I learned so much last night when I took a class on canning. Caroline Van Slyke from Boho Farm and Home taught the class. I had heard about the class from Jim Dennis of Singh Farms ( you have got to go there on a Saturday morning if you have not been yet!). It was a great group of people and on the menu was making Corn Relish to can (also known as Chow Chow) and we made lemon verbena jelly. We got to work and took kernels off of some blanched corn, chopped peppers and then cooked the chow chow down. The recipes should be on Caroline’s site today, they were not available last night. I did learn that there are some better pectins than others. ( Pectin is used to congeal jellies, we did not use it in the chow chow)
Another tip I learned is that this sugar, found at Fresh & Easy, Food City, Ranch markets is much less expensive than the other brands and is terrific. Caroline says that she thinks her jams and jellies ( Which are sold at Singh Farms on Saturday mornings) are so good and a bit different because of the sugar. This whole bag is $2.99- SOLD! The best part of the class was learning that I would not be getting a facial with a water bath to sterilize the jars or can, there is a new technique….I LOVE IT… All you have to do is buy the canning jars, wash them with the lids in the dishwasher, then fill them with your product and put them on a sheet pan, place the lids on them and then bake them 20 minutes at 250 degrees and that does it!!!! AMAZING. If you don’t want to use the dishwasher, put the jars on the cookie sheet after washing them and sterilize them for 20 minutes at 250 then cool them and fill them …then repeat.
We made this wonderful Lemon Verbena jelly, we made a tea to start out of the lemon verbena, let it steep overnight and then the magic begins.
I learned that you do not need to use pectin in Jams just jellies and you can make your own pectin with apples, but that is another blog entry.( She also said the all nature pectin that you can buy makes her jellies cloudy and the one she recommends does not clump or make it cloudy, but it is a chemical) The way Caroline test the thickness of the jam is by using spoons that she keeps in the freezer, when it is boiling and she thinks it is at the perfect consistency, she takes a frozen spoon out, dips it in the jam or jelly, it cools it and she can then test the consistency to make sure it has jelled. GREAT TECHNIQUE!
Add some chiffonade of the lemon verbena then ladle them into the jars ( they recommend the Ball or Kerr jars and never reuse a lid, buy new ones each time and get the jar filler funnel, they are great)
Again into the oven 250 degrees for 20 minutes let cool.
The class was a lot of fun and we got to take home a jar of the chow chow and a jar of the lemon verbena jelly. This class inspired me to start making jams & jellies and can those tomatoes that Don is growing in our new green house that we splurged on and love from Simply Solar Greenhouses.
HERE ARE SOME RESOURCES THEY SHARED WITH US:
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Canning for a new Generation
Put’em Up by SWherri Brooks Vinton
Canning and preserving for Dummies by Amelia Jenroy and Karen Ward