We’ve been preserving and canning a lot recently.  Actually I would say that I have been canning like a demon to make use of the in season fruit and vegetables in the store, market stands and the garden. My husband supplied the drinks and helped with the chopping to lend a hand and get through it all!

The first year at this property was not very successful in the garden and that’s to be expected; you need to build the soil, figure out the nuances of the microclimates within your property and figure out the plants that grow well in your area.

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These last few weekends have been a marathon of canning jams, preserves and chutney.  These are the recipes that are from my Granny and not something which my friends and family here in the US have tried before.

Starting Urban Homesteading Canning and Preserving the Harvest

I had three jars left from 2015 preserves which my family tried and they loved it so we decided to make a bunch of different recipes to pass to people for Christmas.

As many a seasoned gardener or homesteader knows, this is just the beginning  of many a weekend to preserve pick your own, fruit stand and farmers market produce to make the most out of what we couldn’t get from the garden.

Traditional English Canning Recipes for Your Homestead

Top Tips For Canning

We came across some issues when making the recipes; some due to altitude, some due to ancient recipes and others were equipment related.

Start Urban Homesteading Today By Canning and Preserving

I’m no expert but learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make the same ones!

1. Use a heavy based pan

I used my large stainless steel stockpots to make my preserves and beers.  In doing so, I have burnt so many batches of wort and now this weekend alone, I burnt 4 batches of chutney and 2 batches of jam.

If you are planning on canning a lot of preserves, I urge you to invest in a thicker bottom pan.  Here is just a small section from Amazon to suit a range of budgets:

 

2. Hard water leaves a film

canning tips and free recipes

Water bath or water canning is the most popular canning method here, I think people are frightened about pressure canning and the risk of exploding jars.  If you can in a hard water area you will have a film of hard water deposit or scale in the pan.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar into the waterbath canner water to stop the film forming on the jars.  I also add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water in the pressure canner too.

If you don’t want to add a drop of vinegar to the water, once the jars are cool wipe them down with a damp cloth and a bit of vinegar.

For food safety, it is important to have the correct amount of high acid ingredients in a recipe to keep the correct ratio of of low and high acid ingredients to ensure a safe pH level for water canning.

3.  Converting Old Recipes

This was a bit of an issue because all the recipes I had did not have guidance for further processing after putting in a jar nor did they include additional acid for tomato recipes to lower the pH further.

Start Homesteading where you live by preserving the bounty from your garden

When I learnt to make pickles and preserves, Granny used to re-use jars from pasta sauce, instant coffee (it comes in glass in the UK) and curry sauce.  Once the preserve was hot, you put it in hot jars sanitized from the oven then a scaulded lid placed on top.  Once the preserve was cooled it was labeled then stored.

I would rather be safe than chance it on getting sick.  It probably won’t make you stronger and give you superhuman powers.  Therefore, I processed the jars filled with my family’s recipes to make sure they were safe.  I typically processed for 15 to 20 minutes in a pressure canner due to the altitude and I just wasn’t sure of pH levels/acidity.

For food safety, it is important to have the correct amount of high acid ingredients in a recipe to keep the correct ratio of of low and high acid ingredients to ensure a safe pH level for water canning.

Canning homemade recipes can be dicey (unsafe) if they haven’t been tested for proper pH levels. Without enough acid in a canning recipe, harmful bacterial spores like Clostridium botulinum can grow and multiply which cause botulism.  There are other factors which can lead to growth of this pathogen, including low oxygen and temperature as well as not washing the ingredients and improper sterilization and sanitation of equipment.

Don’t be frightened of canning but be vigilant with hygiene and sanitation as well as following recipes correctly.

I also made sure to use good quality white vinegar or malt vinegar with an acetic acid content of at least 5% to add the acidity to the chutney or citric acid added to the  tomato sauce I was making.  The tartness from the acid can be countered with some additional sugar.  When looking at what acid to add in and the quantity, I looked at new recipes which were similar to find some level of guidance.

I like to pressure can just to be safe but you don’t have to; check similar recipes in books or online to see what processing times are recommended and use those as a guidance.  Check multiple sources to be sure.

4.  Keep Notes

If you are adjusting recipes or creating new ones, keep a journal or a note of the changes you made and how it turned out.  This sounds obvious but there have been things I have made cakes, beers, wines or other recipes which I didn’t write down and they were amazing.  Equally however there were some humdingers which should not have been attempted.  

Either way, make a note of what you create and change as well as the outcome when you sample it later; that beet and blueberry pickle might be a blue ribbon winner!

Some Helpful Resources

From the web:

UDSA Complete Guide To Home Canning 

Ball/Kerr Getting Started Canning

Pick Your Own Canning Tips

Books:

Better Homes and Gardens Complete Canning Guide: Freezing, Preserving, Drying (Better Homes and Gardens Cooking)

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

The Amish Canning Cookbook: Plain and Simple Living at Its Homemade Best

Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry

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The Recipes

I want to share a couple my favorite recipes for you to try as something different in your canning store in the months to come.  Remember, check other similar recipes for processing times and account for altitude.  Check that the seals were successful after processing too before storing them.

Chutneys take at least a month to mature but are better if left longer, like a good wine.  Jams are ready much sooner.

Chutney Recipes

Chutney is a sweet, spicy and sour mix of fruit and vegetables which is a traditional favorite in England.  There is a chutney recipe for almost every fruit and vegetable and you can blend up a mixture of fruit and vegetables from the garden to make your own twist from year to year.

When cooking a chutney, the end is reached when you can draw a line in the pan and not have it flooded with liquid again.

Chutney is  a thrifty way of using up bruised or imperfect fruit or vegetables but be sure not to used mouldy or rotten parts, cut those off before adding to the pan.

Autumn Chutney

A farmhouse favorite and uses windfall apples, although you can use store bought apples too.

Old heritage varieties of apples have the best flavors and crabapples can also be used.

Autumn Chutney
An old farmhouse favorite to use up the orchard windfalls
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6060 calories
1551 g
0 g
7 g
31 g
1 g
4568 g
2718 g
1238 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
4568g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6060
Calories from Fat 55
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
10%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2718mg
113%
Total Carbohydrates 1551g
517%
Dietary Fiber 77g
308%
Sugars 1238g
Protein 31g
Vitamin A
761%
Vitamin C
378%
Calcium
131%
Iron
158%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 lb apples
  2. 2 lb pears
  3. 2 lb tomatoes
  4. 1/2 lb dried apricots
  5. 1/2 lb chopped dates
  6. 2 lb soft brown sugar
  7. 1 pint malt vinegar
  8. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare jars, lids and canner.
  2. Peel and core the apples and pears and chop into small pieces.
  3. Roughly chop the tomatoes and remove seeds if desired.
  4. Put all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil.
  5. Simmer gently for about 2 hours until the mixture is thick.
  6. Place into jars leaving at least 1/4 inch headspace.
  7. Wipe the rim of the jar and attach lid.
  8. Process in a canner for 15-20 minutes depending on altitude/canner type.
Notes
  1. Some people skin the tomatoes before chopping up as they claim the skin imparts a bitter note to the chutney.
  2. This chutney improves with age.
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calories
6060
fat
7g
protein
31g
carbs
1551g
more
Misfit Gardening https://www.misfitgardening.com/
Marrow Chutney

Also known as courgette or zucchini chutney, this is a great way to use up the glut of summer squashes.

Marrow Chutney
A great way to use up summer squash and zucchini
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3423 calories
838 g
0 g
6 g
28 g
2 g
3733 g
7355 g
781 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
3733g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3423
Calories from Fat 52
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
9%
Saturated Fat 2g
10%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 7355mg
306%
Total Carbohydrates 838g
279%
Dietary Fiber 32g
129%
Sugars 781g
Protein 28g
Vitamin A
124%
Vitamin C
676%
Calcium
114%
Iron
87%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 1/2 lb unprepared marrow, squash or zucchini (courgette)
  2. 1 lb tomatoes, skinned
  3. 1 lb onion peeled and chopped
  4. 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  5. 2 oz golden raisins (sultanas)
  6. 1 pint white vinegar
  7. 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  8. 1 tablespoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  10. 1 1/2 lb soft brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. If using a large marrow or squash, halve it and remove the seeds then peel and cut flesh into 1/2 inch pieces. If using young summer squashes cut into 1/2 inch pieces and peel if desired.
  3. Roughy chop the tomatoes and add these to the pan with the squash and all the other ingredients except the sugar.
  4. Boil for about 30 minutes.
  5. Add sugar and heat gently until dissolved then bring to the boil.
  6. Cook uncovered until thick, stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  7. Once desired consistency is reached, place into jars leaving at least 1/4 inch headspace.
  8. Wipe the rims of the jars and attach lids.
  9. Process in a canner for 15-20 minutes depending on canner type and altitude.
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calories
3423
fat
6g
protein
28g
carbs
838g
more
Misfit Gardening https://www.misfitgardening.com/
Green Tomato Chutney

An English countrywide recipe which like sausages, has subtle differences depending on the region you are in.  If you find yourself stuck for ideas to use green tomatoes from the garden, why not give this delicious chutney a try?  It goes great with sausages and burgers or in a cheese sandwich.

Green Tomato Chutney
A tangy chutney which works well in a burger rather than relish
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3158 calories
770 g
0 g
8 g
46 g
1 g
4373 g
5148 g
632 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
4373g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3158
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 5148mg
214%
Total Carbohydrates 770g
257%
Dietary Fiber 58g
231%
Sugars 632g
Protein 46g
Vitamin A
307%
Vitamin C
1698%
Calcium
92%
Iron
130%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 lb green tomatoes cut into thin segments or slices
  2. 1 lb cooking apples (tart cooking varieties are preferred such as Bramley) peeled, cored and chopped
  3. 1 1/2 lb onion or shallots (onion can be red, yellow or white) peeled and chopped
  4. 1 pint malt vinegar
  5. 8 chilies (optional), if using dried chilies place in a muslin spice bag in the mixture so they don't get potted
  6. 12 oz light brown sugar
  7. 8 oz raisins, sultanas (golden raisins) or chopped dates
  8. 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  10. 2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  12. 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Instructions
  1. Prepare the canning jars, lids and canner.
  2. Put the chopped tomatoes into a heavy-based saucepan with the apples and the onion.
  3. Add about half of the vinegar to the pan.
  4. Bring to the boil for 30 minutes or until tender.
  5. Add in the spices, raisins, chilies and cook stirring from time to time for about an hour until the mixture thickens.
  6. Add the sugar and the rest of the vinegar stirring well until the sugar dissolves and continue cooking until the mixture is thick and drawing a spoon through to the bottom yields no free liquid.
  7. Pot the chutney into jars leaving at least 1/4 inch headspace.
  8. Wipe the rims of the jars and attach the lids.
  9. Process in a canner for 15 to 20 minutes depending of altitude/canner type.
Notes
  1. Best left to mature for at least 6 weeks
Adapted from from a Women's Weekly Cookery Recipe Clipping
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calories
3158
fat
8g
protein
46g
carbs
770g
more
Adapted from from a Women's Weekly Cookery Recipe Clipping
Misfit Gardening https://www.misfitgardening.com/
Using Chutney

Spread on toast then add sharp cheddar and broil (grill) until the cheese is hot and bubbling for a twist on the Welsh Rarebit or grilled cheese.

Serve as a condiment on cold meat and cheese platter.

Use as a glaze on meat.

Use as a spread in sandwiches; works well with beef, cheese or ham.

Jam Recipes

Spread on hot buttered toast, with fresh scones, clotted cream and hot afternoon tea, dolloped into rice pudding, smeared on to a Victoria sponge cake or even added to homemade yogurt can take the delicious to the sublime.

Below are a couple of traditional English jam favorites for you to try with your afternoon tea.

Strawberry Conserve

This is a favorite around the world and this particular recipe  is more time consuming but it is well worth it.

English Style Strawberry Conserve
Whole berries in a delicate syrup makes this ideal for tarts and scones
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7765 calories
1999 g
0 g
6 g
12 g
0 g
3679 g
136 g
1899 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
3679g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 7765
Calories from Fat 47
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
9%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 136mg
6%
Total Carbohydrates 1999g
666%
Dietary Fiber 41g
162%
Sugars 1899g
Protein 12g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
1778%
Calcium
31%
Iron
54%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 lb medium sized strawberries, hulled
  2. 4 lb white sugar
  3. pectin (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place strawberries into a heavy based pan alternating sugar and strawberries in layers.
  2. Cover the pan and leave for 24 hours.
  3. Bring the contents to the boil, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and leave for 48 hours.
  5. Bring the contents of the pan to the boil again and cook for about 15 minutes until the setting point of the jam is reached.
  6. Cool the jam until a skin forms then stir to distribute the fruit.
  7. Prepare the canner, jars and lids.
  8. Pot the jam and seal the lids.
  9. Process the jars in the canner for about 15 minutes. Ensure to adjust for altitude and canner type.
Notes
  1. If you prefer to add pectin to your jam add the amount recommended by the manufacturer.
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calories
7765
fat
6g
protein
12g
carbs
1999g
more
Misfit Gardening https://www.misfitgardening.com/
Plum Rum Conserve

Dark plums with raisins, almonds and rum make a traditional conserve from the South of England.

Plum Rum Conserve
Works well in cakes and tarts, on pork as a sauce or a glaze. It's also good on crumpets or toast.
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7541 calories
1726 g
0 g
65 g
42 g
5 g
3807 g
46 g
1644 g
0 g
55 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
3807g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 7541
Calories from Fat 543
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 65g
100%
Saturated Fat 5g
25%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 16g
Monounsaturated Fat 39g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 46mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 1726g
575%
Dietary Fiber 44g
176%
Sugars 1644g
Protein 42g
Vitamin A
125%
Vitamin C
294%
Calcium
52%
Iron
64%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 lb dark stoned plums,sliced
  2. 6 oz raisins
  3. 1/2 pint water
  4. 3 lb white sugar
  5. 4 oz blanched, finely chopped almonds
  6. 1/2 cup dark rum (you can use up to 1 cup of rum)
Instructions
  1. Place the plums and the raisins in a large heavy based pan and add the water.
  2. Simmer over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved.
  4. Bring back to the boil again and cook for about 15 minutes until the jam reaches it's setting point.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped almonds and rum.
  6. Prepare the canner, jars and lids.
  7. Pot the jam into jars, wipe the rim of the lid and seal.
  8. Process the jars for about 15 minutes depending on altitude and the canner type.
Notes
  1. Changing the sugar will alter the flavor of the jam, dark sugars offer caramel notes. Try experimenting to find out what you prefer.
  2. You can also try bourbon, port or a blended scotch whiskey if you don't like rum. I use a cup of spiced rum for this recipe and usually leave out the nuts.
Adapted from Farmhouse Cookery; Reader's Digest, 1980
beta
calories
7541
fat
65g
protein
42g
carbs
1726g
more
Adapted from Farmhouse Cookery; Reader's Digest, 1980
Misfit Gardening https://www.misfitgardening.com/
 I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have over the years.

If you have any canning tips or recipes please share them in the comments or at the Misfit Gardening Community Forum, we would love you hear your ideas and suggestions.

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