Marmalade and My Fear of Canning


I hate to admit it, but I have a fear of canning.

I make “jarred” recipes all the time, but I never do the whole water bath processing step. The step that would allow me to save what I make to eat in the future.

Take, for instance, this marmalade that I adapted from a recipe I found on Food in Jars, a great blog devoted to home canning. The recipe for Three Citrus Marmalade is found here.

I used 1 grapefruit, 8 blood oranges, and 2 Meyer lemons in my marmalade…


…and instead of peeling and chopping the rinds, removing the pith and “supreming” the citrus and as Marisa recommends, I chopped everything like this:


I added a couple of splashes of rum while the marmalade was cooking and I decreased the sugar a bit. I really like how it came out.


But I didn’t can it (because I’m afraid). And who am I kidding? There’s no way I can eat this much marmalade, especially since I already have jars and jars of two other kinds of marmalade that I made this winter in my fridge!

So I really need to get over my fear of canning. And soon. If you have any tips for me, please share them in the comments below!

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13 thoughts on “Marmalade and My Fear of Canning”

  1. Botulinum inhibits the body’s production of acetylcholine within the nervous system, the chemical that produces a bridge across synapses, where nerve cell axons and dendrites connect with each other. All forms lead to paralysis that typically starts with the muscles of the face and then spreads towards the limbs.’^’:

    Keep it up

  2. I’m also too afraid to can! Even though my mother and grandmother have done it for years. I just freeze my extra jams. You could always try that with what you have in your fridge :)

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  4. Check out Tigeress in a Jam’s blog. She has a lot good info on jamming in general and on hot water processing. A wealth of recipes too.

  5. I have some canning posts on my site that may encourage you and help to alleviate some of that fear. Usually what people are afraid of is botulism. That just doesnt happen in things that are canned with sugar, vinegar/salt and high acid foods like apples or tomatoes. Do some research. Knowledge is power. I hope that you do can eventaully. It is a fully rewarding experience, economical and a way to eat more locally. The best to you.

  6. That marmalade is just gorgeous! And Marisa of Food in Jars is an excellent resource. I always take solace in the fact that high acid fruit is the safest thing to can, as Green Hypnotist notes above. If you stick to tested and approved recipes, there should be no problems!

  7. I kinda have a bit of a fear of canning too. However, I did can already 5 different recipes. My fear is always that I would have left some air pocket that will develop over time, or that I will open a jar with HAAAIIIRRRR – oh the horror !

    However, it may seem silly, but I was still kinda very confident about my canning (I mean I can’t do it in such a bad way that it’s worse than for the people who canned 100 years ago ?) and my first batch went as christmas gifts for the family. My mother in law, which is a chef, waited about 3 months to open her jar, and said she loved the plum jam. I’ve had other comments too, to reassure me that everything was fine.

    My only problem now is that I like to can things, and that I seem to stock up on those jars left and do new recipes, instead of just eating what’s there… I mean it’s no fun if you can it and open it the next day, right ? :P

  8. WINNIE! i am afraid too. we should can together this summer, especially IF you have lots of extra garden goodies. i have some supplies (jars and a pressure cooker?? from a family member). also, i bought this really great cookbook, Preserved, which shows you how to preserve in all of the methods: smoking, salting, canning, dehydrating, fermenting, etc . . . i mean, who wouldn’t want to make yellow plum and mango fruit roll-ups??? or even better . . . EAT THEM!

  9. Ed- true true…the fear is not without reason…personal safety and a desire to stay alive. I just know we can learn how to can safely though!

    GH- thanks you for the tips…I will visit Ball for sure. Thank you so much for the BPA tip, as well. I do have some glass lidded jars, which I prefer, and I will try to find more of those.

  10. Hi Winnie
    I’ve been canning for more years than I care to admit with about 40 ribbons at local fairs for my canning! There are a couple different types of food to be canned. Fruit, pickles and tomatoes are high acid and are easier to can; therefore can be canned in a hot water bath. Sugar is a preservative, so jams, jellies and fruit preserves are a great place to start. I do suggest visiting the Ball website. They have a lot of info and how to guides. The Ball company also puts out a great info book. It has lots of basic information regarding times, troubleshooting and how to know if you’re doing it ‘right’, etc. I highly suggest you start just what you are doing with jams, etc. Do a bit of research how alcohol reacts to fruits while canning and if you need to adjust the time (it’s called Brandied Fruit) It’s been years since I canned brandied fruit, but it too is simple.

    Also, just an FYI, because this is a healthy green site I would need to mention that if you’re concerned about BPA, the metal covers of the glass jars are coated in BPA. I’m currently replacing my jars with glass lidded jars.

    Good luck in your canning endeavors, you won’t be sorry. But you will have friends, neighbors and family putting in their orders!!!