With Farmers’ Markets and roadside stands beginning to burst with summer fruit, I know I am not the only one who feels giddy dreaming of putting up some luscious jam for the winter.  I already pumped out a batch of Cherry Rhubarb Jam and Three Berry Jam (subbing in blueberries for the raspberries) and am working on some apricot jam today.  While there is nothing wrong with impulsive food preservation, diving into canning season with a plan based on what you and your family needs and actually wants to eat through the winter ensures you will have enough and not end up with a load of jars that go past their prime.

I finally got my act together and created a simple spreadsheet to record what types of canned foods I made, what quantities, how much is left now (or when we ran out), and notes about each item (loved it the way it was, too sweet, not sweet enough, add a bay leaf next time, etc.)  It is here for you to download in both Microsoft word: canned goods inventory form and PDF: canned goods inventory form format.

New to canning? Check out this post waxing on about the glory of preserving food.  Heed the Call of the Jar! (great read for beginners)

Also check out my page: Home Canning Basics that explains the basic process and equipment for canning.

Our favorites from last year that I am definitely making again include:

Three Berry Jam– it is hard to beat the trifecta of summer fruit in this deeply colored, intensely berried jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam– the strawberries and rhubarb are both slow roasted here allowing the fruit to maintain its shape and texture nicely

Mixed Berry Syrup– I need to make  a quadruple batch of this lovely syrup.  I could live on this stuff (and maybe these pancakes to go with it.)

Peppered Peach and Rosemary Jam– This beautiful delicate jam is my knock-out back up appetizer for any last minute event through the year.  Excellent on a cheese plate.)

Sweet and Spicy Zucchini Pickles

Applesauce

Dilly Beans

On my list to try this summer are:

Smokin’ Strawberry– I am a sucker for chipotle and the Tigress is genius when she suggests pairing that smokey pepper with strawberries.

Cardamom Peach Pie Filling– Mrs. Wheelbarrow struck a chord with me when she paired ripe summer peaches with cardamom.  Yum!

Classic Tomato Ketchup–  Last summer my ketchup, though delicious, was not really “ketchup”.  My son dubbed it “Rojo Sauce” and we gobbled it up none the less, but this time I want to try Local Kitchen’s recipe. Kaela claims it is “deep, dark red and seriously tasty”.  I am intrigued.

Chocolate Plum Jam– Caroline at Grow It, Cook It, Can It came up with this one, and truly, she had me at chocolate.  I dream of smearing this on French Toast in January.

Roasted Red Pepper Spread: Canning Homemade’s recipe sounds like a delicious addition to the pantry.

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