Preserving the Summer

Empty jars, soon to be filled. We're giving away half-pints of preserves as wedding favors, and today it was finally cool enough to do some canning. With no central air, the idea of boiling a lot of water in our stuffy kitchen was more than I could bear these last few weeks.... today was only a high of 86 and it seemed cool. A canning bonanza ensued.

The first order of business was the dilly beans. The beans came mostly from our Main Street Community Garden, with a little extra that I bought at the Co-op (local from Happy Valley Farm).

Home grown onions and garlic, and dill from Keewaydin organics in Viroqua. Somehow this year we ended up with no pickling dill of our own. It's so easy to grow, I was a little embarrassed to have to buy it.

I used the recipe from pickyourown.org. Easy as pie.... or easy as pickles I should say.

Because I'd been putting pff the jam making for a few weeks, we'd had to freeze these black-caps that Mom picked earlier this month. She's a master berry picker, and has a few secret spots on Madison's East side that she frequents.

I'd considered making jelly (basically jam but without the seeds), but I decided last minute to make a whole fruit jam instead. The black-caps are seedy, but they taste amazing and I personally like the seeds (plus it's a pain to strain them, and I just didn't have the time). It's a simple process - just followed the recipe on the box of Pomona Pectin. I like Pomona, it allows you to make preserves with less sugar, and I've had great luck with it.

As you can probably tell, these peaches aren't quite as fresh as the berries. These are the last of the frozen peaches from last year's epic peach haul. What better way to use them up than peach jam?

Again, I followed the directions on the Pomona Pectin box. I used the food processor to puree them and spiced it up a little by adding a bit of powdered ginger and cloves. I also added a few pats of butter to keep it from foaming. The result was a really nice light jam with a hint of spice.

Five hours of work yielded me 33 half pints for the wedding, and a few extra pints of dilly beans for us to eat. I jarred it all and then sterilized them in a hot water bath. Not bad for a day's work!

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  1. Beautiful! I just made twelve pints of bread and butter pickles, and am looking forward to raspberry jam.

  2. wowza- nice work! can i come over and be your apprentice? i really want to can things, but am totally intimidated by the whole process!

    i LOVE whole fruit jams, and yours look absolutely amazing. i've said it before, and i'll say it again... BEST wedding gift ideas ever!


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