So, I’m pretty sure I’m crazy. No sane person would ever try to can, let alone can jam, with a 2 month old. Especially one that refuses to nap for more than 20 minutes at a time and eats every hour and a half. What can I say? I like to roll dangerously close to the line of insanity for the sake of caramelized onions at my reach all year round. Making them from scratch every time is a bitch.
Is the jam ridiculously delicious? Hell yeah!
Was the process ridiculously hard with a baby? Fuckin’ eh.
But lucky for you, I came away with a few pointers for you other psycho moms out there interested in canning with babies. It is possible! My tips and the recipe after the jump.
The highlights of my canning experience: there was a lot of crying at first, both from the baby for wet diapers and such, and from myself because of the massive amount of onions I chopped. You’d think I’d heard that Richard Simmons died, I was sobbing so hard.
The trick with the baby was prepping as much of the recipe in advance as possible, and having a team of baby distracters at your disposal. For example, one of my baby distracters is the crib, which has a musical mobile the baby loves to watch for roughly 15-20 minutes at a time. This is where I stuck the baby while I chopped the onions (which you won’t have to do if you prep them the night before. I did not. Learn from my mistakes.), because really? She’s got enough to cry about on her own without adding chopped onions to the mix.
While caramelizing the onions, which took FOREVER (almost three hours for six onions), I rotated the baby through her swing, her play mat, her Bumpo chair on the counter and finally, when she could stand to be away from me no longer, the mai tai baby carrier. And yes, I was super careful about getting too close to the stove with her on me. I even threw an apron on over her once she fell asleep to protect her from splatters. While caramelizing, I had to stop twice to feed her.
Once I added the sugar and started cooking the jam, I had the baby in her bouncer in the kitchen with me, but not close to the stove (jam burns like the devil).
Another feeding, and then back into the bouncer she went so I could fill the jars and seal the cans in the canning pot.
Making and Canning Jam with a baby tips:
*Make a list of what to do and baby distracters you have. Be sure to mark in the recipe where you could stop to feed the baby without messing anything up.
*Buy ingredients before canning day (I didn’t do this, and it made for one LONG day)
*Prep all ingredients night before canning day, including measuring and chopping (Do it once baby goes to bed)
*Start jam, and after you caramelize the onions, turn on the stove so the canning pot will boil
*Start cans in dishwasher on short cycle(keep in dishwasher until right before you need them so they stay warm)
*Add the sugar and start simmering onions until jam holds a gel
*Fill jars and get into canning pot ASAP
And if you want to reward yourself for working so hard canning with a baby, I highly suggest you cook up some burgers, top them with cheese and bacon, a bit of this jam, and some sour cream. Thank me later.
To see how I tested the pH of this jam, check out this post.