- EverEverything you need to get started with waterbath canning (fruits,pickles, jams, jellies, salsa, sauces and tomatoes)
- 21-1/2 qt. enamel water bath canner
- Funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble freer spatula
- Ball Blue Book
Looking for a local, pick-your-own farm in United States? Scroll down this page and select your region of the state for a list of U-Pick farms in United States, sorted by county. Farms offering organic or sustainably grown produce are identified by the words "organic" and/or "sustainable" in Green, next to their name. If they have a website, the name will be in blue and underlined; click on it and it will open their website.
And if you know of one I missed and want to add it or correct the information, please let me know!
If you like blueberries in the winter, for muffins, pancakes, cobblers, pies or just in a bowl; just imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a couple of quarts fresh or bought a them from a farm stand and then quickly froze them at home! It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a fruit for the winter. Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. Your own frozen blueberries will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store. I'm using blueberries as an example, but this same process works exactly the same for any other berries listed above. Strawberries are different in that you must remove the hulls (the green cap) after washing, but otherwise the same.
This also works for cherries, but you may want to pit them before freezing them.
Start with the freshest blueberries you can get. Look for plump, full blueberries with a good color. I've used blueberries as an example, but these directions would equally well for any similar berry (saskatoons, aronia, etc.) See the picking tips page for other berries.
According to U.Ga, and Clemson University extensions, you should not wash blueberries and related berries (like saskatoons). They say washing results in a tougher skinned product. They say to wash them after you remove them from the freezer to use. This only applies to blueberries and saskatoons. For those, just pick the dirt out, and wash them later when you thaw them Just rinse them gently in cold water. I put a colander or strainer in a large bowl, fill it with colcold water and swirl the blueberries in it with my fingers. That avoids breaking them and dirt either floats, which I pick out, or sinks and is removed when I lift the strainer out of the bowl.
As I said, if you plan to use them later in cooking, I haven't found this to be a problem. Since I use the frozen blueberries only to make blueberry pie, blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes in the dead of winter, the cooking softens them, anyway. But if you plan to use them uncooked after thawing, you might wait to wash them until AFTER you thaw them. If you are going to cook them later, just put them in a big bowl of water to wash and help sort out the blueberries!
If you plan not to wash the blueberries before freezing, you can just swirl them around in a colander or large sieve, to let any dirt particles pass through!
If you washed them, use a large sieve or colander to remove as much water as possible. I usually let them sit for about 10 minutes in the colander
There are two ways of doing this. If you have space in your freezer, spread the berries out in a large oven pan with a lip or ridge. Put enough on to make 1 layer. this way they will freeze quickly and not be frozen together in a lump, so later you can remove only what you need without thawing the rest.f your freezer isn't that big, just drain as much of the water as you can, then put them into whatever container will fit in your freezer. After they are frozen, they may stick together a little bit, but should break apart fairly easily.
Pop them into the coldest part of the freezer, or the quick freeze shelf, if your freezer has one!
I leave them in the freezer overnight, to get completely frozen.
I love the FoodSavers (see this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing! I am not paid by them, but these things really work. If you don't have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags. remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn. On the left is the bag with frozen blueberries before vacuum sealing, and to the right is the same bag after vacuum sealing. Of course, you can use ziploc bags (see below), but they leave a lot more air in, which allows some freezer burn.
Note: I typically write the labels on the bags with a Sharpie
permanent marker BEFORE I fill the bags (it's easier) rather than after,
as shown in step 7) tip for a low budget vacuum sealer:
"To "To remove the excess air from a ziploc bag, put a straw inside the
bag and zip it closed as far as possible. Then suck the air out of the
bag, pinch the straw shut where it enters the bag and pull it from the
bag and quickly zip the bag the rest of the way" Of course, you'll want to label them with the contents and date, or all
this work could be wasted, if you can't identify them later, or don't know
how old they are. Pop them into the deep freeze, or in the coldest part of your regular
Step 7 - Label the bags!
Step 8 - Done!
"To "To remove the excess air from a ziploc bag, put a straw inside the bag and zip it closed as far as possible. Then suck the air out of the bag, pinch the straw shut where it enters the bag and pull it from the bag and quickly zip the bag the rest of the way"
Of course, you'll want to label them with the contents and date, or all this work could be wasted, if you can't identify them later, or don't know how old they are.
Pop them into the deep freeze, or in the coldest part of your regular freezer!
To thaw them, just set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours. I wouldn't recommend the microwave unless you are planning to cook with them!t SIZE="2">
Note (again) about blueberries:
You You can wash the frozen blueberries in a bowl of plain cold water. Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy blueberries. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the blueberries as they float. With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy blueberries get caught in your fingers
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to
make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts
for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a
plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball
Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll
never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)!
There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure
canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see
more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars? Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes? Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!
Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pic
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]