Book Review & Giveaway for The Canning Kitchen by Amy Bronee
Canning has filled my summer for several years now. Sometimes, whether I like it or not. I can’t seem to stop myself from ordering kilos of local fruit year after year that are wrangled into jars so they can grace my table during the dreary Canadian winter. My son can eat a jar of home canned peaches in one sitting and there is great satisfaction in spreading on some of my jam onto homemade bread for my boy. Once you have these treasures in your pantry, it is difficult to give up the canning habit.
My friend Amy knows a thing or two about this. Her canning addiction has lead to this wonderful book full of easy to follow recipes to fill your own pantry with jams, pickles, chutneys, and more. So far I have made the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Strawberry Jam. Amy’s method produces jewel bright jams because of the relatively low cooking time in these two jams. The yield in the recipes is also spot on, which is really nice when you are organizing yourself to get ready to make a batch of jam.
Amy opens the book with a detailed section on the basics of canning that should answer most of your questions on how to get started. If you are new to canning or you’ve only made jams with much longer cooking times, I highly recommend using one of the two methods on how to test a gel set that are described on page 7.
Getting into canning mode has been difficult for me this year. My little guy had not been napping and, in general, I’m finding that two children are exponentially more difficult than having one. Canning is a compulsion for me now, so I had to jump ahead. I knew that if I didn’t have homemade jam in my pantry come winter I would have a sore foot from kicking my own ass. I am scaling back in the amount of canning I do. I’m not making enough jam for all our Christmas gifts and to supply the rest of the family in homemade jam. Sorry everyone. This year I am doing the bare minimum. You are more than welcome to make your own jam. You may be able to find some local strawberries and rhubarb to make this jam but if not, enter to win a copy of the book and you will find a multitude of jam and jelly recipes to satisfy your desire for homemade preserves.
My canning plans this year include some of my own recipes, such as: Blueberry Maple Preserves, and Spiced Plum Chutney. I do have my eye on a chutney recipe in The Canning Kitchen as well as the Bing Cherry Barbecue Sauce. Maybe my relatives won’t be left in the cold when it comes to homemade preserves this year after all.
Juicy strawberries and tart rhubarb go hand in hand and taste like sunny summer days in the garden. This jam is perfect for filling blind-baked tart shells and spooning over banana pancakes or waffles with whipped cream. Save a spot for a pretty jar of this jam in your picnic basket, right between the scones and the wine. MAKES SEVEN 250 ML (1 CUP) JARS
- 1 1/2 lb (675 g) strawberries
- 1 lb (450 g) rhubarb stalks
- 1 package (57 g) regular pectin powder
- 6 cups (1.5 L) granulated sugar
- Rinse the strawberries under cool running water. Hull the berries, discarding the stems and leaves. Crush the strawberries with a masher in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (you should have about 2 1/2 cups/625 mL of crushed berries).
- Rinse the rhubarb under cool running water. Chop into 1/2 -inch (1 cm) pieces and add them to the berries.
- Stir in the pectin powder. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the sugar. Once the sugar dissolves, increase the heat to high and bring the jam back to a hard boil. Maintain a full boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Skim off and discard any foamy scum.
- Ladle into 7 clean 250 mL (1 cup) jars, leaving a 1/4 -inch (5 mm) headspace.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging for preparing lids for processing. Position new flat lids over the clean jar rims and secure in place by twisting on the screw bands just until fingertip tight. Not too tight—some air will need to escape during processing.
- Place jars in water bath canner, covered by at least 1-inch (2.5 cm) boiling water. Cover canner and process for 15 minutes. Start timing when water in canner returns to full boil. When the processing time is up, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Leave the jars in the canner for 5 more minutes.
- Remove processed jars from the canner and leave to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten the screw bands while the jars are cooling. Once the jars are fully cooled, press the middle of each lid to check for a vacuum seal. If the centre of the lid is suctioned down, your jar has fully sealed.
TIP Fresh garden strawberries and rhubarb can be chopped and frozen for making jam another day. Spread on a baking sheet and freeze before transferring to freezer bags or containers. Allow to thaw before making jam. You do not need to drain off any juices.
Recipe and images are from The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes by Amy Bronee. Copyright © Amy Bronee, 2015. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Photography credit: Amy Bronee.
This giveaway is open all legal residents of Canada, excluding Quebec, who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province, or territory, in which they reside. Canadian winners will need to answer a skill-testing question.
No purchase necessary to enter.
The giveaway will run from July 9, 2015 to July 15, 2015. The winner will be contacted via email and displayed on Rafflecopter widget.
Disclosure: I received one complimentary copy of The Canning Kitchen for review purposes. All opinions are my own.