Category Archives: Jam & Jelly

A Case of the Red, White, and BLUES

And by blues, I mean blueberries!  Around this time each year I am reminded just how much I love those tiny indigo berries!  Not only do they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, but they are also anti-inflammatory, which is a key driver of all chronic diseases!

blueberries

Everyone knows that fresh is best and it’s a no-brainer that blueberries consumed raw is when they best deliver their peak power-house performance!  Wanting to save them to be enjoyed throughout the year I started spinning my preservation wheels and came up with two very delicious recipes!  If you’re looking for something quick and dirty, then the compote recipe is the one for you.  If you have the luxury of time and can commit to some babysitting, then this no pectin jam is the way to go!  These recipes are interchangeable, so if you prefer a blueberry lemon jam or a blueberry vanilla compote then just swap out the cooking times!

blueberry compote

Blueberry Lemon Compote - yields 9 half-pints

11 cups of blueberries

Grated zest and juice of one lemon

1/3 cup honey

1 cup sugar

In a large pot combine blueberries, zest, juice, sugar, and honey over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce to low heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  Ladle compote into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove jars and allow seals to set for 12-24 hours.

Blueberry Vanilla Jam - yields 4 half-pints

11 cups of blueberries

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup honey

1 cup sugar

1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

In a large pot combine blueberries, juice, sugar, honey, vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes; skim off any foam that develops.  Ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove jars and allow seals to set for 12-24 hours.

After canning both recipes I still had quite a few blueberries left over.  Seeing as how my freezer is full of strawberries I decided to can the remaining berries in a light simple syrup.

Blueberries in Light Syrup

Blueberries

1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of water

Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat.  Fill hot pint jars with blueberries and fill with sugar-water leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Wipe rims and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove jars and allow seals to set for 12-24 hours.

These jars of berries will really come in handy when it’s cold outside and I want to heat things up with a bit of pie and cobbler making!

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge.

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Concord Grape Jelly

Two years ago I packed up my belongings and moved out.  I said farewell to a mushroom-growing dirt basement floor, 250 year-old drafty peg windows, and a glorious concord grapevine.  I never realized just how much I would miss those grapes!

While strolling though my favorite farmers’ market last September, I came across a stand that had fresh, locally grown concord grapes.  Knowing just how amazing homemade grape jelly is (it is the only jelly I will eat) I had to buy them!  Besides, if my brother found out I passed up an opportunity to make his all-time favorite jelly, I’d probably never see my niece again!!

Concord Grape Jelly – yields 7 half-pints

5-1/2 cups grape juice.  A good rule-of-thumb is one pound of grapes will yield one cup of juice.

3-1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups water

3 Tbsp low-sugar flex batch pectin

Place washed, de-stemmed grapes into a stainless-steel pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Here is a little insider tip: freeze the grapes before making your jelly.  Why you ask?  When you freeze fruit it breaks their cell structure, which aids in releasing juice.  This is also a good way to store in-season fruit for jam/jelly making later in the season, which is what I did.  Once the grapes have begun to boil reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  While the grapes are cooking I gently mash them with a potato masher.

When your grapes have finished simmering, carefully pour them into a jelly bag and allow the juice to drip into a large bowl.  It may take several hours for all 5-1/2 cups to be extracted.  Should you find yourself becoming impatient, you can speed the process along by gently squeezing the bag; however, this will most likely result in a cloudy jelly.  Place the juice on the stove over med-high heat.  Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin and add it to the juice; bring the jelly mixture to a hard boil.  Add the remaining sugar, stir, and boil hard for one minute.  Ladle jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, wipe rims and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Allow jars to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for 12-24 hours.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2012 Danielle R Limoge.

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White Grape Tea-Infused Peach Jelly

When peaches were plentiful I canned them by the bushel!  Then, I started making spicy salsas and boozy jams.  I even puréed them into various fruit butters.  Eventually, only a few were remaining, and that was when I realized I had yet to make them into jelly.  Ever.

Typically, my jelly making adventures remain boring and predictable; I stick with grape.  If it weren’t for having a glorious grape-vine in the backyard of my last house, I probably would have never made jelly at all.  Honestly, I’m just not a fan.  I prefer spreading chunks of fruit on my toast, not congealed fruit juice.  But I will admit, homemade grape jelly from homegrown concord grapes is amazing.  Like really amazing!

One of the blogs I closely follow is Food in Jars.  Marisa is a wealth of knowledge and her recipes are inspiring!  The Food in Jars cookbook will be available Spring of 2012, and I can’t wait to flip through those delicious pages!  Marisa also offers canning classes at the Indy Hall kitchen, in Philly, which is a hop-skip-and-a-jump from me!  Early last Fall, I came across a post for tea-infused peach jelly.  It just so happened that I had a handful of white peaches in need of preserving!

White Grape Tea-Infused Peach Jelly

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

3 bags White Grape tea

4 large peaches, sliced

2 tbsp flex-batch pectin

In a large pot, simmer sugar and water; stir frequently ’til the sugar has dissolved.  Add tea bags and continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes.  **Marisa used 5 tea bags in her jelly.  Since the tea I selected is quite flavorful, I did not want it to overpower the peaches, so I used three.

Add sliced peaches and simmer for another 10 minutes.  It is a good idea to taste the mixture regularly so you can monitor flavor intensity.  Once the flavors have melded to your satisfaction, strain the mixture through a jelly bag or fine mesh sieve.  Gently press down on the peaches to remove as much juice as possible.

Place the fruit syrup back into the pot and add pectin.  Bring to a hard boil and continue boiling ’til the jelly liquid reaches approximately 220°F.

Remove pot from heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.  Wipe rims, adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight, and process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.

Allow jars to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for 12-24 hours.  Test seals and any jars that did not set should be placed in the fridge and used within a week.  Store sealed jars in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a year.

Recipe yields two 1/2 pint jars and one 1/4 pint jar.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Food in Jars.

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Malibu Peach Jam

I miss Summer.  Like, really miss Summer.  I long for the days of sun-kissed skin and endless sunshine.  The blissful aroma of lavender and chamomile wafting through the air.  I want to chase butterflies and dig in the dirt.

When blustery winds and afternoon darkness wreak havoc on my serotonin levels, I turn to my canning pantry for comfort.  Hidden behind those double doors is a cornucopia of Summer’s bounty preserved in jars.  I’m  not sure why, but nothing radiates warm weather and sunshine like peaches and coconut.  They are true mascots of Summer!

Malibu Peach Jam – yields 7 half-pints

4 cups peaches, peeled

3 cups of sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup Malibu rum

Blanch peaches to remove skins.  Discard pits and mash fruit; add sugar and lemon juice.  Over med-low heat, cook mixture ’til sugar is dissolved; continue cooking for 10-12 minutes.  You can test the doneness of your jam by conducting a gelling test.

Once the jam is done, remove it from the heat and carefully stir in your liqueur.  Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace, and process in a boiling-water bath according to your recommended altitude time.  For me it’s 5 minutes.  It may take about two weeks for your jam to reach a firm set.

Images and content copyright © 2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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Vanilla Pear Jam

Over the Labor Day holiday I took a roadtrip with my mom, this also happens to be the same trip where I acquired Harvest.  While out and about we stopped at several local orchards to pick up an assortment of apples, pears, and peaches.  My original plan was to make an apple-pear sauce, then I found the following recipe by Marisa, from Food in Jars!

Vanilla Pear Jam – yields seven half-pints

8 cups chopped pears, I used red bartlett  (there is no need to peel thin-skinned pears)

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

4 cups sugar

1 packet liquid pectin

In a large pot, combine pears, sugar, vanilla seeds, and beans; cook over medium heat until the pears are soft enough to be mashed with the backside of a wooden spoon.  Remove the vanilla beans and mash with a potato masher.  You can also use an immersion blender, just be careful to not purée the jam, unless that is the desired consistency you want to achieve.  I like my jam to have pieces of fruit in it!

Add the liquid pectin and bring to a boil, cook for 5 minutes to activate the pectin.

Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized, half-pint jars; wipe rims and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.  Remove jars from canner and allow to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for 12-24 hours.  Check seals (refrigerate any that did not set) and store in a cool, dry, dark place, for up to a year.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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Cherry Vanilla-Bean Jam

I’m guilty of having a draft box full of unfinished posts.  There are times during the year where I have too much going on to sit down and write!  Other times, I’m just too darn tired!  And it’s usually the latter! ;)  Now that the crush-window of my harvest preservation has passed, I’ve found myself reviewing those neglected (but not forgotten) posts.

I try to keep my posts as seasonally appropriate as possible.  Since it is Spring in Australia, cherries will soon be in season.  Forever the optimist, it’s always Summer somewhere!

Cherry Vanilla-Bean Jam - yields approximately 5 half-pints

4 cups pitted cherries (I use and prefer sour cherries, but sweet will work just the same.)

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 cup cherry juice

1/4 cup bottled lemon juice **only if you are using sweet cherries**

2 Madagascar vanilla beans

1 tsp pure almond extract

3 Tbsp flex-batch pectin

Pit cherries over a bowl to catch all that wonderfully delicious juice!  If you want to prevent oxidation where the pit was removed, sprinkle on a bit of Fruit Fresh.

Place pitted cherries in a food processor and pulse several times to chop them up; do not purée them.  I first tried to mash them with a potato masher, but found that method to work best with softer fruits, like strawberries and peaches.

Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  In a large stainless steel sauce pot, combine cherries, cherry juice, lemon juice if using sweet cherries, and vanilla seeds.  Reserve 1/4 cup sugar to mix with the pectin (this helps to prevent pectin from clumping when added to the hot fruit), add the remaining 1-1/4 cups to the fruit mixture and stir well.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; stir in almond extract.  Add sugar-pectin mix to fruit and stir to incorporate.  Bring jam to a hard boil, one that cannot be stirred away, and cook for one minute.  Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars; wipe rims, adjust 2-piece lids to fingertip-tight and process in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes.  Remove jars and allow to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for 12-24 hours.  Check seals, remove rings, and store in a cool, dry place for one year.

Be sure to give this jam a good stir before using, since most of the vanilla seeds tend to settle on the bottom of the jar!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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Preserving Corn: Part 2 Corn Cob Jelly

In Thursday’s post I explained how to freeze sweet corn; today, I’m going to share with you how to make corn cob jelly.  Yes, you read that right, you can make jelly from corn cobs!  Believe it or not, it tastes really good, the flavor is somewhat reminiscent of honey.

Corn Cob Jelly - adapted from CITR

1 gallon of water

2 dozen large corn cobs

1/4 cup lemon juice

5 tbsp flex-batch low-sugar pectin

4 cups sugar

Place water and cobs in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  (I had to cut some cobs to make them fit.  I also had to divide the water and cobs into two pots to keep everything from overflowing!)

Boil hard for 30 minutes; the longer you boil it down the more concentrated flavor you will have.  I ended up with 5 cups corn-liquid.  Remove from heat and strain the liquid through a jelly bag or cheese cloth, or leave the corn bits in the liquid, that is what I did.

Return the liquid to a large pot, add lemon juice and pectin, bring to a boil.  Add sugar and stir ’til dissolved; bring back to a rolling-boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars; wipe rims, adjust 2-piece lids and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Yields 6 half pints

Corn cob jelly on warm cornbread.

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Amaretto Apricot Jam

With the exception of making yards and yards of seed tape (fall carrots), much of last weekend was spent in my kitchen.  I’m sure I have a solid week’s worth of food posts!  Hopefully, I can squeeze in the time needed to sit down and write seeing as how Sunday night I ended up pulling my remaining Easter planting of root vegetables.  I have lots of canning and juicing on the horizon! :)

Sun-ripened apricots are one of my favorite fruits!  While at the local market paroozing the fresh picked produce (come on now, I can’t grow everything), I noticed a bounty of apricots.  Realizing I had never made apricot jam, I decided the time had come to remedy that!

After flipping through my canning books and online food sites, I decided to make Hitchhiking to Heaven’s amaretto apricot jam.  It turned out awesome and it is now my new favorite add-in to my daily snack of Greek yogurt.  By the way, if you have never added homemade jam to Greek yogurt you need to get on that.  Like now!

Apricot Amaretto Jam - {via}

4 cups apricots, peeled (about 24)

3 cups of sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup amaretto (I used an “airplane” sized bottle of Disaronno, it was perfect!)

Blanch apricots to remove skins.  Remove pits and mash.  Add sugar and lemon juice.  Over med-low heat, cook mixture ’til sugar is dissolved; continue cooking for 10-12 minutes.  Apricot jam tends to foam up quite a bit, so don’t move too far from your stove!  You can test the doneness of your jam by conducting a gelling test.  Place several spoons in the freezer and once you have finished cooking your jam, take one of the frozen spoons from the icebox and scoop out just a bit of jam (not a full scoop).  Place it back in the freezer for about 3 minutes, then hold it vertically.  If your jam slowly creeps down your spoon like the 80’s horror flick the Blob, it’s done!  Once the jam is done, remove it from the heat and carefully stir in your liqueur.  Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace, and process in a boiling water bath according to your recommended altitude time.  For me it is 5 minutes.  It may take about two weeks for your jam to reach a hard set.

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Changing things because I can!

Did you know that June 9th is National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day?  I won’t lie, I’m very fond of pie, it ranks right up there with my love for cake.  The problem is if I bake a pie, I’m going to eat a pie.  The entire pie.  But (probably) not all in one sitting (hopefully)!

Since I’ve never been one to conform to the norm, I’m changing things around; from here on out, June 9th will now be known as Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam Day!  So there you have it.  Happy Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam Day everyone!!  (And if it just so happens that another day is already reserved for Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam Day, than celebrate we shall, twice!)

Strawberry-rhubarb jam on fresh-baked strawberry bread!

Low Sugar Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam – a melding of Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving and Sure-Jell low sugar pectin jam recipes 

2 cups crushed hulled strawberries

2 cups chopped rhubarb

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 pkg Sure-Jell low sugar/no sugar pectin

4 cups sugar

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan combine strawberries, rhubarb, and lemon juice.  In a small bowl combine pectin with 1/2 cup sugar, whisk into fruit mixture until dissolved.  Bring to a boil over hight heat, stirring frequently.  Add remaining sugar and bring back to a hard rolling boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles; wipe rim and center lid on jar.  Screw band on until fingertip-tight.  Submerge jars in canner (be sure the water level is covering the lids), cover and process in boiling water for 10 minutes (or your current altitude recommended time).  Remove canner lid; wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.  Allow to cool on a wire rack, undisturbed for 12-24 hours.  Remove bands and store.

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My berry favorite time of the year!

Strawberry season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier!  I often entertain the idea of putting in a berry patch of my own, but I just can’t bring myself to part with the precious growing space for a 3 week harvest, especially since I can head to the farm and pick Josh’s.

Last year I decided to make all of my jams and jellies using low-sugar recipes; this year, after I talk to my local extension office of course, I want to make the switch from refined to raw sugar.  I assume the two are interchangeable, but I just want to hear it from an expert!  With the exception of my homemade jams and jellies, I rarely consume refined sugar.  Not only are refined products lacking in nutrition, but when you take into consideration that roughly 90% of sugar beets grown in the US are GMO sugar beets and of that 90%, over 54% are used in sugar production, we’ve got a serious double-whammy on our hands!  Sugar, like anything in moderation, is okay, but when taken to the level of consumption that we Americans do, it’s down right evil!  (I will now step down from my virtual soap-box.)

::UPDATE::  Turns out the two ARE NOT interchangeable!  Here is what the PennState extension office wrote when I asked about canning with raw sugar: The definition of raw sugar is the residue left after sugarcane has been processed to remove the molasses and refine the sugar crystals.  In this raw state, the sugar may contain contaminants such as molds and fibers.  In the United States, so-called raw sugar has been purified to remove dangerous contaminants.  There has not been USDA or Ball Company research using raw sugar in canning.  However, I can think of the following concerns for canning with raw sugar: If there are contaminants present in the raw sugar, it would increase the chance of spoilage of canned goods.  The flavor of raw sugar may mask the natural flavor of fruits being canned.  The color and impurities of the sugar may distort the color of the canned product.  I do not know of any research showing pH changes when canning with raw sugar—it is a possibility but I don’t know for sure.  The granular structure of raw sugar differs from regular granulated sugar; you might need more raw sugar to have the same degree of sweetness.  So there you have it folks, when in doubt ask!  I’ve found info online from “Betty Homemaker” and “Joe Schmo” about substituting raw sugar for white stating to up the amount of sugar by 20%; for baking, sure, go for it, when canning, hell no!!!  I’m following the advise of an expert!

Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam

1 box Sure-Jell Pectin for less or no sugar recipes
6 cups mashed strawberries
4 cups sugar
Mash strawberries and place in a large pot on the stove.  Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin and add it to the strawberries.  Bring to a boil; add remaining sugar and return to a hard boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.  Wipe jar rims; add lids and rings.  Process in a boiling-water bath according to your current altitude, 10 minutes for me.  Remove from canner and place on wire rack to cool.  Allow seals to set, 12-24 hours.  Remove rings and store.

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