Tag Archives: canning

Reusable Canning Lids?! YES and NO BPA

I was at the library an going through one of their Mother Earth publications and saw an advertisement in the back for reusable canning lids that are also BPA FREE!!!

In that same magazine was an interesting article about the harmful effects of BPA on humans (like cancer, early puberty). They use it to line most cans; another reason to can/jar your own food! However, even the lids purchased at the store are lined with BPA – although it’s a lot less than an entire can.

These reusable lids apparently were on the market back in the day and now with the resurgence of the do-it-yourselfer, they are back in production and can be purchased at

There are also youtube videos you can watch too. I will order these this year and make sure they go onto lids that will remain in the household with me as they are a bit pricier than the other lids.

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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Canning/Preserving


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Canning and Freezing accomplished this year

This year I canned chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, apple pie filling (to just dump in pie crust then bake), jams, turkey noodle soup from leftover thanksgiving turkey, dilled beans, green beans, wax beans.

I froze chopped bell peppers, corn and peas that I shelled. We have also been busy filling the freezer with the moose my husband hunted and the deer my son provided to feed us throughout the year. We are still working on filling the freezer for the year with additional game meat harvested and butchered by my family.

This “comprehensive list” of food items was grown by me or local grown (i.e. the turkey was grown organically on a local farm; the apples – someone at church brought a bunch of boxes and I took one), or harvested/hunted by my family.

Having these experiences with our food source keeps me (and my family) mindful of wastefulness, food quality, and propels me to think more and more outside of the box with reusing or repurposing other household items that would otherwise be considered waste. I am also proud of my overall success each year with my growing baby steps and being able to share these successes (along with the few failures)with my kids. It shows them visually that even though there might be several flops, overall, the harvest is truely bountiful.


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CORN! Don’t turn it down!

Okay, I don’t grow corn. However, a lot of people around here grow corn and end up with extra to share with others. I brought home a big bucket (you know the type they sell at walmart; the big plastic buckets with rope handles?) full of corn that someone brought to church. My plan: To bring it home and either freeze it or jar it. There was discussion and inquiries on how to best “save” it, so let me share.

The most important part of preserving corn is that you MUST BLANCH it 4-6 mins. before you move on to freeze or jar it. This destroys the enzymes that would otherwise breakdown the sugars and nutrients in the corn niblets. Here is a link you can refer to:

You can absolutely freeze it on the cob (you see it yourself in the freezer dept. of your grocery store). Or you can cut/shave it off the cob.

Basically you have your kids shuck the corn and then you blanch/boil whole or cut cobs for 4-6 mins then plunge into ice cold water to stop “cooking” as fast as possible then either freeze on the cob, or shave off and bag/jar it.

I chose shave it off and freeze it because for me this is such a “process” in it of itself that I just can’t wrap my head around putting it in the jars, filling with water and processing via pressure can only (although not that hard). I put into foodsaver bags (3 cups per bag for family of 5) and vacuumed sealed shut and stuck in freezer – SUPER EASY. This process took me approximately 1 1/2 hrs to freeze 22 cups of corn (after the kids shucked it which took them about an hour the night before – they goof off).

When I need to eat it I boil water and cut open bag and boil it up for another 6-10 minutes (until done) and butter, salt/pepper to taste and it is sooooo good! and crunchy still.

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Canning/Preserving


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Freeze your peppers

My peppers are coming in. I have too many to eat. One great way to use them is to make stuffed peppers. I notice sometimes that garden peppers are not as large or symetrical as those you find at the store. To use your garden peppers to stuff, cut them lengthwise in half and lay them on their sides (open faced, so to speak) and fill them that way.

But, with the rest of them, I chop them up and put 1-2 cups in foodsaver bags (or ziploc) and freeze for future use in eggs, potatoes, stir fry, chili, stews or marinara. This is the first time I have tried to “save” my peppers for future use. I’ve seen Frozen bags of peppers and onions at the supermarket for stirfry; so I figure I can do the same. I suppose you could even throw them in your autumun/winter salads. During the fall/winter, I make a lot of stir fry, it’s easy and filling and a one pot type meal that has veggies. For the stir fry batches, I will slice them into longer, thinner strips, (you don’t have too) because I prefer them this way in stir fry. This shouldn’t take a lot of freezer space – I can store in the “door” shelves in the outdoor freezer or even find space in the inside freezer.

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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in Canning/Preserving


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Revisiting the idea of Canning and “The Canner”

In an earlier post, I mentioned that you don’t have to go bankrupt to preserve/can your food and make it shelf stable (a lot of people don’t have a ton of freezer space). You can only process/can high acid foods with a water bath canner – that would be dilled veggies, jams/jellies, fruits in a sugar syrup, salsa (provided there is acid introduced too) and tomatoes. “dilling” makes the environment acidic. Search “Water bath canning” and “High acid foods to can”. I have gotten by with my water canner for several years. I only graduated to the pressure canner this year due to the fact that my kids eat a lot and I’d like to grow and can beans, and possibly corn and soups/stews (maybe meat/fish in the future).

By the way, jams/jellies and such make GREAT gifts to anyone. Who wouldn’t love to receive something they can use and was hand crafted? Great teacher gifts, coworker gifts, hostess gifts, and especially family gifts.

Where I live, NOW is the time to goto Walmart and purhcase a canning pot. In the Boise and surrounding areas, lots of people can/preserve and the pots (which is a big enamel coated pot with a jar rack inside) costs $20. Here is the link for the 21.5 Quart, Granite Wear, Canner pot with Rack – Do not spend more than about $25 for a water bath type canner. You could also just order a separate canning rack to insert into your already owned deep stock pot (measure diameter and that pot has to be deep enough to have 1 1/2 inches of water over your tallest jar). You could also zip tie a bunch of “bands” that part that screws onto the lid of a jar. The important thing is to have the jars slightly elevated off the bottom of the pot. (I do recommend the canning rack though, it has handles).

It is also wise to get a funnel and a jar lifter (and obviously jars). Jars with lids/bands are a slight initial investment. Jars and bands may be reused year after year – you have to use a new lid/seal each time you process. Each year I have to go and purchase a few boxes of lids (pks of 12 for less than $3) and maybe a couple of cases of smaller jelly jars that I give away as gifts ($8 or less per case of 12).

Pressure Canners are much more expensive and I’d only recommend purchasing one if you have a larger family, don’t have a lot of freezer space and you really are going to can/preserve green beans, corn, meats, soups, etc., OR you are going to do high volume canning of many high acid fruits/vegetables (only water bath jams). The pressure canner takes up a lot less time during the canning/processing stage. However, if not doing some mass volume and you have the freezer space for those beans and corn, it is easier to freeze those. You must blanch the veggies before freezing though – look up process for each one separately.

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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Canning/Preserving


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Wild Idaho Huckleberries

The last few weekends our family has gone out foraging for wild huckelberries in the mountains northeast of boise.  We have picked about 8-10 cups worth over the last 2 weekends.  It’s quality family time and teamwork and a good workout as you will hike up and around the local hillsides enjoying wildlife and nature.


Huckleberry Syrup:

3 C Huckleberries, 5cups of sugar (if you want a thicker syrup – reduce to 4/12 cups of sugar and add 1/2 cup light corn syrup).  Crush berries on bottome of heavy, deep, stock pot – I also add about 1 cup of water too.  Add the sugar and stir constantly over med-high heat until sugar melts and then starts to boil.  Get it to a high boil then turn off and remove from stove.  Do not over boil.  Can in jars and water bath process for 10-15 minutes for pints and less.  Do not pressure can.

I use huckleberry syrup in cocktails and add a couple of tablespoons to a cup of regular maple syrup to pour over pancakes.  This is potent stuff, so use sparingly. start small and add more.  A favorite is a huckleberry cosmopolitan, yum!  I also add berries to those pancakes mentioned above for a super huckelberry treat.

Huckleberry Jam:

4-5 cups of huckleberries, water, lemon juice, one package of pwdred pectin, 7 cups of sugar.

I am rough with the amount of huckleberries, because you crush them and then add enough water to bring measured amount upto 5 cups.  It’s fine – when you are out picking you can’t measure…..In a deep stock pot, crush berries,add, water, 2T lemon juice (which you NEED in order for the pectin to gel as Huckleberries are not high in natural pectin and acid helps to “gel” with pectin).  Cook, stir constantly over high heat and bring to boil you can’t stir down then add all the sugar at once and stir constantly until you bring to a constant rolling boil.  BOIL for ONE MINUTE.  Then remove from heat.  Put into jars, and waterbath only, 10-15 minutes for pints or less.  You can freeze too if you.  You can also, jar and keep in fridge for a few weeks, sugar is a natural preservative (if you are planning to hand out for immediate use).


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tomato sauce or marinara recipe for canning/freezing

The tomatoes are starting to really come in – but not enough to do some big batch of canning.  Instead I think I will make a batch or 2 of tomato sauce or marinara.  If you make tomato sauce I’d recommend using the smaller, 1 cup size jars (8oz), as you will likely use this size most often for recipes (or even less – then you can save to use later in the week).  For marinara I recommend using quart size jars as they will cover a pound of pasta.

For a basic sauce:  Tools:  Blender, Food mill/sieve, big stock pot.

Put tomatoes into blender (I have one of those vita mixes) and blend into juice. Pour into food mill to strain out seeds/skin then pour juice into pot.  I pour about 4 blenders full of juice into a basic stock pot and boil down to my prefered thickness for sauce.  I don’t add anything else.  I then put into jars and can – you can use either waterbath or pressure can for tomatoes. Waterbath about 45mins-60min – Pressure Can 20-25 mins @11lbs.

For Marinara, use steps above, but add in desired amount of sautéed onion(sautéed in olive oil), crushed/minced/chopped garlic, chopped flat leaf parsley, and basil, throw in a couple of teaspoons of italian seasoning.  You could even put in wine if you want.  Again, boil down to desire consistency and process in quart size containers is water bath for 60-70 mins or pressure can 25 mins @11lbs.

Super easy!  Really.  And if you are not comfortable (or have not yet graduated to canning) you can easily fill jars/plastic bags/or other containers and freeze.  NOTE: if freezing, remember to leave enough head space for expansion.  Jars can and will break as they do not have much give to them.

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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden


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