Raise your hand if you have never tried canning before.  It’s okay.  Just a couple of years ago, I was right there with you.  I always imagined it to be too time consuming, involved, or just plain hard.  Finally curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give it a shot.  As with so many things in the kitchen, it seems the real hurdle was just getting over the mental anxiety about trying something new.   But that first lovely jam opened up the world of canning and home preserving for me, and I am continuing to practice and develop my canning skills all the time.  Anyone who is interested in making more from scratch and buying less processed foods should definitely give canning a try.  Though it may seem intimidating, it’s truly not that complicated.  Just follow the steps, as you would with any recipe.  Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

Recently I was contacted by Ball about National Can-it-Foward Day, which happens to be tomorrow.  The concept behind this event is to allow home cooks to connect via a national circuit of canning parties and social media activities. New and experienced canners can participate in a live webcast of canning demos where viewer questions will be answered in real-time.  This year, chef and Food Network star Ted Allen will be live on site demoing his favorite canning recipes for viewers.  Tune in tomorrow (Saturday, August 17 at 10 am-2 pm EDT) if you are interested!  Not only that, but Ball is also providing a fun giveaway for my readers with some great canning supplies to get you started.  Visit the giveaway page to find out more and to enter!

Honestly, I had the hardest time deciding what to make in celebration of this home preserving day.  I already have a list a mile long of all the different canning recipes I would like to try.  Eventually I decided upon a simple cherry jam because of my obsession with cherries, and also my recent realization that I have done far too little with them this summer.  I found several recipes that looked promising but then nearly fell over when I saw the amount of sugar called for.  Thankfully a lot of researching (and texting with Tara) helped me work out a game plan for a cherry jam that wasn’t more sugar than fruit.  As much as I would have loved to make a tart cherry jam (swoon), I can almost never find tart cherries around here.  I ended up adding lemon juice to this recipe to add some tartness.  If you can find tart cherries, just use those and omit the lemon juice.

I hope you all decide to do some canning or preserving this weekend whether you are a newbie or well experienced.  As it happens, I was already planning on starting my tomato canning tomorrow in preparation for the winter months ahead, so this really is perfect timing.  Yay canning!

Disclaimer:  Ball invited me to promote National Can-it-Forward Day on my blog, and I happily agreed since I am a big fan of their products and also love that they have roots in nearby Muncie, IN.  I did not receive materials or compensation for writing this post (but Ball is providing the prizes for the giveaway.)  All opinions expressed are my own.