Archive for ‘My Success Stories’

March 4, 2011

Strawberry Jam

Wow!  I really feel like I’ve accomplished something here!

My very first attempt at canning seems to be a great success.  We’ll have to wait to see when I open my first jar for the real test, though… tomorrow morning!


The recipe I used is straight out of the Ball Blue Book.  It took me, from start to finish about 2 hours.

My kitchen isn’t all that big, very, very little counter space and even though my stove is a normal size, the size of the canning pot is huge which made my cooking space a bit tight, too.  I was thinking since I do have a smaller pot just like the canning pot, if there are smaller canning racks?  If there is, a small batch like this (which only produced 4 jars) could be done in the pot I heated my jars and lids in.  Saving lots of space – on the stove, anyway.

All in all, it work out.


  • Two Quart packages of strawberries (paid 2 for $3).
  • One package of no sugar needed pectin
  • One cup of water (I used bottled)
  • Three packets of Stevia (A natural sugar substitute) (Optional)
    Note: By using the No Sugar Needed Pectin, you can use no sugar, sugar to your taste or a sugar substitute.  The choice is yours.
  • 4 – 6 Ball Pint Jars (This batch got 4)

Wash Strawberries, cut off leaves, wash again.


Slice.  The instructions said to smash them but, I don’t have a potato masher so I put them in my food processor.  My serving fork just wasn’t cutting it!

Put jars and lids into a pot to sterilize (not boiling).


Start another pot of water for your ‘filled’ jars for processing.

In a smaller pot put strawberries, water, pectin and sugar or sugar substitute if using.  Like I mentioned, I chose to use Stevia and ended up using 3 little packets.

Bring to a boil that will not stop by stirring.  Once boil is achieved, start your one (1) minute.  You will see it start thickening.  If thickening is achieved before the one minute, it is done.  (Mine went the full minute).

  • Use thongs to lift out one jar while dumping out water back into the pot.
  • Take your canning funnel and place on jar.
  • Use a ladle to scoop hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  • Wipe rims with a damp paper towel.
  • Use your lid lifter with magnet to lift a lid out of the hot water.
  • Place on jar.
  • Screw on second piece of lid.

As each jar is complete, place sealed jars into canning rack already in hot water.  Do not allow jars to cool.  Put right into pot of hot water as soon as each one is filled and sealed with two piece lids.

Repeat with all jars until strawberry jam is all used.

Once all jars are in canner, put lid on pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, start your ten (10) minutes.

Lift jars one at a time out of pot onto a kitchen towel.  Leave two inch space between jars.  Do not let them hit each other.

You’ll be tempted to wipe off water on top of jars.  Don’t!  Leave it alone until jars are cooled off – 12 to 24 hours.

Can’t wait to try my home canned strawberry jam!




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December 25, 2010

Cranberries – Dehydrated & Sauce

Since I’m just learning, when I have success, it’s a big deal (self pat on back).  Hey, no humility here!

Much better than my sad-looking roll-ups last week!

From two bags of fresh cranberries (16oz each), I ended up with approximately 3/4 full jar of dehydrated cranberries. Once rehydrated and cooked, 1/2 cup of dehydrated cranberries produced 1 cup of cranberry sauce.

Never had homemade cranberry sauce and have to say it’s pretty darn good.  So much better than store-bought and so easy to make.

Right out of the bag there were 6 cups.  Dehydrated, about 2, 2-1/2.  Not sure if I actually put them in the measuring cup.  I think they just went right into the jar, so that’s my guesstimate and I’m sticking with it!

Tammy gives you three ways to prepare for dehydrating the cranberries and I chose to chop them up raw in my food processor first.

Then, just place them on your dehydrator tray for about 12 hours.

Those two bags of chopped-up cranberries spread over three trays and let them go all night.

This morning when I took them out to cool before putting them into the jar, I started taking the first tray off and realized how much was falling through the bottom onto the counter.  I decided to place two paper towels under the tray to catch those really tiny pieces.  It worked out well.

After I funneled from the screen, I funneled from the paper towel and didn’t waste any.  There’s quite a bit there, isn’t there?

I also tried bending the screen to loosen the cranberries off instead of rubbing with my fingers.

That worked better, too.

Then, just funneled it into the jar and topped it of with an oxygen packet.  The jar sealed in no time.

Later in the evening, I took out the 1/2 cup dehydrated cranberries per Tammy’s recipe and it worked out perfectly.

I’ll never buy cranberry sauce in a can again!

It is kind of sweet so I think next time I may only put 1/2 cup of sugar.  But for now, it’s made for tomorrow and I’m sure will be great with the turkey breast.

Tammy’s Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Dehydrated Cranberries
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 – 1/2 Cups Water

Placed dehydrated cranberries in a pot with water and sugar.

Bring to a rapid boil.

Lower heat and let simmer until thickened.  Approximately 30 minutes.

Chill in refrigerator before serving or over night.

Mine came out exactly to one cup.  Couldn’t have planned it more perfect if I tried!

Thanks, Tammy!