Putting the vanilla in… Pickles?

You might have to suspend belief in all that is pickling recipes in order to follow me on this. But suspend you must and following me is recommended because these pickles are NOT to be missed. 

I cannot claim credit for this recipe. I found it online at a garden forum about 5 years ago. The forum itself was even older then that. It was a discussion about lemon cucumbers, which at that point, was my newest obsession. Everyone was throwing out recipes that were for pickles and relishes… They were troubleshooting about the best way to grow them in order to get the most out of their bushes… It was a lemon cuke lovers meeting of minds and it was amazing. 

I read thru the pages of that forum like your average rabid canner. It didn’t take long and I had found it. The recipe. The one I just HAD to try. And I am going to do the right thing and pass it on. 

If you don’t believe me, make a half batch or even less. This brine covered 4 quarts plus 8 pints worth of cucumbers with some left over. That’s a lot of pickles to make if you’re unsure. But if you like the idea of a sweet pickle with lots of flavor punched in, this is it. Take a flying leap. 

French Vanilla Pickles

  • A big bowl of small pickling cukes. 
  • 9 cups sugar
  • 8 cups white vinegar 
  • 1 Tbsp canning salt
  • 1 Tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp pickling spice
  • 1/4 cup vanilla
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 2 to 4 cinnamon sticks per jar 
  • 3/4 tsp alum per pint, 1 1/2 tsp per quart

As always, the best pickles begin with clean, firm cucumbers

First things first – clean your cucumbers thoroughly. I use my soft veggie brush and cold water. 

For extra crispness, put cut cucumbers on an ice bath in your fridge for a few hours

  

Get a large bowl and put a whole tray of ice in the bottom. Once I cut the cukes into smaller pieces they’ll go into the fridge on an ice bath for at least 5 hours. 

Goodbye blossom butt and stem

  

Trim the ends of  each cucumber. Then cut the cucumber into quarters. 

Cut the small ones into quarters for a mini treat

  

I cut the larger ones in half lengthwise before cutting those pieces into quarters. 

These are all acceptable sizes for pickling lemon cucumbers

  

Anything larger then the cucumbers picture above are chicken food in this household.

The large ones can be cut in half first for smaller pickle bites

  

These little guys make great snacks at family gatherings

  

Once you’ve got the cucumbers all cut up and on ice, seriously put them in the fridge and leave them alone for a while. After you’ve given them their ice bath, you’ll want to give them another quick rinse with cold water. 
 

Maybe I’m odd but that is such a pretty sight to me

  

Now you’ll need a large pot for this brine, the recipe makes a lot. 

Supplies are gathered!

On a medium heat, combine the 9 cups sugar, 8 cups white vinegar, 1/4 cup lemon juice (1/2 a jumbo lemon), 1/4 vanilla and 1 tbsp of canning salt. . 

Yes you really do need that much vanilla and lemon juice.

  

Mix this well, but be aware that it will stay cloudy for awhile. 

We use this tea holder for our spices. Some of the leafy stuff escapes, but not much

  

Next, in either a tea ball like ours or some cheesecloth, put the 1 Tbsp of cloves and 1 tbsp of pickling spices. Drop this into the brine mixture right from the get go. 

The sugar dissolves as it gets closer to its boiling point

  

Keep this going on medium heat, stirring pretty much constantly. Because of the high sugar content it will scorch quickly, so keep an eye on it. 

Getting closer to the boil


 

Once it gets to a boil, keep it there for five minutes. 

While its boiling is a good time to pack your jars and relax your lids. Remember, relax your lids in simmering water, not boiling. If the water is to hot, it can actually ruin the rubber seal.

For every pint, we use 2 cinnamon sticks, as many cucumber pieces as I can squeeze in and 3/4 tsp alum. In every quart we use 4 cinnamon sticks and 1  1/2 tsp alum. 

Our pickle packing station

Once the jars are all packed and the brine has boiled for 5 minutes, it’s time to fill them with the liquid. After all your jars have been filled, cover with your lids, secure with your rims and process in your hot water bath canner for 5 minutes. 
After the jars come out of the water bath canner, set them on a towel, covered with another towel for 24 hours. If any don’t seal, put them in the fridge. 

I like to let my pickles stew in their juices for at least a month before eating. My dad usually waits 2 or 3 days. My way makes for more flavor saturation, my dad’s way means yea pickles. 

  
So that’s that for this blog. We still have lots of pickles to make, but now it’s apple season here in Maine. And that is what’s going on for next time. It’s time for another Maine adventure, and it’s about to get real. Real foragie. Because we don’t pay for apples. Nope, we go Apple hunting. 

But that’s for next time. 

Until then, have a wicked good day. 

Who doesn’t love a pickle?

This years garden has been an amazing adventure in the hands off approach. My dear husband put the plants in the ground, laid out weed fabric and hay. Then he weeded out some rows once a few weeks after planting. Otherwise, we’ve just been to busy to do anything else until the last few weeks. And the last few weeks have been harvesting and processing green beans, zucchini, peppers, and now CUCUMBERS! 

I say this with capital letters because it means, PICKLES! Also worthy of capital letters. 

Today’s recipe is for Dill Pickles. We had a lot of different size cukes, so we are doing spears and sandwich slices. 

We also have a mix of Boston picklers and lemon cucumbers. If you haven’t ever had a lemon cucumber, you need to find some. Just make sure they are small. Like the diameter of a quarter to half dollar, no more. And white to light yellow in color. Not dark yellow. They get very seedy and very bitter once the get any larger. But if you get them small and yellow, they are sweet and firm – great for pickles and eating fresh. 

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-9033-lemon.aspx#

Here’s a link to a Maine seed company that we love. When we go to the MOFGA Common Grounds Fair in a few weeks they’ll have some wonderful displays. 

This recipe yielded 8 quarts. We ended up with 4 jars of spears, 3 jars of slices and one jar of mixed. We don’t waste a pickle oppurtunity in this house. 

Dill & Garlic Pickles

  • 10 cups water
  • 6 cup vinegar
  • Lots of Fresh dill enough for a good 2 to 3 large fronds per jar
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, per jar- cut in half 
  • 2/3 cup Canning salt
  • 4-6 Black peppercorns per jar
  • 1/2 tsp alum per jar
  • Optional – 1 tsp mustard seed per jar 
  • A big old bowl full of pickling cukes of your choice

So early in the day, is when you want to cut up your cucumbers. This is so you can ice bath them for a few hours before pickling them. It’s an old wives tip, to supposedly help keep the cukes crisp threw the canning process. We don’t know if it helps or not because we always do it. Better to be crisp, then soggy in our opinion. 

These are Lemon Cucumbers, we love them but you have to pick them small.

I make sure to always use a nice sharp paring knife to cut up pickles. For sandwich slices, cut off the blossom end. Then just keep cutting slices in your desired thickness. I cut my slices fairly thick. I like the crunch. 

We’ve got two cuts we’re doing today for dill pickles. I love dill slices on a cold turkey sandwich, but spears go nice with meals.

When cutting spears, first cut off the blossoms and stem ends. Then, cut the cucumber in half lengthways. Now, placing the cucumber cut sides down on the board slice it in half, lengthways again. Take each of those quarters, and slice them in half lengthways one more time, leaving you with 8 spears. 

To make the brine, simply grab your large pot and mix together the water, vinegar and canning salt. Get this to a boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. This mixture doesn’t take long to boil so you want to get your quart jars, rims and lids cleaned and sanatized pretty quickly. Also, don’t forget to get your lids relaxed in some simmering water. 

We got our fresh dill destemmed, our garlic cloves cleaned and halved and our spices ready and waiting

Now it’s time to take one of your nice warm, sanatized quart jars and pack it full.First goes in the dill, garlic halves, peppercorns and if you’re feeling plucky, the mustard seed. Now, pack those jars full of cucumber slices. And when you think you couldn’t possibly fit another, try anyway. Just don’t let any stick up above the fill line. It’s important that your brine cover the entire cucumber. 

Put your dill, garlic, peppercorns and, if you want, mustard seed.

Once your jars are all packed full of your spices, herbs and cukes, it’s time for your pickle crimping agent. We use Alum, but I know other pickle crisps work just as well. We just have a readily available source of cheap alum. 

Packed tight with some alum sprinkled on top.

  
Since Mr. Gillis and I can together, one of us fills the jars with pickles, while the other one fills it with brine, and covers it. If you were working by yourself, I would recommend filling your jars with all your spices and cuckes first and then doing your brine. But really, do what is comfortable for you. Pickling should be fun… Hot, sweaty, work-like fun, but fun. 

I love how the lemon cucumber looks up against the glass.

Now that all your jars are filled with your cucumbers, brine and spices, and are all closed up, it’s time to process them in your hot water bath canner for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, pull the jars out, set them on a towel and leave them alone for 24 hours. 

After your waiting period is over, if any of your lids didn’t seal, store in the fridge. Otherwise these pickles should sit for at least  a month before eating, even tho that doesn’t stop my dad from digging right in. 

 

We are still snacking on last years pickles while these go hang out for a few months.

 
There it is, our dill pickle recipe. It’s pretty simple, but we think that it really highlights the dill flavor. 

With such a large cucumber harvest we’ve already done a bread and butter pickle, a sweet chili relish and these pickles. Tonight, we make a special recipe that we cannot take credit for. I’ve read that it’s an old French recipe… It is a lemon cucumber recipe but we’ve used regular picklers. 

All I know is that it is a different, but delightful pickle. And it’s my next blog post- but you’ll have to wait till then to find out.  

Until that time, have a wicked good day. 

    The beginning of the end

    Summer is not my favorite season.

    It’s barely tolerable, in my honest opinion. This shouldn’t surprise anyone really… I like living in Maine because, most of the time, it’s not hot.

    But part of what makes summer okay is the crazy amounts of berries that grow around our area. So far this year we’ve harvested strawberries from a farm in Monticello, raspberries from an abandoned property here in our town,  and blueberries from DownEast. Now, the last of the berries are finally coming in.

    Blackberries.

    My husband picked these this morning

    Sweet, tart, tangy, juicy blackberries. There’s an old place in town that burnt a few years back, and out behind the old chicken condominium is a fairly large patch of blackberries. There is also another good size patch behind my husband’s office.  Nothing tastes better then free food. But more on that in another post.

    So, you’d think that we’d let them all come in before we start picking, but no sir. Because we have a jam recipe that only needs one cup of blackberries.

    Our triple berry jam.

    It’s pretty simple. It’s half blueberry, quarter strawberry and quarter blackberry. And its delicious.


    So get your jamming and canning equipment out and follow along.

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups crushed blueberries
    • 1 cup crushed strawberries
    • 1 cup crushed blackberries
    • 1 packet of Certo opened and standing upright in a cup
    • 6 cups of sugar
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice

    This is one of those times I bring out my handy immersion blender. I like to really break down the berries so the taste is consistent.

    Once you have your berries blended, throw them, your lemon juice and sugar into your jamming pot. On a high heat, while stirring constantly, get it boiling. Add in your single pack of Certo. Get it back to boiling and set a timer for 1 minute. Keep stirring until the timer goes off.

    Process the jam into your jars. Get them into your awaiting canner, and let them go for 10 minutes.

    A tasty way to get some extra omegas in your diet would be to add a 1/4 cup chia seeds in with the berries. It also makes for a slightly thicker jam because of the seeds gelling properties.

    Well, there she is, in all its delicious glory. I use the same ratios of berries to make a pie. But that’s another time.

    I already know what’s coming next. It’s going to be a long one because tomorrow is Machias’ annual Blueberry Festival!

    Pretty exciting…. so until then, have a wicked good afternoon.

    Putting the Dill in DillyBean!

    The beans are in! This is a REALLY happy time of year for us, because it means DILLY BEANS! And we like them spicy. And dilly. It took me about a hour to pick our beautiful bag of beans. We planted two huge rows this year, mostly a bush bean called the provider. They certainly live up to their name as long as you keep picking them. 

     

    Green Bean Jungle

      

    Baby Beans!

     

    We also planted a burgundy bean for the first time this year. These are officially my favorite things to photograph right now. Even though there aren’t any burgundy beans in with the dilly beans, I couldn’t resist putting these up. They are about a week behind the providers. 

     

    Burgundy String Bean

      

    I’ve always thought bean blossoms were so pretty

      

    The beans will turn purple as they mature. they are supposed to keep their color even after cooked.

     

    Ok, so enough of the garden. It’s time to make some Dilly Beans!

    Now, making dilly beans, or any pickle really, is about ratios. We start our recipe based on 2 pounds of prepped beans. When we made them last night, we actually had 3 pounds, so we adjusted for that. 

    You will need 

    • quart jars, bands and lids- we prefer wide mouth jars for pickling
    • your water bath canner
    • A big pot for the pickling mixture
    • Jar grabber

    For the pickling liquid, based on the two pounds of beans, you’ll have to go go get yourself the following:

    • 4 cups white vinegar
    • 4 cups water
    • 3 tablespoons canning/pickling salt

    So this is your pickling mixture. Get your big pot out, and mix these all together. Since we had three pounds of prepped beans we used 6 cups each water and vinegar, and 4.5 tablespoons canning salt.  

    For packing the jars, you’ll need 

    • Lots of fresh dill, about 6 good size sprigs per jar
    • Garlic cloves, cut in halves, 2 per jar
    • Dried hot peppers of your choice, 2 per jar
    • 1 tsp of crushed red peppers per jar
    • Your beans, ends trimmed off

     

    My bean cutting setup consists of my beans, a bowl for trimmed dilly beans, a bowl for beans to small or irregular for pickling, and my compost bucket.

      

    The larger beans are perfect for pickling, the smaller ones are great for blanching and freezing for winter meals

      

    Beans, ends trimmed and then cut to size. The beans cut into thirds on the other side of the board are for blanching and freezing as regular beans

      

    We trim the stems off our dill, so it takes up less room in the jar.

      

    Everything gathered, prepped and ready to go. We use two types of chili peppers, that’s why they are seperate from eachother. We put one of each in each jar.

     

    Now that you have gathered everything and gotten it all prepped, it’s time to make sure your jars, bands and lids are cleaned and ready to go. Also, it is time to get your vinegar mixture boiling. It really won’t take long, so make sure you have everything else pretty well set up and ready. 

    Once your pickling mixture is close to a rolling boil, it’s time to start packing your jars. First goes in a pepper, one tsp of crushed red peppers, 4 sprigs of dill, and two pieces of your cut up garlic.  

    There is something wonderful about a ball jar getting ready to be filled with the fruits of your labor

    Now, pack that jar full of your cut green beans. The more beans you can fit, the less liquid you need. You want them packed in there pretty tightly so they don’t float around. Once your beans are in, throw in another chili pepper and another 2 sprigs of dill. After your jar is full of all the goodies, it’s time to fill it with your boiling pickling mixture. Make sure to tap the side of the jar to encourage any air pockets to float up to the top and burst. 

    Beans packed in, ready to be transformed

    Clean the rim of the jar and wipe the rim and the lid dry. Put on the lid, secure with a band and move onto the next jar. Once all your beans are gone, put your jars in your waiting canner and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and place somewhere undisturbed for 12 hours. Check to see if the lids sealed and if any of them didn’t seal, put the jar in your fridge immediately. 

    Three pounds of beans equaled out to 8 wide mouth quarts of dilly beans and a nice sized bag of beans for the freezer as well. 

    So that’s it- our highly coveted dilly bean recipe. We’ve been making these for years, and boy do they go well with a nice cold beer. We let them sit for at least a month before cracking open the jar. You can wait longer, but I wouldn’t open them any sooner.

    Now that that’s covered, I will let you know, the next blog is special to my heart. Otherwise, I am leaving it a surprise. But I will hint that you’ll need blueberries again…

    Until that time, have a wicked good day. 

      Oh, the possibilities. 

      When you have an over abundance of a harvest, do you make the same thing in excess, because you know it works, it tastes good and you’ll probably use it all, and even if you don’t, you can give some away…. Or do you branch out… Try something new, odd.. Maybe even a little weird?

      In my personal opinion- When in doubt, always choose new, odd and maybe even a little weird. It’s a regretless desicion when you have 25 lbs of blueberries to do something with, and you can only eat so much blueberry pie. 

      It is with this mindset, that we approach these recipes. We have two different types of spiced blueberry jam we are making this year. The first is going to be a Blueberry Serrano Pepper Jam. This is a new and exciting recipe for us- exciting because we are using peppers from our own garden.  

      Our very own serrano peppers- and a chocolate sweet pepper

       
      The second is a standard blueberry jam infused with a blend of warm holiday spices. This is one we discovered almost by accident last year, while trying to make blueberry chutney. The jam was a keeper, the chutney, not so much. It’s kinda like blueberry pie in a jar, sans crust.

      For the Blueberry Serrano Pepper Jam you will need

      • 4 cups of crushed berries
      • 7 cups of sugar
      • 1/4 cup diced hot pepper – discard the seeds if you like a milder spice. We left ours in, and Mr. Gillis swears he barely tastes the heat. 
      • 1/4 cup diced sweet pepper
      • 1 full box of Certo(2 pouches)
      • 1/4 cup lemon juice

      The essentials

        Also, grab all your canning supplies. 

        Now, in your jamming pot, mix together your berries, peppers, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once at a boil, add in your Certo. Bring that back to another rolling boil. Put your kitchen timer on for 1 minute. 

         

        Looks just like regular blueberry jam, except with little green bombs of fire.

         
        Once that goes off, it’s time to boogey and get it into your jars. Process in your canner for 10 minutes. Enjoy on anything.

        Now, the second jam, the blueberry pie jam, is… Well, it’s sweet, a little tangy, aromatic and spiced with the holy trio- cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Time to gather your ingredients. 

        • 4 cups crushed blueberries
        • 6 cups white sugar
        • 1 cup brown sugar
        • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
        • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
        • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 
        • 1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg
        • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger root
        • 1 whole box Certo (2 pouches)

        In your jamming pot, add everything but the Certo. While stirring constantly, let it get to that all important rolling boil. Add in the Certo, get it back to boil. Set your timer for one minute, keep stirring the entire time. 

        Once the timer goes off, get the jam into your jars, get the jars into your canner and process for 10 minutes. 

        We didn’t get any pictures of this batch because we had a very fussy 11 week old that didn’t care that we had already gotten started. It happens. 

        Well we are just about done with our blueberry harvest. It’s all frozen at least. I’m trying to talk Mr. Gillis into a blueberry sauce or maybe a blueberry moxie jam. But, for now, our green beans are coming in. Which leads  me to the topic of my next post- Spicy Dilly Beans! 

        Until that time- have a wicked good evening.

        It’s all about that jam

        We could be considered odd for this, but we only can food at night. It’s hot, sweaty, steamy work and doing it in the heat of a Maine August day is silly to us. So we wait til about 9 pm, a while after the sun has gone down, and the heat of the day has dissipated. Only then do we turn the water on.

        For today, I am going to talk about freezing blueberries and making regular blueberry jam, which we did last night. And will be doing again tonight. Tomorrow we will be taking a beak from regular blueberry stuff, but more on that in a little bit.

        So, on the subject of freezing berries, I am a bit of an expert. I am not even bragging. Mr. Gillis and I have got this down to a science. We are serious about keeping our harvests until the next harvest. Our deep freezer is full of this years strawberries and raspberries already. So time to throw some blueberries  in there as well.

        For freezing berries for ease of use later, you need a few things other than clean berries.

        • Cookie sheets
        • Freezer paper
        • Bags
        • (Look Ma, I learned how to use bullets!)

        We use a food saver so we can get the bags airtight and sealed properly. We both believe this has been a hugely beneficial investment. We freeze and save so much food and this machine really cuts down on any freezer burn.

        So, get your cookie sheets in a row. Grab your freezer paper and cut out your pieces so that they are a little bit larger then the pans.

        Since the paper is larger then the sheet, it makes for easier handling later

        Now, grab your berries and spread them out. You can put a little bit more then a single layer, because blueberries freeze so well. They are super easy to break apart.

        Three cookie sheets full and ready to go into the freezer.

        Now find a place in your freezer, and throw them in. They’ll need to be in there  for about 2 to 3 hours in order to be frozen all the way thru.

        A look into the depths… I am pretty good at finding more room tho.

        This is when we get out our food saver. We make up a rather large bag and put all three trays into it.

        This bag will be about 10 inches long

        When the berries are completely frozen, take the edges of the freezer paper and pull them towards the middle forming a circle. Put one open end inside your bag, and carefully lift the other side of the bag. If everything is in its place, your berries will just roll on down and into the bag.

        It can be a little difficult to get the berries to stay in the paper.

        This bag will hold three trays of berries

        Then we turn the machine on, and let it do its work. You end up with a bag of frozen berries that you can easily scoop out in smaller portions.

        Our giant bag of frozen berries, air sucked out and sealed tight.

        Now, repeat. We usually end up with about 8 of these bags.

        So, with that done, we move onto making our standard blueberry jam. This is a pretty fool proof recipe, as we use the Official Certo instructions for this one. They are included in every box, and we even keep a copy on our fridge.

        For the jam, you’ll need:

        • A full box of Certo (it has two packs inside)
        • 7 cups of sugar
        • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice – usually one medium lemon
        • 4 and 1/2 cups of crushed blueberries – you’ll need about 8 cups of whole berries to get this.

        For tools you’ll need :

        • A large pot
        • A small pot
        • A water bath canner (we use our pressure canner, just without the gauge and weight)
        • A funnel
        • Jars, bands and lids
        • Paper towels
        • A ladle
        • A rubber spatula
        • A metal spoon
        • A jar grabber
        • A medium bowl
        • Immersion blender

        To start, you need to fill your canner with enough water to cover your jars. Get that onto your stove top and going so that the water will be boiling when you need it.

        Next, take your small pot, fill it with some water and get that on the stovetop as well. This water needs to be nice and hot for the lids to go in. It helps to relax the rubber in the seal which will help the tops pop once they come out of the canner.

        The water isnt boiling, more of a hard simmer.

        Now is time for some dishes. Get your jars, rims and lids. Wash them all with soap and hot water. Rinse them all really well. Fill one bay of your sink with really hot water. Put your jars and bands in the water so they stay hot while you’re making the jam. Your lids are going to go in the small pot of hot water.

        Hot jars, patiently awaiting their jam

        So now the real fun begins. Grab your bowl and immersion blender. Throw your berries into the bowl. Use the immersion blender to crush the berries and get this juices flowing.

        An immersion blender is pretty essential for these types of things.

         

        These berries are now blended and ready to become jam

        In your large pot, combine 2 TBSP Lemon juice, 4 and 1/2 cups crushed blueberries and 7 cups of sugar. Mix well and turn your stove onto medium/high heat. This mixture needs to be stirred pretty much constantly so it won’t burn. This is where the rubber spatula comes in handy.

        Our perfect for blueberry jam measuring cup

         

        This is actually 3 lemons worth of juice.

        This is the blueberries and lemon juice

         

        I swear , there are berries underneath all that sugar

        Everything all mixed together. Use the spatula to scrape the sides as you stir.

        Open up your packs of Certo so that it will be ready for you when you need it. We put ours in a coffee cup off to the side so it’s close but not in the way.

        Our Certo.. and the zucchini bread in the background was a good snack between batches.

        Next, grab your paper towels, ladle, funnel and metal spoon. You’ll need at least three paper towels, one wet and two dry.

        This is how we setup our canning area. I use another wet paper towel under my jar to give a non slip surface. It also makes cleanup easier.

        Now, back to the pot full of sugar and berries. Stir this on a medium/high heat until it gets to a bubbling boil. Once it gets to a hard boil, add in the two packs of Certo. This is will calm down the boil for a minute or two. Keep stirring constantly. Once it gets back to a hard boil, put 1 minute on your timer and stir until it beeps.

        I swear, this is at a rolling boil.

        Take your jam off the heat and get ready to really work. It is pretty important to get the jam into the jars before it cools to much. Grab your ladle and start filling your jar. Once it is about a half inch from the top, stop. Do not fill your jar to the brim! It will not seal.

        The captions on the following pictures explain the process pretty thoroughly.

        Here it is! Our first full jar of blueberry jam for the season.

         

        Use your wet paper towel to clean the rim of the jar.

        Use one of your dry paper towels to dry the rim and the lid before putting it on

         

        Cover the jar with the lid, and secure the lid with a band.

        This is a Ball tool that helps to secure the band to the right tightness to help ensure your jar seals.

         

        The click of the arm lets you know it is at the pefect tightness.

        For canning, this Ball tool is SO worth the $10 you’ll spend on it. We have 99% seal rate. It takes the guess work out of it completely. We even got ours on clearance at a Tractor Supply Company.
        Now, continue filling your jars, until you’ve scraped your pot clean. We usually end up with 10 or 11 jars. When all your jars are full, cleaned and covered, put them in your canner using your jar grabber. After you’ve got them all in, put the lid on your canner and start a timer for ten minutes. While the canner is doing its thing, this is a good time to lick the spoon.

        The real reason people make jam … to clean the pot with their tongues

        When the timer goes off, use your jar grabber to get the jars back out. Put them some place where the can be undisturbed for 24 hours.

        So that’s it. How we deal with an overabundance of berries.

        Whew, what a long post tho. It actually took me two days to write it. I think I will be sticking to one topic posts from now on.  Like my next two posts, which will be off shoots of this one. I have two special blueberry jam recipes, but they are not for the faint of heart. First we will be doing a sweet and spicy Blueberry Serrano Pepper jam and after that a Holiday Spiced Blueberry jam.

        So until that time, have a wicked good evening.