Gigi Blog » The life and loveliness of Gigi's World

Canning up Blueberries

Our family went to our annual camping trip last week -but now we are back now into real life. It was a wonderful relaxing week away – the children had a great time connecting with camp friends. Abby and I truly enjoyed coffee and tea around the campfire, reading books, sitting and chatting and watching the girls play at the beach.  This was our 10th year at the same Christian campground – so thankful for a great week away.


When we returned home very late in the evening, my heart filled with joy as I quietly walked through the still home on my way to my nice comfy bed. The house smelled clean and fresh and, of course, it felt so large after being in a camper all week long! Even though I loved being away, I love returning home {even if it means the relaxing week is over …}


Right away, we started back into life during our busy summer season, beginning with a thousand loads of laundry, weeding the garden {still not fully accomplished!}, pulling up the garlic and picking the lovely beans that are ready. My head is full of ideas and projects and to-dos before the baby arrives, as well {why does that happen we I’m pregnant and not truly able to accomplish all these great ideas?!}.

Everything is coming along well with baby-in-tummy – and now it is really is time to get canning and prepping for baby, as we are now at 30 weeks. By Monday, the laundry was finished and I could progress to the next to do on the list.  I checked the local flyers and noticed blueberries were on sale. Comparing them to a local u-pick, it was actually thriftier to buy them from the grocery store (and, yes, they were still grown in Ontario).

 

So I bought 50  pints on my way to my midwife appointment this morning. The weeding has since paused while I resume some canning impulses. 🙂

 

This afternoon, the girls and I made blueberry jam and canned whole blueberries (a very simple project, if you are new to canning – this one is super easy and tasty). Raw packing blueberries makes a great addition to oatmeal in the cold winter, homemade muffins, over ice cream, in crisps, and more.

And, the jam is just so tasty!

 



 Pectin Free Blueberry Jam
6 cups of blueberries
2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of lemon juice

Wash the berries and place them in a large pot. Mash them down as much as possible (we used a potato masher and a pastry cutter).  Add your sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Hire a trusty taste tester to ensure beautiful success.

Bring to a boil for about 15 minutes, stirring non stop.  I actually used our immersion blender to break up the blueberries as I am not a fan of super-chunky jam.
Using the metal spoon in the freezer test, you can check to see if your jam is ready at any time.
[Here’s how: place a metal spoon or plate into the freezer. Once it is cold, drop a bit of your warm jam on the spoon and run your finger through it. It is stays separated, it is jam! It it runs back together, you need to cook for a bit longer.]

Once the jam is ready, skim off the foam (and save it for your children because they love to eat the fun, purple foam!) and ladle into clean mason jars. Process in water bath for 25 minutes.

 

 

I also have two bushels of peaches on order from the local Mennonite store and 200 cobs of corn coming from the local organic farm around the corner. If they all happen to be ready at the same time, that would be very interesting. Let’s hope the corn waits until the peaches are safely put up for the winter.

Our green and yellow beans are also ready for canning from the garden. I am waiting for one more day so I can make sure my canner is full before I process them.

Have you been canning lately? What is on your canning to-do list? Have you ever canned corn? Last year, I froze it but I think I will try canning it this year. I prefer to see my jars lined up rather than have the produce stuffed into the freezer. It feels more organized, requires less hydro and is easier to use in a pinch.

Personally, I also think it tastes better!

 

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2017 - 6:28 am

Gigi - Caitlin, thank you for your encouragement! Well done with your first canning round! Watch out – it’s addictive. But why not invest money and time into a way to feed your family and build up tradition? It is a great way to have the children involved, as well. Many hands make light work. I’m so happy to hear about your peaches. Well done!

August 2, 2017 - 11:00 pm

Caitlin - I love your canning posts! Actually, I was inspired by your last canning post, and we just did our first canning ever. We went to a local farm and picked peaches. I adapted your canning recipe for strawberries and just used peaches instead- it turned out to be delicious! My husband can’t wait for us to do more, as he insisted it was better than store bought!
I have to say, I just love the pictures of your children. They are so sweet and wholesome, and it’s nice to see. My husband and I are hoping to be able to move to a more rural setting to have our own garden and more room for the children to spend time outdoors. I’m very inspired by your home and all you do!

August 2, 2017 - 9:41 pm

Gigi - Danessa, you will need a pressure canner for the corn. You slice the corn off the cob, fill jars and process in the pressure canner (not a a pressure cooker). Sometimes you can cook the corn sightly before canning, or you can choose to raw pack (fill the jars without cooking). Here is a link for you with detailed instructions: http://www.simplycanning.com/canning-corn.html

August 2, 2017 - 9:23 pm

Danessa stride - I was wondering how do you can or bottle your corn?

August 2, 2017 - 8:22 pm

Gigi - Katy, you have been busy! It is a great feeling to see all those jars, isn’t it? I don’t think we planted enough beans this year. I may have to get some more. I underestimated our growing family’s needs.

August 2, 2017 - 8:21 pm

Gigi - Sarah, glad to hear that canned corn is the way to go. Do you have a recipe to share? 🙂

August 2, 2017 - 8:20 pm

Gigi - Oh Jen, congratulations on moving! Did you find that farmhouse of your dreams? 🙂
Blueberries are fun to can – easy and something the children can help with. We are starting our peaches tomorrow. I do so enjoy canning! It is a good pastime to fill up that provision room!

August 2, 2017 - 5:26 pm

Jen Heemskerk - Love love love all these canning posts. So far we have managed to do rhubarb relish and strawberry jam. I want to do blueberries so this was just a perfectly timed post! We are moving, so I may have to wait- as I dont think my hubby will appreciate moving tons of canning supplies- but I love the idea of having a provision in our new place!!

August 2, 2017 - 8:05 am

Sarah - Your blueberries look lovely! We purchased a crate of peaches last night, but they need a couple days to ripen fully. I am planning to can pickles today, since we have had an abundance of cucumbers in our garden this year. Here in NY the local corn has been delicious! We hope to can corn too. I think it is easier than freezing corn since you don’t have to cook the corn first. The pictures of you little ones helping are precious! : )

August 2, 2017 - 6:44 am

Katy - I have been canning as well! 🙂 The green beans have been growing in abundance in our gardens! Yesterday, I canned all day! I still have another canner full to do today as well! Such a blessing! 🙂 I think I will be doing peaches soon too!

Glad you enjoyed a time of camping with your family and friends! It’s always nice to have some time to relax for a bit!