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We like to have other options other than maple syrup (though we love maple syrup, especially the real thing that we buy from Mount Mansfield Maple Products!) on our pancakes. One day, we realized that we were running low on homemade jam in our pantry when we only had a few jars to put out on the table at breakfast. At this time last year, we had canned strawberry jam after a trip to our local Market on the Move in Tucson, Arizona. Unfortunately, this year we did not get a flat of strawberries, but we did get a whole case of mini watermelons, which we have been enjoying for the past week!

Yesterday, we were in for a 110 degree day here in Marana, so we decided “Let’s can some jam!” (And some jalapenos last-minute) It was very hot work in the kitchen but we were rewarded with 5 jars of blueberry jam, 13 jars of strawberry jam, and 4 jars of candied jalapenos. I think we made a few mistakes in our measurements and ended up with an odd number of jars in different sizes.

One lesson we have learned with canning: it is easier to make small batches for canning rather than large batches (more than 4 jars). We didn’t have a large enough pot to handle our batch of strawberry jam and it ended up being more syrupy than we wanted because we had to split the batch and probably didn’t use enough pectin. It still tastes incredible though and I’m sure we will easily eat it up in the next few months on cheesecake, pancakes, ice cream, and angel food cake.

Our go-to canning book is Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan. We don’t always use the liquid pectin that she suggests in her recipes, but it is easy to convert from liquid pectin to powdered pectin. 1 packet of liquid pectin (3 ounces) = 2 Tablespoons of powdered pectin.

It was hard work to can all these, but it was definitely worth it! I love the colors. They make me think of jewels. We heard pings going all afternoon, a welcome sound.
Our runny strawberry jam that will disappear in no time anyway!
Our blueberry jam has a beautiful set! Our 4th child, Rhys, loves blueberries and he was excited to know we were canning blueberry jam.
Candied jalapenos were a last-minute addition to our canning schedule. These are so good on hot dogs and sandwiches!

About two weeks ago, we received a few pounds of jalapenos in our $10 produce box from Market on the Move at the Tucson 3000 Club. Josh and I love candied jalapenos, especially the spicy O’s from Terra Verde Foods. What if we could make candied jalapenos ourselves? We decided to give it a try since we were already canning anyway and heating up the kitchen.

We don’t know what our candied jalapenos taste like yet since we have to wait a week before we can try them. We used a recipe for Cowboy Candy from Just a Pinch for our candied jalapenos. We didn’t have mustard seed so I had to substitute ground mustard. We also did not have cayenne pepper so I used red pepper flakes instead. Hopefully, they will still taste good!

I think it took us about 4 hours to can all these, 8 AM to noon. Then, we took a break until about 3 PM, when Josh smoked some top sirloin steak and I baked up some potatoes and vegetables for dinner. It was definitely a tiring but productive day!


#can some jam

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