Botulism Watch 2013

Beautiful jars of fig jam!
Beautiful jars of fig jam!

Remember last year when I was all hopped up on the genius that is freezer jam? I made fig jam and some (actually not so great) strawberry jam, and I felt super happy and confident because I could just pop those jars in the freezer and go through life without worrying about botulism.

And it must be said:  I prefer a life without botulism-related worries.

But what can I say? I’m an over-achiever. I wanted to learn how to do canning the old-fashioned way. I wanted a canning rack and a giant pot to put it in. I wanted to be able to send a jar of jam to a friend or family member – you can’t really send freezer jam in the mail.

I thought back to lovely passages from M.F.K. Fisher books, from the Edna Lewis cookbook I recently read, about making jam:  steamy, sweet work that ultimately rewards you with jars upon jars of perfect jam to take you through the winter months when potatoes and soup and greens become tired and repetitive.

A cupboard full of jars of jam puts a bright jewel in the otherwise drab ensemble of winter cuisine.

As I read blog post after blog post about people conquering their canning fears, I thought, this can’t be that hard, can it?

(Ha! Get it? Can it?)

Up next:  strawberry jam.
Up next: strawberry jam.

And the truth:  it’s not hard at all. A little labor-intensive. A bit more of a process. But I’m happy to say that I made fig jam, used the hot water canning method, and my seals are tight. Understandably, until we’re into the first jar, we’ll be on Botulism Watch 2013, where I monitor myself and Amanda for signs of botulism. But hey! I canned! With hot water!

We haven’t tried the jam post-canning, so I’ll have to report back on it, but I used my same recipe from last year, and the little bit I tried before it went in the jars was delicious. And now, I will be moving on to strawberry jam and sweet pepper jelly – I’ll let you know how those turn out.

7 thoughts on “Botulism Watch 2013

  1. Yum. I took a free online course from the University of Georgia extension for canning. I know, weird. But quite useful. And my neighbors love my jalapeno jelly as a result (no heat and nicely sweet). Will have to try your fig jam recipe when my figs are ripe. Assuming I have enough figs.

    1. Gracious – if we lived near each other, just think of the dessert-laden tea parties we’d have! (I just assume we’d have tea parties. Because, you know, reasons.)
      I could always send you fig jam, though. It can safely travel thru the mail. 🙂

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