Tag Archives | honey sweetened

Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary for the Whole Journeys Challenge + Giveaway

Sweet Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary | Food in Jars

While I was out on the west coast a few weeks back, I got an email from a very nice woman from the Whole Foods Market corporate offices. She was writing because they’ve recently launched a travel company called Whole Journeys and were partnering with bloggers as a way of shining some light on some of their featured trips and destinations.

halved cherries | Food in Jars

In this particular round of promotion, they were inviting a few bloggers to create a preserve would combine seasonal produce with an ingredient from one of the regions visited on a Whole Journeys itinerary.

Despite my crazy schedule, I just couldn’t say no to this very interesting recipe development challenge. Plus, they were kicking in a gift card to cover supplies and another one to give away to a FiJ reader (more about that at the end of the post).

mountain forest honey | Food in Jars

When I got back to Philadelphia, there was a package waiting for me that contained a few jelly jars, a little tub of raw mountain honey, and a sheaf of paper telling me all about the Dolomites, which is a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps.

honey cherry rosemary | Food in Jars

I spent a goodly amount of time wondering what I could make that would be both appropriately Italian and evoke a mountainous region. So much time, in fact, that I missed the challenge deadline and still didn’t have a plan. Oops.

cooking cherries | Food in Jars

Last Thursday, I stopped thinking and started canning. One of the details included in the material they sent was the fact that the Dolomites is known for cheeses, speck (it’s a lovely, smokey cured ham), and wines. I decided to make a preserve that would go nicely with all those things.

dirty pot | Food in Jars

I took 2 1/2 pounds of cherries, split them in half, popped out the pits and piled them in a low wide Dutch oven. I added the honey that had come in my box (it was a 16 ounce jar), along with a fragrant stem of rosemary (I brought a gallon size bag of rosemary clipped from a giant shrub in my parents’ front yard back to Philly with me). I let it sit for a bit, until the honey dissolved and the cherries released some juice.

empty jar | Food in Jars

Once it was juicy, I put the pot on the stove and brought it to a boil. I cooked it at a rapid bubble for about 20 minutes, until the cherries softened and the syrup thickened a bit. I didn’t add any pectin because I wasn’t going for a jam, but instead wanted tender cherries in a rosemary and honey flavored syrup. Towards the end of cooking, I added the juice of one lemon and just a pinch of sea salt, to help sharpen the finished flavor.

spoonful of preserved cherries | Food in Jars

The preserve is a perfect accompaniment for cheese and cured meats, so I think I hit my mark. It’s one that I look forward to cracking open later in the fall when the evenings turn crisp and the days shorten.

Now, the giveaway. I have one $50 gift certificate to send out to one of you. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would have made given the same challenge!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 27, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

For more about Whole Journeys, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: Whole Foods Market gave me a gift card to cover the cost of supplies for this challenge (along with a few jars and a little tub of honey) and has also provided the $50 gift card for this giveaway. My thoughts and opinions remain, as always, entirely my own.

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Honey Sweetened Raspberry Preserves

glowing berries

When I was in Portland a few weeks back, I spent a morning at the Beaverton Farmers Market with Kate Payne. We did side-by-side demos, signed books, and greeted all the nice folks who stopped by to see what we were doing with carrots (her) and strawberries (me).

By the time we finished, the market was starting to close down for the day. Kate dashed off to buy some Hood strawberries for her next demo, while I went off in search of one of the half flats of raspberries I’d seen walking by our table.

raspberry pulp

After just a little bit of wandering, I found the raspberries I was looking for. They’d been out in the heat for hours so were starting to look a tiny bit soft. The woman working the stand, pulled six of the best looking pints that she could find for me and fitted them snugly into the cardboard half flat. Then, she took two more pints and scattered them over top. She gave me a wink and said, “End of the day special.”

finished jam

I ate at least a pint on the drive home (all of 25 minutes) and my parents helped polish off a second pint within the afternoon. The rest were destined for preserving. My mom and I gently tumbled each pint out onto a dinner plate and sorted through, separating out any berries that seemed to have started to go truly bad from the ones that could go into the cooking pot (we also pulled a few of the fresher looking ones to save for breakfast the next day).

processing jam

We collected the berries in a roomy 4-cup measuring cup, occasionally mashing the fruit down with a fork in order to make room for more. When we were finished, we’d filled the measuring cup to the brim and still had a scant pint that were sturdy enough to last the night in the fridge.

finished raspberry jam

I combined the berries with two cups of local honey and a goodly amount of lemon zest and juice in my mom’s widest pan and brought it all to an active boil. Stirring regularly, it took about half an hour to cook down and thicken (had I had some Pomona’s Pectin on hand, I may have spiked it with a bit to encourage a thicker set in less time).

When it was done, I had three half pints and one full pint of lovely, bright, honey sweetened raspberry preserves (I’m not calling it jam, because it ended up with a fairly soft set and I want to establish the correct expectations). Hooray for Oregon berries!

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Honey Sweetened Meyer Lemon Curd

honey sweetened lemon curd

After I posted the recipe for blood orange curd last week, my mom’s best friend Maria sent me a note asking whether if curds could be made with honey instead of sugar. She and her husband are on a limited diet right now, but honey, eggs, citrus, and dairy are allowed. If a batch of curd could be sweetened with honey, she though it would make a very nice treat in the face of a whole bunch of food restrictions.

I’d not tried making a citrus curd with honey before, but dove into the challenge. I used the same recipe framework that had worked so nicely for the blood oranges, but cut back on the egg yolks by one (to account for the extra liquid the honey would be adding) and swapped in honey for sugar by weight (3/4 cup of sugar weighs 6 ounces, so I used that much honey. Because honey weighs more than sugar, the volume measure is 1/2 cup).

It took a few minutes longer to set up, but it came together beautifully. I used Meyer lemons for this batch because they’re the citrus that most needed to be used in my kitchen. The flavor is gloriously tangy and the sweetness is nicely balanced. I may start sweetening all my curds with honey from now on.

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Honey Sweetened Meyer Lemon Jam

four jars meyer lemon jam

Meyer lemons are a large part of what make the winter months bearable for me. Smooth-skinned, mildly tart, and with a fresh, slightly floral fragrance, they bring a welcome brightness to February (particularly this month. Every time the weather report predicts more snow, I feel ready to weep).

one and a half pounds

Over the years, I think I’ve done nearly everything that one can do with a Meyer lemon. I’ve preserved them in salt, turned them into curd, chopped and sliced into marmalade, dehydrated them, made jelly with their juice, and packed the zest into both salt and sugar.

simmered lemons

I think this whole fruit jam might be my final meyer lemon frontier. I’d been thinking along these lines for a while and then Shae over at Hitchhiking to Heaven posted a similar whole fruit jam using grapefruit and it cemented the deal for me.

lemons in a blender

Because I find that honey sweetened preserves are best done in small batches, I started with just one and a half pounds of lemons. I put them in a saucepan where they’d fit in a single layer and added some water (you need two cups of water to make the jam, so I started with a bit more than that to account for evaporation).

pouring meyer lemon sludge

I simmered the lemons for about 25 minutes, until the were tender but not falling apart and then I left them in the pot for a day because life got busy. Had my fridge not been packed to the gills, I would have poured them into a container and popped them in there, but there just wasn’t room.

meyer lemon jam

When I was ready to cook, I put the lemons in the blender with two cups of the cooking water and pulsed until they were broken into relatively small pieces but not uniformly pureed (I wanted some texture). The puree went into a low, wide pan with two cups of honey (approximately one half of the meyer lemon mixture by weight). Cooked over high heat, it was setting up nicely in just 15 minutes.

I’m really pleased with the way this jam turned out. It shows off all the charms of the meyer lemon, is pleasingly bracing, and manages to avoid being over-sweet. I also love the fact that it skips all the work of a traditional batch of marmalade. I still have a few meyer lemons left and am planning to make a second batch.

Updated to add: I’ve gotten some questions about the seeds. Meyer lemons are a hybrid fruit, so they typically don’t have many seeds. I used a small slotted spoon to skim them out of the jam during cooking. If your lemons are seedier than mine, cut them in half and remove the seeds before pureeing.

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Classic Tomato Jam Sweetened With Honey

five pounds tomatoes

It’s Monday morning and I’m just getting to the recipe I promised for Friday afternoon. I apologize to those of you who’ve been holding onto tomatoes all weekend in the hopes that this honey-sweetened tomato jam would appear. I have a bad habit of widely underestimating how long things are going to take me to accomplish and sadly, this post was delayed because of my poor estimation skills.

chopped tomatoes

Every since it first appeared on this blog, my friend Amy’s recipe for tomato jam has been one of the most popular things I’ve posted. The original post has hundreds of comments and nearly every time I teach a class or do a book event, someone comes up to me raving about the wonders of tomato jam.

honeyed tomato jam

It’s one of my favorite things as well. I smear it on turkey burgers, serve it with goat cheese, and use it as a dipping sauce for roasted sweet potatoes. Essentially, it’s a very fancy, chunky ketchup-substitute that can be used in all manner of both sweet and savory applications.

finished honey sweetened tomato jam

All summer long, I’ve been pulling out the sugar in many of my favorite recipes and dropping in honey instead. This recipe is the latest to undergo the conversion and I think it might be the most successful swap to date. The slightly honey flavor pairs beautifully with the tomatoes. The spices continue to sing and the yield is comparable to the sugared version. Truly, the only difference I’ve noticed is that this honey sweetened version isn’t as glossy as its counterpart. Happily, the sheen is the only thing that’s missing. The flavor is there in spades.

A couple of things to note. The length of time this jam can spend cooking varies widely. Stay close to the stove, stir regularly, and use a stainless steel pan in case it scorches. Towards the end of cooking, you should be stirring near constantly. You know this jam is finished when there’s no visible water separating out from the fruit. You’ll also hear a slightly sizzling noise as you stir towards the end of cooking. That’s a sign that the sugars have concentrated that the temperature in the pan is elevated beyond the boiling point of water. When you hear that, you are mere moments away from completion. Keep stirring for a moment or two longer and then pull the pan off the heat.

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My Berlin Kitchen in Paperback + Oven Roasted Apricot Butter

oven roasted apricots

Right around this time last year, My Berlin Kitchen, Luisa Weiss’s beautiful memoir, was published. I got a copy when it first came out and read the whole thing in less than a day. As soon as I had a few moments, I used her recipe for spiced plum butter and made some of the most luscious, silky plum preserves.

It was such a nice style of preserve-making that I used it again a few weeks back on apricots instead of plums (without really meaning to, I’ve canned my way through nearly 50 pounds of apricots this year). I quartered them, combined them with a little honey and a few spices, and roasted them until they slumped and were slightly caramelized around the edges. Once they were entirely soft, I used an immersion blender to puree them and then canned up the resulting apricot goodness in half pint jars.

My Berlin Kitchen paperback

I hesitated to write about this apricot and honey butter because their season is mostly over for the year. However, I thought it couldn’t hurt to plant a seed now, for next year when the apricots return again. I also thought it was good timing to share this adaptation of Luisa’s technique because her glorious book came out in paperback last week. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it (I also recommend her plum butter. And the season’s not yet over for Italian plum prunes!).

And here are the specifics for my apricot approach. I used four pounds of pitted and quarters plums and 1 pound of honey. For one batch, I used 1 cinnamon stick and 2 cloves like Luisa suggests for her plums (it was delicious). For the second batch, I tied a heaping tablespoon of dried lavender buds up in a length of cheesecloth and let them sit with the fruit and honey overnight. The next day, I fished it out and roasted the fruit just as the plum recipe describes. This one may be my very favorite preserve of the year.

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