Fall Favorites

It’s no secret that Fall is my favorite. I always feel more inspired to create and bake in my cozy house with hot cocoa and slippers and a cozy sweatshirt. Although it’s still hot here in southern CA (so so hot!!), I can’t help but dream about what’s to come in the next few months. Here are some of my favorite fall traditions that I’m looking forward to!

…Fall leaves…

I know we don’t have many fall leaves here, but when they come, I love it!!

fall favorites - colored leaves - loveinamasonjar..com

…Apple picking…

Every year we go up to an apple farm and pick apples and apple “seconds” (not as pretty apples, but perfect for applesauce)

fall favorites - apple picking - loveinamasonjar..com

…Canning Applesauce…

And of course with all those apples we make apple sauce and apple butter! Post about that process HERE.

fall favorites - canning applesauce - loveinamasonjar..com

…Canning Jam…

I always can in the late summer and early fall and use the jam for Christmas gifts! (Post on how to can HERE!)

DIY edible Christmas gifts - homemade jam - loveinamasonjar.com

…Foamy Lattes…

fall favorites - foamy lattes - loveinamasonjar..com

…Decorating Pumpkins…

Last year we made Gold Polka Dot Pumpkins and they turned out so cute! (DIY post on that HERE)

fall favorites  decorating pumpkins - loveinamasonjar..com

fall favorites - decorating pumpkins- loveinamasonjar..com

…Front porch decor…

I love decorating our front porch for fall! Even if it’s still hot here it somehow makes me feel like the season is coming!

fall favorites - fall porch- loveinamasonjar..com

…Pumpkin Spice Lattes…

I love coffee and Starbucks, so naturally the PSL is a fall favorite 🙂

fall favorites - pumpkin spice lattes - loveinamasonjar..com

…Lighting Candles…

For some reason lighting scented candles is just so much more cozy in the fall! I usually pull them out early and make my house feel like its fall even if it isn’t yet 🙂 I love these scents from Bath and Body Works best: Leaves and Cider Lane.

fall favorites - loveinamasonjar..com

…Baking…

I love to bake year round, but in the fall it is my favorite. I like not only making seasonal pumpkin things, but also cobblers and crisps and muffins and scones… sooo many fun things I can’t wait to bake once it’s not so hot in my kitchen!

This photo below is of Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffins. The recipe I used for these is HERE. For my other favorite baking recipes see my post HERE.

fall favorites - pumpkin cream cheese muffins - loveinamasonjar.com

 

Now, let’s stop this heat wave and bring on the FALL!! Are you feeling inspired? I sure am! I think I’ll decorate my front porch, light some candles and bake something this weekend and pretend it’s cool outside 🙂

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!

Where did September go? Happy October 1

I can’t believe it’s already October! It seems like September flew by, so I decided to look back and see what all went on in the month. In the midst of work, busy weekend plans and 23 etsy orders for the month, I actually managed to get a few projects done for myself! Maybe that’s why it went so fast!! Check it out!
20121001-085330.jpg..Mason Jar Soap dispenser..
..Mason Jar drink cups..
..Canning Jam (first time!)..
..Printable tags and labels..
..Fall front porch wreath..

More posts on How To’s for the projects to follow – but maybe this gives some inspiration for more fall projects this month!