According to our local paper, canning is making a comeback! Ball is the largest supplier of canning products in the US and they report a 30% increase in sales over the last year. Current sales for 2009 are continuing to rise.
This is my second year of canning and it's a lot of fun. I really enjoy saving all of the organic summer fruits and vegetables. It's a great feeling to see all of the finished jars lined up on my shelves. And the best part is that it's so easy! So far I've canned plums, plum jam, tomato sauce, salsa, pickled zucchini, and pickled cucumbers. The only real concern is to always follow safe and current canning procedures. There are 2 main methods: (1) boiling water canner (big pot with a lid and rack on the bottom), and (2) pressure canner. The simpler boiling water canner is used for food that have a lot of acid (e.g. fruit), while the pressure canner is used for foods with less acid (e.g. salsa).
High Ground Organics is a great local farm that hosted a strawberry U-pick last weekend. The tasty berries were only $1.50 per lb - a great bargain for making jam! So I bought 25 lbs.
Strawberry Jam Recipe
4-6 half-pint jars (8 oz.), lids, and rings
4 lbs stawberries, wash, hulled, and crushed
1 cup apple juice
sugar (optional, sometimes I use none, sometimes 1 cup)
1 packet Ball® No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin
The fruit pectin is a natural substance found in apples, from what I understand. When you buy the Ball® No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin, there is a handy insert with complete instructions for making strawberry jam, as well as other fruit jams and jellies. These are the instructions that I follow. In addition, there are other Ball recipes and tutorials on their website.