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Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam

Last week was supposed to be cherry week, but with the holiday my posting schedule got a little derailed. Including this one, I still have four cherry recipes to share, so I’m going to get them up as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can still be useful this season.

I made this Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam using some of the cherries that the folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers sent as part of their annual Canbassador program (here’s my round-up from last year).

One of the tricky things about making jam from sweet cherries is finding a way to avoid that cloying, cough syrup flavor. This recipe manages it beautifully by using a relatively low amount of sugar and including a full cup of balsamic vinegar. It might seem like a lot at first, but as the jam cooks down, it achieves balance.

Finally, this jam uses Pomona’s Pectin to effect a set. I haven’t tested it with other varieties of low sugar pectin, so can’t speak to their utility here. It won’t set with regular fruit pectin because there’s not enough sugar to create the gel. If you can’t get your hands on Pomona’s, you could make it without additional pectin and treat it like a spoonable fruit preserve rather than a jam.

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Small Batch Sweet Cherry Lime Jam

To kick off Cherry Week, I’m sharing my small batch recipe for Cherry Lime Jam. This is the recipe I demonstrated last week during my livestream with Jenny from The Domestic Wildflower. This little batch cooks up in 15 minutes and yields two half pints with a little leftover for immediate eating. The flavor of the limes helps balance the intensity of the cherries and makes for a very tasty PB&J.

You can get the recipe and watch the livestream after the jump!

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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. Click here to see the Jammy Baked Oatmeal I made with this jam!

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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Rhubarb Hibiscus Jam + Fillmore Container Livestream

Want to see this Rhubarb Hibiscus Jam in action? Join me this Saturday, April 28 for a livestream demo on the Fillmore Container Facebook page. I’ll show you how to make it from start to finish and will answer all your canning questions!

As I type, my living room windows are wide open to let in the light and air of spring (street noise and city dirt come along for the ride, but they’re a price I’m willing to pay at the moment). After what felt like an interminable winter, it’s such a relief to shuck off all the heavy, warming things for both clothes and foods that are crisper and lighter.

For me, the appearance of rhubarb is one of the most welcome signals that easier days are on the horizon. I spotted some while in Ireland earlier this month and kept my fingers tightly crossed that some would be waiting for me when I got home. And it was!

Earlier this week, I scooped up two and a half pounds at my local produce market. As he rang up my total, the clerk asked me if I was going to be making a pie. When I told him it was destined for jam, he seemed a little disappointed (perhaps he was going to ask for a slice?).

Once home, I cleaned the rhubarb, cut away the sad ends, and cut it all into half inch-wide slices. It filled my largest measuring cup, which felt just right in terms of the batch size I wanted.

In years passed, I would often combine rhubarb with a fresh vanilla bean, but because vanilla is so scarce and expensive these days, I reached for my jar of dried hibiscus flowers, instead. I had a feeling they would compliment the tartness of the rhubarb and would help enhance its ruby glow.

I combined most of the rhubarb with two cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of the hibiscus flowers (they went into my biggest tea ball, but cheesecloth would also work) and let it all macerate overnight.

I held about 1/2 cup of the rhubarb back from the pot, to stir in at the end. Rhubarb collapses as it cooks and I wanted the finished jam to have some texture. By holding some back to stir in at the very end, you end up with a bit more elemental rhubarbness in the jam.

I did use a bit of Pomona’s Pectin to help bolster the set and help corral the runny juices. However, if you’re someone who prefers a softer set jam, you could leave it out.

For those of you who like to learn by seeing rather than reading, I will be demonstrating how to make this jam this Saturday (April 28, 2018) at 7 pm eastern time on the Fillmore Container Facebook page. I’ll walk you through the process, show off those gorgeous new amber jars, and will answer all your questions live.

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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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