This summer marks the 4th year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. I wrote a little bit about her and our relationship back when it happened as a form of self-therapy, but one thing I left out was her love for canning.
Growing up, my grandparents owned a farm out in Creemore, Ontario which was treated sort of like the family cottage. We would spend all of our summers and each holiday up there with the entire family – all 16 of us!
One of my most vivid memories of my grandmother is her spending hours and hours in the kitchen, slaving away at making everyone jars and jars of their favourite jams and jellies.
My personal favourite was her “Million Dollar Relish”. I loved the relish so much that every time she was down to the last jar of a batch she would bring it to our house for me to have.
Since she passed, my family and I have chatted about having a canning party in her memory a few times. This summer, we decided that there was no time like the present!
As much as I wanted us to make her famous relish when we looked at the recipe it seemed quite complicated for us first-time canners so we opted to make my second favourite of her recipes, red pepper jelly. It only had three ingredients, making it much more manageable for us first go at canning.
Benardin’s Home Canning Starter Kit made the entire process a whole lot easier, so if you’re a first-time canner like us I’d definitely recommend that you pick one up for yourself.
Here’s what it came with:
- Canning rack
- Bubble remover and head space gauge
- Jar funnel
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Jar lifter
- Original pectin
- Four 250 ml jars
- Home Canning instructional DVD
I’m a visual person, so the DVD that was included with the starter canning kit was especially helpful for a first time canner like myself. Let’s get to the recipe!
- 2 cups finely chopped red peppers
- 1 ½ cup white vinegar
- 5 cups white sugar
- 179 ml liquid pectin
- Bernardin mason jars
- Sterilize your jars before you seal them. You can boil them or run them through a very hot dishwasher, we used the dishwasher and then left them in there so they stayed warm.
- Boil the red pepper, white vinegar and sugar in a large pot for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the lids by placing them in a small pot filled with water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat. This helps the sealing compound soften – make sure you don’t over boil them as the compound will lose its effectiveness!
- Skim all foam.
- Remove from heat and stir in the liquid pectin, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Fill those jars up! Pour the jelly immediately into hot, sterilized jars. Make sure you leave enough headspace as the food will expand. The headspace gauge that was included in our canning kit was especially helpful for this step.
- Release any air bubbles and clean the rim of jar with a clean, damp cloth.
- Seal the jars while they’re still hot with sterilized 2-piece lids with new centres.
- (Optional: you can add in some green peppers if you’d like!)
I’m really proud of how everything turned out and I can’t wait to tackle another one of her canning recipes next time. We had such a blast so my goal is to work my way up to being able to make that “Million Dollar Relish” – wish me luck!
Are you a canner? If so, what are some of your favourite recipes? I’d love to know!
While this is a sponsored conversation in collaboration with Benardin and I may have been supplied product and/or compensation for this post, all opinions expressed are my own.