Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

May 12, 2016(updated on February 1, 2023)
Naturally Sweet Food in Jars cover (1)

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars is my third cookbook and was published in March 2016. It focuses on preserving with honey, maple, agave, coconut sugar, fruit juice concentrates, and dried fruits. You can find an array of ordering options here.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars spine

The idea for this book was initially sparked by this post, as well as the many alternatively sweetened recipes that have come since on this site. The finished book features more than 100 recipes for preserves, as well as a handful of recipes designed to help you use up some of what you’ve put up.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars roasted apricot jam

I had two primary goals in mind when I was writing Naturally Sweet. The first was to translate some of my most beloved sugar-sweetened recipes into those that used less refined sweeteners.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Honeyed Meyer Limoncello

The second objective was to create new and novel recipes that would be safe for canning and that featured the various sweeteners in ways that made the most of their unique, individual flavors.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Lemony Strawberry Jam

I also wanted to help change the conversation about preserving. So often, people dismiss it because they feel like the products created when you preserve aren’t always the healthiest.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Concord Grape Jam

However, by shining a spotlight on alternative sweeteners, I feel like I’ve created a collection of recipes that are able to balance health concerns with issues of safety and shelf stability.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Sweet Onion Relish

And, as always, the recipes are relatively small batches that don’t require too much of your time and energy.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars back

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575 thoughts on "Naturally Sweet Food in Jars"

  • Happy Birthday & congrats on the book, it’s beautiful! The last few birthdays I’ve made this Strawberry Summer Cake:

    It’s almost more fruit than cake, and the long baking time makes the berries reduce to an intense jam-like state. It’s simple and always delicious. I have tried it with other fruit, but it seems to work best with the strawberries.

  • Happiest of birthdays to you! My husband makes beef Wellington for family birthdays, it is wonderful and not really that time-consuming. It definitely marks a special occasion.

  • I love any home made cake. However when I was in the hospital with our final (3rd) baby my husband let the others pick out a fancy store cake and now that is their tradition. Shopping with daddy for a cartoon cake. I still get to make my own.

  • Happy Birthday! I have a May bithday as well. Growing up, I never wanted cake for my birthday but always asked my Mom for pie!

  • Happy birthday to the canning queen! My birthday wouldn’t be the same without my mom’s cherry cheesecake with a graham cracker crust half an inch thick. Now if I only could can it…..

  • I like to eat German Chocolate Cake on my birthday. The real deal, homemade cake. In fact, I am happy to make it for myself just so I can eat it on my birthday!

  • Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have an awesome one!! My favorite birthday cake is strawberry shortcake. It must have fresh strawberries and real whipped cream! Yum! Make me so happy! Though I did recently make your whole fruit Meyer lemon marmalade and I think a swirl of that on the cake would be stellar.

  • It is our family tradition to get takeout Chinese for birthdays. This last birthday, I bent it a little and got Vietnamese (and it was delicious)!

  • As a kid, my absolute favourite meal for my birthday was my mom’s pineapple pork, with a chocolate cream pie for dessert. Now, it’s more likely to be my family’s favourite pulled pork, and my husband’s delicious chocolate tapioca.

    Happy Birthday, you amazing person, you!

  • Happy birthday! I celebrated on Tuesday, and — though it paled in comparison to my first mother’s day a few days earlier — my sister and I made banana ice cream with caramelized white chocolate from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams book. That was breaking the mold. The normal birthday treat in our family is Julia Child’s reine de sabaa. Hope you have something as rich (or as chilly, as the case may be)!

  • I like to eat takeout or my mom’s cooking on my birthday. This year we had sushi! I also like to experiment and make a new cake variety. Happy birthday!

  • Happy Birthday, mine is on Sunday the 15th. I’m running a marathon to celebrate and will be indulging in my favorite dessert…Dark Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Buttercream, Peanut Butter Buttercream and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

  • Happy birthday! I love to eat lemon poppyseed layer cake for my birthday. It’s difficult to pull off as a light, tender layer cake instead of the traditional pound cake but when it works, it is great.

  • Happy birthday! When I was a kid, my mom always made whatever we wanted for dinner. I always picked Chicken ala King. It was a bit of work, so she didn’t make it very often. I still make it myself every year for my birthday in remembrance.

  • Donuts are my kryptonite, but birthdays are a great excuse to indulge. Happy Birthday, Marisa!

  • Happy birthday! How SWEET of you to thank of us with a giveaway! I love to celebrate with my infamous flourless chocolate cake smothered in chocolate ganache! Yum!!!!

  • Happy Birthday Marisa! Amazingly, we share the same birthday!! I hope yours was great! I got to spend it with friends and family, and they know that anything chocolate makes my day…I got a small chocolate cake and flowers from the husband and a flourless chocolate torte from a good friend.

  • I like a country breakfast complete with home fries and scrapple (if I’m visiting my folks in Lancaster, PA. Maybe fish & chips for lunch. My mom’s pot roast for dinner, then cream puffs!

  • Happy birthday! My sister and I live in the same city about 250 miles from our parents, so what we eat for our birthdays is always different, but we always make it for each other (:

  • Ice cream cake is a must and champagne never hurts either. Love what you are doing! Happy Birthday.

  • Happy birthday fellow Taurean, my birthday is tomorrow , and right now a strawberry shortcake is being made by my boyfriend, we will celebrate today and tonite since tomorrow s a work day. Growing up in south philly , my mother would always ask each one of her four daughters what we wanted for our birthday dinner, my request was the same every year, shepherds pie ( ew gross now ) and strawberry shortcake. Yummmm,
    Hope your birthday is great, the cake looked awesome !

  • Happy Birthday to the QOCAP (Queen of Cannng and Preserving)! I have two fave foods I love to eat for my birthday or any day. You can’t go wrong with Shrmp prepared in any way, shape, or form and German Chocolate cake is the bomb! Thank you for all of your inspiration.

  • Happy, Happy Birthday! For my birthday I always want a cake with pink icing! Last years was raspberry and chocolate!

  • Happy Birthday! For my birthday, I want my grandma’s chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream or mint ice cream/chocolate cake ice cream cake.

  • Happy Birthday Marisa! My husband just had his birthday and I made him a chocolate bundt cake that was yummy! Chocolate cake and cheesecake are my weaknesses, but I love any homemade dessert for my birthday! I have both of your other preserve cookbooks and I would love to add this to my collection!

  • Happy Birthday Marisa, enjoy your special day! My birthday was a few days ago and my favorite birthday treat is a butter cream frosting and chocolate cake. The richer the better!

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We always have Chinese take-out to celebrate birthdays. I love sweets, so the birthday cake is my favourite.

  • I don’t really have a favorite food – they’re all good 😉 Happy Birthday, and congrats on your newest book!

  • Happy birthday to you! As far as I’m concerned, May is the very best month in which to have a birthday. My husband, our daughter, and I all have birthdays this month. 🙂

    My favorite birthday food is birthday cake, made by my terrific in-house baker (my husband).

  • I always have pound cake for my birthday but since it’s on Christmas there is no shortage of goodies around. Happy Birthday to you!

  • Birthdays in this house usually involve a trip to a local Indian restaurant. Happy, happy birthday!

  • Happy birthday! My Mom always made us a special buttermilk chocolate cake for birthdays. She frosted it with white mountain frosting and then sprinkled on coconut.

  • Happy Happy Birthday wishes !!! I usually celebrate with something sweet In the shape of a cake. . Congratulations on this cookbook! I’ve been canning for many years and recently wanting to get away from processed sugars. Sounds like your goals for this book have been met. I wish you peace , joy and love.

  • My birthday is New Years Day. It is often cold and snowy, and it usually follows a late night, so my go to food is homemade pizza and brownies or cupcakes. And I stay in sweatpants and thick wool socks all day.
    Happy Birthday!

  • Happy Birthday, Marisa! Thanks for all you do in sharing this wonderful site and your inspiring cookbooks (should that be canning books?).

    Have a fun day and a joyful celebration.

    In my family, birthdays means birthday cake, of course! The birthday kid gets their favourite cake. I always go for the deep, dark, chocolate layer cake with sour cream chocolate frosting. Flavourful, moist and so delicious!

  • Happy Birthday! I, too, celebrated a birthday this month. WE grilled steaks, had baked potatoes and asparagus. But I’d love something with rhubarb for my birthday. It’s coming in and I love it!

  • White cupcakes with Quick as a Wink frosting. The recipe for the frosting was in a 1960’s/early 70’s Betty Crocker cookbook. I always loved “reading” the cookbook and looking at the pictures when I was little.

  • Hi Marissa,
    Happy Birthday! Birthdays are family occasions around here and we often bbq or go to a restaurant. I usually choose a Mexican restaurant we all love, but this year I opted to cook! We had teriyaki-marinated chicken, corn on the cob, green salad, grilled onions and peppers, and baked potatoes. Yum. I hope your birthday was fun (and delicious). Thanks for all you’ve shared with us in Food in Jars.

  • Happy birthday! My favorite birthday food is probably sushi — it’s my favorite celebratory food of any kind!

  • Happy birthday! I’d love to have German chocolate cake or blueberry cheesecake for my birthday.

  • Happy Birthday! I usually just treat myself to whatever special meal/dessert I’m most craving when it comes to my birthday celebration.

  • Well, what a generous gift you are giving your readers. I just stumbled upon your blog today and am completely intrigued. I will be celebrating my birthday this week and am still trying to decide on a birthday dessert. I hope your birthday was lovely.

  • Happy Birthday! My birthday is on New Years Eve. So I am usually tried of all the sweet holiday foods. But I still like to make a cake for myself.

  • Happy Birthday! As a child I didn’t care for sweets but now I want anything to do with cheesecake.

  • Hope you had a wonderful birthday! I have my mom’s shrimp scampi over linguini. A bit more adult than my childhood birthday dinner of oven fried chicken, broccoli casserole and rice a roni. Definitely a child of the the 70s.

  • Happy Bday! I’m so excited about this book – I have both of your previous books. I celebrate your baking my own cake : )

  • Happy Birthday, Marisa! My favorite birthday food is a poorboy steak sandwich from Merichka’s in Joliet, IL. I travel 100 miles to have one every year.

  • When I was little and growing up in Wisconsin my birthdays were capped on both ends with favorite things. In the morning I’d wake up to eggs overeasy with fried potatoes and at the end of the party we’d get to have just a simple cake usually marble with 7 minute frosting.

  • Happy birthday! Cake is my favorite birthday food. I have both of your previous books and just started canning last year. A lot of people loved their gifts at Christmas this year! thanks for such great recipes. I look forward to your newest book and canning this year. thanks for the confidence and inspiration.

  • Happy birthday! And since I generally cut back on sugar when making jam, the idea of naturally sweetened recipes that let the fruit flavor shine through sounds great!

  • My birthday is tomorrow and my husband’s birthday was yesterday (both May babies!). We plan on celebrating next Saturday with steak and shrimp. We always like to do a surf and turf for our birthdays. I’m not a big cake fan so tend to celebrate more with cheesecake. This year I gave up white sugar, hence why your book would be perfect, and my husband is on a diet so not planning any dessert.

  • Happy birthday! On my b-day I make it a rule not to go to work, and eat what ever the heck I want, usually ice cream is involved. Have a great day!

  • Happy Birthday! I love the first book, but have definitely been looking at healthier, alternative sweetener recipes.

  • What says ‘birthday’ to me, is a yellow cake with lemon curd filling and thin chocolate icing.
    Happy Birthday, Marisa


    I usually make myself a pie. Sometimes I buy a pie but I like making them. I usually get eggplant parmesan as well, but that comes from a restaurant.

  • Happy Birthday! Mine is the day after yours. I haven’t thought about what I want, but I often have key lime pie.

  • Chocolate peanut butter pie is the birthday treat I look forward to! Happy birthday, Marisa! Love your books and your blog.

  • My favorite birthday food has been the strawberry shortcake my mother would buy from our favorite bakery every one of my birthdays as a child. My birthday is in the middle of winter and the strawberry shortcake was so sweet and brightened up the day.

  • Happy Birthday! I’m a big fan of your previous cookbooks and your blog. As you’ve heard many times, your blog was my gateway to canning and preserving. Best wishes for a healthy and happy year!

  • Happy Birthday! Mine was earlier in the month. I love burnt almond cake from my local bakery, Dick’s Bakery!

  • I love angel food cake with fresh strawberries and freshly whipped cream! Happy birthday to you.

  • Happy birthday! Your new book looks awesome. I love to have fajitas and margaritas on my birthday.

  • yes, happy happy birthday! this past year, my 40th, I made a huge banana split bowl…all with natural sugars and no gluten, it was so amazing and good! I’m excited about your book, can’t wait to make some naturally sweet goodies!! thank you!

  • Aw, this is a sweet giveaway. Happy birthday to you, and some chocolate cake with whipped cream and German sour cherries, too. 🙂

  • I’m a summer baby so its usually a bushel of blue claws for me! Happy Birthday! Come on summer….

  • Happy birthday! I really enjoy both your blog & podcast. Especially loved the birthday special podcast!

  • Happy Birthday!

    I’ve always looked forward to a chocolate cake with chocolate icing on my birthday. Can we say chocoholic? 🙂

  • Belated Happy Birthday!

    When I was young I was allergic to eggs. My mother found an chocolate oil cake recipe without eggs and made it for me for my birthday every year. She also used to make me little cupcakes to take to my friends’ birthday parties so I would have a sweet treat too.

    In cake form, it was always two layers of cake with raspberry jam in the middle, topped with cream cheese frosting. It was (and is) THE BEST.

  • It was actually my birthday the day this blog post was published! And I ate my favorite birthday dessert that day – cheesecake.