Can you Can? Preserving Your Produce

canning preserves photoAutumn is almost here! And, like our families for generations before us, we’re about to set aside some of our garden for preserves, pickles, and canning. You’ve heard about canning, we know– it’s a time honored tradition. But do you know how to actually do it? CAN you? (Sorry for the pun.)

There’s more that can be said about setting aside preserves for winter than can easily fit in a single blog-post. But don’t worry! We’re not gonna overwhelm you with too much info. We just love home-made preserves! To that end, we’ve put together this nifty introduction to canning, pickling, and preserving. Your home-grown (or store bought, who are we to judge) produce won’t go to waste!

What are preserves?

Preserving is one of those great American traditions. With great produce like Western-slope peaches, wild strawberries, and even humble crab-apples, Colorado offers some of the best preserves around! With just a little bit of thought and planning, you can put together some genuine gourmet treats to last you all winter.

But how do you preserve produce? Well, there’s a simple way and a complicated way. If you’re going for simple, then all you need to do is cook down some fruit with some sugar and put it in a tightly-sealed jar. Of course, there are plenty of other things you need to think about, but that’s plenty to start with! Simply use ¾ of a cup of sugar for every one cup of fruit, simmer on the stove until the fruit gets soft, then pour the result into a jar and screw the lid on tight. Make sure your jar and lids are clean!

The process for jam or pickles is a little different

There are a couple key differences between jam, preserves, and pickles– but not as much as you’d think! Though all of these are variations on the theme of boiling-and-seasoning, the difference is that preserves keep the whole fruit, while jam takes the fruit out of the mix, and leaves you with a delicious, sweet, smooth spread.

And don’t think you need to stick with just fruit for jam and preserves! We’ve seen great preserves made from peppers, chia seeds, and even tomatoes! Take a look at this relish.com recipe for Tomato Jam for some great inspiration!

If you like the idea of keeping produce fresh and edible through those long winter months, then stay tuned! We’ll have another installment coming up, all about pickling. There’s nothing like a great pickled green tomato with dill and garlic. Keep an eye out on the Tru Log Log Cabin Blog for updates!

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