Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category

Top 12 Recipes of 2012

Happy New Year’s Eve! As I’m switching my planner to 2013, it seems like I was shopping for a 2012 planner at Target just yesterday. This year seemed to move at lightening speed — with a new nephew, new jobs, new friends, new gym, new home projects and a whole lot more. Yes, 2012 was an awesome year, but I feel strangely optimistic that 2013 will be even better :)


Since the countdown is happening tonight, I thought I would do my own. Here are my Top 12 Recipes of 2012.

#12) Coffee Rum Chata

#11) Canned Apple Pie Filling

#10) Stuffed Pepper Casserole

#9) Tamale Pie

#8) Homemade Marshmallows

#7) Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

#6) Corn and Scallion Sourdough Pancakes

#5) Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread

#4) Spicy Tomato Peanut Butter Soup

#3) Japanese Eggplant Parmesan with Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce

#2) Chicken Enchilada Soup

#1) Shrimp and Grits

Question: What is your favorite recipe from 2012? Links welcome!

How to Can Apple Pie Filling

Every year we head to a local apple orchard to pick apples or just buy them directly from the source. With the especially hot and dry summer we had in Wisconsin, it’s pretty difficult to find an orchard where you can pick your own (instead you just purchase them already bagged).

So far I’ve bought 15 pounds of apples from an orchard in Appleton, Wisconsin (ironic, right!). I used some to can Cranberry Apple Butter, which would be fantastic in Apple Butter Granola now that I think of it. But my true goal was to make apple pie filling.

Apple pie filling can be used in so many things, such as:

  1. Apple pie
  2. Apple crisp
  3. As a topping for pancakes/waffles
  4. In a yogurt parfait with granola
  5. Heated up in a bowl with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

For those of you who don’t like, or can’t, can (pardon the pun!), you can easily make this recipe and divide it among freezer bags.

I did a lot of research before deciding which canning recipe to try. Ball is the absolute expert on this subject. Although I found a tasty looking recipe on, I trusted Ball to make sure these methods are proven and safe.

One of the main difference between the Ball recipe and the other ones I’ve seen is the use of ClearJel versus cornstarch. The more I read, the more I discovered that cornstarch hasn’t been shown safe to can with because heat infiltration during the water bath canning process can’t be measured as easily. I also read that cornstarch can alter the look and taste of the pie filling when it’s heated up.

Therefore, I bit the bullet and bought some ClearJel (which you can pretty much only find online). I bought mine from for only $3.99/pound. Since the shipping is expensive, I decided to make my shopping trip worth it and buy Carob Covered Raisins and Whole Wheat Fig Bars. Everything I tried was delicious and arrived at my house within a few days.

This recipe made a little more than 7 pints, so I used the extra to make a mini apple pie with some dough from a galette I made earlier that day (funny how perfectly that worked out). It was delicious without being too sweet. The only thing I did different was not blanch the apples before making the filling (find Ball’s original recipe for apple pie filling here). I didn’t think it was necessary because the apples were already sliced thin enough when I used this handy device:



Canning Cranberry Apple Butter

For me, nothing screams fall like apple picking, changing leaves and knee-length riding boots. It may only be early October, but I have successfully enjoyed all three.

When you combine my love of apples with my new favorite hobby, canning, it was only a matter of time until the two joined forces in the kitchen.

Well, that match made in heaven happened this past weekend. I canned my own Apple Pie Filling (post to come soon) and this delicious Cranberry Apple Butter.

This has been the easiest thing I’ve canned so far. So if you’re a newbie like me, it’s a great starting point. I saw this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Mommie Cooks. When I saw that Julie used a slow cooker to make the apple butter, I was sold. Not to mention a bag of frozen cranberries was sitting in our chest freezer since last Thanksgiving, so I couldn’t wait to use that up!


Canning Instructions: Prep your jars and lids for canning. Ladle butter in 3 pint jars (or 6 half-pint jars) and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, let jars rest in the rack (after being lifted to the top rim of the canner) for 5 minutes. Place jars on a dish towel on the counter and let cool for 24 hours before removing the bands and storing.

Question: Are you an apple butter fan? This is one of those foods that I hated when I was younger but now love as an adult.

Homemade Garlic Dill Pickles

Ok, so this post may be a little overdue. But I still wanted to show you guys my last canning experiment.

In July, I canned for the first time ever by myself. I could have picked something seasonal, but I had homemade lemon curd on the brain. I still have half a jar left (which I’ve been eating on Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread and my own creation – cashew butter and lemon curd sandwiches….TO DIE FOR!).

Heart cucumbers

The other thing I just had to learn to do was make homemade pickles. I tried Garlic Dill Pickles and Bread and Butter Pickles using the water bath canner from West Bend. The dill pickles turned out fabulous and I’ve been giving jars away as gifts. The bread and butter pickles? Inedible. They shrank and went limp (insert the part where I tell you to get your head out of the gutter!). But seriously, I was not happy and I don’t know what went wrong. I followed a recipe from the Ball canning company. Until I figure that mess out, here is the recipe for the Garlic Dill Pickles. But beware, they are very vinegary (which probably means that Brigitt will love these!).



Question: Have you ever made anything that has turned out completely wrong? My other kitchen fail that I can’t forget was making a spinach and artichoke mac and cheese from Rachel Ray. It said to broil for 30 minutes in the oven. That was obviously wrong because it was burnt after 5!

Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread

Happy Friday! This week has crept by at a snail’s pace (probably because I’m excited for all that’s going on this weekend). Tomorrow I’m tacking a 9-mile run before getting a massage (woo hoo!). There’s also Irish Fest, a fun blogger’s brunch and trolling the farmers market (but not necessarily in that order).

If you’re heading to the market, or your garden is overflowing with zucchini, I’m sure you’ll appreciate these recipes. I posted about Potato Carrot Zucchini Pancakes last year and it’s remained one of the top-rated posts on the blog.

And this, my friends, may be the healthiest zucchini bread you’ll find (that still tastes good). It’s a Whole-Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread. Of course I had to smear some homemade lemon curd on top. (BTW, I canned this on July 22. This was the first time I popped open a jar…it worked!).


For best results, store loosely draped with a kitchen towel. Wrapping your bread in plastic or foil will result in gummy texture.

Question: Any fun weekend plans? Favorite zucchini recipes? Feel free to link up!

Canning Homemade Lemon Curd + A Giveaway!

I’ve made yogurt, pretzels and Pop Tarts – all from scratch. However, none of these scare me like canning does.

First of all, canning looks complicated. There’s a long process, sterilization, following a recipe exactly and then getting a good seal at the end. On the other hand, I see neighbors with their stockpile of homemade dill pickles and vendors at the farmers market with rows of homemade jam, and I think, I really want to do this.

I helped Brenton’s parents make applesauce in the fall of 2009 (I know this because I just recently used up my last jar and that was the date on it). My part was cooking the apples down. I vaguely remember the jars being washed beforehand in the dishwasher and the huge burner outside that processed the applesauce. Other than that, I’m at a loss for what went on.

So I was thrilled to finally be able to learn to can when the folks at West Bend sent me their water bath canner and home canning kit.

Although I was still a little intimidated, I did a bunch of research online beforehand to get comfortable with the process. I found this great video from that was very informative. The National Center for Home Food Preservation was another helpful resource as was the blog Food in Jars.

For my first canning experience, I decided to adapt Marisa’s Meyer Lemon Curd.

According to the blog post, the recipe made 1 pint. I wanted to fill four half-pint jars (2 pints) so I doubled it. However, I easily had enough for six half-pints.

First, I washed all my jars in the dishwasher. While I was making my lemon curd, I put the jars and lids in simmering water in a small pot.

At the same time, I filled half of the water bath canner with water, put it on the stove over medium-high heat and let it simmer.

After the lemon curd is done cooking, you strain it to catch any seeds or cooked pieces of egg.

During this process, you want to make sure everything you need is within reach.

Once the lemon curd was finished and I was ready to can, I used the jar lifter from my canning kit to remove the jars. This tool is essential for canning. It gets the jars out easily with no mess.

Next, I used the funnel to fill the lemon curd in the jars leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Afterward, I wiped the rim of the jar with a clean rag. Then I used the kit’s magnetic lid lifter to secure the lid.

Next, I screwed on the metal screw band. Since the water bath canner is meant to hold seven 1-quart jars, I was worried that my tiny half-pints wouldn’t fit. I fixed the problem by putting them side-by-side, which worked out perfectly.

After all of my jars were ready, I lowered the metal crack and let the water come up to a boil. Then I processed the lemon curd for 20 minutes. After that time, I turned off the burner and brought the rack back up to the top to rest and waited five minutes. I heard a bunch of popping (a good sign!), but Oliver was confused.

The finished product…

Here is what I had leftover…



The people at West Bend gave me an extra home canning kit to give away to one lucky She’s on the Run reader.

To Enter:

1. (Mandatory) Leave me a comment telling me what you would can if you won the home canning kit.

For an extra entry ***Make sure you leave an extra comment telling me you have done any of the following:

2. Tweet about the giveaway: Alysha @Shesontherun has an awesome @WestBendKitchen Giveaway!

3. Follow me on Twitter @Shesontherun

4. Follow me on Facebook

That’s 4 chances to enter! I’ll be choosing a winner on Saturday morning, July 28, 2012. Good luck!

Disclaimer: West Bend has given me this product to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Welcome to She's on the Run! I'm Alysha, a copywriter and food writer living in Milwaukee. I live to run, write and explore wonderful food - this blog is how I find balance while constantly being on the run. Feel free to reach me at with any questions or comments.
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