Jelly, Jams and Transitioning to Canning

30 Jun

I was stoked to see that big box stores like Target and Wal-mart are starting to carry more organic foods (at least processed foods).  I do have yet to see organic produce, however.  We were happy and surprised to see organic jelly and jams by Smucker’s  at Target a few months ago.

Since so many condiments have the dreaded corn syrup in them (including jellies and jams), it’s almost guaranteed that they contain GMO ingredients unless they are organic.  While shopping, we happily bought the organic strawberry jelly to replace the other yucky jelly that was in our fridge.

We can consider this as part of a larger transition, since the ideal and most natural way would be to grow and can our own jams.   However, first we have to grow our own fruit, harvest enough for some jam, and learn to can.  Lucky for us, that great bread machine that I wrote about in an earlier post also makes jam.  So it will take a while to get to the ideal goal, but we know the steps.

If you are looking to transition like our family, here are the steps we are roughly beginning:

  1. Replace the jelly and jam in your refrigerator with organic variations
  2. Plant and grow berries or plants you would like to make jam with (jalapenos, anyone?)
  3. Harvest your fruit and make your jam
  4. Can your own jam and throw away that organic stand-in!

I’m happy to report that we do have a little blueberry bush growing outside.  It is doing well and we have had a few berries to date.  But, not a significant enough amount to make jam yet(maybe the birds are eating more than we think…lucky them!)  As we get more and continue our process, I’ll post some updates!

Perhaps we will invest in some more blueberry bushes in the meantime…

…or buy some organic berries and can those.  We’ll get there.

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