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Low Sugar Apricot Strawberry Jam

This sweet, tangy, and bright apricot strawberry jam is the perfect marriage of early season stonefruit and juicy berries. Try it stirred into yogurt or as a glaze for roast chicken.

A stainless steel pan, filled with chopped apricots and strawberries.

Several weeks ago, before the local season for either apricots or strawberries started, I found myself wandering through Reading Terminal Market. I was there to pick up a few things for a recipe development gig, and had no intention of buying out-of-season fruit that had traveled great distances.

A stainless steel pan filled with sugared apricots and strawberries.

I was walking with purpose towards the herbs, when the sight of a pile of tiny, brightly hued apricots stopped me mid-step and I was suddenly powerless to resist them. Before I knew what I was doing, I had a plastic bag in my hand and I was filling it with perfect fruit. With the bag nestled into my basket, I went a few more steps before I was again stopped by a display of incredibly fragrant strawberries. They joined the apricots. This is the not the first time I’ve fallen sway to fruit.

The chopped and sugared apricots and strawberries, after they've sat and gotten juicy.

Once home, I snacked on the fruit a bit (both to get a sense of their state of sweet and tart, and because it all smelled so good) and then weighed out what remained. I worked up a recipe ratio in my head and got to the work of pitted, hulling, and chopping.

The fully cooked apricot strawberry jam.

In the end, I used 2 1/2 pounds of apricots and 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries. Using a ratio of four parts fruit to one part sugar, I measured out 2 cups of sugar, which is approximately 1 pound. I settled the fruit into my Kilner jam pan, added most of the sugar, gave it a good stir, and then let it sit for several hours, so that the sugar could dissolve and help draw the juice from the fruit. Later, I added some lemon juice to help balance the flavors, and used Pomona’s Pectin to get it to set up.

Five half pint jars filled with apricot strawberry jam.

Once cooked, I had exactly five half pints of really delicious jam, that starts with the flavor of apricots and finishes with the strawberry. I typically keep a box of recently made jams and preserves next to my front door, so that I can easily grab things to share with friends and neighbors. However, this is one that I’ve actively kept out of the box, because I want to keep it all for myself. It’s just that good.

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Blackberry Lavender Jam on Freshly Preserved Ideas

Ball-Blackberries-Animated-GIF

This summer, I’m teaming up with the folks at Ball Canning (much like I did last year) to help spread the word about the many pleasures of home canning AND their annual International Can-It-Forward Day. You’ll be hearing lots more about the various CIFD events and the fun new tools they’ve made available online this summer over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.

To kick off this year’s partnership, I’ve got a recipe for you. I’ve actually developed a series of recipes that will live on the new Tumblr from our Ball Canning friends, called Freshly Preserving Ideas. The first of those recipes, Blackberry Lavender Jam, went live today.

This jam contains a medium amount of sugar, has a mellow hint of lavender, and is just the right balance of sweet and tart. If blackberries are already in season where you live, I encourage you to make this one immediately. And if you’ve still got some time to go, bookmark it for the moment they arrive.

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Honey Sweetened Strawberry Vanilla Jam

Five jars of honey sweetened strawberry vanilla jam.

If this post is accurate (which, to my best count, it is), there are at least 14 ways to preserve strawberries in the archives of this site. There are yet more versions in my books. And yet, despite all these approaches, I can’t resist adding this honey sweetened strawberry vanilla jam variant to the conversation.

Sliced strawberries in a large pot, with honey drizzling down.

A couple of pieces of advice before you take on this recipe. Number one, use really delicious honey. The flavor of the honey really comes through in this recipe, so you want to use one that tastes amazing (I used some of the honey that Camille from Old Blue Raw Honey gave me when I saw her back in March).

Six jars of honey sweetened strawberry vanilla jam.

My second piece of advice is to get yourself a small stash of grade B vanilla beans from a purveyor like Beanilla. They have all the flavor of the grade A versions, and are markedly cheaper. And if vanilla beans aren’t in the cards for you, a jar of vanilla bean paste is better than vanilla extract, because you’ll still get the speckle and flavor from the seeds.

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Low Sugar Blackberry Rhubarb Jam

three jars of low sugar blackberry rhubarb jam on a bench

Lately, Trader Joe’s had been selling 12 ounce containers of blackberries for right around $3.50. For those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest, it might seem crazy to pay for good money for blackberries since come August, they’re going to be everywhere. But for those of us who live in less blackberry-rich environs, this is a very good price.

blackberries, rhubarb, and sugar in a pot before being cooked into jam

As a result, I’ve been making lots of preserves with blackberries. I did a batch scented with lavender, and another batch with cinnamon and nutmeg, like my mom always makes. I also did this low sugar blackberry rhubarb jam, encouraged by an email from a reader who asked if I’d ever done such a combination).

I really love how it turned out. Tangy from the rhubarb, rich from the berries, and just sweet enough with a relatively small amount of sugar. If you wanted to make this jam with honey rather than with sugar, reduce the amount to 1 cup and save 1/3 a cup to add at the end with the pectin.

a close up of two jars of low sugar blackberry rhubarb jam

Oh, and if you don’t want to spring for blackberries now, but can get them at a better price later in the season, you can still make this jam. Just chop up a pound of rhubarb now, put it in a ziptop bag, and tuck it into the freezer until August. Frozen rhubarb behaves beautifully in jams.

Finally, if this jam doesn’t float your boat, I’ve got a couple other blackberry recipes in the archives. Perhaps my classic Blackberry Jam or this Blackberry Apricot Jam will float your boat!

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Upcoming Events: Easton, Hanover Township, Franklin Township, & Chicago!

homemade salad

My month of sticking close to home is half over! I have three more local events on the calendar for May, and then in June, I’m off to Chicago for a week of library events and classes!

Thursday, May 19 (Easton, PA)
I’ll be at the brand new Easton Public Market, teaching a hands on canning and preserving class. We’ll make a batch of Strawberry Cocoa Jam from start to finish and all participants will go home with a small jar of jam. 7-9 pm. $45. Register here.

Saturday, May 21 (Hanover Township, PA) You’ll find me at Dundee Gardens, offering a demo-style canning class. I’ll show you how to make a batch of Strawberry Cocoa Jam, and will get you ready to go home and make a batch yourself! 11 am. More info and registration.

Tuesday, May 24 (Franklin Township, NJ)
Find me at Franklin Township Library at 6:30 pm, for a canning demonstration and book signing.

 

Events in the Chicago Area

Sunday, June 5
Chicago Botanic Garden! Canning demo and book signing in the Garden Kitchen Amphitheater. 10:30 a.m. Admission is free but seating is limited.

Monday, June 6
Mundelein, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Fremont Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free.

Tuesday, June 7
Gurnee, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Warren-Newport Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free. Register here.

Wednesday, June 8
Lake Zurich, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Ela Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free.

Thursday, June 9
Northfield, IL! I’ll be speaking at a luncheon to benefit Canning for Kids and The Ferrer Foundation. More details here.
Chicago, IL! Event with Read It and Eat. More details coming soon.

Friday, June 10
Chicago, IL! Canning demo and book signing at The Chopping Block’s Merchandise Mart location. 5:30-6:30 pm. Free.

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Fourteen Ways to Preserve Strawberries and a Pie

hulling strawberries

I haven’t seen any local strawberries yet here in Philadelphia, but my sources say they’re coming any day now (just as soon as it warms up a little!). For those of you who have them or are just dreaming about them like I am, I thought I’d put together a collection of my strawberry preserves from over the years. At the end of this post, you’ll find a recipe for the strawberry pie I try to make at least once a year (because it’s just so good).

strawberries in a colander

The Small Batch Recipes

small batch strawberry vanilla

The small batch version of my beloved strawberry vanilla jam. I make several batches of this preserve every year because it’s quick and delicious.

quart of berries

An itty-bitty batch of strawberry rhubarb jam.

strawberry rhubarb rosemary

Strawberry rhubarb jam scented with rosewater. If you make this one, add the rosewater in stages, in case yours is more potent than the one I used.

strawberry fig jam

Strawberry fig jam. If you can’t get fresh figs, you could also make this one with frozen figs.

strawberries and kiwis - Food in Jars

Strawberry kiwi jam. A teeny, tiny, tangy jam.

finished strawberry caramel

Strawberry lavender caramel. A sweet sauce for drizzling and glazing.

strawberry balsamic jam

Strawberry balsamic jam. The perfect strawberry preserve for serving with cheese.

The Large Batch Recipes

strawberry vanilla jam large

My very first strawberry jam recipe. It’s a classic. It’s strawberry vanilla jam!

strawberries and apples

A nice big batch of dusty pink strawberry applesauce.

pint of strawberry vanilla jam

Want a big batch of strawberry jam with half the sugar? This low sugar version is for you!

strawberry chutney ingredients

For the fans of sweet and savory, consider this strawberry chutney. It’s so good with stinky, runny cheeses!

The Butters and Compotes

strawberry rhubarb butter

Strawberry rhubarb butter. Super smooth and spreadable.

maple strawberry butter

Slow cooker strawberry butter, sweetened with maple syrup.

roasted rhubarb and strawberries

Roasted rhubarb and strawberry compote. Eat it over yogurt. Stir it into oatmeal. Top it with granola and call it a crumble.

strawberry pie

Now for the pie. Check the recipe after the jump!

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