If you don't want to invest in a canner (although they are often discounted this time of the year), check your local stores that carry canning products, or on-line, for a BALL Home Canning Discovery Kit. It includes a canning rack with lifter that you can use to convert your stockpot into a canner.

Enjoy your new adventure!

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:59AM
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annie1992

Jenn, I canned for years with just a stock pot. You need a pot deep enough that boiling water will cover the tops of the jars by an inch plus room for boiling. I used a dishcloth at the bottom of the pot for a long time, although it does "float up". An old cake rack, bent to fit inside the pot will be fine to get the jars up off the bottom of the pot and I know people who have wired old canning rings together to make a rack. Low tech and low costs, until you know that you like it.

The website at the National Center for Home Food Preservation has lots of good information, as well as recipes. Your local extension service may have information, recipes or a website. Harvest Forum is where I started, lots of good recipes there, although at least one member will explain repeatedly that you're going to kill everyone. (grin)

KatieC is a certified master canner too and she has some good recipes, I made her chipotle catsup. Three batches, it was so good! Readinglady is also an experienced, intelligent and accomplished canner, her pear preserves are the best thing I've ever tasted, I love 'em.

The Ball Blue Book is a great resource, you can buy one for five or six dollars at various stores including WalMart and hardware stores where they sell canning supplies. For a bit more money you can get Small Batch Preserving or Mes Confitures. Again, be careful, I've picked up a couple of canning books and been appalled at recipes or techniques, definitely not safe canning!

Be careful with Googled recipes too, anyone can put anything on the internet, that doesn't make it safe. If it has vegetables in it, you need an acidifier in specific amounts. You're pretty safe with fruit and jams and jellies, but be careful if you start adding vegetables. those need to be pressure canned or have that acidifier, either vinegar, lemon or lime juice or citric acid.

Canning is easy and I think it's fun and creative. It's not as "dangerous" as many people think and you don't have to buy a bunch of expensive equipment either.

Which reminds me, I promised Bud that I'd make him some blueberry syrup for pancakes out of some of those blueberries I picked last year. He loves the stuff and it actually has real fruit in it, what a concept, LOL.

Have fun and happy canning! If you have questions, just ask, lots of canners here too that are happy to help.

Annie

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:31AM
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lpinkmountain

I make assorted pickles and condiments and bruschetta spreads. A lot of them come from the book, "Small Batch Preserving" by Ellie Topp. You might want to check it out from the library. Some of my favorites include pickles asparagus, green beans, pickled beets, sweet pepper jelly, basil tomato sauce, chili sauce (that takes quite a bit of work to make so I wouldn't start with it), chutneys or relishes, jaridinaire (good to make this time of year) and pickled green tomatoes, the small ones. (My friends use them instead of olives in Martinis).

If you got to the "Harvest" section you will find a lot of recipes. Do a search for "Greatest Hits." That's a long thread with lots of good recipes.

Oh, one year I did assorted applesauces--blueberry, cranberry and regular. I gave them as a set of one purple, red and yellow sauce jar. You'll have to use frozen or canned blueberries at this time of year.

I canned for years with a stockpot and used tongs to lift out the jars and lids. I still do it that way most of the time, can't be bothered to get out the heavy canning artillery if I'm only making a small batch of something.

Pickled roasted peppers might be a good thing to try this time of year. I see all kinds of specials on red peppers and wish I had time to do them. I think there's a recipe on that National Home Preservation Center Web site. That's a good treat for any foodie friends you might have. You can make mild salsa too, that's good even if you don't like heat.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 3:08PM
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jadeite

Jenn,

You don't need a special canner or rack, but I suggest you get the jar lifter. The link below shows one by Ball. Shop around, you should be able to find one a reasonable cost, possibly as part of a set with the Blue Book. The lifter lets you put jars into the hot water and take them out without scalding yourself.

Cheryl

Here is a link that might be useful: canning accessories

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 3:22PM
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annie1992

cheryl, I absolutely agree. I used tongs for years, they didn't work all that well. The jar lifter is an amazing help!

Annie

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 5:48PM
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jenn

Wow - thanks so much for your comprehensive, informative answers. I need another 'interest' like I need a hole in the head, but I've wanted to learn this for many years. One thing holding me back was a fear of the bottles blowing up in the boiling water, or turning the jars into petri dishes of bacteria-laden food and sickening our friends and family, LOL. Since I already have that fear, I will set out to learn the safe method of doing this and not experiment with recipes from just any source -- I am picky about that sort of thing anyway.

I won't get started this week because first I want to read the links posted above and get an idea of what to get and how to do it the *right* way.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:41PM
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jude31

Jenn, I made the cheddar thumbprint cookies that were mentioned on your other thread, yesterday, for a soup supper for a group of friends. I had used the Habanero Gold Pepper before but I haven't made any yet for this year. I used Peach Jam for a Cold Morning in the center and everyone liked them a lot. Lots of people have said, and I agree, that any hot pepper jelly will work for them. Easy to make and delicious.

I made the Chipotle Ketchup and Green Dragon Sauce a couple of weeks ago to give as gifts and I always give Annie's Salsa.

Love what you're doing and I bet the recipients will love the gifts you give.

Jude

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 7:58PM
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annie1992

Jude, I've made those cheese thumbprints and filled them with apple butter for the kids and an olive mixture for adults, so other things work besides pepper jelly even. I know it's about the same recipe as the one some posters use to wrap around an olive and bake.

I agree, it's a great idea, many people don't make homemade stuff and they love to receive some.

Annie

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 12:00PM
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jenn

Those cheddar thumbprints sound yummy and I'm unable to find a recipe using the search tool. Could someone post it again for me or point me to the thread?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:42PM
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jude31

Here ya go, Jenn!
CHEDDAR THUMBPRINTS

8 oz. extra sharp shredded cheddar (about 2 ý cups)
6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 C. All Purpose flour
1 C. Habanero or other hot pepper jelly

Place cheese and butter in food processor, add flour and process until
mixture forms a soft dough. Gather up dough and flatten into 2 flat
disks. Wrap in waxed paper and freeze until chilled, about 45 min.

Position 2 racks in center and top third of oven and preheat to 400 deg.
Line 2 baking pans w/parchment paper. Using 2 teas. dough for each,
roll dough into small balls and place 1 in. apart on sheets. Bake 5 minutesâ¦.remove from oven. Poke an indentation in each cookie
w/handle of wooden spoon. Place a dollop of jelly in each indentation
(small one, or it will run over when it bakes). Return to oven and bake
until tops are very lightly brown, about 10 min. Transfer to racks to
cool.

Note: I worked with one pan at a time, finding it easier because they
bake for such a short time that I didnâÂÂt have to go through switching
pans from one rack to the other.

I never fail to get compliments when I make these.

I hope you enjoy them.

Jude

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 5:28PM
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jenn

Those cheddar thumbprints sound yummy and I'm unable to find a recipe using the search tool. Could someone post it again for me or point me to the thread?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:30PM
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annie1992

Um, Jenn. It's right in the post above yours, thanks to Jude, LOL.

Annie

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:32PM
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jenn

Thank you Jude. Those sound yummy and perfect for a hot jelly.

I didn't mean to post my question twice -- but thank you twice anyway!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:32PM
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jenn

I saw it, Annie -- I accidentally posted my question twice, and she responded to the first one. I have no idea how my question got posted again so many hours later. Thanks. :)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:55PM
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annie1992

Ah, the Gardenweb gremlins are at it again!

Happy canning, BTW!

Annie

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:48PM
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