This Cilantro Lime Enchilada Sauce is full of flavor and will help result in some tasty homemade Enchiladas!
Summer is here and I am ready to restock my freezer of strawberry freezer jam. Here is my favorite recipe not only because its delicious but its so easy and fast!
Here is what is needed:
Strawberries (or other fruit)
Ball No Cook Freezer Jam with Pectin
Clean and sterile freezer containers
A food processor makes this much easier
Mix pectin with sugar in a bowl, follow the instructions on the box.
Wash strawberry’s and pat dry.
Slice the tops off and quarter strawberries.
Place in food processor.
Pulse a few times and then push down from the sides.
Pulse until it reaches the consistency you want it,
Add to a larger mixing bowl, continue until you have enough fruit needed for your pectin and sugar mix.
Add the sugar and pectin and mix.
Stir until all combined.
Fill jars to the bottom line. Make sure you leave a little room at the top because when things freeze they expand.
We did a guest post over at Darling Doodles no too long ago and shared some canning jar topper. We wanted to share the post here with you too!
I love this time of year but don’t love how many treats come to my door! Well, I do love them – that’s the problem 🙂 About 4 years ago I came across a recipe to Pepper Jelly and it changed my life! I love it! It is a super easy appetizer that you just dump over cream cheese and serve with Ritz crackers. I thought it would make a great neighbor gift at Christmas time. Not only is it not a treat, but also because people have a lot of parties to go to and this is an easy go to appetizer for them.
There are so many great ideas of things you can put in canning jars to give as gifts that are not food. You can do candy cane play dough, candy cane bath salts, or a holiday sugar scrub. Canning jars just make cute packaging for whatever you are going to give! I wanted to share some canning jar toppers for you. All you have to do is cut them out, tape to the top, put the ring on, and if you are really going all out tie a ribbon. I didn’t want Thanksgiving to be left out so I also made them in fall colors for you!
My friend, Crystal, had a recipe for Blushing Peach Jam that we tried with all the peaches we had. It was not only delish, but pretty too!
I made jar labels to put on the jars so we could give them as a fun gifts for our teachers on the first day of school this year.
We made both raspberry and strawberry. We opened a jar of the raspberry jam so far and I love the hint of almond extract!
Blushing Peach Jam
2 cups crushed, peeled peaches
2 cups crushed, peeled raspberries or strawberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 cups sugar
2 pouches Certo liquid fruit pectin
1/8 tsp almond extract
In a large pot combine peaches, berries, and lemon juice. Stir in sugar; mix well. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. When it comes to a full boil, boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Return to heat and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes. Skim off foam and stir in extract.
Pour hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Yield: 4 pints
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It’s peach time! My boys love bottled peaches and I try to do a years worth of quarts for our family each year.
I had someone ask me where I get my fruit from. I get it anywhere I can that is free or nearly free. In order to make canning worth the time and the money you save, that’s the only way to do it. This year to get peaches we found someone with a loaded tree that had peaches falling off of and we asked if we could pick them. In return we always try to clean up the ground around the trees and take them back a bottle of the fruit.
Set up takes a little bit of time and organization, but it makes the process go much faster. Here is how I set it up. First, place jars in dishwasher and wash them with a heated dry cycle. That way they will stay nice and hot. On my stove I have all 4 burners going.
- One with my water bath canner
- One with my lids simmering
- One with hot boiling water for blanching tomatoes
- One with a sugar syrup simmering
Peaches are packed in a sugar syrup Here are the proportions for making a syrup:
Next to my stove I place a rag on each side of the counter for spills and also to keep the jars from touching the cold counter. I place my lid lifter and jar lifter on the side of the stove with the canner and lids. I also place my jar rings there so they are on hand when I am sealing up the jar. On the other side by the syrup and the hot water I have glass measuring cup for scooping the sugar syrup into the jars. I also have a bowl with a slotted spoon for moving the peaches from the hot water to the cold water while blanching.
By the sink I set two bowls. One is the biggest bowl I have, and the other a good sized bowl. I fill these both with cold water and add Fruit-Fresh to make sure the peaches don’t get brown. I probably use a couple of teaspoons per bowl. I make a ice bath directly in one side of my sink, and in the other side of the sink I place a bowl or strainer for catching the peels.
Something else I do is place a bar stool in front of the sink and place a towel over the edge. This way I can sit while peeling and drop the peels directly down into the sink. The peaches are wet and juicy though and I hate when water will run down my arm so that is why the towel is over the edge, to rest my arm on and stop the drips.
Once you are all set up it’s time to start! First, grab your peaches and drop them in the hot water.
I keep my water at a high simmer. There are small bubbles on the side and bottom, but its not boiling yet. You need to let them sit in the hot water for a couple of minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. If you find they are not peeling easily, try leaving them in the hot water for a little longer. If they are soft and squishy when peeling, try leaving them in for less time.
Then transfer the peaches into the cold water.
This will help the skins to peel off easy. If you are lucky they will come off in one big piece:
But more often than not you will have to use a pairing knife to get some of the skin off.
Once I get the skin off, I throw it in my big bowl.
Once the bowl is full, I take a hot jar out of the dishwasher and start cutting the peaches and filling the jars. First I cut the peach in half, remove the pit, and then cut the peach into quarters. You can do halves or even into 6 pieces, its your preference for how big you like them when you serve them.
Then I put them in the jars.
When the jar seems full, tap it down a little bit to settle the peaches. Don’t pound it or shove them too full or you wont be able to get juice all around them.
Then fill the jar the rest of the way up.
On a side note here, I use the second bowl on the counter for the ugly, bruised, or overripe peaches. Some of that is vanity, I like the peaches to look nice in my jars! But also those are the peaches that make the best fruit leather because they are super ripe. For example this peach I cut the bruised part out and threw that in the second bowl and then cut the rest of the peach that was nice and put it in my jar.
By the end of canning I usually have a pretty full “junk” bowl. Tomorrow I will show you how to make fruit leather from these peaches so you can have it fresh year round.
Back to the peaches… next fill your jar with the hot syrup.
Most canning sites and books will recommend that you use something non metal to run around the edges of the peaches to get the air bubbles out. I don’t do that because I think it can damage the peaches. Instead I lightly tap the jar to get some of the bubbles out and then I add a little extra juice to the jar. I leave about this much head space:
Then I take that jar to the other side of my stove and wipe the rim of the jar with a wet rag to make sure there is nothing on the rim that will keep the jar from sealing correctly.
Then I add my lid that has been simmering, and secure it with a ring.
I go back to my big bowl of peaches and repeat until the peaches are gone or I have 7 full jars.
I place those in my canner and water bath them so the jars will seal. For the time on peaches it is 20 minutes for pints or 25 minutes for quarts. Make sure that you start your time when the water bath is at a low boil.
Once your time is up, remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter. They will all be boiling over near your lid and that’s okay, but I like to use a thick towel under them to help absorb that sugar water that comes out. Let the jars rest and cool and they should “pop” within a few hours and seal up. Once they are sealed and cool, I take the ring off and rinse the bottle really well. I wash the ring inside too and then dry and replace the ring. If you don’t do this they will have sugar all over them and be sticky. Last year I was lazy and only washed the jar without removing the ring….big mistake! I could hardly get the jars open this past year!
One last quick note on keeping jars hot when they have peaches in them. You don’t want to add a colder jar to the boiling water canner because that can cause the glass to break. I start my dishwasher the first time with soap to get the jars really clean. I try to start it about an hour before I start canning to time it right so that when I’m filling my jars the dishwasher is on the heated dry cycle. This way my jars are nice and hot. But if you are doing a lot of peaches like I was, you will still be going when the jars are getting cold in the dishwasher. So as soon as it finishes I start it over again – without soap. That way I will have hot wet jars no matter what part of the cycle it is on, because they were all ready clean.
I had a jar break on me this week and its so frustrating to see all those peaches wasted. What Ive been doing is adding my jar, once the lid and ring are on, back into the dishwasher to keep the jar hot while I continue filling jars. I only do this if I’m running the dishwasher without soap. It keeps the jars nice and hot until I am ready to add them to my water bath canner. You can also add them into the canner each time you fill a jar and just let them sit in the water until you are ready to go. I just don’t want my peaches to get boiled for that long so that is why I prefer not to do it that way.
Tomorrow – Fruit Leather!
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When I first started canning I was terrified of tomatoes. I heard all sorts of comments about how dangerous it was and you could kill your whole family without even knowing it! Seriously? Ridiculous! I’m not trying to make light of the importance of following safe canning procedures but it’s not as scary as people made it out to be. Today Im going to show you how to bottle diced and crushed tomatoes and how to do it safely! First let me give you a quick summary of why tomatoes have gotten such a bad reputation for canning.
You know the whole argument over a tomatoes being a fruit or a veggie? This is part of why the discussion exists. The acid level of tomatoes is not as high as fruits but it’s not as low as vegetables either. Did you know all vegetables have to be pressure canned to be able to seal and store safely? I learned this when I water bathed 12 quarts of green beans, only to have them all go bad! If you want you can pressure cook tomatoes and you won’t have problems, but I think that water bath canning is easier than pressure cooking! In order to water bath tomatoes you have to add acid to each jar to make it safe. You do that by adding salt and lemon juice. Here is a little chart to help you know how much to add to quarts and pints.
If you add acid to the jars it makes them safe to can the tomatoes with a water bath canner. This is also why you can’t bottle just any salsa or spaghetti sauce. Most of them will have a lot of vinegar or lemon juice added to them to up the acid level. I looked forever for a good salsa recipe because they were always so vinegary to me. Today we are going to concentrate on canning diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.
Preparing the tomatoes
To begin you need to get a few things ready. I add water to my canner and turn it on med-hi so it’s ready for my jars when I have them filled. I also start a big pan of water a little under half full and turn that on hi to boil.
Lastly I get a pan of cool water inside my sink and then add lots of ice to make it really cold.
Next you start the blanching process. Blanching is what you do to make the skins peel off easily. To blanch them you put the tomatoes into hot boiling water for about a minute.
When you see the skins break you know that they are ready.
Then you ladle them into the ice water.
Then you start peeling them. The skin should slip right off.
I also get my jars sterilizing at this time. You can put them through your dishwasher and have them on heated dry. Sometimes that can be hard to time though and I found a new method I like better. You can use a cookie sheet or a saucepan to do this. Simply add a little water in the bottom and place your clean jars upside down in the water. You can also add your sealing lids to the water. I put it on med-hi until it starts to boil and then I turn it down. I keep it hot enough so that the jars remain hot and steamy.
You want your jars hot not only for the sterilization but also because you don’t want to put a cold glass into a hot water bath canner – it can cause the glass to shatter.
Now you have to decide how you want to bottle them – whole, diced, crushed, etc. I’m going to show you how to do diced and crushed tomatoes since those are the ones I use most often.
I do pints of diced tomatoes and use them just like store bought cans of diced tomatoes. If I am doing diced tomatoes I will start my kettle on the back burner full of water at this time since with diced tomatoes you sometimes have to add liquid to fill the rest of the jar. Then I peel all of my tomatoes.
Now you have to up the acid level inside of your hot jar. For the pints I added 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt. I only take 1 jar at a time from the steaming water so they don’t cool off too much.
Dice your tomatoes to the size you want them and add them to your jar.
I give the jar a light tap-tap-tap on the counter so that they settle some but you definitely don’t want to pack them in super tight.
Some people insist you have to boil them for 5 minutes before adding them to your jars but I don’t like to because they fall apart. Instead I pour the boiling water to fill the rest of the jar.
One other thing I do as a precaution to keep the jar from shattering when I’m doing diced tomatoes: I have my water bath canner simmering and will add the jar to the water bath canner when I fill it. I do this to each jar as I keep filling jars. When the bather is full or I am done filling jars, I turn the heat to hi and bring it to a boil. This way the jar and the tomatoes inside have time to heat up before the water is boiling. (Skip the next section to sealing the jars to know how to close them up properly).
I do quarts of crushed tomatoes for homemade spaghetti sauce and for things like homemade chili.
When doing crushed tomatoes you don’t want there to be a lot of water inside the jar. After you peel the tomato you have to squeeze the juice out of the tomato. To do this you squeeze it and the tomoto will kind of pop and the juice and seeds will come out. Just make sure you do it in the sink!
I add the squeezed tomato to my food processor until the food processor is about half way full.
Then I pulse it to the consistency I want.
Then to drain off any other extra water I add the crushed tomatoes into a stainer over the sink and let it drain off. You don’t want your strainer to have a ton of big holes just small ones. You can see the size of mine in the picture, all the holes in my strainer are like that.
When the tomatoes are all done I add them into another pan – yes, you dirty A LOT of pans when you bottle tomatoes! Then you boil the tomatoes for 5 minutes.
After the tomatoes have boiled for 5 minutes you prepare your jars by first adding the lemon juice and salt.
Then you add in the tomatoes.
To Seal the Jars
In order to get a good seal you have to make sure the jar rim is clean. Take a clean cloth, wet it, and then wipe the rim.
Then place your hot lid over the clean rim.
And then add the ring.
Bring the water bath to a full boil and then start the time. 40 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts. Now you can turn all your tomatoes into year round yumminess for your family!
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I have the most AMAZING Pepper Jelly recipe. Sounds gross, I know – I promise it’s not! It’s the most delicious appetizer and so easy. Just open the jar and pour over a block of cream cheese and eat with Ritz crackers.
A couple of years ago I was trying to find a neighbor gift tradition for our family that wasn’t sweet. One time while making my pepper jelly I thought how it reminded me of Christmas because it has green and red peppers and I knew I had hit gold! Not only is it not sweet, but there are so many parties at Christmas time, so it could be a useful gift too! Even better it could be made well ahead of December! Pam and her Mom started giving it as neighbor gifts last year too! It’s perfect!
I grow my own peppers in the summer and collect jars whenever I see them on sale or even at thrift stores. (If you buy jars at a thrift stores be sure to rub your finger along the top edge to check that there are no cracks or chips). I figure each finished jar ends up costing me about $1. This year from 6 garden pepper plants I was able to can about 130 jars.
I had the gift, but I didn’t have a consistent presentation. This year I designed one up!
There have been so many cute jar gift ideas out there that I decided to make blank jar label to use for other gifts throughout the year.
Besides yummy canned goodies, check out these other fun gift ideas you can use these labels with!
4 Snack Mix Recipes in a Jar from Eat at Home