DIY edible gift – Canning Applesauce

apple picking and canning applesauce - loveinamasonjar.com

What to do with all these apples?! Why, make apple sauce of course! We have a started a fall tradition of going apple picking and while we always get what we call fancy apples (for eating),  we also learned that getting “seconds” or the less perfect apples that go for cheaper are PERFECT for making apple sauce! While you have to pick through lots of apples to find the best, and you always end up with a random mixture, they work awesome for a really well rounded apple sauce.

Here’s what we used (although we ended up doing this several times) 🙂

…about 12 pounds of apples..

… 2 cups apple cider…

That’s it! It’s so easy and so tasty! It ended up making 7 pints of apple sauce. And no sugar added! The apples were perfect by them selves. We had a mix of jonagolds, pippin, braeburn, fugi, and others that I can’t even remember! It helps to have a mix of sweet and sour.

You can also add cinnamon if you like that flavor (we did for one or our batches) about 1 tbl was perfect!

It also helps if you have an apple peeler/corer and of course if you are canning it, you will need a canning pot and jars.

canning applesauce - old scale - loveinamasonjar.com

All we did was peel, core, and slide the apples…

apple picking and canning applesauce - loveinamasonjar.com

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And then put them in a giant pot!

apple picking and canning applesauce - loveinamasonjar.com

We added 2 cups of cider and just let them cook down! It think it probably took about 30 minutes to cook down. We continued to stir and then when it looked like a smooth consistency and there weren’t many chunks left we scooped it into the sanitized jars to can!

We filed the jars with 1/2 inch head space and processed for 15 minutes.

So tasty!!

apple picking and canning applesauce - loveinamasonjar.com

This also makes a great hostess gift or holiday party favor!  Happy canning oh and Happy Halloween!!!

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Canning 101: basics of water bath canning for homemade jam! – Part 2

canning homemade jam tutorial - loveinamasonjar.com

Ok – so in the last post we left off with preparing the jam based on your recipe. I like to do this while you are waiting for your pot to boil, and continue after you put the empty jars inside and they are getting all hot and sanitized in the water bath canner.

canning 101: homemade jam

So, we have mashed our fruit, put it in a pot, added the sugar and set it on a boil. I also often add lemon juice and zest for added acidity. Each fruit acts different, and so with some you will want to strain the juice and reduce it to thicken it, and others you won’t need to do that. With some you can also add in green apple slices to add pectin and get the jam to thicken. Whatever you do, you’ll end up boiling and stirring the fruit for awhile (probably up to 30 minutes). The longer you boil, the thicker it will eventually get. And you’ll start to notice some foam on top. You’ll want to remove this with a spoon as much as you can.

canning 101: homemade jam

By this time your canning pot should be boiling and you can put your empty clean jars inside to sanitize them until your jam is finished.

canning basics: homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com

When you’ve tasted your jam and you think your ready to fill your jars, use the tongs to pull your jars out of the boiling water. Remember you have your rings and lids in a bowl waiting and they need some hot water to prepare for sealing. You can pour the water from a few of the jars into the bowl for that. Then get your funnel and place it in the top.

canning jam - loveinamasonjar.com

Then scoop the jam out of the out and fill your jars! You’ll want to leave “head space” in each of the jars based on the recipe, usually 1/4 inch. This just refers to the amount of space you leave from the top of the jar. Use the tool to measure, as this also helps to ensure your jars seal properly.

canning jam - loveinamasonjar.com

The next thing you need to do is get a damp towel or paper towel to wipe the top and side of the jar clean. You don’t want any jam on the outside or around the rim as it may not seal and then your jam could go bad.  Once the jar is clean use your magnet to pick up a lid and ring from the bowl of hot water and put in on the jar!

canning homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com
Secure the ring to “finger tight” so its secure, but you can still unscrew it easy with you fingers. You want it to seal, but you don’t want it to be on there too tight. Next, put your jars on the rack in the boiling pot!

canning homemade jam tutorial - loveinamasonjar.com

Once all your jars are filled, cleaned, closed and in the pot, lower the rack down and make sure you water is 1 inch about the tops of your jars. If all looks good, then put on the lid and let it boil to process your jars! This usually takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on your recipe, but after 15 minutes of being in a boil, they should be good! Then you can lift up the rack and take out your jars one by one.

canning homemade jam tutorial - loveinamasonjar.com

Place all the jars on a towel and let them sit for 12 hours undisturbed. You will begin to hear a little ‘pop’ as each jar is sealing. You may even hear it right as you pull them out of the pot. Check after an hour by feeling the lid to make sure they have sealed. If any of the jars haven’t sealed, put them in the refrigerator and use them first. But hopefully you will have none! And that’s it! You’ve successfully canned homemade jam!

canning homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com

There are so many great things you can do with homemade jam! Eat it of course, but you can also use it for hostess gifts, christmas gifts, and even wedding favors!!

HAPPY CANNING!

Canning 101: basics of water bath canning for homemade jam! – Part 1

This post has been a long time coming. I have started this so many times and it has taken me FOREVER to get it finished! But today is the day… get ready for the basics of water bath canning – Part 1! Wahoo!

Let’s begin with the supplies needed. You will need a large water bath canning pot with a rack like this one here. The pot is pictured below, with the rack inside.

canning homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com
The rack helps to lift the hot jars in and out of the large pot. They often come together in a set, and you can get them lots of places (Target, Ace Hardware, etc.)

You will also need the supplies pictured below. You can get the blue canning utensils in a set from Ball here or at the stores listed above.
canning homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com
The blue thing that looks like a zig zag is for measuring headspace when you fill the jars. The tongs are for lifting the hot jars out of the pot. The lid lifter has a magnet on the end so it’s easy to get the lids out of the water to seal the jars. And the funnel is for pouring in your hot jammy goodness into the mason jars!

I also like the measuring cups with the pour spout to scoop the jam out of the pot and fill the jars (these were given to me by my friend who first taught me to can jam!) Oh and don’t forget the mason jars!! I prefer the 1/2 pint jars for jam.

canning basics: homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com

You’ll need to wash these lids and jars in warm soapy water before canning so you can keep things clean!

And let’s not forget the fruit and your recipes. I love the book Canning for a New Generation, by Liana Krissoff because it has recipes with low sugar and uses other methods for natural pectin in fruits, so you don’t have to have pectin on hand.

canning homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com

Now that we’ve got all the supplies, let’s get to making jam!!!

First, wash your lids and jars in hot soapy water, and fill your canning pot with water! You’ll want your jars to have 1 inch of water above them when they are processing, so you’ll need to fill it that much. Once its full, put it on the stove bring it to a boil.

canning basics: homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com

Put your jars aside on a towel and your lids and rings in a bowl while you prepare your jam and wait for the water to boil in the pot.  Then get out your fruit! Follow the recipe for making the jam, but for the most part, it will look a little like this…

Hull the strawberries | chop the fruit | mash the fruit | put in a pot and add sugar | bring to a boil

canning 101: homemade jam canning 101: homemade jam

And that’s where I’ll leave us for today. I’m sorry for stopping mid process, but if I don’t I will never get this out! Stay tuned on how to fill the jars and process in the water bath canner in Part 2!

Everything is better in a Mason Jar

I don’t know what it is, but I have been using mason jars for everything lately! Iced coffee, summer drinks, breakfast, pantry organization…Everything just seems so much better in a mason jar! Here are some photos of my latest mason jar adventures!

Breakfast to go:

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Love having my yogurt and blueberries already set to grab from the fridge! Just add granola and you are out the door!

Tasty iced coffee:
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See my post on these to go cups here

Organized pantry staples:

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The plastic lids are awesome because they allow for easy opening! You can find them here

And of course sweet tea:

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Want recipes for iced coffee and sweet tea? Stay tuned!

DIY Mason Jar To Go Cup

Hi friends! It’s been awhile! I have no idea where the month of April went, but apparently it’s now mid-May! Summer is a-coming! And on that note, I thought I’d share a little DIY I did awhile back that would be a great project for the hot summer days coming up!

I know you have all seen the mason jar to go cups before, so this is no surprise but I just thought I’d share! (Plus, be sure to read the update at the end with some additional suggestions…)

What you need:

..mason jar  with lid and ring (I used the regular mouth pint size)..

.. #14 stainless steel grommets..

..hole punch or drill..

..hot glue gun..

..straws (I got mine from starbucks)..

mason jar to go cup - loveinamasonjar.com

Step 1 – drill or punch a hole in the center of the lid

Step 2 – use a hot glue gun to glue a grommet on the top and the bottom of the lid, just around the hole

DIY mason jar to go cup - loveinamasonjar.com

Step 3 – Wait to dry and then insert the straw and screw on the lid!

DIY mason jar to go cup - loveinamasonjar.com

That’s it! It looks super cute and even fits in a car cup holder!

UPDATE: After a while the glue began to come apart from the lid (I think it has something to do with the moisture and the smoothness of the lid). I tried re-gluing a few times, but it came apart each time. The next time I have a few minutes to do a project I want to try a rubber grommet like the one used in this post from Little Bit Funky Blog. Hope this helps!

Mason Jar Wedding Centerpiece DIY – Part 2

Last week I started a post on DIY mason jar wedding centerpieces and I’m here now to bring you Part 2! I mentioned before about collecting your supplies and making a plan, but then its a waiting game until the wedding weekend.

Then all you have to do is get your flowers and assemble! Schedule some time before the wedding and get some helpers! We assembled all our centerpieces and ceremony aisle decor on the Friday afternoon before the rehearsal. And since everyone was coming in for the rehearsal, my bridesmaids and friends and family were all there to help!

Have a flower assembly party! All you need is…

..water..

..bleach.. (to keep the water clean and flowers fresh)

..scissors..

..newspaper..

..vases and flowers!..

diy mason jar wedding centerpieces - loveinamasonjar.comdiy mason jar wedding centerpieces - loveinamasonjar.com

As you can see, we laid out all the mason jars and flowers to get an idea of what we had. We did a mock set up of each of the designs. We had 3 versions, the pint size jars for the aisle decor at the ceremony (which we had hanging on shepherds hooks), and the half-gallon jars and quart sizes in pairs for the reception centerpieces.

Then it was a mass assembly line! In the end, you might have left overs, or some will look slightly different, but you can’t really go wrong with fresh flowers and mason jars! Then we were able to leave the pre-assembled jars at the location over night, ready for set up the next day! By the way, did I mention who we had as day of coordinators?? Check out Megan Elise Events and Fox and Bear ! They were both amazing and we couldn’t have done it with out them!

Here is what we ended up with – photos courtesy of my wonderful photographer – Bethany Cissel

Mason Jar Wedding Centerpiece DIY – Part 1

It’s beginning to feel like spring in the air and that means wedding season is coming! We are attending 2 weddings this month, and I’m excited! I just love what a wedding means, and it makes me reminisce about our wedding! In that spirit, I thought I’d share a little DIY post on making your own wedding centerpieces!

I’ve mentioned before about doing your own bridal party bouquets – see that post HERE – but we also did all the flowers for our centerpieces and flowers for the ceremony! It is actually pretty easy (and budget friendly!) so long as you have wonderful bridesmaids and friends to help! And it just takes a little planning.

First thing to do is – think about your tables.  Do you have long picnic style table, or rounds? How many? This will help you to determine how many set of centerpieces you will need.

Then decide what kind of centerpiece you want. Vases, flowers, candles, etc. And you do want anything on them, like burlap or lace, or ribbon? Sometimes the number of sets you will need will also help determine what your centerpieces will look like.

Once you have determined these things, you can start collecting your supplies!

We had long picnic style tables (4 rows that were 40 feet long!) I think we had five 8 foot tables in a row. That meant I needed 20 sets of centerpieces for the guests. But don’t forget about the head table! We decided to use the bouquets as the flowers for that and we put them in crates.

mason jar wedding centerpiece - loveinamasonjar.com

Don’t know what I was excited about, but it looks fun!

ANYWAY – 20 sets of centerpieces. We decided to do mason jars (half-gallon and quart sizes) with flowers and some with candles. You might also want to set up a few mock tables before to see what they look like and make sure you know how much you will need.
mason jar wedding centerpiece - loveinamasonjar.com
Once you have collected all your vases (or in our case mason jars), you just have to think about how many flowers you want to go in each and what types. I had no preference on flowers, and we didn’t really have wedding “colors” I just knew I liked natural colors, and more natural types of flowers, as opposed to roses. Sadly, I don’t remember the names of the flowers we ended up getting, but this is what they looked like!
mason jar wedding centerpiece - loveinamasonjar.com
To figure out how many flowers you want in each vase, I’d recommend making a sample arrangement.  If you can’t get the same flowers as you want in the wedding, just get some that are similar in size so you can get a feel for how much you need.

You’ll also need to think about WHERE you want to get the flowers, WHEN you want to get them, and WHO will get them. For us, we had the LA Flower Mart nearby, we picked them up on Thursday morning (for a Saturday wedding), and I went with my mom, mother-in-law, and a friend who knows the flower mart. It worked out perfect, and the flowers held up great in buckets in the garage for a few days.

So once you know what you want and have all your supplies, you just have to wait until the wedding to get the flowers and put them together!

Stay tuned for a post on that next!! Happy Weekend!

DIY Handmade Valentine’s Day gifts

jar of love - loveinamasonjar.com
Looking for some hand-made gift ideas for Valentine’s Day? I like the idea of Valentine’s day, but I don’t love the commercialism of it all, and the pressure I feel it puts on people. But I still like to celebrate those I love, so I enjoy making hand-made things! Here are some home-made gift ideas:

Jar of Love

All you need is {love}

..mason jar with ring..

…scrap of fabric..

..twine..

..letter stamps and ink..

..scraps of paper..

jar of love - loveinamasonjar.com
This idea here is to cut scraps of paper (I used scraps of solid color wrapping paper) into long strips, and write things you love about that person on them!

Then roll them up and place them in the jar! I cup some scrap fabric into a square and stamped the word “LOVE” on to it for the lid. Then just  screw the silver ring on and add some twine or ribbon if you want! That’s it! A collection of thoughts and things you love about someone in a little jar! A Jar of Love!

jar of love - loveinamasonjar.com

A second idea for a hand-made gift, particularly for a newlywed couple, is to display a “first dance” photo from your wedding in a frame with the lyrics from the song hand written around it.

First Dance Frame with Lyrics

All you need is:

..frame..

..first dance photo..

..song lyrics..

..sharpie..

..photo mat frame..

It’s so easy it doesn’t even need any instructions. Voila!
first dance lyrics photo - loveinamasonjar.com
first dance lyrics photo - loveinamasonjar.com

7 ideas for Rustic Christmas Decorating Fun!

rustic christmas ideas - loveinamasonjar.com

Although Christmas is now over and I’m sure you’ve already taken down your Christmas decor, I wanted to share with you his post that was started pre-Christmas, but this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and finish it!

I wanted to share with you some fun decorating ideas that we did this year! I decided that since we already have so many antique, vintage pieces in our house anyway, this year we should incorporate them into Christmas decor! Which actually saved us time and money because we didn’t have to purchase any thing!

I’m talking, simple things like fake snow and candles in mason jars…so fun and easy!

2) Or using a coke crate to make a centerpiece with candle filled mason jars. Add greenery and pinecones in-between and it’s a beautiful rustic centerpiece!

3) We we also used mason jars in our kitchen filled with holly berries!

4) We had an old ladder that we usually keep all our blankets on, but this year we put those away and added burlap and lace stockings to add to the rustic charm.

rustic christmas decor - burlap and lace stockings

5) And notice how we stacked our crates and antiques in the corner to add a little scene with all the presents.

rustic christmas decor - loveinamasonjar.com

6) And of course I love the way you can customize chalkboards to the season to add the the decor!

rustic christmas decor - chalkboards - loveinamasonjar.com

7) We love this mini christmas tree in a galvanized bucket too!!

mini tree galvanized - loveinamasonjar.com

And although this is a bit late, maybe this will inspire you for next Christmas! Pin and save for future reference! 🙂

Happy New Year everyone!!

Mason jar gift ideas – homemade, edible gifts

Finally here in southern CA we have some wintery weather, and I am loving it! It really feels like the holiday season now and baking and decorating just feels so much more fun!!

It just dawned on me that this is our last week of work before Christmas, so if we plan on doing anything for co-workers, now is the time! Thankfully, I’ve had an idea in mind for months about what to do…but now I better get baking! 🙂 I have a sweet little idea for gifts using all the delicious jam I canned back in the summer. But I’ll save that for another post (in case any recipients are reading!!)

Today I’ll share with you last years gift! You know my thing with mason jars… and we had just gotten married, so we had a TON leftover from our decor. SO why not use them in our Christmas gifts! And I got the idea from a shower gift that a dear friend did for me too – see that post HERE. Chocolate chip cookies are a staple in our house so… we baked and baked and baked!
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You can do so many different types home made gifts in mason jars, all you need are the jars, lids, some sort of twine or ribbon (we used red and white striped bakers twine) tags, and a little krinkle paper!
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If you place the krinkle paper in the bottom of the jar it adds a little cushion so the cookies wont break. And make sure you make the cookies small enough to fit in the jar :). Other than that, all you have to do is bake, insert in the jars, put on the lid and decorate with the tag and ribbon!
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CHECK OUT these other great mason jar home made ideas too!!!
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From mixingbowlkids.typepad.com
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From laurenconrad.com
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From sunset.com

HAPPY GIFTING!!