Posts Tagged ‘canning’

Cherry Lavender Jam

It’s still early in our fruit share for the year, so we’ve mostly had cherries for the past month. Sweet and sour, yellow and deep purple…we’ve had pounds of cherries in our house every week. Today I decided to make a cherry jam. This recipe is an experiment, modified from another cherry recipe I found online.

Cherry Lavender Jamcherry jam

  • 4 cups pitted cherries
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/4 c grand mariner
  • splash of vanilla
  • handful of lavender leaves & flowers, without stems
  • 2 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • pectin

Prep jars for canning: wash jars, bands and lids in hot soapy water. Dry bands and lids and set aside. Place jars in rack in canning pot; cover with water and keep hot until ready to use.

Chop pitted cherries in food processor. In large heavy saucepan, add cherries, lemon juice, grand mariner, vanilla, pectin and lavender. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil again for 3 full minutes.

Fill jars with jam, leaving 1/4 – 1/2 inch headspace. Make sure edge if jar is clean. (this is SO much easier to do with a wide-mouthed funnel) Put on lids, ensuring sealant is in contact with edge of jar. Put on band, turning until just finger tight. Put jars back in canning pot and make sure jars are covered with an inch of water. Bring to full boil and cover with lid; boil for at least 10 minutes (small jars) or 15 minutes for large jars.

Remove pot from heat without lifting and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars from pot and set on clean towel. Jars must not be disturbed for at least 12 hours. You’ll be able to hear the “pop” of the lids sealing within a couple of minutes.

After 12 hours, check seal to ensure it’s good, re-tighten bands and store jars in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

Yield: Five 8 0z jars, plus a little left over for fresh eating


Ginger Lemon Rhubarb Jam

It’s still rhubarb season, and it turns out my housemate loves rhubarb jam. So we made a plan last week to put up some jam, adding ginger and lemon juice to make it even more tangy. We planted rhubarb in the garden last year, so we can harvest the stems this season. (read more about rhubarb, an amazing perennial plant)

I haven’t made jam since middle school, and even then it was freezer jam, not the jam you put into glass jars and boil. We don’t have room in our freezer for plastic containers of jam (Glenda is still annoyed by the roasted beets still in the freezer from last fall), and I also want to learn how to can so I can put up the surpluses of tomatoes, cucumbers and peaches I expect this year.  A major goal of our 3rd CSA year is to waste no food.

So, anyway, a few quick web searches for rhubarb ginger jam uncovered a lot of available recipes, but I went with this one, found on the barefoot kitchen witch site. She has a lot of photos that are quite handy.

However, I did alter the recipe some, and the instructions are sort of hard to follow on her post, so I’m recreating it here for all our benefit.

Ginger Rhubarb Lemon Jam

Photo by the Barefoot Kitchen Witch; See all of her recipes and photos on her blog!

Photo by the Barefoot Kitchen Witch; See all of her recipes and photos on her blog!

2 lbs (or 8 cups) chopped rhubarb
2 cups sugar or comparable sweetener
1/3 cup minced or shredded (fresh) ginger
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
juice of 2 small lemons (a little less than 1/4 cup, I think)
1 T lemon zest

Wash and trim rhubarb and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. (The rhubarb will give enough water to keep it from sticking)

Cook, stirring ocassionally, for 20 – 25 minutes on medium heat until the mixture reaches 218 -220 degrees (F). (Add pectin if necessary) Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. At this point, jam can be stored in sterilized canning jars or canned in a hot water bath (more canning guidelines below)

Adding pectin: Pectin, a compound extracted from plants like citrus, is a gelling agent added to jams, jellies and desserts to stablize foods.  It’s what makes jams jelly. Pectin is available in most grocery stores, and yesterday I found a pectin product that is activated by calcium instead of sugar, therefore allowing you to add as little or as much sweeter as you desire. We didn’t want the jam to be too sweet, so we started the recipe with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and added the additional 1/2 cup after it had simmered a bit.  (it was mouth puckering tart)

To test whether you should add pectin, float a small metal bowl in a larger bowl or basin that’s filled with cold water. Drop a small amount of the jam into the metal bowl; the cold water it’s sitting in will cool the jam quickly. Swipe a finger through the jam; if it retains most of its own shape and doesn’t run together, you probably don’t need to add pectin. This was true in our case, but since I hate runny jam, I added about half the amount of recommended pectin at the end. (read your pectin instructions for details, and don’t be afraid to add it at the end – just be sure to boil it at least 2 minutes after adding it.)

For canning instructions and lessons learned, click on “continue reading” below.

Yield: We filled two 12-oz jars with jam, and had an additional 1/2 cup leftover that we threw into the fridge. I am definitely getting some 6 oz jars for the next batch of jam; it’ll be easier to share them with friends and family.

I licked the pot when we were finished, because the concoction was delightful. Hope yours is lovely!

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