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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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Cranberry Blueberry Jam

On Monday night, I did my final live demo of the year. I talked about fruit pastes, answered questions, and made a batch of cranberry blueberry jam using fresh cranberries and frozen wild blueberries (though regular frozen blueberries would also work).

This recipe uses the same technique as the raspberry version I posted over the weekend. You combine frozen fruit with fresh cranberries to get a preserve that is flavorful, not-too-sweet, and perfectly set (cranberries are magical in the setting ability).

If you want to watch me making this jam, you can see the full video after the jump (or, if you navigated directly to this post, you should see the player below).

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Cranberry Raspberry Jam

In need of a quick batch of jam for holiday gift baskets? This Cranberry Raspberry Jam, made from fresh cranberries and frozen raspberries, is just the ticket!

Of all the tricks I’ve come up with in my years as a jam maker, none please me as much as this one for making really terrific preserves with frozen fruit. For years, I struggled to get frozen fruit to turn into anything worth eating and sharing. And then last year around this time, I hit upon the idea of adding fresh cranberries to frozen fruit and everything changed.

The beauty of the cranberry is that it brings both acid and pectin to the jam making party. That means that it can perk up berries that taste flat from months in the deep freeze AND it helps with the inevitable increase in wateriness that occurs when you defrost previously frozen fruit. It’s a win all the way around.

One of the best and highest uses of this technique is quick holiday gift making. Perhaps you’ve moved through your stash faster than you intended. Or you need a uniform set of something for a group (rather than the hodge podge of jams I took to my family’s Hanukkah gathering on Saturday). That’s when a quick batch of this jam shines.

Like so many jams, this recipe does not double well. If you need more than one batch, run two pots side by side for a quick cook all around. And if you’re struggling with how to use up a leftover dollop, may I suggest the rice pudding I posted on Friday? They are happy partners.

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Spiced Pear Jam

Earlier this fall, I found myself in possession of a lot of pears. I frozen some. I made a big batch of pear butter. And I made this jam, which I never managed to tell you about. Part of the reason it’s taken me so long is that I had some inner conflict going on about it. You see, I initially developed it for a demo event at which I called it Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pear Jam.

Now, I’m not someone who goes crazy for pumpkin pie spice in the fall (I’ve never even had a pumpkin spice latte, but that’s mostly because I don’t really dig sweetened coffee). But I’m not a hater either. In fact, when it comes to canning and baking, having a little jar of pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice is one of my favorite short cuts (I’ll often put a dash in my oatmeal as it cooks).

However, with Hanukkah upon us and Christmas hurtling ever closer, I came the realization that I’ve not posted a single new thing that you could make and share with your friends, neighbors, teachers, and family members. And in all the years that I’ve written this blog, not one has gone by where I didn’t serve up at least one holiday-centric preserve. So I’m getting over my hesitations and offering up this one.

Just to clarify, my reluctance wasn’t about the flavor (it was really whether to wade into the pumpkin spice pool). I gave a jar to a neighbor, who told me that it was the best jam she’d ever had. Everyone at the demo raved about it as well. It’s good. It’s easy. It’s quick. And if you can’t bring yourself to use the pumpkin pie spice, use a few dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove (just go light on the clove!).

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Fig Meyer Lemon Marmalade Recipe

This Fig Meyer Lemon Marmalade is a flavor combination made possible by California Figs and Lemon Ladies Orchard. While this isn’t a sponsored post, all the fruit was given to me by west coast friends.

Two stacked jars of fig meyer lemon marmalade

Back in early September, the folks from California Figs sent me some figs. And when I say some figs, I don’t mean they just sent a few. They sent me an abundance of figs. A delightment of figs. A true embarrassment of fig riches.

Sliced meyer lemons soaking in a bowl of water for fig meyer lemon marmalade

I took some to a friend’s party that was happening that very night. I packed up some and brought them with me to the Omega Institute for my weekend long canning workshop (we turned them into this Chunky Fig Jam). When I got back, I simmered and pureed a bunch into a version of the Gingery Fig Butter from my Naturally Sweet Food in Jars book (I used vanilla bean rather than ginger).

Sugared figs for fig meyer lemon marmalade

The remaining portion because this Fig Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Around the same time that these figs arrived, my friend Karen (owner of the Lemon Ladies Orchard) sent me a handful of late season lemons as encouragement to get well (I’d had a rotten cold and a bout of the flu in rapid succession).

Sliced lemons and figs ready to become fig meyer lemon marmalade

After making myself a series of bracing honey and lemon drinks to combat my various ailments, I had enough lemons to make this preserve. Much like the sweet cherry version I made earlier in the season, I approached this recipe over the course of a couple of days.

Finished fig meyer lemon marmalade in the pan

I sliced, deseeded, and soaked the lemons overnight at room temperature. I also quartered the figs, mixed them with sugar and let them macerate overnight in the fridge (it was still hot then and I didn’t want them to turn boozy while I slept).

Six jars of fig meyer lemon marmalade

The next day, I combined the soaked lemons (and their water), the figs, and the sugar and brought it to a rapid, rolling boil. After about 35 minutes of cooking and stirring, the marmalade was sheeting off the spoon nicely and was approaching the critical 220F.

Close-up of jars of fig meyer lemon marmalade

In the end, I was left with six half pints of marmalade that marries the qualities of the two fruits beautifully. The fig flavor sings and the lemons bring more than enough acid to supplement the figs lower levels. This is one that I am only sharing with my very favorite people and I’m doing my best to hold onto at least two jars (I tend to be quite generous with my preserves).

Should you find yourself with similar sets of ingredients (this may only be possible if you live in California), I highly encourage you to try a batch.

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