Why Can

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There are many reasons why people can. Everyone has a different reason. Here are a few reasons why I can.

Health is a big one. I feel that people are slowly killing them selves with all the processed food they are eating. People ask me all the time why I can and I tell them, I know what is in the jar and I can pronounce each ingredient. There are no harmful additives, and a lot less sugar and salt.

Eco-Friendly is an other reason. If you grow your own food you are not having trucks bring your produce to the store and pollute the air. If you can’t grow your own food buy local.  You are reducing the waste of pre-packaged foods and the mason jars are reusable.

Finance is an other reason. When produce is in season it is at it lowest price. This is the perfect time to start preserving food and stock up your pantry. Those upscale kitchen stores with the fancy jams, chutney and mustard that you drool over can be made for a lot less money. When friends and family members know you can  they will start to bring you produce so be ready have jars on hand!

Passion is an other reason I can. I love food and sharing. I have been blessed to come from a family of foodies that are Portuguese. The Portuguese people I know want to show you how much they love you by cooking you a meal, handing you produce from their yard or a jar of homemade jam. Canning is a connection to my culture, family and heritage. I have to admit I love handing someone a jar and seeing them smile. The other thing I love is hearing the “POP” sound from the jars as they seal.

Gifts, What a wonderful thing to hand to someone. In my family we decided many years ago we would give consumable gifts during the holidays. For years I gave wine, but then I realized it’s not as special since they can go buy a bottle any where. So the last few years my family and friend have received jars from me. Now they are starting to make requests. When it comes to the holidays us canners have the upper hand on gift giving with our full pantry to shop in.

Quality and taste is far better homemade that any store-bought. Find the best produce at its peak and can it. Is going to taste better than anything you can get from the store.

One last thing, I’m highly addicted to canning and my personal goal is to get you addicted too.  I love it, it makes me happy. Happy Canning!

Share with me your reasons for canning.

P.S. Check out the class calendar. I have change a few things.  Please let me know what you would like to learn.

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Home Preserving

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Home preserving, whether it’s an exotic or an indigenous product, gives the home cook ultimate control over ingredients, flavors, and cost. In my kitchen I don’t need to compromise on quality. I can make jams with less sugar, pickles with less salt, and preserve roasted peppers with NO additives or artificial colors. My own imagination and the RULES OF CHEMISTRY are the only limits. I can do what commercial manufacturers can’t: make small batches so that quality is never sacrificed (although, remember to never double a recipe in one batch). I constantly look for ways to improve upon common flavors, such as strawberry, and create new products. I recently created Strawberry Chocolate Jam with only one cup of sugar. Home preserving can mean bringing taste you never knew existed to the table. Preserving at home is a natural progression of America’s renewed passion for homemade favorites. We want less complicated dishes and high quality ingredients at reasonable costs. In the past, canning and preserving were tasks our grandmothers had to do; I feel that we should look at these not as tiresome chores but as pleasurable chores. Home preserving is for the cooks today that want to eat healthy (less sugar, less salt and less fat) and have a lot of wonderful taste.

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How Long Does Jam Last?

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I had a student ask me a very important question the other day. “How long will the jam last after I open it and put it in the refrigerator?” I am so happy they asked this question. First, you may want to make jam in half pint sized jars so it won’t have enough time to go bad. You’ll eat it before it has time to spoil! I can with half-pint jars because sometimes, I get board eating the same canned goods – I want a different flavor. Sugar is the number one preservative in canned goods but sugar is not always a healthy choice. I use less sugar in my recipes which means that my jams and canned goods will have less preservatives and ultimately a shorter shelf life. I would prefer to healthy, great tasting food than have food that lasts forever.

You should always use clean utensils when canning. So many of us spread butter with a knife and then dip that same knife in the jam jar without realizing we have just contaminated the jam with foreign bacteria. That is how mold starts to grow in the jar. My personal rule for jams made with less sugar is 2 months in the refrigerator after being opened (but I’m sure you will eat them before then).
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