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Canning2I have a little obsession with mason jars. I use them for almost everything. I use them for packing my smoothies for a post-workout, on-the-go refuel, for shaking up and storing homemade salad dressing, for mixing up delicious salads, for holding beautiful flower bouquets, even for serving wine at fancy dinner parties. The only thing I’ve never used them for is their intended use—canning! That is until Jarden Home Brands contacted me and asked if I would review their Ball Canning Discovery Kit in honor of International Can-It-Forward Day, which was earlier this month. They told me if I could boil water I could can…so I was in! Plus I really LOVE mason jars, so how could I say no?

A few days later I received a box full of goodies: a Ball Canning Discovery Kit, Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, Design Series Lids in a beautiful red, and a container of Ball Fiesta Salsa Mix.

I opened up the Discovery Kit and started by checking out the simple guide. I quickly assembled my canning rack and prepped all of the gear. The instructions were all very clear and simple. The only difficult part: deciding what to make first.

You can make zesty salsa, fresh corn relish, dill pickles, barbecue sauce, Caribbean chutney, sweet apple butter…the list goes on and on. My 7 year old just discovered how to make his nachos by himself, so I decided to give salsa a try.

Here’s what I needed:

  • 2 pounds (about 6 medium) fresh tomatoes
  • Vinegar
  • Ball Fiesta Salsa Mix

Canning5I diced the tomatoes and placed them in a medium saucepan with the vinegar and salsa mix, brought everything to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Viola! We have salsa! At this point you can either cool the salsa to room temperature, ladle it into a jar and keep it in the refrigerator and enjoy it for up to 3 weeks or you can place the jar in the canning rack, submerge it in boiling water and preserve the salsa so you can enjoy it within the year. I decided to keep one jar for now and preserved the other.

The salsa was so simple to make, the instructions were so simple to follow, and it tasted pretty good too! I will definitely make it again, but next time I think I would use extra tomatoes, a little less salsa mix (it was a little bit salty for me), and maybe a dash of hot sauce.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up some Jersey fresh produce at your local farmers market and can it for the winter!

Canning3

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