The Jam and Jelly Lady

  (Lebanon, Ohio)
Yes You Can!
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Canning Tip #7: Canning Convenience Foods

Canning Tip #7:  Open Your Mind to Convenience Food!

Yes, I'm talking about food that you open out of a jar, heat in the microwave or saucepan for a few minutes (or seconds), pour in a bowl, and eat.  Sound unhealthy?  Sound likes it must be full of chemicals and preservatives?

Not at all!  I'm talking about canning your own convenience foods that are healthy, tasty, and all-natural!

I love teaching canning classes.  Been doing it for 14 years.  But in all those years, my favorite moment of the class hasn't changed:  when I introduce the concept of canning your own convenience food.  When this revelation sinks into the newbies' heads, I'm practically blinded by all the light bulbs flashing over their heads!

Why should canned foods be as simple and bland as green beans, corn, or tomatoes?  Doesn't it make sense to dream up flavor profiles that really excite the palate, and THEN can it?  For example, carrots are easy to pressure can.  But "Tipsy Carrots" are much more delicious and fun!

7 lbs carrots, 2 c. brown sugar, 2 c. water, 1 c. orange juice, 1/2 c. Grand Marnier or Amaretto liquor (liquor is optional).

Wash and peel carrots. Julienne them or slice them into coins. 

Combine brown sugar, water, juice, and liquor in a saucepan.  Bring to boil, then keep it hot on the stove.

Tightly pack carrots into hot pint jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Ladle hot syrup into jars, leaving 1-inch headspace again.  Remove air bubbles and then cap the jars.  Process 25 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure.

When you are ready to eat the carrots, just open the jar, toss them in a saucepan, heat, and enjoy! 

There are so many delicious (homemade!) convenience foods to can.  My favorites include tomato soup, apple pie filling, vegetable soup, jambalaya sauce, and fresh fruit juices such as tomato and grape. 

Yes, there is some work involved in making a quart of grape juice.  Sure you could buy a quart at the store for a just a buck.  But if you plan accordingly, you could easily put up 30-50 quarts in one day and have enough corn syrup-free, preservative-free, organic (if you wish) juice for the whole year! 

Yes, you can!

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