We started with apricot jam. Apricots at the produce market were 99 cents a pound. I bought a bag and made jam. It was such a hit at the house, I bought another bag and made a second batch. (When I made the second batch, I invited two of my nieces over to help/watch the process. One niece is working on her Knowledge Value Project for church. Last fall I taught her how to draft an A-line skirt pattern and sew it. And last winter I taught her how to make soap w hen I was making it for Christmas.)
And then we made raspberry jam with all the raspberries we picked for free. The kids loved doing a toast/bread sampler testing both varieties at the same time.
Then, while at the store, I noticed bing cherries were $1.99/pound, which is really cheap for bing cherries. So I picked up two big bags. Joe loves cherries and we can only afford to buy them when they are $2 a pound. I had just planned on eating the cherries, but while I was browsing my beloved Ball Blue Book, I ran across a recipe for bing cherry jam and well ...
Who am I not to try the recipe? It would have been a crime to pass it by. (I didn't add the liqueur or cloves to the recipe and it was still delish. This recipe is similar except mine didn't call for salt.) I accidentally pitted and chopped too many cherries, so I immediately made a second batch.
And a neighbor of mine, who knew of my rhubarb obsession, went to an auction and bought four large bunches of rhubarb for $1 and brought them down. I stewed the rhubarb and canned it for future strawberry-rhubarb pies. (Just before the neighbor brought down the rhubarb, I had made a batch of strawberry-extra-rhubarb jam. My second batch of the season.)
So, that's what I've been up to. I've gone through about 15 pounds of sugar and several boxes of pectin in the past week. BUT, here is the unofficial breakdown of what I accomplished:
apricot jam: 10 1/2-pints + 2 pints
raspberry jam: 7 1/2-pints + 1 pint
strawberry-rhubarb jam: 1 1/2-pint + 3 pints
cherry jam: 8 1/2-pints + 2 pints
stewed rhubarb: 3 pints
Plus I had enough of each to sample and put a jar in the fridge (and give a jar to my nieces for their hard work).
I wanted to mention that I picked up this little set at Walmart for $10 last week. Although I'm not a "beginner" canner, it's great for smaller batches. It fit right inside one of my cooking pots, using less water. It would be great if you are short on storage space or don't want to invest a ton of money on a larger canner.