Adventures in Canning

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on July 17, 2009

I made the “executive” decision to invest in some canning equipment…because I am the CEO in my kitchen.

I have fallen in love with my garden…and have wildly elaborate plans for next year’s expansion…which I hope to put into place this fall, so it’s all ready to go in the spring!

In order to preserve and protect my garden’s harvest, I thought it wise to start canning. I’m most looking forward to making salsa and spaghetti sauce. I’ll use the tomatoes from my garden, as well as from a nearby “you pick” market that practically gives the tomatoes away at the end of the picking season!

In the meantime, I’ve made a few jellies, as the prices on berries have been LOW!


Blueberries and strawberries with some lemon juice


A few of the jars “in the bath”


Round 1…of hopefully many!!!  Blueberry-Strawberry Jelly!

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

carrie July 17, 2009 at 10:18 am

hey, love your site! would you be willing to share your blueberry-strawberry jelly recipe?



I'm The Mom July 17, 2009 at 10:20 am

I’d love to hear your recipe and cooking times. I made raspberry jam so far this season.


Jodie July 17, 2009 at 10:49 am

Oh I just did 2 whole posts on pressure canning! My Mom taught me how to do it this summer and I love it. I feel like I have so much more control!


Amy July 17, 2009 at 10:49 am

Welcome to home canning! It’s a lot of fun. Lately I’ve been making batches of zucchini pickles. My DH doesn’t like zucchini. Too many zukes for me to eat alone, so I figure that I might as well make pickles for a cold winter day.


Jen July 17, 2009 at 11:03 am

Please share your recipe! I just started canning as well! :)


Erin July 17, 2009 at 11:17 am

I’ll post it next week!


Cathie G July 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Congrats on learning to can. I love cannning! Every summer I can tomatoes, pickled veggies, and pepper jelly. Makes me feel a little secure to know I have food put away in the pantry. Stop by my blog and take a peek at my garden.


Rebekah July 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

i too have fallen in love with canning. i’ve made a bunch strawberry jam this season (because of the LOW prices at my store) and will soon be doing salsa, pickle relish, pickles and anything else I can think of. Makes for great food storage and saves tons of money in the end. Good luck with all your canning adventures!!


OldNuffToKnoBtr July 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I miss canning. I downsized to a condo several years ago and have no access to a garden nor the space to store the canning supplies or the finished products. What a great way to feed a family at little cost–except for the time and energy.


Org Junkie July 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Love to know what type of equipment you bought. I’m just coming around to the idea of canning myself so any info would be great. Thanks!


Poltzie July 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Aww, I’m jealous, I’d love to know how to can! Next year for sure!


Melinda July 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I’ve been debating this myself…I’d also love to get your recipe/s! Hmmm, cherries are on sale here now….cherry jam? : /


Hilary July 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I love canning. I grew up doing it all the time. I just spent the day picking cherries and making cherry jam. I made 28 half pints, not bad for one days work. Plus, they make great Christmas gifts. Last year I gave crab apple jelly. I also love doing peaches, and pears.


Hilary July 17, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Hey, I just read the post above mine and thought I’d share my cherry jam recipe.
1 quart chopped and pitted sweet or sour cherries
6 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice (use only with sweet cherries)
2 pouches liquid pectin

Combine cherries, sugar and lemon juice in large pot. Boil, stirring until sugar disolves. Stir in liquid pectin, Return to rolling boil. Boil hard 1 min. stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim foam if necessary, ladle into jars and process. ***I put red food coloring in to make it a prettier color. I figure with the free sour cherries and already owning my jars, it was about $0.68 per half pint.
** The Ball liquid pectin has a coupon inside for $0.50 off next pectin purchase.
The Ball Blue book of canning is a great reference.


Teri Scholl July 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Yum! I told my mom that I would like to learn more about canning so we might try some of that later in the summer if we can manage to squeeze it in!!


Teri July 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Yum! I told my mom that I would like to learn more about canning so we might try some of that later in the summer if we can manage to squeeze it in!!

PS – can you not post my last post? It accidentally had my last name on it! Thanks :)


Nique July 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I love canning! Welcome to the dark side!!!


cassie-b July 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm

I canned 2 batches of blueberry jam this week. And am planning to make some holiday gifts of blueberry jam, orange marmalade, applesauce, Vid. onion relish (already made-delicious) and whatever else I have the opportunity to make this year. I’ve been out of work for a year, and enjoying the freedom to make my gifts for the Christmas season. If you have any more recipes, I’d love it if you’d share. Thanks,



CathyA July 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm

I love your adventures. This one caught me eye especially because I am looking for a freel template for oval jam labels so I can print my own. Would you know of a source??


Erin July 17, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I don’t Cathy! I was thinking the same thing as I was drying off the jars! Will see what I can find!


Kristi July 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I’m so excited to see your progress!! I hope to can salsa and spaghetti sauce this summer…please continue to share!!! I need to learn!!!


Mother Chaos July 17, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Awesome! I’m planning to do some of that too this season – between our own garden and the “loss leaders” at the farmer’s market, it seems like a thousand pities NOT to be preserving all this good stuff for the chilly winter days to come.


CathyA July 18, 2009 at 5:30 am

Thanks. The Ball Jars I bought came wth 12 on a 5×7 sheet but had no instructions for a Word template that would work with them. My handwitng is shakey so beijng able to print them on he computer would be great.


Jackie July 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Here are some templates that might work.

Just choose what program you want to use them with.

Good luck,

Jackie Lee


Alea July 19, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I have always enjoyed making jam, but my husband (the health nut) didn’t like how much sugar went into my jam. This year I switched to Ball’s No/Low Sugar Pectin and now everybody is happy!


Erin July 20, 2009 at 6:51 am

Great Alea. I’ve got a box of the no/low sugar pectin and plan to use it on the next batch!


Jean July 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

Since you are a newbie at canning, you probably don’t know that there’s a difference between jam & jelly. From the looks of your post, you made jam, not jelly. Jam has parts of the fruit in it, and jelly is just the juice – nice and smooth, with no pieces of fruit in it. :-)


Erin July 20, 2009 at 9:38 am

Thanks Jean! Jam it is!


DeAnn July 21, 2009 at 2:58 am

Your jam looks great! I made the same kind except I needed a little more fruit since the strawberries were from my garden, so I added some very ripe nectarines to the batch. It is so delicious! Enjoy your jam…we sure are!
My other favorite thing to can is apple butter. I have a really easy crockpot recipe (so it makes it very simple to make, plus my house smells like a country store every time I make it). I’d be happy to share the recipe if you are interested. :)


Karyl Lee July 21, 2009 at 8:01 am

Followed you here from a link at where I am a forum host. I am also in Ohio, in Oberlin. :) I’ve made blueberry jam with honey and very little sugar and pectin, with added chia seeds for body and texture. It’s thick enough it looks commercial. I am just doing freezer jam for now.I love to read about culinary adventures, it seems you have a lot of them!


Diane July 21, 2009 at 10:25 am

I too am interested in canning. I am going to try the jam recipe soon. I look forward to more recipes for salsa and spaghetti sauce too!!



charna July 21, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Wow, it’s like you read my mind when you blog lol jk.. I been interested in canning.. prob because I been home and I am a creative person, so this stuff is great for xmas gifts. Would you mind sharing the recipe for your strawberry/blueberry jam??

Deann would you be interested in sharing your apple butter recipe??



DeAnn July 21, 2009 at 8:10 pm

I would love to share the apple butter recipe…it’s so easy. Here it is:
Easy Apple Butter

apples to fill crock pot
4 c. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves

Peel, core, and slice apples to fill crock pot.
Cook on low for 16-18 hours (Don’t lift lid!)
Remove lid and stir well. Add sugar and spices. Cover and cook 3 more hours on low. Take off lid and cook on High for 1 more hour.

Notes :
This is such an easy recipe because you do just leave it- not messing with it AT ALL for 16-18 hours.
I use this recipe with my biggest crock pot– so, smaller crock pots may need less sugar and spices.
This is a recipe that we have canned in a hot water bath, frozen, or served fresh. We have really enjoyed it!!!


Terri July 22, 2009 at 9:23 am

I’ve never canned but I would love to learn how!
I also love apple butter so I’ll definately be trying this recipe. What kind of apples work best?


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