Better Homes and Gardens Can It!

December 13, 2013

A complete, step-by-step guide to fresh flavors for home canning and preserving

Home canning and preserving is growing in popularity every day. It’s easy and a great way to get the most from your backyard garden or farmer’s market finds so that you can enjoy seasonal bounty all year long. This follow-up to Better Homes and Gardens You Can Can, gives you fresh, new flavor ideas and combinations to spice up your canning and preserving. Better Homes and Gardens Can It! brings canning and preserving to a whole new level, perfect for new canners looking for contemporary ideas as well as experienced canners wanting to expand their recipes.

Full of delicious recipes and hands-on instruction, as well as gorgeous photography, this is the book you want to add new excitement to canning fruits and vegetables!

  • Includes more than 100 recipes with simple instructions for success
  • Features 140 beautiful full-color photographs that showcase the recipes and provide instruction
  • Bonus chapter of food gifts with simple packaging ideas

For today’s growing number of do-it-yourselfers and home cooks who embrace the benefits in-season produce, Better Homes and Gardens Can It! is the source for fresh, new canning and preserving ideas.


Recipe and Equipment Excerpts from Can It!

Maple Applesauce

PREP: 1 hour COOK: 25 minutes PROCESS: 15 minutes (pints) 20 minutes (quarts)

8 pounds tart cooking apples (about 24 medium)
2 cups water
10 inches stick cinnamon (optional)
3/4 to 1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup

1. Core and quarter apples. In an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot combine apples, the water, and, if desired, stick cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes or until apples are very tender, stirring often.

2. Remove and discard cinnamon if used. Press apples through a food mill or sieve. Return pulp to pot. Stir in enough of the maple syrup to sweeten as desired. If necessary, stir in an additional 1/2 to 1 cup water to make desired consistency. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.

3. Ladle hot applesauce into hot, sterilized pint or quart canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and fasten lids. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes for pints or 20 minutes for quarts (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 6 pints or 3 quarts.

PER 1/2 CUP: 80 cal., 0 g fat, 0 mg chol., 1 mg sodium, 21 g carbo., 2 g fi ber, 0 g pro.


Honey-Bourbon Pickled Blueberries

These roly-poly orbs of deliciousness are perfectly paired with roast or grilled pork, whether it’s chops, ribs, or a roast.

PREP: 35 minutes STAND: 8 to 12 hours PROCESS: 10 minutes

3 inches stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar
8 cups blueberries
1/4 cup bourbon
1 3/4 cups honey

1. For a spice bag, place cinnamon and allspice in the center of a double-thick, 6-inch square of 100%-cotton cheesecloth. Bring up corners; tie closed with clean kitchen string.

2. In a 4- to 6-quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot combine vinegar and spice bag. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add blueberries and bourbon. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or just until syrup is heated through, gently shaking the pot (to avoid breaking the berries, do not stir). Remove from heat; cover and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

3. Remove spice bag; discard. Pour the blueberry mixture into a colander set over a large bowl; reserve liquid.

4. Ladle hot blueberries into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.

5. For syrup, return the reserved liquid to the pot; stir in honey. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the syrup is slightly thickened. Ladle hot syrup over blueberries, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Discard any remaining syrup.

6. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 6 half-pints.

PER 1/4 CUP: 112 cal., 0 g fat, 0 mg chol., 2 mg sodium, 27 g carbo., 1 g fiber, 0 g pro.


Understanding Jars

Wide-mouth or regular-mouth? Quart or pint? There are many different types of canning jars available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Choose the right jar for the recipe. Home canners have a wide selection of jars from which to choose for food preservation. Larger jars come as either wide-mouth or regular-mouth. Wide- mouth jars are ideal for packing large pieces, such as whole peaches, into a jar. Regular-mouth jars are fine for recipes such as soups and sauces. Recipes often specify jar size. The following jars are the most widely available for home canners (l-r):
QUART JARS: Use these jars for any large food, such as whole tomatoes, or for a generous amount of a recipe, such as spaghetti sauce or soup for a crowd.

PINT JARS: The most versatile jar, this can hold nearly anything-smaller amounts of sauce, vegetables to serve a few people, and larger amounts of jam.

8-OUNCE JELLY JARS: Usually with a quilted or other pattern on the side, these jars have straight sides for better freezing (no shoulders for freezing food to push up and break) and for getting every last bit of jam out of the jar.

4-OUNCE JARS: Home-canned food doesn’t last as long in the refrigerator as commercial products because no artificial preservatives are added. These small jars hold amounts you’ll use up more quickly.

PLASTIC FREEZER JARS: Freezer jam stores well in plastic freezer containers and glass jars, but these plastic jars are just the right size, with no danger of cracking in the freezer.

Avoid vintage jars
Old canning jars with colored glass or spring-type lids are pretty collector pieces, but they shouldn’t be used in modern canning. They have irregular sizes, may crack, and don’t seal properly. For refrigerator-pickled foods that don’t require heat processing, decorative glass jars work fine. Just make sure you sterilize them in almost-boiling water before filling.


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