Canning For The Year

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This has been a wonderful busy fall season. It is amazing what a difference one year has made. Those of you who know me, know that I spent last fall recovering from a bout of West Nile.  I was so grateful this year to be busy with canning, spending time with family and friends and just celebrating how good life is.

For me one of the great things of life, especially the fall, is the canning season. Years ago my grandma canned every bit of produce she could get her hands on. She instilled in me a love of seeing the produce come out of the garden, journey through the canning/preservation process and end up on the pantry shelves.

Sometimes Fall can feel like an ending to a season. I am not sure why, but canning does not feel like giving up on a past season. Canning feels like preparing for a fresh start. Lining shelves with the summer’s bounty is strangely fulfilling and highly addictive.

What starts out as just doing some batches of peaches, applesauce and pizza sauce turns into a hunt for a new recipe to try….a new way to try preserve the produce.  Canning is kind of like putting Summer in a jar and opening it to enjoy on those cold winter days.

For me…..canning is hope….hope that you are prepared….hope that you are ready for what comes…..and the hope that by the time your jars run out, you also run out of cold winter days.

Seeing the shelves lined with filled jars gives such a feeling of contentment. I may be weird in that thought but I am okay with that. I love going into my pantry and just standing there looking at those filled jars.

I tried a new recipe this year. We had such an abundance of watermelon that we could not keep up eating them. We gave melons away, I juiced a couple melons and they still kept producing. Even the chickens got to eat watermelon!

So this year I made watermelon jelly. It is so pretty in the jars and really tastes like watermelon in a jar!  I am so excited that in the middle of a cold dreary winter day I can open a jar and feel like summer is not so far away.

Watermelon Jelly
Yield: Makes five half pints

Ingredients: 
5 cups white sugar
5 tablespoons powdered pectin
6 cups pureed watermelon (remove any seeds prior to pureeing)
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice

Instructions:
Whisk together sugar and powdered pectin until they are fully integrated. Combine watermelon puree, sugar/pectin and lemon juice in a large, non-reactive pot.
Bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature of the nascent jelly reaches 220 degrees. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on the width of your pot, the heat of your stove and even the weather you’re having. Check set using saucer test before removing it from the heat, to ensure that it will set.
Remove from the heat and pour into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
When time is up, remove from canner and let jars cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. You can eat immediately or store unopened jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Notes:
*This jelly can take up to one week to set. Please give it time.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and here is the link:
https://foodinjars.com/recipe/watermelon-jelly-recipe/
My notes: 
I used the low sugar pectin so it would set up better. Also, make sure to boil till you reach the correct temp as this also helps with setting this jelly.
Do NOT omit the lemon juice or use fresh lemon juice.
this is needed to properly acidify the watermelon for safe canning.
I wait 24 hours before removing the rings.

 

I love having full shelves, but I also love to gift some of the bounty to my children and others. It is fun “shopping” my shelves and filling boxes to send home with them.

I love the fact that, for me, those jars speak of faithfulness. The faithfulness of my Creator in providing for every need. They are more than just food….they are a visual reminder.  Those jars are a way to connect with those that I love and a connection to those who have gone before.

Food is our common ground,
a universal experience.

James Beard 
Read more: http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Food_Preservation/#ixzz63Pz248Hn

27 thoughts on “Canning For The Year

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I will have to take a photo of the shelves! They don’t have all the jars I canned on them as some have already been sent to my kids and some are in boxes to go to the kids. I used to put them all on the shelves and my sons would comment, “Well….it looks like mom is ready for the apocalypse.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Thank you so much Lisa. My oldest son thought I should make green tinted cupcakes, fill them with the jelly, frost with reddish pinkish frosting and then dot with mini chocolate chips. He thought they would actually look like melons that way. I may have to try it!

      Like

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I am wanting crab apple trees! They are not so easy to find anymore. All they want to sell around here is the decorative ones and I want the old fashioned ones with edible fruit. I actually purchased a vintage cider press this past month so I need to plant some apple trees so I have fruit to run through it!

      Like

  1. Ame says:

    i love the peaceful hope you share through your words; i’m always so encouraged when i visit here 🙂

    canning is something i’ve never done. i’m not very good at growing things, either, though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Thank you so much Ame. I am so glad you are blessed when you visit here.
      I learned to can years ago from my mom. What I did not learn from here I learned from Betty Crocker LOL. I am still learning as a few years back I finally purchased a pressure canner.
      Sometimes the garden grows better than others. It makes so much difference on the weather we get in the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rabbitpatchdiary.com says:

    I love to can and used to spend all of the late summer filling my pantry-you are right that it feels so good to look at the bounty-and also you know that the food is healthier too! What a difference this year is compared to your last! I never canned watermelon, but it sounds good. Mama has been canning pears here. Best wishes and God bless-Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      This is the first year I tried canning anything with watermelon. We had such an abundance of it and couldn’t give it away fast enough.
      Now I have to figure out how to use the gallon bags of frozen aronia berries that I have! I am thinking juice and trying gummi bears. They are supposed to be as good for you as elderberry syrup for the cold and flu season.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rabbitpatchdiary.com says:

        I love the idea of gummies and have been wanting to try that myself. I have never heard of aronia berries. We have elderberry here growing wild, though the season has now passed. Best wishes and I still think of Cobs-I know you do too. love Michele

        Liked by 1 person

  3. ruthsoaper says:

    We never got any melons planted this year. I don’t eat melon but my husband loves it. I did make watermelon jelly one year but my hubby and kids didn’t really like it – they are spoiled with strawberry jam. My dad liked it though. This year I started making fruit roll-ups in my dehydrator and they are a big hit. I have done strawberry, blueberry and apple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      It is so pretty. I want to give it a try as a filling in White cupcakes. Thinking of tinting the cupcake green and make a rose colored frosting with tiny chocolate chips sprinkled on. Maybe would look like a bit like watermelon?

      Like

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