Canning during cold weather months

Canning can be a year round event. Consider doing some canning now while the weather transitions from winter to spring to keep your jars full and fresh.

Although it is technically spring, it’s still rather cold outside. If you don’t want to go back out in the weather - here is a project you can do inside and stay warm. Canning can be done year around. Even though crops aren’t in abundance currently, foods can be canned while you have time and are not trying to can multiple items all at once.

In the summer when various harvests are in progress, you can put many things quickly in the freezer. Now is the time to take care of the extra items that you can’t simply place in the freezer. You can use fruit juice concentrate to make specialty jams or jellies. For example, strawberries ripen at a time when many other events tend to take place, mid to late June. During this time of the year, to relieve my stress I package my strawberries and put them in the freezer for later use.

In early springis a good time to make strawberry jam. When using frozen berries, be sure to follow the directions given for your choice of pectin. Remember to use the exact amounts of fruit, sugar and acid or lemon juice that the directions state. Then follow directions for processing. It is not recommended to use paraffin to preserve your jams or jellies. Mold can form under and around the wax.

Other items that might be in your freezer that you may be able to use are squash or pumpkin. If you have wanted to, try making a variety of marmalades, conserves or fruit butters. These items take a bit more time, but if it is cold outside you can take the time to try them. Fruit butters are simply fruit pulp cooked with sugar until it is a spreadable consistency. Since this is a time consuming process, winter is a great opportunity to try new recipes for canning.

Michigan State University Extension recommends following safe canning practices. Keep all food contact surfaces washed rinsed and sanitized before, during and after canning. Clean utensils and good personal hygiene can assist in keeping your food safe while you can at home.

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