Tag Archives: jam

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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The Numbers Are In

294.  That is my “unofficial” jar count for the 2011 growing season.  I say unofficial because sometimes I gift a jar (or two) before I remember to write down how much a recipe yielded; other times, I just forget all together.

This year’s number is slightly less than what I had anticipated, but then I remembered I did not put up beans (thank you cucumber beetles) or whole tomatoes (due to having quite a bit left over from 2010).  Had I not cooked-down most of my tomatoes into sauce, and had not fought the worst bug battle to date, I’m sure my jar count would have surpassed 2010’s unofficial count of 342!

Here is a glimpse into my just-off-the-kitchen, perfectly polished, meticulously arranged, and precisely labeled dry storage/canning pantry.  In my dream home it would be an entire room!!!

What you don’t see is my upstairs closet packed pull of the remaining jars!  I couldn’t get a decent picture, so just imagine 19 dozen more jars neatly packed into ball half boxes, all labeled and dated!  Yeah, you could say I’m a little neurotic.

And encase you were wondering what delectable goodies fill those jars in waiting, I’ve got the rundown of what went into last year’s canner.

SAUCES & CONDIMENTS: vanilla maple & plain applesauce, spicy & plain pasta sauce, ketchup, and bbq sauce.

SOUPS & STOCKS: tomato-garlic, 10 bean, split pea, vegetable stock

JAMS, JELLIES & MARMALADES: strawberry-rhubarb jam, clementine marmalade, grape jelly, quince jam, love apple jelly, tropical peach jam, tomato jam, malibu peach jam, corncob jelly, vanilla-pear jam, raspberry-apricot jam, raspberry jam, cherry-vanilla jam, yellow tomato jam, apricot jam, white grape peach tea jam, and strawberry-blueberry-rhubarb jam.

CHUTNEYS & FRUIT BUTTERS: vanilla bean peach butter, quince-apple chutney, peach-apple butter, rhubarb chutney, and spring conserves.

PICKLED: chard stems, radishes, and dilly scapes.

SALSAS & TOMATOES: tomato salsa, peach salsa, summer salsa, stewed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, and tomatillo salsa.

FRUITS & VEGETABLES: carrots, roasted eggplant (it’s almost pickled), beets, and peaches.

Yep, I think that covers just about everything!  I may revisit this post (at another time) to link the recipes.

After skimming over all of those tasty titles, you may have noticed that a large number of them have yet to make it onto the blog.  Lets just say I’ve got plenty of future posts at the ready!  Who knows, maybe this will be the year I finally catch up… but I wouldn’t bet the farm! 😛

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

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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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Strawberry Maple Banana Bread

I’m always looking for new ways to use what I’ve preserved, especially when it comes to fruit spreads!  Cookies made with jam are nothing new for me, but bread-baked preserves were something I’ve yet to try!

Strawberry Maple Banana Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup strawberry jam

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 flax egg

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.  Grease a loaf pan and set aside.  Over medium heat, toast walnuts ’til warm and fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Be sure to keep the nuts moving so they do not burn.  Set walnuts aside.

In a large bowl, combine jam, butter, flax egg, maple syrup, and almond extract.  Add mashed bananas, stir thoroughly.

In a small bowl, sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly begin adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well each time.  Stir in toasted walnuts.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.  Allow bread to sit for 5 minutes before removing from pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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

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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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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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Movin’ to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches!

OK, so maybe I already live in the country, but I am definitely gonna eat me a lot of peaches this winter!  Nothing compares to opening up a jar of fresh summer peaches in the middle of winter.  For my mother, that definitely ranks at the top of her nostalgia list!  As a little girl she spent her summers on the farm and canning peaches was the yearly tradition she liked best!

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve made 2 types of jam, canned several pints & quarts, and made honey from the left over skins!  I really, really love peaches!!  Rohrers Orchard is only a few minutes from me, and since I don’t have the room to grow fruit trees of my own, I support local farms that do!  I also plan on getting my apples there come October.  Rohrers last peach picking of the season will be Thursday, so I am stopping by Friday morning for one more half bushel.
This is going to be a 3 part peach post because there is so much deliciousness to share!

Part 1: Peach Jam

Whenever you are using peaches you will first want to remove the skins.  You don’t have to, but they tend to get a bit slimy if you don’t.  I am not overly sensitive to textures, like some people; however, slimy just doesn’t sit well!

Fresh is always best, and canning over-ripe fruit does not improve the quality or flavor.  So, with that being said, make sure your peaches are ripe, but not mushy.  I normally let them sit out in a single layer for about a day or two.  Any peaches with brown spots set aside, you can just cut that section out and slice those up for snacking on while cooking!  Wash your fruit and place it into a large pot of boiling water for about a minute, then transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water. This is called blanching and it is how you remove skins with ease.  If your peaches are not ripe you will have to boil them a bit longer.

After the peaches have cooled in the ice bath the skins just slip right off!  This is also how you remove tomato skins.  I always save the skins to be used for making peach honey.  Not to worry, a post is soon to follow on that delectable diabetic coma inducing sweetness!

Slice your peaches and remove the pits. 

If you are making jam with your peaches, cut them into small chunks and then mash with a potato masher.  You can add either lemon juice or citric acid to keep your peaches from oxidizing and turning brown.  I use Ball Fresh Fruit, which is citric acid in powder form.  Don’t let the name scare you, it’s completely safe and all natural!
For my peach jam, I used 5 cups of mashed fruit and 1 1/3 C sucanat.  Remember how I went on and on about it in this post?  I also used 1 cup unsweetened apple juice and the low sugar pectin.  I have a wicked sweet tooth, so I was a bit nervous about how the jam would turn out.  Fear not sugar lovers, it rocks!  Combine the fruit, sucanat, and juice, and bring it to a rolling boil, then add the pectin.  Once it returns to a hard boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.  Ladle it into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.  Remove the jars from the water and allow to cool on a wire rack while anxiously listening for your jar lids to plink and seal.
I happen to have crappy hard-water, so there is constantly a white chalky residue left on my mason jars!  Simple solution to a pain-in-the-arse problem, add a bit of white vinegar to the canner and cleaning crisis averted!


I also tried out a spiced peach jam this year!  MMMM Baby!  Is it ever good!  Imagine apple pie filling, but with peaches.  Oh yea!  I used the same recipe for the low-sugar jam, but added 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  I think with my final half bushel, I may try a ginger peach jam. 🙂

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When Less is More

Ever since my pressure canner arrived last week, I’ve been canning like it’s my job!  I. LOVE. IT.  I’ve done tomatoes, peaches, green beans, 3 batches of peach jam, and now tomato soup.  Actually, the soup is in there now, which is why I am still awake!  I have an hour to go, so I figured I would pop in here and share with you all my *sweet* new love.

Seriously, sucanat is AWESOME.  It is the Bomb!!  Tonight I made a batch of spiced peach jam and instead of regular sugar, I subbed sucanat.  It turned out amazing, even better than my regular jams.  Aside from its uber sweetened organic tastiness, I only had to use 1-1/3 cups as opposed to 5-1/2 cups!  Score.  I am hooked and making the switch!

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