One of my fondest childhood memories was enjoying a family breakfast on a weekend morning. My dad always cooked breakfast when he wasn’t working and he would just slightly brown the biscuits before taking them out of the oven … then, he’d slice open and butter each biscuit and put it back in the pan until we sat down to eat. When the time came, my dad would pass around a jar of my grandmother’s red plum jam which we’d spoon onto our plates. Back then people canned using paraffin wax to top off the jars of jam or jelly so you had to be careful to make sure you didn’t get any wax (although, of course, it wouldn’t hurt you). Just as I do today, I remember glomping a spoonful of that jam onto the side of a hot buttered biscuit and taking that first bite … homemade jam is ten times better than store-bought and my grandmother’s was second to none; I hope someday my grandchildren will say the same about their PawPaw’s jam!
Cooking jam, or canning, has changed a lot since my grandmother’s day. Sealing with paraffin wax gave way to two-piece metal lids consisting of a threaded metal band and a metal lid with a rubber ring on its underside. Most home canners still use the two-piece metal lids and I was one of them until late 2021 when I discovered the one-piece metal lids with a safety button. Although not approved by most state extension services, I am sold on these lids. The safety button will “click or pop” downward when the still warm jar of jam safely seals due to the air escaping through the “plastisol lined” threads of the lid. Then, when the lid is twisted off while opening the jar, the safety button pops up to tell you that the airtight seal has been broken and the jar/contents must now be refrigerated.
Although I have no idea what processing method my grandmother used in the 1950-60’s because I was never allowed to linger long in the kitchen; most home canners then and now use the time-proven hot-water bath method. I used the hot-water bath canning method for years and although it is very effective, I am not a big fan (but that’s another story) so, I jumped at the opportunity to change canning methods when I discovered steam canning in early 2022. Steam canning was considered unsafe for many years probably because the USDA and most state extension services don’t readily accept change. Finally, several of the major extension services are accepting the method … see articles HERE, HERE, HERE, AND HERE. The steam canner is used for high acid foods and since that’s what I typically can, I started using a steam canner last July and I am already resolved that this is one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century! Rather than try to reinvent the wheel by boring you with my instructions, I would encourage you to visit SimplyCanning.com/steam-canner/ and read Sharon Peterson’s instructions and enjoy her photos.
Currently, I am canning four different jam recipes and two different BBQ sauce recipes. I hope you will give these a try … Balsamic Strawberry Jam … Smoky Tomato Jam … Peach Cardamom Jam … Balsamic Fig Jam … JT’s Signature BBQ Sauce … Tangy Balsamic BBQ Sauce.
Happy canning y’all……