Back in the swing of things after taking Memorial Day weekend away from the computer. A small reward for reaching 50 posts on the blog. Hope everyone enjoyed the warm weather to get their hands dirty and the extra day off to put their feet up. My long weekend included grilling out for friends, catching a game at Target Field, finishing up the garden, and a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam.

A year ago canning seemed like a long shot for me. Between botulism and exploding pressure valves, I was convinced that it was WAY too complex for this amateur foodie. After a reading the Ball Blue Bookcover to cover and taking a canning lesson with Backyard Harvest, I was hooked. The canning process is easy with the basic equipment, and if you understand the fundamentals many of the scary bits fade away.

Best part of canning? It has added huge potential to extending the local season. Soups, jams, veggies, pickles, stock, jellies–canning helps line the shelves (and your stomach!) with local food in mid-January. I have big plans for canning this year and hope to share the details here. If the season allows, I might hold a canning demo or two of my own. Salsa lessons anyone?

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

By Amy Sippl from the Ball Book of Home Preserving

* A note about canning recipes: In order to ensure safety of home preserves, it is important to follow proportions and canning instructions exactly. All recipes are printed as if processing at sea level for easy adaptation. Use a canning guide to determine processing time in your kitchen. In Minnesota, we are roughly 1300 feet above sea level and require an additional 5 minutes of processing time.

Ingredients

2 C. crushed strawberries (I fully thawed a bag of last season’s frozen berries before crushing)
2 C. chopped rhubarb
1 package powdered pectin
1/4 C. lemon juice
5 C. sugar
Instructions
1. Prepare a boiling water canning bath, 8 half-pint jars and lids, and ready all supplies for processing. Getting the necessary things together before starting will ease the process later when boiling liquids are involved.
2. Mix strawberries, rhubarb, pectin, and lemon juice in a medium non-reactive saucepan. Heat to a boil and add sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. While continuing to stir, bring mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and immediately ladle into hot jars. Leave 1/4″ head space and secure lid and metal ring. Process 10 minutes in water canner.
3. Remove jars from canner and allow to rest for up to 24 hours. Check jars within first hour to ensure all have sealed properly. If a jar does not seal, simply put it in the refrigerator and use fresh.

Sweet and slightly tart jam lays perfectly on toast and breakfast breads. I especially like it spread on warm whole wheat pancakes!

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