Canning season is ramping up, and here in Washington we're picking our own berries, putting in orders for boxes of peaches, and looking for fun gift ideas to compliment the bottles of goodies we'll soon have coming out our ears. Stacy has already made several batches of raspberry jam and syrup, and she's the only one in her house who will eat them!
I am a canning-idiot, but I'm learning. Every year my grandma stocks my food storage shelves with canned pears, peaches, pickles, raspberries, green beans, chili sauce, and tons of jam in every flavor. This year I've felt a sense of urgency to learn this art before she's gone and I can't get those peaches anymore! Whether you're new to home food preservation or an expert canner, this book, The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, is a must-have. It has simple instructions as well as troubleshooting tips, and it answers every question you have (and some you didn't even know you had!). Canning is both an art and a science, and this book instructs on both ends of the spectrum. There are 400 recipes to try, like Mango-Raspberry Jam, Green Pepper Jelly, Pickled Asparagus (so yummy in salads), and Tomatillo Salsa. Stacy made a batch of the Orange-Raspberry Syrup which I drowned a batch of Swedish pancakes in the other night. De-lish.
A bottle of homemade jam makes a great gift. Especially to friends who don't dabble in home food preservation themselves. A few of Stacy's lucky neighbors got a jar with a loaf of homemade bread the other day. Of course the jam itself is a pretty little gift, but to make it even cuter we found these fun felt jam toppers from lucykatecrafts.blogspot.com with a great tutorial (look at the adorable strawberries hanging from the topper!) and these easy, FREE, printable vintage labels from hp.com (there's a great selection to choose from). Now if those don't make your bottled creations palatable, nothing will.
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