Canning 101 and Can It Forward Giveaway

The other night, Nick and I were in the garden, picking row after row of green beans, when it hit me: this is not how I ever would have imagined my life.

I mean…growing up, I was sure I would be living on a street named after me in a mansion with my husband, Taylor Hansen. There would be roller coasters in the backyard, plus a huge pond with manatees, just because I love those huge sea cows.

strawberry_rhubarb_jam

I never thought I would have a garden this big or fresh figs growing in the yard. It never crossed my mind that we would be growing our own corn. Corn!

And canning? Until two years ago, it was something that terrified me – I didn’t think it would be part of my life from spring to fall and be something that I actually liked to do.

blueberry_orange_jam

I didn’t think I’d be living in the mountains, in a town with 1 stoplight, in an old farmhouse with a hundred-year-old front door. Or have to deal with country cats that bring us dead birds and moles and mice and leave feathers all over the porch.

But I love it. Every minute of it.

Except maybe the dead animals gifts from the cats. Ew. I still make Nick clean up the remains because I start dry heaving if I get too close.

figs

Ever since I made my first batch of jam 2 years ago, I’ve been hooked on canning.

Sure, I still get scared that something won’t turn out or I won’t hear all the lids pop and have to eat something right away instead of squirreling it away in the basement for this winter.

strawberry_rhubarb_jam2

Canning jam and tomatoes and green beans is just part of my summers now. From May to September, I spend way too much time standing in the kitchen, cutting fruits and veggies, stuffing jars, watching the pressure cooker, and waiting to hear the sweet “ping” of victory when the lids seal.

canning_green_beans

This Saturday, July 14th, is National Can-It-Forward Day and I’m so happy to be celebrating! I’ll be canning more green beans this weekend…it feels like those are never ending. Anyone want to come help me? I’ll give you beans and I make a mean pot of coffee…

If you want to learn more about canning, find recipes, tips or tricks, the Ball website has a ton of information to help get you started.

CanItForward Logo_colorAnd to really help get you going, I’ve got one Canning Starter Kit to giveaway!

This kit comes with everything you need to get started: a home canning kit, pectin, labels, containers, and the Ball book of preserving, which pretty much stays on my kitchen counter all summer long.

ball_canning_kit

Want to win?

Tell me what you want to can first – homemade jam? tomato sauce? sliced peaches? Let’s hear it!

Want extra entries?

  • Ask a question in the comments – any question about canning – and I’ll put them together in a Canning FAQ and try to get them all answered for you. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll get it from someone at Ball!
  • Like Ball Canning on Facebook and tell them BranAppetit sent you and you’re ready to Can-It-Forward
  • Tell me your favorite summer produce
  • Share this post to spread the Canning love on twitter or facebook and let me you know did

Want some easy canning recipes to get you started? These are some of my favorites:

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Blueberry Orange Jam

Frog Jam

Bruschetta in a Jar

Green Beans

108 Responses to “Canning 101 and Can It Forward Giveaway”

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    Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats — July 13, 2012 at 2:38 am

    If I won this canning starter kit I would totally either make my own jam or my own pickles! I’ve wanted to try this for years!

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    Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats — July 13, 2012 at 2:39 am

    My favorite summer produce is, oddly enough, corn on the cob! I love grilling it and it’s pretty much the only time of year I eat corn.

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    DessertForTwo — July 13, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Awww, I loved reading this. I never imagined I would enjoy growing my own food & canning, too. Now it’s second nature. Your house & country sound wonderful :)

    I can’t wait to can tomatoes :)

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    Kelly — July 13, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I would love to make homemade jam. It seems so scary though!

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    Katie — July 13, 2012 at 3:20 am

    I’d make strawberry jam, for sure!

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    Diana — July 13, 2012 at 4:46 am

    I’d love to make raspberry jam! And blackberry! And strawberry…

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    Diana — July 13, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Do you know how long I can store homemade jam?

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    Diana — July 13, 2012 at 4:48 am

    So many choices. My favorite summer produce is raspberries!

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    Tracy — July 13, 2012 at 5:05 am

    I grew up in one of the boroughs of NYC. I thought my adult life would be living in an apartment in Manhattan, eating at great restaurants, and attending Broadway shows and opening events at the various museums. Fast forward and I find myself in suburbia (love brought me here). I NEVER thought I’d look forward to Saturdays and Sundays attending Farmer’s Markets, looking forward to the cheese making class I just signed up for, or even consider canning my own food. I just started a raised garden bed with the assistance of my 3 year old son this year and hope to yield enough tomatoes to can. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing with gardening (one may even say I’m a brown thumb) or canning but I’m giving it a good try and learning as I go from websites, blogs, friends, family and a lot of trial and error. I want my sons to appreciate where their food comes from and that work and love go into what is placed before them at every meal.

    I’d love to can tomato sauce with tomatoes grown in our garden and homemade apple sauce with apples picked from a local orchard.

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    Stacy Makes Cents — July 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

    My sister is getting married in September, I’m having a baby, and we just moved….so, no canning for us this year. :-) We’re just too busy every single day. Makes me happy that we put up extra last year.

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    Stacy Makes Cents — July 13, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Zucchini is my FAVORITE summer produce.

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    Shannon — July 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    i’ve got my eyes on some blueberry jam this weekend :)

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    Kaitlin — July 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I canned ginger peach jam for the first time last year. I don’t really have the right equipment but it was still way easier than I thought. If I can find the time, I’d like to make more jams this year-the peach was delicious and great for gifts, too. I’d also love to can homemade tomato sauce!

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    Shannon — July 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    favorite summer produce? that’s gotta be like picking your favorite child! seriously, how do you choose? maybe watermelon? no, strawberries. corn? ~sigh~.

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    Shannon — July 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Is there a way to do lower-sugar canning without purchasing pectin?
    I know you have to be careful with acidity, so how do you make sure you can can tomato sauce?

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    heather — July 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I want to can everything: green beans, peaches, jam! I really want to can some Apple & pumpkin butter in the fall.

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    Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — July 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Oh man. I need to can some jalapeno jelly and pickles actually. This would be awesome!

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    Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — July 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Canning Q: Is there a way to re-can something if it doesn’t seal? Or do you have to refrigerate it?

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    Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — July 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Liked and commented on FB :-)

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    SandyN — July 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I want to make some strawberry or raspberry jam.

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    SandyN — July 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Can you use the jars to can in the freezer? I’m sure it wouldn’t taste as good as the regular form of canning, but I’ve always wondered if it would work in the freezer.

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    SandyN — July 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    My favorite summer produce is bell peppers…followed closely by tomatoes.

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    Samantha C. — July 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try my hand at canning! I would try jam first, I think!

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    Jessen — July 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Pickles!! Spicy Pickles with mad chilies . . .hehe

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    Melissa — July 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I would like to can various flavors of homemade jam!

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    Julie — July 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I just took a class to learn how to can. I am so excited to start this new hobby and am looking forward to canning peaches as my first project although I am also wanting to do some jams & jellies. I follow you on pinterest also.

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    Carmen — July 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I would can jam!! :)

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    Annamaria @ bakewell junction — July 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Last year I had too many tomatoes, so I cooked and froze them because we couldn’t use them all. I don’t know if I’ll get that many this year but that’s what I’d like to can. Also, can you can on an electric cooktop?

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    Meister @ The Nervous Cook — July 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I love making jams. This year I’m really interested in canning tomatoes!

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    Meister @ The Nervous Cook — July 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I do have a question about canning and pectin, however: I know that some fruit have higher natural pectin than others, but is it always best to add pectin rather than simply combine low- and high-pectin fruits when making jam? The latter seems preferable but not as practical, perhaps.

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    Annamaria @ bakewell junction — July 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    My favorite in the summer is figs.

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    Mike — July 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I have always wanted to try canning because it bring back so many memories of going to my GrandMother’s for vacation and getting so many can goods and watching her can som jams.

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    Annamaria @ bakewell junction — July 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I retweeted to share this post.

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    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — July 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    You are amazing!!! I tried canning for the first time last week and was not a big fan. I think I’m a little too impatient. But your jam, tomatoes and green beans look DELISH! :)

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    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — July 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Great tips Brandi. I have not done nearly enough canning this year–need to get on it!!

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    Emily P — July 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I have grown up with my mom & grandmother canning – my favorite was always applesauce!

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    Emily P — July 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    my favorite summer produce is basil!

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    Emily P — July 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    what is the best way to ensure there is absolutely no bacterial contamination when canning?

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    Cait's Plate — July 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Love this! I’m obsessed with mason/ball jars so having things to put in them other than nuts, seeds and flours makes me excited!

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    Cathy — July 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Those green beans look so good I want to can green beans.

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    Cathy — July 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I liked Ball Canning on FB

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    Jeffrey — July 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I would like to can some of the tomatoes from my garden, when they are ready!

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    Cathy — July 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I have a question about canning, can you can uncooked veggies?

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    Jeffrey — July 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I like Ball Canning on Facebook and mentioned you on their page.

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    Jeffrey — July 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    How long does canned jam last unopened and once it’s opened?

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    kate — July 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    jam all the way! I have so many strawberries and blueberries, I’d make a mixed berry jam!

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    kate — July 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    My favorite summer produce is watermelon. I literally cannot get enough of it, and it’s so juicy and red righ tnow!

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    Kristy — July 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I would love to make homemade spaghetti sauce…using garden tomatoes, garlic and onions.

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    Kristy — July 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    How long can canned fruit/veggies keep being canned? Is it better to eat them during the winter of that same year because they taste better?

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    Jeffrey — July 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    My favorite summer produce is tomatoes. I eat fresh, cooked, cold, hot and add them to everything!

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    Jeffrey — July 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/FireRunner2379/status/223806313715597313

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    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — July 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I have been wanting to try canning for so long! The first thing I would make is a fruit jam that doesn’t have tons of sugar in it!

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    Teacher Girl — July 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I’d really like to try canned peaches! Or maybe even jam. Question: Does canning require skill? I mean I’ve read your posts and it seems basic enough, but I have been known to mess up even the simplest of recipes…

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    Cassie — July 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I’d definitely do some homemade jam – blackberry jam!

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    Alexa — July 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I’d like to make a big batch of blueberry jam!

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    Lauren S — July 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I would can homemade tomato sauce. I currently have 6 tomato plants loaded with tomatoes I’m just waiting for them to ripen.

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    Kara D — July 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Definitely homemade jam!

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    Cindy A. — July 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I would love to try canning beets and tomatoes! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win such a great giveaway.

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    Cindy A. — July 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I like Ball Canning on Facebook and commented.

    Facebook: Cindy A.

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    Cindy A. — July 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    My favorite summer produce is tomatoes and corn.

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    Amelia @ Eating Made Easy — July 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    This post is inspiring me to start my own canning project – thank you! I would LOVE to win, and I would definitely start with tomatoes. I think all canned tomatoes contain BPA so I’ve really wanted to make my own. I’ve never canned or made jam b/c I’m afraid of botulism, but ready to conquer my fear!

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    Amelia @ Eating Made Easy — July 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Shared this post on Twitter!

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    angela — July 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    i’m totally jealous of your garden and canning abilities. i’ve never canned before, so would love to win this to try my hand at making jam. LOVE homemade jam, cherry or rhubarb. yumm!

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    Carly — July 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I’d love to can tomatoes.

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    Carly — July 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    My favorite summer produce is eggplant.

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    Carly — July 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Tweet: https://twitter.com/CarlyHobart/status/223924856406802432

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    amy marantino — July 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    i want to can some NJ tomatoes

  68. #
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    amy marantino — July 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    i tweeted about your giveaway – https://twitter.com/onitnaram/status/223925083532570624

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    amy marantino — July 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    my favorite summer produce is corn on the cob

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    Carmen — July 14, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Is it safe to can beans? Dried beans are so cheap, especially compared to commercially canned beans. I know you can soak and freeze beans to save on time, but I would love to can them for even easier usage. I thought I read somewhere where this is not recommended. Is that true?

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    Carmen — July 14, 2012 at 2:27 am

    I Like Ball Canning on Facebook and told them BranAppetit sent me

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    Carmen — July 14, 2012 at 2:28 am

    My favorite summer produce is corn on the cob. But I also love fresh tomatoes, green beans, peas fresh out of the garden.

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    Anna @ hiddenponies — July 14, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Oh, I would love this kit! I have some a big canner pan but haven’t gotten any further…I dream of salsa and red pepper jelly stocking my pantry :)

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    Kristen M. — July 14, 2012 at 5:42 am

    I want to can my garden tomatoes this year. I’d make salsa and pasta sauce first. I’m in the “want to can” but “overwhelmed by the process” stage.

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    Kristen M. — July 14, 2012 at 5:44 am

    What are your favorite canning resources (in addition to the Blue Book mentioned above)?

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    Kristen M. — July 14, 2012 at 5:44 am

    My favorite summer produce is strawberries!

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    Joy — July 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I would probably make a huge batch of tomato sauce and can it if I won

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    Joy — July 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

    And as for my favorite summer produce
    Hmm
    To cook with:
    Zucchini this week (out of one enormous zuke) I made zucchini brownies, zucchini muffins with streusel, a few loaves of zucchini bread & a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread.
    To eat:
    Straight up watermelon

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    Meghan Finley — July 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I want to make stewed tomatoes first. They’ve always been my favorite especially in the dead of winter

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    Meghan Finley — July 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I already liked on fb and I commented

    https://www.facebook.com/BallCanning/posts/395945903786738

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    Meghan Finley — July 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I’d like to know more about canning in the dishwasher and it’s safety. I have a coworker who swears by it but it’s a little weird for me.

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    Meghan Finley — July 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    My favorite summer produce is apricots. We pick at the local orchard and I can it in so many ways. I love having them handy from canned and sliced to pie filling and syrup!

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    Meghan Finley — July 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    https://twitter.com/immortalb4/status/224248154437058560

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    meredith — July 15, 2012 at 1:27 am

    I want to can homemade jam

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    meredith — July 15, 2012 at 2:23 am

    i like them on facebook and commented

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    meredith — July 15, 2012 at 2:23 am

    i shared on twitter https://twitter.com/mermont84/status/224328324544069633

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    meredith — July 15, 2012 at 2:24 am

    my favorite summer produce is tomatos – they are super yummy when they are fresh and in season

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    Lauren @ vegology — July 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    My favorite summer produce is tomatoes. They’re just not the same the rest of the year!

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    Lauren @ vegology — July 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I just tried canning for the first time yesterday on Can It Forward Day! I don’t have my own kit yet though, so if I won this one, I think I would can some pickled green beans or some peach jam first.

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    Angie @ Bigbearswife — July 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I would can greenbeans first! We love them, and I always think of greenbeans when I think about canning.

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    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — July 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I can’t enter but wanted to say that it sounds like you have an awesome life. Or at least an awesome living situation. :) Minus the dead animals. And I need to learn how to can! At least by next summer.

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    Julie — July 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I want to can tomatoes and green beans
    thansk

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    Julie — July 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    my favorite is corn

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    Julie — July 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    like Ball on fb Julie A Scott Laws
    left comment

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    Mary-Walker — July 16, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Is there a preferred way to check the acidity of items you are wanting to can?

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    jacquie — July 16, 2012 at 2:42 am

    sour cherry jam would be up 1st on my list

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    jacquie — July 16, 2012 at 2:43 am

    question – is the inverted jar method really safe for jams/jellies?

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    jacquie — July 16, 2012 at 2:44 am

    favorite summer produce – hummm not sure ….
    when blueberries are ripe it is blueberries, when red rasberries it is red rasberries, when peaches it is peaches…. too hard to call.

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    JoAnn — July 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I would love to make jam! Strawberry basil, in particular!

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    JoAnn — July 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Is the dishwasher on the “sanitize” setting an adequate avenue by which to sterilize cans?

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    JoAnn — July 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    My favorite summer star is SWEET CORN! :)

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    Jen — July 17, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I would love to can something with a pressure cooker. I’ve canned lots of things the simple way, but for some reason I’m way too chicken to use a pressure cooker!

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    Throuthehaze — July 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I’d want to make pickles :)

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    Ray — July 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I make fridge-pickles right now, but I’ve been pondering canning pickles so they last longer. I might start with that. Or, since I’m on a very low carb diet, I would like to make my own jam so I can just use fruit in it. And I guess pectin? I’m not sure if one can can (can-can!) without pectin for jam. Would it not become jammy? I know so little. Thanks for this giveaway!

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    Meghan Finley — July 16, 2013 at 4:09 am

    I’d can apricots first. Nothing I love more in the middle of the winter

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    Angie — July 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I am a newbie but I am excited to try canning green beans. That is a family favorite & nothing tastes better than canned beans.

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    Andrea Smith — July 28, 2013 at 12:47 am

    First thing I want to can is Apple Pie Filling. I blame this on my Pinterest obsession.

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