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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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 :)

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

  5. I’d make strawberry jam, for sure!

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

  7. Do you know how long I can store homemade jam?

  8. So many choices. My favorite summer produce is raspberries!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Zucchini is my FAVORITE summer produce.

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

  13. 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!

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

  15. 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?

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

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

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

  19. Liked and commented on FB :-)

  20. I want to make some strawberry or raspberry jam.

  21. 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.

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

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

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

  25. I would like to can various flavors of homemade jam!

  26. 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.

  27. I would can jam!! :)

  28. 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?

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

  30. 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.

  31. My favorite in the summer is figs.

  32. 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.

  33. 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! :)

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

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

  36. my favorite summer produce is basil!

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

  38. 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!

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

  40. I liked Ball Canning on FB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  48. 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?

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

  50. 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!

  51. 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…

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

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

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

  55. Definitely homemade jam!

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

  57. I like Ball Canning on Facebook and commented.

    Facebook: Cindy A.

  58. My favorite summer produce is tomatoes and corn.

  59. 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!

  60. 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!

  61. I’d love to can tomatoes.

  62. My favorite summer produce is eggplant.

  63. i want to can some NJ tomatoes

  64. my favorite summer produce is corn on the cob

  65. 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?

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

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

  68. 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 :)

  69. 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.

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

  71. My favorite summer produce is strawberries!

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

  73. And as for my favorite summer produce
    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

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

  75. 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.

  76. 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!

  77. I want to can homemade jam

  78. i like them on facebook and commented

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

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

  81. 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.

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

  83. 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.

  84. I want to can tomatoes and green beans

  85. my favorite is corn

  86. like Ball on fb Julie A Scott Laws
    left comment

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

  88. sour cherry jam would be up 1st on my list

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

  90. 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.

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

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

  93. My favorite summer star is SWEET CORN! :)

  94. 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!

  95. I’d want to make pickles :)

  96. 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!

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

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

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *