So I've never canned before.

Any recommendations for canning and tomato based and jam recipes. (particularly raspberry and blackberry.)

A n00b.

The freezer jam recipe included in the gelatin box is amazing. We make loads of strawberry jam with it every year, but you can use whatever kind of berries suit your fancy.

My wife and I looked into canning because of our (well, her) prolific tomato plant. We were scared off a bit by the literature, since pretty much any misstep means your family, friends, and colleagues will all die of botulism.

However, what I did learn is that you basically need a clean kitchen, canning jars, and a pressure cooker. If you have all those things, you can find a zillion recipes and directions on the web.

Huh. Can you quote from that literature? I thought that botulism only liked low acid foods. I would think that berries and tomato preparations are fairly safe.

Although my grandmother relied on sugar and natural pectins, I just buy Sure-Jell (Lower Sugar Recipe). I follow their directions for cooked jams, but that’s because I don’t have a lot of room in the freezer for the freezer jam preparations. I tend to leave the bottles longer in the water bath than recommended, but I’m not sure that that is really necessary.

Fruit such as berries are high acid and there is no need for a pressure canner for anything related to berry jam. You just use a procedure that involves the canning stuff brought up to full boil (so-called “hot pack”), then poured into sterilized containers and finally brought back to boiling and vacuum sealed in a water bath thing.

Pickles and other vegetables packed in salt+vinegar don’t even need to be brought to boiling first. The vegetables are packed directly into the jars (so called “cold pack”), the jars filled with boiling canning liquid, and water bath processed. If you are unsure of canning procedure I’d start with something pickled as it is REALLY hard to kill someone this way. :slight_smile:

For beginners there is no better resource than the Ball Blue Book. Follow the instructions exactly and don’t go skipping any steps.


Pretty much all the documents you find on safe canning have the same content.

Now, I am sure we will overcome our fears and actually do some canning… I was exaggerating both the tone of the literature and our reservations. The main thing was that we were considering a home-rigged hotwater bath, and this convinced us we needed a pressure cooker.

For the record, that site does explicitly state that water bath canning is fine for high-acid foods including all fruits and anything pickled. Tomatoes are a bit of a “special case” because there is a fairly wide variation in acidity, with some being unsuitable for water bath canning.

I second the Ball Blue Book. I canned 14 pints of the Fiesta Salsa recipe from it last night, and will be canning about 20 qts of roma tomatoes in water over the course of this week. The Blue Book makes it easy.

I’m sure waterbath canning is fine, Hello Again, and never meant to indicate otherwise. We just realized that that we didn’t have the equipment on hand for that kind of canning, either.

You can buy everything you need in a kit for ~$20, you know. :slight_smile: