How Your Summer Jam Session Can Cut Your Holiday Spending

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When my husband and I first got married we rented a tiny house with an incredibly small 2’x4′ garden, and all we had room for in that first garden of ours was about 50 strawberry plants.

It wasn’t much, but gardening gave me such a feeling of accomplishment and I was so proud of those first strawberries that I really wanted to make every single berry count.

While I was at the library one day looking for cookbooks with strawberry recipes (you know, before the internet was invented and we could search online for recipes) I happened upon my first canning book. I was mesmerized.

Although canning jam is pretty straight forward, canning was not something I grew up around so to say I was intimidated by the whole canning process would be a major understatement. But as that first summer wore on I slowly got the hang of home canning and before I knew it we had about 60 jars of jam sitting in our cupboards.

Now, my husband likes jam as much as the next guy, but 60 jars? How on earth were we supposed to eat 60 jars of jam in a single year before they all went bad? (The USDA recommends eating home canned jam within 1 year)

It took us a few minutes, but then we had a light bulb moment.  “We’ll give jars of jam away as Christmas gifts.”

And right there, in that tiny little kitchen of ours a tradition was started. Every year since then we’ve made various jams and jellies for our family and friends during the summer months from our garden produce.

Canning. It’s cheap, easy and fun. So get out there, grow an extra row and get some of those Christmas gifts crossed off your list this summer. Come winter, you’ll be glad you did.

~Mavis

All photos courtesy of Mavis Butterfield

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