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Friday, May 27, 2011

Jammin'

The choice berries we ate raw...
I love eating raw foods. I have found that the more raw food I eat, the more of it I crave. As I mentioned to someone the other day at a cookout where everyone was milling around waiting for the burgers to cook while I was munching away on my salad, a nice thing about raw vegan food is that it is done quickly!  That said, there are times when raw is not completely ideal, for instance the other day when I came home from a local berry patch with two flats of organic strawberries.  Of course we ate our fill of the raw berries, but they simply do not keep for more than a few days. Some went into the freezer for smoothies, but we have limited space in our freezer, and much of it is currently taken up by last year's blueberries! I considered dehydrating some of the berries, but I opted to make jam instead. It's another one of those things that I was always sort of afraid of doing (see my post on bread baking) but after making jam with a more experienced neighbor a couple of years ago, I discovered that I really enjoy it! Actually, that that's probably an understatement, because as soon as I was done with the jam, I moved on to a salsa (I got a coupon for a free salsa mix when I bought some extra jars) and then blueberry syrup (and freed up some freezer space)! I am hooked!

Cutting it close while cooking my jam!
There is something really satisfying about canning; I'm not sure if it is in preparing the fruit/veggies, hearing the little pings of the lids sealing, or gazing upon the colorful glass jars when they are all filled and processed. You know what's inside is good when you start with handpicked produce and then add love!

Today, however, I stumbled on some slightly disturbing information. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me sooner, but I found out that Ball and Kerr canning lids contain BPA. Now, even though the canned food's contact with the lid should be minimal (given the proper headspace), and the fact that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables flushes BPA from the system, I am still hesitant to put my organic produce in such close contact with BPA lined lids, especially at high temperatures. I went on a hunt and found a couple of alternatives.

Tattler's plastic canning lids are BPA free, reusable "indefinitely", and made in the USA. The price ($20.95/three dozen) is great considering that they are guaranteed for a lifetime and Tattler will replace any lid that wears out. Unfortunately, the gaskets are made from PVC and the lids are, well, plastic. If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time you know I'm not a big fan of plastic, even if it is reusable.

I am really excited about these glass canning jars made in Germany by Weck Jars. All that needs to be replaced are the rubber rings (and maybe the clamps, occasionally), and the jars are so gorgeous. They cost about twice as much as Ball jars ($13.55/6- 0.2L jelly jars), but I'm willing to give up the pinging lids and pay a little more to avoid BPA exposure.

And no, mom, I'm not throwing out the jam I made...  :)

Just a few of the finished jars...

If you already can, what is your favorite food to preserve? If you don't, would you be interested in learning how to can? 

4 comments:

  1. Yum, Kai! We need to come visit soon and help you gals feast!

    Paige and Co. xoxoxo

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  2. i'm planning to can this summer. our family is IN LOVE with my great-aunt's 7 day sweet pickles, so this summer, i am determined to make them! :)

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  3. My mother cans, but I have not tried it. She makes jams, pickles, and preserved fruits. Your jam looks yummy.

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