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Cookbook review: Canning guide covers new ground

The Ball Blue Book “Guide to Preserving” has been a go-to for home canners since it was first published more than 100 years ago.

The latest version offers even more. It’s the biggest since the initial one in 1909.

Released by Jarden Home Brands, maker of Ball brand home canning products – including the iconic Ball jar – the recently released 37th edition features 10 chapters plus three guides and a glossary. A how-to encyclopedia of canning and preserving foods, it covers everything from getting started and getting the right equipment to testing seals, storing, and dehydrating and freezing as well as canning foods.

A planning chart in the back of the book breaks down seasonal fruits and vegetables by region. There’s also a handy troubleshooting guide for when things potentially go wrong.

Recipes run the gamut – from apricots and brandied cherries to creamed corn, stewed tomatoes, jams, jellies, fruit leather and barbecue beef jerky. Most aren’t accompanied by images.

Here are two of them.

Blueberry-Lime Jam

From the 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book “Guide to Preserving”

4 1/2 cups blueberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)

6 tablespoons pectin (Ball Classic Pectin is recommended)

5 cups sugar

1 tablespoon grated lime peel (about 1 large)

1/3 cup lime juice

Prep: Wash blueberries and lime under cold running water; drain. Crush blueberries one layer at a time using a potato masher. Grate lime peel; measure 1 tablespoon grated lime peel. Cut lime in half crosswise and remove seeds. Juice lime; measure 1/3 cup lime juice.

Cook: Combine crushed blueberries and pectin in a large saucepan, stirring to blend in pectin. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in grated lime peel and lime juice. Bring mixture to a roiling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if necessary.

Fill: Ladle hot jam into a hot jar, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Clean jar rim. Center lid on jar and adjust band to fingertip-tight. Place jar on the rack elevated over simmering water (180 degrees) in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.

Process: Lower rack into simmering water. Water must cover jars by 1 inch. Adjust heat to medium-high, cover canner and bring water to a roiling boil. Process half-pint jars 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover. Let jars cool 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner; do not retighten bands if loose. Cool 12 hours. Check seals. Label and store jars.

Yield: about 6 half-pint jars


From the 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book “Guide to Preserving”

2 pounds tomatoes (about 6 medium)

1 pound cucumbers (about 2 medium)

1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)

1 cup chopped green pepper (about 1 large)

1/2 cup chopped celery (about 1 stalk)

5 cups tomato juice

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Peel, core, seed and chop tomatoes. Peel, seed and chop cucumbers. Combine all ingredients. Ladle gazpacho into plastic freezer jars or plastic freezer containers, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.

Yield: about 7 pint containers

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