Fall is here! But don’t worry, it’s not all rain and cold weather. Fall is a beautiful season of bounty, and you can make the most of that bounty by taking up your new favourite hobby: canning. That beautiful jam you like? You can make it. Dill pickles? You can make those too. Those cans of tomatoes you buy every other week? Yep, you got it! All you need is a bit of equipment and a bit of know-how. London Drugs has got you covered on both counts.
Canning is really just a way of preserving food. Water bath canning is the easiest way to start: you fill glass jars with the stuff you want to preserve (jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) and boil them in hot water. This kills any bacteria present, removes air from the jar, and seals it to prevent any more bacteria from getting in. Water bath canning only works for high-acid foods like fruit, tomatoes, and pickled things.
If you want to get really fancy and preserve your perfect pumpkin pie filling, you’ll need to upgrade to a pressure canner. But the basic process is to sterilize your jars in boiling water, make your preserves, put those preserves in the jars, put on the lids, and throw them back in boiling water. Easy peasy, right?
We’ve got a complete canning kit that includes the jar lifter, lid lifter, and funnel, as well as 250ml jars, 500ml jars, and even 1L jars for things like pickles and whole tomatoes. If you’re making jam or jelly, you’ll also need pectin.
Once you’ve acquired the equipment, you need to decide what you want to can! In early fall we still have stone fruit like peaches and plums, and lots of tomatoes. Later in the season, root vegetables like carrots and beets can make some excellent pickles. And apples, of course!
If you’ve got a well stocked grocery store that brings in produce from further afield, you can can small batches with basically any type of fruit. We’ve got recipes for strawberry balsamic jam and sour cherry jelly on the blog from earlier this summer. (What’s the difference between jam and jelly, you ask? Jam is made from crushed fruit while jelly is made from fruit juice! The more you know.)
Canning isn’t difficult, but when mistakes are made they can range from something minor like a jam that doesn’t set to something dangerous like food that is unsafe to eat. You may balk at the amount of sugar in some of these recipes, but it’s integral to getting the jelly or jam to set properly, and it helps prevent spoilage.
Boiling time will vary depending on what altitude you’re at. You also can’t reuse the flat part of the two part lid for canning jars; you can reuse the ring, but you need a new lid each time you can. And don’t forget to sterilize your jars before filling them with your preserves!
There are a ton of great websites you can go to for more information and recipes, including the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Food in Jars, and Punk Domestics. Companies that make canning supplies like Bernardin and Ball are also fantastic resources.
Here are a few of our favourite fall recipes. Go ahead and get canning! You can can!
There’s no time like the present to dust off that waffle iron you received as a wedding gift two years ago. The same applies to the slow cooker only brought out for potlucks, and the popcorn machine you can’t reach at the back of the cupboard. When it comes to kitchen appliances, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Coffee makers and dishwashers are capable of doing much more than what it claims on their packaging. The following hacks take everyday kitchen appliances (and a few kitchen tools!) from one-dimensional to multi-faceted.
We all know how frustrating it can be trying to butter a fluffy piece of toast with a cold slab of butter. Not only can a cheese grater solve all your butter problems, but it can also double as a vegetable slicer, spice grinder, and chocolate shaver. Find more grater hacks here.
Domo stone-ground matcha tea is made with authentic matcha and all-natural vanilla, with no cholesterol and no saturated or trans fats.
Everyone knows about the health benefits of drinking Japanese green tea. But not everyone realizes that matcha tea has an even higher concentration of healthy compounds than regular green tea. Matcha not only tastes great – it’s one of the healthiest drinks you can enjoy.
This stuff is good for you
Did you know that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods reduces damage to cells and biochemicals, and can help fend off disease and aging? Matcha contains as much as 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice, and up to 200 times that of regular green tea. Researchers are also finding that the antioxidants in green tea may help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and control blood pressure. In addition, regular matcha drinkers enjoy a metabolic rate increase of 35-40%. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll know that’s a good thing!
Did you know that you have a secret weapon in your kitchen? One thing that will help you make delicious dinners, tasty breakfasts, feasts for game day and impressive treats for your in-laws? You do – it’s called a slow cooker. Here’s our guide to getting that humble appliance out on the counter and making delicious meals for you and your family.
If said slow cooker is still in the box that your mother-in-law dropped it off in, you might need a primer. Slow cookers are super-easy to use, but there are a few things to remember. First of all, slow cooking is…slow. Yes, you can turn the heat up to high and cut the cooking time to four hours or so, but that’s often not the best strategy. Plan ahead! Remember also that if you’re cooking with kidney beans or other dry beans that contain high levels of phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin that can cause powerful stomach cramps and nausea, that you need to prepare the beans properly by boiling. A slow cooker will not get hot enough to neutralize the toxin.
Almost everything that will come out of a well-planned slow cooker will be delicious, but there are some basic rules to follow. Brown meat prior to adding to the pot to get a lovely caramelized crust. Don’t peek once things are underway – you’ll only lengthen the cooking time. Don’t add too much liquid. The slow cooker lid will prevent evaporation, so you only need a touch. Also, skip the prime rib and head straight for the chuck; the prime rib won’t stand up well to the long, slow heat.
One last tip – coat the inside of the slow cooker with a small amount of vegetable oil before putting food in there. It makes clean-up a snap.
[More at Jamie Oliver]
Cold and flu season is upon us again. Need help finding the foods and drinks that’ll speed your recovery and get you back on your feet? We take care of that.
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Doing battle with a cold means taking in plenty of fluids and as many phlegm-fighting foods as you can. Here are some of the best choices.
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The idea here—supported by a new report from Switzerland— is that North Americans have been on the wrong diet for 50 years. We’ve been avoiding natural, healthy fats—such as those found in red meat, butter and eggs—to disastrous effect.
Though generally condemned, many natural fats found in food have positive impacts on your body, including increased energy, lower rates of diabetes, and weight loss. Read on to discover the full-fat foods that help you lose from the waist by adding to the plate. Your diet will never be the same.
[More at Yahoo Health]
|With its surge in popularity over the last year, there’s no avoiding the usefulness of the Fitbit. From the Zip, which tracks your steps, calories, and distance, to the Apple Watch-like Surge, there’s a Fitbit for everyone. The happy medium seems to be the slim and lightweight Flex, which is affordable and functional – it’s even got the sleep tracking capability.|
|Fitbit’s smart scale tracks your weight, body fat percentage, and BMI, and connects to your Fitbit data through the free Fitbit app for iOS and Android. The Aria is available in both black and white for the design-focused fitness buff.|
|The second option for a smart scale is the Taylor Smart Scale. It’s extremely accurate, and connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth to track your weight. It even allows you to set goals and track progress within the scale’s user interface. Or, you can connect the data with our next suggestion.|
|The app that tracks your eating habits and calorie intake also serves as an aggregator of data. It can sync with both your Fitbit and your Taylor Smart Scale to create a cohesive summary of your fitness goals and progress. Accessible from both your smartphone and your desktop computer, My Fitness Pal is easy-to-use and effective in helping you track data and get fit.|
|Once you step up your cardio (gotta put that Fitbit to work!), it might be worth upgrading those old Walkman headphones. The Jabra Sport Plus model is wireless, so there’s no concern about tangled cords. For tunes, you can listen to iTunes or Spotify through Bluetooth from your smartphone, or if you don’t feel like hauling any extra weight along, the headphones can connect to FM radio.|
|If you still haven’t been able to kick the habit, new technology will soon be available to help you out. The Quitbit lighter tracks your cigarettes to help you better understand your habit. The accompanying smartphone app allows you to view your smoking trends and cigarette spending, and lets you share with friends (in case peer pressure helps your efforts!). You can even limit your cigarettes by pre-setting your smoke times – the Quitbit will only allow you to light up at the scheduled time.|
|The Smartmat is the world’s first intelligent yoga mat – or, it will be. Though the exciting new product isn’t available for purchase yet, it is in final stages. Funded through Indiegogo, the mat is intended to teach the user yoga. An accompanying app guides the user through yoga classes, and the responsive mat gives the user verbal instructions on how to improve their form. Namaste, technology.|
|If you’re kicking up your cardio, it’s worth investing in a blood pressure monitor. The QardioArm is compact, easy to use, and dependable. Nothing should stop you from living life to its fullest.|
|The Netatmo allows you to view info about your home’s condition, right on your smartphone. It will tell you what to expect in terms of temperature, humidity, indoor air quality, noise pollution, and monitors CO2. When the air quality deteriorates it chooses the right time for you to ventilate your home or room. Plus, you can personalize the settings to keep you comfortable.|