Tag Archives | Honey

Small Batch Apple Cranberry Compote

apple cranberry compote side

On Monday night, I did a canning event at the Mullica Hill Library in Gloucester County, NJ. When I was planning out the event with the librarian many months back, I suggested I demonstrate a recipe for apple cranberry compote. It seemed like just the thing for mid-October, what with Thanksgiving and the gifting season rapidly approaching.

The only trouble was at the time, I didn’t actually have an apple cranberry compote recipe in my personal preserve arsenal. I had jams, sauces, and chutneys, but no compotes.

So, with the demo rapidly approaching, I spend a little time over the weekend working one up. It starts with 4 large apples (peeled, cored, and diced), 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (rinsed and picked over), and 1/2 cup water. You combine those three things in a saucepan, set them over medium-high heat, and simmer them until the cranberries pop and the apple chunks soften.

apple cranberry compote top

Once the fruit is tender and most the water has evaporated, you add 1 cup of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and the zest and juice of a lemon. You cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the compote looses its watery look and the apples can be easily crushed with the back of your spoon.

When you like the consistency, you funnel it into jars, wipe off the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process the closed jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. When the time is up, pull the pot off the heat, remove the lid, and let the jars cool gradually for a bit. Depending on how much sugar you use, the yield will be between 3-4 half pints.

This is a highly flexible preserve. You could sweet it with honey instead of sugar (use 2/3 cup). To add a bit more flavor from the start, cook the fruit down in apple juice or cider instead of water. Add some freshly grated ginger, or a bit of cloves for an even more autumnal flavor. As long as you don’t add any low acid ingredients like onions or garlic, you can tweak the spices and liquids as much as you like.

However, even the most simple version is quite delicious.

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Sponsored Post: Adopt a Beehive with Cox’s Honey

Cox honey bear

Honey is magical stuff. Made by bees from nectar, enzymes, and hard work, it is wonderfully sweet, tastes of its time and place, almost never goes bad, and is even said to have healing properties. I always have a few varieties in my kitchen and use them daily to sweet preserves, enhance my tea, or mellow the sharpness of a homemade vinaigrette.

Cox creamed honey

I have always longed to have my own hive, but as an adult, have never lived in a place where it was possible (darned high rise living). As a consolation, I make a point to support the bees by buying honey raised and gathered by conscientious humans and being educated about the honey bee situation in our country.

honey from Cox

Back in the spring, I got an email from someone at Cox’s Honey, asking me if I’d like a beehive of my very own. Intrigued, I wrote back. Sadly, they hasn’t invented a hive I could attach to my 20th story window. Instead, they were inviting me to join their Beehive Adoption program.

Cox clover honey

There are four levels of beehive adoption (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum), with various price points to match. No matter what level you choose, you get a welcome kit that includes a Certificate of Adoption, the GPS location of your hive, glossy pictures of your hive and the bees, a 12 ounce honey bear and 20 ounce container of creamed honey, and 10% off all online purchase at coxshoney.com. Cox’s Honey will also donate 10% of your payment to The American Bee Federation.

bee hive pictures

You also get regular shipments of honey with your adoption. The amount depends on the level you select (bronze level memberships get 9 pounds over the course of the year, silver gets 15, gold gets 20, and platinum gets 30). You can pay in either monthly installments or in a single, monthly payment. So many options!

adoption certificate

Being the honey lover I am, I said yes to Beehive Adoption and soon after, received my first shipment of Cox’s Honey. I love using their clover honey in my preserving projects because it has a mild flavor that complements fruit incredibly well. I recently made a batch of this Pear Vanilla Drizzle sweetened with honey and it is ridiculously good.

buzzing bee pictures

I realize that for some of you, it might be too early to start thinking about this, but if you’re beginning to ponder holiday gifts, a Beehive Adoption might be just the thing for someone on your list. Bee fans and home canners alike will appreciate both the thought as well as the quarterly shipments of honey!

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post, the folks at Cox’s Honey enrolled me in their Beehive Adoption program at the platinum level, which has a value of $270. However, my thoughts and opinions remain my own.

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Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Compote With Ginger

chopped rhubarb

I am currently in a motel room about an hour north of Pittsburgh, PA. My class in Columbus yesterday went gloriously well (so many thanks to The Seasoned Farmhouse for having me!) and my appearance on All Sides with Ann Fisher earlier today was so fun (you can watch it or download the podcast here).

The upcoming weekend in Pittsburgh got some really nice coverage in the Post-Gazette today. If you’re in the area, please do come out and say hi!

rhubarb compote

Happily, this blog post isn’t only about what’s happened over the last few days and what’s to come later this week. I also have a recipe for honey sweetened rhubarb compote with ginger. This particular preserve doesn’t have much of a story behind it. It was one of those ideas that sprang fully formed into my brain and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it until I made it.

I used two forms of ginger (freshly grated and juice. I used this bottled juice, but instructions on how to make your own can be found here) to make it kicky, and had I been able to find my jar of crystalized ginger, I would have included some chopped bits as well (how does one misplace a pint jar of ginger?), but the kitchen is a bit of a mess these days and I just couldn’t put my hands on it.

Still, even without the third form of ginger, it’s quite good. I had intended it to be something closer to a jam, but it refused to thicken beyond a very soft set, and so I’m calling it a compote in order to set consistency expectations. You can call it whatever you’d like.

Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Compote With Ginger


  • 2 pounds rhubarb stalks
  • 1 pound honey (or 1 1/3 cups, if you prefer volume measurements)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ginger juice


  1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and four half pint jars.
  2. Trim rhubarb stalks and cut them into inch-sized segments. Place them in a pot and add the honey, grated ginger, and ginger juice.
  3. Let the rhubarb sit for 5-10 minutes, until the honey mingles with the ginger juice and starts to dissolve.
  4. Place the pot on the stove and bring the rhubarb to a boil. Cook at a fast bubble, stirring regularly, until the rhubarb breaks down and the whole mess has thickened to your liking.
  5. Remove jam/compote from heat and funnel it into the prepared jars, leaving about 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  6. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool. Sealed jars are shelf stable for a good long while. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten within a couple of weeks.

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Guest Post: Pickled Beets with Honey from Camille Storch


Oh friends, do I have a treat in store for you today! It’s a guest post from writer, woodworker, avid canner, and mom of two, Camille Storch. She writes about ecology, agriculture, community, and the reality of her family’s joyful, off-the-grid life in rural Western Oregon on her blog, Wayward Spark.

She also designs and crafts natural edge cutting and serving boards and sells them in her Etsy shop, Red Onion Woodworks. I recently added one of her boards to my kitchen and it’s quickly become one of my most loved and used tools. Enjoy!


My mom canned a lot when I was a kid, but like most activities my parents enjoyed, I had no interest in participating in her steamy kitchen exploits. My parents were big gardeners/small farmers who sold their vegetables and baked goods at the local farmers’ market starting the year I was born (and continuing to this day). I enjoyed hanging around the action of the market, and I always loved to eat pretty much any kind of fruit or vegetable, but I never once sowed a seed or pulled a weed unless I was coerced or bribed into doing it.

In a strange and unexplainable turn of events, I got my first real job when I was still in high school working on an organic vegetable farm, and even more surprisingly, I really liked it. I tackled thistles, harvested sweet cherries, and cleaned fresh garlic for days on end. I got a couple of gnarly sunburns, I learned to speak Spanish, and for the first time in my life, I developed real working muscles. And my love for fruits and vegetables reached a whole new level.


When I moved out of my parents’ house at 18, I would regularly eat giant piles of kale (before kale was the phenom that it is today) over brown rice for dinner, and in the summer, I’d feast on unmarketable-but-still-delicious cracked heirloom tomatoes out in the fields with sprigs of basil as chasers. Farms and food became a way of life for me during my college years, and I’d show up to class in dirty Carhartt’s, like they were some sort of badge of honor.

My first forays into canning on my own involved farm excesses including ugly tomatoes, windfall apples, and a whole box of scarred nectarines that couldn’t be sold. I spent a fair bit of time on the phone with my mom or tracking down USDA hot water bath guidelines, but it wasn’t long before the rhythm of washing, sterilizing, peeling, stuffing, lidding, and boiling was familiar and comforting.


I moved into a rental house with a new roommate in May at the end of my junior year in college, and I saw my roommate’s eyes grow wide as I schlepped box after box of empty canning jars up the steps and into the kitchen. A month later, I bought my first chest freezer and moved that into the house, too. I’m fairly certain my roommate thought I was completely off my rocker, but by the end of the summer, I had canned, frozen, or dried enough produce to feed a small army.

Over the years, I’ve pared down my canning experiments to include more or less just what my family can and wants to eat in the off season: a few jars of jam, some applesauce, a lot of cold-packed whole tomatoes, and a few extras just for fun or for gifts (plus a freezer full of blueberries and other staples). The fact that canning and preserving is really “in” right now is kind of funny to me because it’s been a part of my own life for so long now that it doesn’t feel too special anymore. That said, I’m all in favor of any activity that brings folks closer to their food and the farms that produce that food.


When I stumbled across this new fangled group called the Portland Preservation Society on Instagram, I was intrigued. When I went to my first meeting, I was hooked. The PPS is a loose collective of Portland area food enthusiasts that meets monthly to swap (mostly canned) food items. (Be sure to check out PPS founder Brooke Weeber’s crazy cool vegetable illustrations in her Etsy shop, Little Canoe.) Every meeting is a showcase of the possibilities in food preservation from jellies to pickles to spreads to infused alcohols, sweet and savory alike.

The April PPS meeting was the perfect excuse for me to dust off my trusty pickled beet recipe. I first ordered a big bag of beets from my vegetable alma mater, Gathering Together Farm, and then I stole a few onions from my parents’ root cellar. I used honey instead of sugar in this recipe because my husband is a beekeeper, so we almost always have honey on hand, and I’m all about keepin’ it local. I spent a pleasant afternoon stuffing jars and perfuming my kitchen with steam from the sweet and tangy brine. In the end, I discovered that my fellow PPS members are just as enthusiastic about pickled beets as I am, but luckily I held back a couple jars to enjoy at home.


There are beet lovers and beet haters in the world, and well, I love ‘em. Pretty much any style of beets suits me just fine, especially if the earthy roots are paired with a bit of creamy chévre or salty feta. These pickled beets are honey sweetened but not overly so and seasoned with onion (cipollini if you can find them) and a bit of pickling spice. The preservative power comes from the all-important ratio of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water, so if you want to halve or double this recipe, be sure to retain that balance.

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