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If you’ve followed this blog for even a short time you probably know of my love for canning and pretty much anything involving mason jars. I’m so happy to once again be working with Jarden Home Brands – the folks that bring us Ball brand canning products – to introduce their newest appliance that helps make home canning a breeze. I had so much fun trying it out and the best part of this story is that they are going to provide one of these shiny new units to one of you!
Home canning is the ultimate in cooking from scratch. Capturing fruit or tomatoes at the peak of the season and preserving them for the dead of winter is where it’s at, baby! I know that a lot of people have concerns about the difficulty and safety of doing it themselves which is where this appliance comes in. It has the ability to automatically sense the altitude of your location and monitor the time and temperature required to properly preserve each recipe. It’s just a matter of pressing a couple of buttons and the unit does the rest. Quickly and with no guesswork, you’ve got freshly preserved foods that are shelf stable for up to one year.
The appliance allows you to home can foods in 6 different categories: jams and jellies, fruits, tomatoes, salsas, pickles, and sauces. It comes with this nifty little recipe book that includes recipes in each of these categories along with super detailed instructions from preparing your jars all the way through to the end of the canning process. I was very happy to see that they include instructions for both a traditional and reduced sugar variety for the jam and jelly recipes. I quickly honed in on this recipe for Blackberry Lime Jam and I was off and running.
The unit will process up to six half pint, four pint, or three quart sized jars at once and each recipe specifies the size and number of jars needed. After a quick rinse in warm, soapy water, my jars were ready to go into the unit for the preheat.
I added just a couple of inches of warm water to the the inner pot and placed the empty jars on the rack inside. Then it’s just a matter of closing and locking the unit and selecting the “Pre-Heat” cycle. It takes about 12 minutes and while the jars are heating, it’s time to start the jam.
The jam consists of crushed fresh blackberries, the zest of a lime, Ball brand classic pectin, a touch of butter, and sugar.
Once the jam was ready and the jars were preheated, it was time to fill them. I used my handy little funnel and ladled the jam into the heated jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.
I highly recommend that if you plan to do any canning at all you pick up a funnel specifically designed for home canning. It makes it quick, clean, and easy to transfer even the messiest jams and jellies into the jars.
Once the jars are filled and the lids have been secured they go back into the unit for the preserving phase. In under 30 minutes the ready light flashed and the jam was ready to be removed from the unit.
The jars then need to cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours at which point you can check the lids and seals to be sure they processed properly. A side note -this is the reduced sugar version of the Blackberry Lime Jam and it is out of this world delicious.
The process from beginning to end was very easy and I found the detailed instructions and photos included in the guide to be so helpful. The appliance retails for $299.95 and is available at many online retailers, including The Ball Fresh Preserving Store.