New Food Journeys - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at - 311295

Put the Kettle on....

New Food Journeys 
Sep. 22, 2013 9:04 am 
Updated: Oct. 1, 2013 5:28 pm
I resolved to spend more time in my kitchen this year.  I have done that, somewhat.  But, for a few months now I've been pondering where I could go now in my kitchen.  I know my way around it pretty well and I wanted to go on a new journey. Have a new adventure.  I needed some spice in my life!

Finally, after one of my "gab" sessions with best friend, Tawnia, it hit me. I needed to attempt canning!  Tawnia cans.  She makes jellies.  She makes pickles, salsa, and tomato sauce.  It all sounds so exotic to me.  Years and years ago I made strawberry preserves and grape jelly.  I sealed them using paraffin wax.  Canning sounds like fun to me, but also scary.

I recently have become a "Pinner" on Pinterest.  It's fun to just sit at the computer and while away spare time I don't have clicking "Pin It!" on all sorts of cool decorating ideas, recipes, places, animals, and yes... even canning ideas.  I found a recipe for Sangria Wine Jelly.  Well.... I like sangria.  I like wine.  And... bonus... I even like jelly!   I pinned that recipe to my new Board I had created "Canning".  How creative of a name is that?? 

On a whim last week I stopped at a local store and there on the end-cap sat a canning kit. It came with all you needed to embark on the "Water Bath Canning Journey".  I had a little extra cash on me, so into my cart that kit went.  I found canning jars for jelly.  They were cute - decorative 8 oz. size jelly jars.  I came home with my new prize and printed out my recently pinned recipe for Sangria Wine Jelly.  I read that recipe.  I re-read that recipe.  I wanted to make it and make it right.  Then I got to thinking.  If I'm going to give this stuff as gifts then maybe I should find those really cute little jelly jars.  The ones that are 4 ounces and perfect for gift-giving!  Did any of my local stores have those jars?  Nope!  I spent an entire afternoon after work stopping at every store in our town and one town over.  I knew the hardware store in Hartville (about a half hour, 45 minute jaunt away) would have them.  They have EVERYTHING.  I love that store.  Whenever Jon says he has to make a trip there to buy some special tool for work, or take a tool in for repair I go along.  More often than not I end up with a "tool" for my kitchen.  Also - on the way home there's always the winery/farm market and chocolate store to stop at.

Yesterday I made my first attempt at canning jelly.  I decided to use the first set of jars I had bought.  If it turned out, then I would make a batch for gift giving.  I had already spent numerous hours researching canning online.  I read all the do's and don'ts.  I read tips and suggestions from all sorts of sites.  I felt confident I could go in my kitchen and can a few jars of jelly.  Jon was working at a side job so I knew he wouldn't be hovering around, getting in my way. 

Just as I whisked the sugar into my concoction - my phone rang.  Kristal and Jake were heading out to one of our favorite wineries to enter their dog's name in the Wine Naming Contest.  This winery (called Lil Paws, and is dog-themed) is releasing a new wine this winter and is having a contest amongst their customers. You enter your dog's name and describe your dog and they will choose the dog that seems to best describe their new wine.  The deadline for entering is approaching and we wanted to get Suzy and Maggie entered.  I really hope Maggie wins.  They already have a wine named Missy - which was our chocolate lab's name.  I said I could go along if they could wait just a while longer while I process my jelly.  They arrived just as the water bath time was almost finished.

As I lifted each jar from the boiling water, we began to hear the "pop" of each jar sealing.  Success!  That was what had me most worried; would I really make this jelly and actually have it seal like it was supposed to??  YES! 

We left my jars to cool (I got 7 jars!) and headed to the winery.  Kristal and I are both participants in Ohio Wines VIP program.  VIP stands for Visitor's Incentive Program.  As you visit various wineries in Ohio, you collect tickets which are worth points.  The first visit to each winery gives you 500 points.  The second visit through the tenth is worth 100 points. After that you only earn 10 points. Once you've earned enough points you can then trade them in for neat gifts.   Anyways, we entered Suzy and Maggie into the contest, collected our points, bought a bottle or two of wine to bring home and left the winery.  As Kristal started up the car - she turned to me and grinned.  "Since we're out and about and there are a couple other wineries nearby - do you have time to go collect points?"   Ha! Did I have time?!  Of course I did.  I collected two more 500 point tickets and on to home we went. Thoughts of the jelly went through my head. I was really proud of how it had looked sitting on my counter cooling.  

I still was worried, though.  What if the lids "popped" and then exploded red jelly everywhere!!  Jake said if we opened the door and were met by Suzy licking jelly off her chops -then we should just gently close the door, pull up a chair on the deck and enjoy a bottle of the wine we had just bought.  I'd need the calming effects of wine to deal with any mess! 

Suzy did meet us at the door, but she was not licking jelly off her chops.  One look on the counter in the kitchen and I could see my seven jars of jelly still cooling.  Whew! 

Last night Jon and I ate out at one of our favorite restaurants.  I had received a $20 Birthday coupon from them and it expires this month and last night they had clambakes.  We had a great dinner and even splurged for dessert; the creme' brulee duo which last night featured vanilla bean and white chocolate macadamia nut. 

This morning Jon had to go finish up the side job, but said he had to open a jar of that jelly and taste it.  So I let him.  One taste.  Two tastes.  The third taste he finally commented.  "This is good enough to eat!"   I could taste the raspberries and the citrus fruits in it.  It sort of reminded me of a marmalade.  I tried some on a piece of toast.  I'm not a toast person, but I can be one now.  I also think it will go great over cream cheese on crackers or a baquette with wine.  

We are going stove shopping this afternoon. On our way home we have to stop and get more fruit.  I want to make another batch of Sangria Wine Jelly.  But this time I'm making it in my cute little gift jars. 
First attempt at canning
Photo Detail
Sep. 22, 2013 10:14 am
I'm so happy for you that you have ventured into canning! I fell in love with it last year! You are absolutely correct that homemade jelly can make you a "toast person." Thanks for sharing your adventure :)
Sep. 22, 2013 10:16 am
I hope you enjoy canning! My thoughts when I first started canning were that I'd forget to run a knife around the stuff being canned and inside of the jar. Then, there were the hassles of preparing the jars correctly. There were so many cautions about food poisoning! I just hope you always have success!
Sep. 22, 2013 10:32 am
AllieGeekPi, I loved the recipes you shared on the Buzz. I've pinned them and will try the beer jelly one for sure. :)
Sep. 22, 2013 10:32 am
sueb - the cautions about food poisoning is what scared me most. But then I figured if I follow the directions carefully all should be OK. Let's hope!
Sep. 22, 2013 10:53 am
Hello Mother Ann, I used to can beets, pickles, chow, and jam. I don't any more, enjoy your canning, I did when I did it.
Sep. 22, 2013 11:04 am
manella, Thanks for stopping in. I hope I have fun! :)
Sep. 22, 2013 1:53 pm
Mother Ann, what a sense of accomplishment! I like the idea of canning, but I have to think of high altitude which also adds another variable to the process. I wish I would of paid attention when my grandma canned.
Sep. 22, 2013 6:06 pm
Lela - My husband was saying today that I should have gotten interested in this while his mother was alive - she canned a ton of stuff and I never paid any attention. If we only knew then what we know now.
Sep. 23, 2013 6:42 am
I haven't canned in years but your success lit a fire in me and I can't wait to make some wine jelly. YUM! Thanks for the inspiration.
Sep. 23, 2013 11:11 am
Just read your post on making Jelly, and wanted to share. I have made jelly, jams and marmalades and just recently bought a Ball FreshTech jam and jelly maker. The thought was to make enough jams and jellies during the summer to give away for Christmas. Have really enjoyed how easy it is to make them with the FreshTech and now have 6 dozen jars of Strawberry, Rasberry, Mayhaw, Grape and Apple jams and jellies stored. Keep going through about a 1/2 pt. jar a week now that is it made. Good luck with it.
Sep. 23, 2013 2:05 pm
maugirl - you are welcome and enjoy! I just made my second batch of it today and it looks like another successful venture! :)
Sep. 23, 2013 2:06 pm
Ed - I'll have to look up this Ball FreshTech thing - never heard of it. Though, I am a little old school and like to do things the old fashioned way. At least until I've mastered it and then I go the easy route. I have such plans to become a regular old Pioneer Woman, LOL
Sep. 24, 2013 6:57 am
My first attempt at canning was pomegranate jelly. I couldn't bear to see all my pomegranates go to waste, so I gave it a shot and it worked! Like you, I read and re-read the instructions and worried about the outcome, but it really is easier than it looks-congratulations on your success!
Sep. 24, 2013 7:00 am
They look beautiful!
Sep. 24, 2013 12:34 pm
Susan Claire - Thank you! I made my 2nd batch last night and it came out, also. :)
Sep. 24, 2013 12:34 pm
REDCWOLF - Thank you! :)
Sep. 25, 2013 3:30 pm
Congrats on your entry into the canning world! The ranch kids all went off to college with home canned soups, stews and other stuff so my cupboards are bare now and need restocking! After my own kids visit next week, there is gonna be a LOT of canning going on in this house! :)
Sep. 25, 2013 5:02 pm
petey - funny thing - when I wrote this I thought of you and all your beautiful blogs and pictures! I came home from work today and made beer jelly. It was simple and actually is not too bad! Next on my list is applesauce. My problem is just getting started in this means I'm spending a fortune on jars. Next year this will be a much cheaper adventure.
Oct. 1, 2013 4:07 pm
I'm putting in a formal request for some sangria... and some sangria jelly!
Oct. 1, 2013 5:28 pm
Terry - haha! :)
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Mother Ann

Home Town
Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
Living In
Ravenna, Ohio, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert

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About Me
I've been married for 33 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have two black labs that get to go duck hunting with dad and two cats. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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