Today I tackled my number one greatest cooking fear.

I really don’t fear cooking/baking anything anymore.  My time in the kitchen has taught me to just go for things and if they fail, try again.  However, I never lumped canning in to that process.  I always blamed my too small kitchen or my lack of time in a day but I always would say that one day, I would can.

I’ve canned pickles with my grandmother before but to do it all on my own seemed scary, if I’m being honest.  I had this giant fear in my head that canning was too complicated and that I would easily fail.

Yet year after year, I’ve picked an abundance of produce from the CSA that I knew eventually I’d have to can.  Sometimes during January I’d start craving tomatoes and all I wanted was a jar of salsa.

So I made a vow to can this summer.

While in Indiana, I made sure to head to the Farmers’ Market. I’ve been craving strawberries and they seem to be on limited supply around my parts of Illinois.  I wanted to come home with at least a couple of pints of strawberries.   After wandering around the market and purchasing the products I wanted (I bought some lovely balsamic vinegar, honey peanut butter, and hot sauce), I headed to a stand for strawberries and starred at the sign: A flat of Strawberries for $25.

A whole flat of strawberries.

I looked back at Sonja and Alex and asked them if I was nuts which they politely replied, “no.”  After a minute or two of talking myself in to it, I purchased a flat of strawberries and immediately went in to planning mode.  Four Pints went in to the freezer for later use, one pint went to my mother, two pints were marked for jam, and one pint was left for eating.

I refused to let those two pints of strawberries go to waste (because I am notorious for exclaiming I will can but then let the produce sit while I tried to psych myself up.)  So this morning my number one priority was jam.

And you know what?  I currently have six strawberry jams cooling behind me on the counter. The whole process wasn’t scary at all and took a lot less time than I thought it would be.  Chalk it up to one more thing I built up in my head as being tough only to find out, it really wasn’t.

I found this wonderful Honey Strawberry Jam recipe from Aimee of Simple Bites.  I think part of the thing that scared me from making jam was the high sugar content (which the honey cuts the sugar content down!)  Aimee also has a great page on Canning 101 (which also helped me a bunch!)

So, if you are like me and always wanted to can, now is the time to start!  Head to the Farmers’ Market and pick up some fresh fruit and jump right in!  I have a feeling I’ll be canning all summer now!

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