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Canning freaks me out. I am always so nervous I’m going to do it wrong. I was going to can corn a few days ago but read “don’t scrape the cob” and just about went into a frenzy. And exactly how am I supposed to NOT scrape the cob, but get the kernels off? So, knowing my level of expertise, I thought I’d start off with something a little easier. I canned jam.

Our family collected and froze about 12 cups of wild raspberries (or blackberries, we are still unsure on that – however, we know they are safe and edible) just a few weeks back. We had intentions to can and I have actually successfully done jam once or twice before. So, when we had a cooler summer day, we canned. It’s actually quite exciting to hold jam in our hands that we collected and made. It’s nice to know the packaging will be reused and no fuel was expended to get this food. It’s also a fun example for the kids to see how food can be stored and more so, how it can be acquired and stored.

Now, we just have to get ready for our tomato harvest….

Here are a paranoid canner’s tips:

1. Get the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It is a tall, wide book that sits open easily while canning (see photo at top), and is very easy to follow with detailed pictures. It’s not frightening, jut thorough and has real, usable recipes.

2. Start with jam. It’s a pile of fruit with sugar with a high acid content, not much can go wrong here.

3. Just do it. If it doesn’t work, toss it in the fridge or freezer.

4. If you haven’t yet, but are going to purchase a bread maker, get one that makes jam as well. This was my first experience. It was extremely easy and it built up my jam confidence. No water bath necessary.

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