An Introduction to Canning

My lovely, crazy, dear friend Laura decided that this was the week to learn how to can.  So she brought me on board for a little crash course.  Oh, what fun!

Another friend, Carrie, covered similar groundwork last week….it was fun to hear about her canning adventure before we embarked on our own.

Laura hit up the Minneapolis farmer’s market this morning and found a beautiful bounty of produce….look!

jam ingredients

I was inspired by a recipe I found on Love and Olive Oil – blueberry and basil preserves.  Laura had a recipe for peach and vanilla jam that was equally desirable.  (We doubled the recipe.)

So we set to work.

Laura started with x-ing the bottom of her peaches (to later peel) and boiling them in a big ol’ pot:

boiling peaches

After peeling them – look how gorgeous they are, that color!

beautiful peaches

Then she had a bowl-full of peaches.

bowl of peaches

Now, the vanilla bean.  Ahhhhh….smells. Like. Heaven.

vanilla bean

And into the pot the peaches and vanilla go.


We took a taste.  I told Laura I wanted to bathe in it.  I really did.

Once it cooked down, she mashed down the fruit.

Meanwhile, I was doing some blueberry-basil work.

First, the blender.

blending blueberries and basil

Then, the pan….a rolling boil – and can I just say, the freshest smell of blueberries.


(Note:  the recipe calls for a 1/2 cup of basil.  We tasted it while it was cooking and I felt like it needed more basil flavor, so I added another 1/2 cup of leaves, finely chopped.)

full stove

A full stove!

We have sanitized jars waiting to be filled.

empty jars

Aha!  Blueberry basil preserves!

blueberry basil preserves

They were loaded into the rack for a boil:

jar rack 1

jars boiling

After about 25 minutes….beautiful jars of fruitful GOOD!

jar rack 2

full jars

Success! Right?!

In truth, we had some concerns:

  1. Our preserves did not thicken without persistence.
  2. We realized we had missed a slightly important step – soaking the lids in warm water in order to ensure a solid seal on a the jar.

Troubleshoot:  Instead of boiling the jars for 10 minutes, we extended it by double – and then some.  Remarkably, we may have pulled it off….??  The lids appear to be flat and somehow un-popped….ummm.

We’ll TAKE it!

So we celebrated.  Vino was in order.

vino for preserves!

We had some extra preserves after we canned/jarred.  Laura ran out to get a baguette and goat cheese to do some sampling.

And here….a platter of such goodness:

The reward

Omigosh!  This should be on a restaurant’s freaking website!  Can we compose a photo or what?!

And now, a taste:

 a taste

Oh.  Meh.  Guuuuuhhhh.

Laura – your peach and vanilla compote, as it were, is luscious.  The vanilla bean is so rich and flavorful.  And the peaches, a summertime love.  Easily eaten by the spoonful – or bathed in as previously mentioned.

The blueberry and basil preserves are so freaking excellent, I cannot lie.  Fresh, fruity, sweet.  I’m so glad I added the extra basil.

Today’s canning/jarring/whatever experience was, frankly, a hoot.  We had so much fun, learned a lot (from a benchmark of knowing exactly nothing about canning), and in the end found some admittedly very delicious results.




One Comment on “An Introduction to Canning”

  1. Carrie says:

    Looks so yummy! Especially the blueberry basil. I may have to try that one!

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