The following is a guest post by Raising A Family On A Budget.
For the past 10 years, I have been making my own jams, jellies, pickles, salsas, and sauces and canning them. Not because my mother or grandmother taught me how to do it, as a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Rather, as an escape from all of the super fast, super processed foods that were on the market. I wanted to have foods in my pantry with ingredients that I could pronounce, and with as few ingredients as possible.
Initially, I set out with a small jam making kit and a few pounds of fresh strawberries to attempt to make strawberry preserves and capture the flavor of summer in a jar for the cold and nasty Northeast winters.
Within 6 months of that initial batch of strawberry preserves, I was cranking out batch after batch of home canned goodies to sell at local craft shows and markets.
People would taste the jam and it would transport them back to their childhood summers of helping their grandmother and aunts make jam in the hot steamy kitchen. For others, the flavor just captured summer in a jar, if only for a little while.
I loved the stories that people would share with me.
The nostalgia. The recipes. The desire for something simple.
Now as a mother of two young children, I no longer have the time, nor the energy, to crank out canned goods to sell at every farmer’s market in the area. I do however still can my own jams and jellies, marinara sauce, barbecue sauce, apple sauce, pickles, and a few other goodies with the desire to pass on this love to my own children, as well as my family and friends, if not by spending quality time together in the kitchen, then by passing on the homemade goodies as gifts at the holidays or putting them out on the table at meal time.
While grandma probably only canned what she grew in her garden or what she could get at the local market, today’s possibilities are limitless. Beyond the basic fruit jams and jellies, you can get into the more “gourmet” variety of things, using the exact same skills and basic know how.
Do you love kiwi? Try making a Kiwi Jam! Like it a little spicy? Then try Jalapeno Jelly! Want something sophisticated for a cocktail party? Make homemade jellies from your favorite varieties of wine!
Over the course of this series on canning, you will gather the knowledge and know how to successfully, and safely make your own canned goods to share with family and friends.
Stephanie Huston is the mom behind Raising A Family On A Budget. Her main focus is saving families money through couponing and shopping sales for the items we need and would buy anyway. In addition, there are often ideas shared for other frugal aspects of our lives (cooking, dining out, DIY, vacation, etc).