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Small Batch Spiced Blueberry Jam

On tonight’s live broadcast over on Facebook (Monday, June 18, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT), I am going to be making a small batch of spiced blueberry jam. This recipe is super speedy, because blueberries need so little prep and because it’s a small batch (it cooks down in less than 15 minutes!).

I will show you how to process the jars so that it’s shelf stable, but you could also scrape the jam into a couple containers, stash them in the fridge, and eat through them over the course of the next couple months. Perfect for folks who want to make their jam right now!

Oh, and don’t forget about Can Together! This month, we’re focusing on berry preserves. If you make something with berries and post it to social media, make sure to use the hashtag #cantogether so that your fellow jammers and picklers can find you. Let’s keep our preserving community strong!

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Mixed Berry Jam from Ball® Fresh Preserving Products

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.

Nearly every summer since 2012, I’ve been issued a preserving challenge by my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands. Some years, they’ve asked me to develop a few new canning recipes. Other years, I’ve trekked to New York or Indiana to offer canning demos. This year, I’m really excited because they’ve given me a handful of their most popular recipes and asked me to create new ways to use them (a concept that’s much like my upcoming book!).

So from now until September, once a month I’ll be sharing my process for making the preserve and then unveiling a recipe that transforms it into something new and delicious. For this first month, the preserve was Mixed Berry Jam (I preserved it in some of the Ball® Smooth Sided Half-Pint Jars pictured above and available for purchase here. These are the best jars for labeling!).

Right off the bat, I was delighted with their pick of recipe. It’s a relatively small batch, with a short, simple ingredient list. I also know berry jams to be really versatile, so I knew I’d be able to make something interesting with it.

You start by washing and mashing enough fruit to yield 4 cups. For me, this wound up being about 1 3/4 pounds fruit (I used single 1 pound package of strawberries, and 1 1/2 clamshells of blueberries).

You want to make sure you have your jars warming and the lids washed before you start cooking the jam, because the cook time is quite short and you do want the jars to be ready for you when you’re ready for them.

Once the berries are well-mashed, they get scraped into a large pan. You add the pectin powder (4 1/2 tablespoons), stir well to combine and bring the fruit to a boil, stirring constantly.

Always take care when moving pots of hot jam!

Once the fruit is boiling madly, you stream in the sugar and stir to combine. Bring that to a rapid boil and cook for just a minute longer. Once the time is up, you pull the pot from the stove. As it starts to cool from the boiling point, you should see visible signs of set, both on the spatula and the walls of the pot.

Then, working one at a time, fill each jar to 1/4 inch headspace, wipe the rim clean with a damp cloth, and apply a new, clean lid and ring. When all jars are full, process them in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes (adjusting your processing time for altitude, if necessary).

The finished jam is well-set, brightly flavored, and gorgeously colored. Check in tomorrow to discover what I did with it (hint: It’s something you can make on the weekend and eat for breakfast all week long!).

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Newell Brands as part of a compensated partnership. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. 

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Meyer Lemon Ginger Marmalade + Giveaway

One of the things that happens when I get close to a book deadline is that my life gets whittled down to the bare essentials. I work, I cook, I exercise, and I sleep. Things get very messy in my apartment, save for the moments of intense procrastination cleaning (the seams and edges of of my kitchen faucet have never sparkled so brightly).

Because the book I’m working on is not dedicated to preserving, my canning practice has really fallen flat in recent days. In fact, until I made this marmalade, it had been nearly a month since I’d canned anything. That’s the longest I’ve gone without firing up the water bath in the last decade.

However, no amount of book work is going to keep me away from Meyer lemon season. They’re only available for a short time each winter and since my order arrived from Lemon Ladies Orchard, I’ve been carving out little pockets of time to salt, dry, and preserve all that sunny lemon goodness.

For this batch of marmalade, I chose to boost the flavor with three ounces of finely grated ginger. I sometimes opt to add ginger flavor by juicing the ginger root, but because I’m short on time these days, I went for the quickest option that didn’t require cleaning another appliance.

I don’t mind having small bits of ginger flesh scattered throughout my marmalade. However, if you need the jelly component of your marmalade to be crystal clear, I suggest you make or buy ginger juice and use approximately 1/4 cup instead.

The other thing that got me excited to make this batch of marmalade was the fact that I had these snazzy Le Parfait 200 ml terrines in which to can it. I really enjoy using jars from Le Parfait because of their heft and sturdiness. They also make me feel instantly transported to Europe for far less money than a plane ticket.

Assembling Le Parfait jars for use is easy. Once you’ve given both the jars and the rubber gaskets a good washing with warm, soapy water, you fit the gaskets onto the lids, making sure that the easy-open tab is pointing off to the side of the jar (so that it doesn’t get in the way of the hinge or the clamp).

I warm them in my canning pot, and while filling take care to leave a little extra headspace, to ensure that there is plenty of space for the lids to close.

I’ve done a lot of writing about the art of making marmalade over the years, so I’m not going to rehash all those details here. If you’re coming to this post without ever having made marmalade before, I suggest you read these three posts before digging in.

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Submit your December Mastery Challenge Projects!

Hey folks! I’m a little late with this post, but if you completed the December Mastery Challenge task (fruit butters!), you can use this form to submit your projects!

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Ball Fresh Preserving Products Secret Santa – Soup Mix Jars

Most years, much of my holiday giving to friends, neighbors, and colleagues falls into a pretty predictable pattern. I buy a bunch of plain brown paper kraft bags and then fill them up with mix and match assortments of jam and pickles. Sometimes I really shake things up and add a jar of granola or some scone mix.

However, this year my habitual patterns are getting a big old shake up, thanks to my friends at Newell Brands, makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products. They asked me to come up with a delicious, crafty gift for a Secret Santa program that made good use of their Sure Seal Bail Storage Jars. Since these jars aren’t designed for canning, I couldn’t rely on my stable of friendly canning recipes.

I did some soul searching and came to the realization that I wanted to make soup mixes and I wanted them to be in the spirit of those classic Manichewitz soup mix tubes that my mom always kept in the pantry when I was growing up. Nostalgia and a dinner time helper, all in one handy package!

And so, I got down to work. I borrowed inspiration from the contents of those Manichewitz tubes and from this post on making five bean soup kits over on Wholefully and ended up with three soup mixes I am delighted to send off to my Secret Santa swap partner and share with you guys.

There’s split pea and barley, triple bean and rice, and red lentil and pasta. I also included a spice packet in each jar to make the process of cooking up a pot of soup as easy as possible. Each jar also comes with a slip of paper that walks you through how to go from jar to a steaming bowl of soup (I do recommend that folks start the cooking process with some fresh onion, celery and carrot for maximum deliciousness).

I used a scale to portion out my soup ingredients to ensure consistency. If you don’t have a scale, you can eyeball the quantities as you divide them between the jars.

If you’re shipping your soup mixes, make sure you have a sturdy box and plenty of packing material. In the picture, I make it look like I relied entirely on packing peanuts, but after I took that photo I had second thoughts. I ended up swaddling each jar in a length of bubble wrap, to ensure that it arrived safely.

And while it’s good to gift, it’s also delightful to receive. My Secret Santa sent me a DIY Bread and Butter Pickle kit. I was charmed by it, though I do wish they’d have identified themselves in the box! Alas, it remains a mystery!

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Glazed Turkey Breast and OXO Roasting Gear

A month or so ago, I signed on to participate in a blogger campaign with OXO that had a roasting theme. My intention was to use the goodies and get the post up well in advance of Thanksgiving, because that would have made a whole lot of sense. Best laid plans.

Instead, there was a dab of travel. The cookbook I’m working on continues to expand and absorb my every waking hour. And I’ve been fighting a cold that will not end. So I am behind.

Instead of throwing in the towel or trying to find something else to roast before the campaign deadline, I am going to talk about apricot-glazed turkey breast. A few days after Thanksgiving. Perfectly appropriate, right?

My argument is that there are plenty of roasting opportunities still to come in the coming weeks. And I firmly believe that turkey breast is a really good option for holiday parties and gatherings (easier than a whole turkey! But just as festive and delicious!). At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Before I dig into the roasting and glazing technique, let’s talk about the OXO gear. They sent…

For the juiciest and most flavorful finished roast, you want a whole, bone-in turkey breast. This isn’t something you typically find in the poultry case, but it’s something specialty butchers will have and you can always have your grocery store arrange one for you. Here in Philadelphia, you can almost always get a bone-in turkey breast at Godshall’s in Reading Terminal Market.

Now, if you’ve struggled with roasting turkeys in the past, know that you’re going to have a much easier time when you roast just the breast (the big issue with whole turkeys is that dark meat needs more time in the oven than the white meat, making it hard to get white meat that isn’t woefully overcooked).

You just salt the turkey breast well, pop it on the roasting rack, and get it into a 325F oven. It roasts for about two hours, until the skin is crisp and the internal temperature is around 150F. Once you reach that threshold, you paint on a generous layer of jam (I used apricot, but peach or cherry would also be good).

The temperature gets reduced to 300F and you roast for another 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature is close to 165F (you want the final temp to be 165F, but the turkey will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven, so you want to remove it a few degrees shy of that).

The jam will darken into a gorgeous, sticky, flavorful crust. It makes a lovely addition to a holiday party spread (pair it with slices of good bread and homemade cranberry mustard for DIY sandwiches).

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