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Jammin' 2012!

I thought it would be fun to have an ongoing discussion of what we are making - jam, jelly, preserve and conserve-wise for the year.

What are you making? What worked or didn't work?

Tips, links to recipes, questions - dive right in!

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  1. I got a later start than I had hoped with the earlier strawberry season. I picked about 8 lbs. of organic berries and started to make up for lost time!

    Strawberry Lavender Jam
    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/lo...

    The first recipe was inspired by the large lavender patch just coming into bloom in front of my home. This is the first jam I've made since the end of fig season last summer and the first I made with a new wider pot. Consequently, the new pot (and new stove?) resulted in an overcooked product. Very thick but very delicious. Unfortunately, over cooking led to 1 1/2 jelly jars...I love the combination of strawberry and lavender and plan on making more. I just realized I used half the amount of lavender the recipe called for.

    Strawberry with Thai Spices
    By Liana Krissof "Canning for a New Generation"
    http://books.google.com/books?id=6Mk8...

    I was tired by the time I finished picking and prepping the berries, so I macerated the berries with the sugar overnight. I halved the recipe due to the quantity of berries I had left. The next day I followed the recipe and ended up with 2 jelly jars of jam. I decided to experiment with adding oil to deal with foaming and added 1 tea. of canola about midway during the cooking. The finished jam still shows signs of foam - better to just skim imo. Later I read that the oil/butter should be added at the beginning.
    Overall I am very pleased with the flavor - bright, the fresh herbal tones don't overpower the berries. I'm looking forward to playing with pairings. Should be nice as a glaze for chicken. The flavor is making me wonder what the lovechild of a Banh Mi and a Monte Cristo might be like!
    All in all, worth making.

    Christine Ferber's Strawberries with Raspberry Juice and Balsamic Vinegar from Mes Confitures
    (A copy is on the gardenweb link above

    )

    I used a slightly larger amount of raspberries due to the packaging of the fresh. By the time I ate the too ripe berries the increase was probably 2 oz. I used a 20 year balsamic. Ended up with 3.5 jars. (I need to rethink this new pot...) I loved the flavor when it was warm. I tried it this morning and it was pretty tart. I'll let it mellow a few weeks and try it again. I generally love her combinations. This is the first one that I am not immediately wowed by. Again, could very well be the new pot. With the number of fans of this jam I'm inclined to think the blame is on me. :-)

    Today I'll finish up with Ferber's Strawberry with mint (also on Gardenweb link). With the larger amount of berries.

    I was very intrigued with a strawberry and maple syrup recipe I saw, but reluctant to invest so much in the quantity of syrup it called for. I might half the recipe...

    1. Christine Ferber's Strawberry with Black Pepper and Fresh Mint
      http://community.cookinglight.com/sho...

      Edit: My post before mentioned the wrong link for this recipe!

      This is a three day process, with a brief simmer on the second day. I had seen a suggestion about using grains of paradise instead of black pepper and decided to try it. I used my old pot - partly to avoid the problems of yesterday and because the larger volume required a taller pot.

      This was letter perfect with the usual Ferber set. They yield was exactly 4 jelly jars.

      The flavor is like the most perfect hard strawberry candy. Fresh, exactly sweet enough with true strawberry flavor. The mint and grains of paradise aren't enough to discern, but somehow amp up the purity of the berry. This is a keeper!

      1. I tried the strawberry lavender again with some changes. I doubled the berries, sugar and lemon juice. I used 30 stems of lavender.

        I macerated the halved berries in sugar overnight. Second day brought them to a quick boil then returned them to the bowl and fridge. Third day drained the juice and brought to a boil until 221 degrees ( ala Ferber) then added the berries for 5 minutes (sans lavender). Filled jars to 1/4" headspace, processed 10 min., let rest uncovered 5 min. Ended up with 5 jars of the most delicious jam!

        (Gave up on the new pot, using my tried and true!)

        1. Figs have started coming in!

          Initial harvesting was just 800 - 900 grams each day. I made a batch of last years favorite, Ferber's fig & pear. Recipe quantity thanks to geminigirl:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8544...

          I also made a batch of a new-to-me recipe which has fig/pear/apple/orange zest & juice/cardamon/lemon juice. The flavor is really nice, the orange changes it up a bit. The apples developed an odd texture similar to a re-hydrated dried apple. Hopefully the texture changed once canned.
          Here's the link:
          http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/595020
          The recipe calls for preserving sugar. I'm in the states so just used regular cane sugar. Figured the apples (granny smiths) provided enough pectin. Made 6 jars plus a little extra.

          Picked almost 5 lbs today.

          Would love it if anyone has some fig jam/preserve recipes they'd like to share!

          1. Well, our record breaking warm March followed by a cool April and several frosts have wreaked havoc on local berries. I did make some strawberry-vanilla jam, but the strawberries (local) were just bland ( the fault of the weather, not the grower). I also made some with non-local organic berries ( and raspberries), which were more flavorful. The impact on local peach crops is sure to be severe, so I am crossing my fingers that I'll be able to put up some vanilla-almond-peach jam (along with peach salsa--not a sweet spread, I know).

            1. I garden in Zone 1b so there is absolutely no fresh fruit or vegetables yet. However, I did make Spicy Apricot and Cherry Marmalade this week. Great with pork. When my herbs are large enough I will make sage jelly, basil jelly, apricot and chile jelly, lavender mint jelly, strawberry balsamic jam, blueberry ketchup...

              5 Replies
              1. re: chefathome

                Could you share the recipe for the Spicy Apricot & Cherry Marmalade please? This sounds like a delicious and lovely combo. How to you use it?

                1. re: meatn3

                  It is an extremely easy recipe to make - it only makes 3 cups so I did not process it as we will be using it up quickly. So far with pork but I intend ot use it with lamb chops (maybe add a touch more white wine and a bit of balsamic to make a glaze). It would be very good with duck, too. Have not yet eaten it with goat cheese on bread but intend to. Will find the recipe and post for you. By the way, it is not very sweet just so you know. It also has a little bit of miso in it.

                  ETA: Here it is. I called it the wrong thing. They call it "Apricot-Miso Jam". Sorry!
                  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201... The recipe itself also does not call for processing.

                  1. re: chefathome

                    Thanks so much!

                    I love being able to use dry fruit when there is little fresh available. Do you recommend any particular color/type miso? I imagine this gives an earthy flavor.

                    1. re: chefathome

                      Do you know if this is safe for processing?

                  2. re: chefathome

                    Chefathome, can you please let me know where you found the recipe for Sage Jelly, and how you use the finished product? I have an enormous Sage bush outside and there's only so much sage you can freeze to use in the winter.
                    Thanks!

                  3. Saw a few local peaches at the farmers market over the weekend. Hopefully I'll be canning some vanilla-almond-peach jam in a couple of weeks!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      Stone-fruits! There is nothing better than a perfect peach - juice running down your chin and flavor exploding with each bite. I've actually had some very good ones from various grocery stores in the last few weeks. Also have had good luck with apricots. I'm enjoying them, the past several years they all seemed lacking of flavor.

                      Do you use actual almonds or almond extract in your recipe? Vanilla and peach play so well together. I made boozy peaches with vanilla and brandy last year. The fruit was disappointing, but the liquid was delicious! Nice on it's own or added to white wine for a refreshing drink.

                      I'm in the midst of fig season - picked 7 lbs yesterday - but apricots were on my mind from chefathome's post. I was also still so pleased with the strawberry/lavender combo I had made. My lavender is still blooming, so I created my first jam recipe!

                      Fig & apricot using Ferber's ratios for her fig & pear. I added 30 stems of lavender. Initial tastings seemed too floral, but after the final cooking the lavender slipped into the background - supporting not dominating. The apricot seemed to increase the foaming a little. I'm happy with the flavor! Made 4 jars

                      I came up with a trick to use with the lavender. I gather several stems and tie them into a knot. I think the bruising releases more flavor from the stem (rather than just the flowers), the knots fit in the bowl better and they are easier to fish out later.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        I use extract. Originally, I added some extract (too much!) which overwhelmed the jam. So I added some vanilla for balance. I liked the result and so did my jam "giftees".

                    2. I made too much jam last year, and despite giving it away left right and centre, I still have some left!
                      But I couldn't control myself any longer...I thought that a blueberry rhubarb jam recipe with maple syrup looked too good not to try, so I made it on Saturday. It was my first time using Pomona's pectin.. the recipe tasted good, the maple syrup wasn't overwhelming. You are supposed to end up with 2 cups of stewed rhubarb, and I ended up using about twice the amount of rhubarb called for to get enough stewed rhubarb.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: rstuart

                        I saw a strawberry jam which used maple syrup and was intrigued. It used 800 g. of syrup, 4/5ths of the weight of the berries. That amount of maple was a bit pricey and in the end I wasn't feeling quite that experimental.

                        What was the ratio of syrup in your recipe? Is the maple flavor still recognizable? Your combination sounds delicious!

                        1. re: meatn3

                          I got the recipe from here:
                          http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...
                          here's only a cup of maple syrup, and 1.5 Cups of sugar.. it's a low sugar recipe. I could still taste the maple syrup in the finished product... I quite liked it!

                          1. re: rstuart

                            Thank you! Not sure if I'll have time this season, but bookmarked it for next year.

                      2. Yesterday I made Strawberry-Honey jam. It's fabulous. There was a little leftover so I had it on the counter (destined for the frig) when DH got home and ate it all right out of the jar! It's delicious and very simple. I did cook it longer than the recipe called for because I wanted the fruit to break down a bit more. The recipe is here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20... .

                        I also made the Berry-Cherry No Sugar Added jam from the Ball book (for my mom). This time I used Pomona instead of the pink box no sugar pectin (I had pomona on hand). That came out pretty good too.

                        1. I just made my first-ever batch of jam: classic peach jam from Canning for a New Generation. But, like a fool, I mismeasured and used too many peaches. This means I inadvertently cut the sugar and lemon juice called for by about 1/3. The stuff tastes great and set up nicely. I made 10 little half-pints and they sealed up just fine in the water bath. But can I use them? I'm thinking of just giving it all away and having people eat it right away, but I do wonder—what, exactly, makes a jam shelf-stable?

                          Next up, pickling. I've done a fair amount of refrigerator pickles before, but I'm going to put up some pickled veggies in my canner this year.

                          1. Massive jamming fail (caused by not reading the recipe thoroughly enough.. generally the cause of most of my disaster). Made Cherry and plum jam which I've made before, but this time I decided to use a recipe with dry pectin, since I had a pack in the cupboard. Decided to chop up the fruit and let them sit with the sugar for a while, so they get nice and mixed.
                            Read the recipe 2 hours after doing this; it clearly states that you mix the fruit and pectin then heat the mixture, adding sugar slowly. Panic.
                            I found a similar recipe using liquid pection (however, I had too much sugar!). Added some additional fruit and acid to make up the difference.. then followed those directions. However, the jam is the most liquid I've ever seen; literally sloshing around the jars.
                            I'm trying to decide I want to open all of the jars to boil it longer, add more pectin, or just call the whole thing off and toss them.
                            Not even thick enough to be called "sauce"!!

                            Any advice? This has never happened to me with a jam with added pectin; suspect that I just messed the proportions up too much!!

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: rstuart

                              That is so frustrating! Perhaps we should combine my strawberry tar with you liquidy cherry/plum!

                              Was the pectin new or from a prior year? My co-op extension instructor always recommended buying it each season to insure that it was fresh.

                              Plums generally have plenty of natural pectin, cherries have some. Here's a good chart with pectin levels:
                              http://www.portlandpreserve.com/All%2...

                              I'd let the jars sit for a week or so and see if it gets firmer. If you still aren't happy then open them up and cook it down a bit. If your ratio was heavier on the plums and you added lemon juice it should thicken up without adding commercial pectin.

                              Or you could just use it up jar by jar in other ways. Mix with yogurt or sour cream for a cold dessert soup. Whiz in the blender and use as basis for a bbq sauce. Add to smoothies...

                              Let us know what you do and how it works out.

                              I learn more when things go wildly wrong than when things go letter perfect!

                              1. re: meatn3

                                It was from last year.. but it was still good (I checked the expiry date). It's odd, I've made plum jam before without pectin, but you do have to boil it for awhile!! It's not just not set.. it's totally liquid. Maybe I'll give it a few days in case it's a late setter! Maybe there was too much sugar??

                                1. re: rstuart

                                  What were your ratios?

                                  I remember reading on the National Center for Food Preservation site that some fruits can take several weeks to set up. istr plum being one of them.

                                  Hopefully someone who has had this issue will chime in!

                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    Hmm.. off the top of my head, 1.5 lbs each of cherries and plums (before pitting), 6 1/4 C sugar, 3 Tbs lemon juice. The liquid pectin recipe called for more fruit, less sugar, and 1/4 C lemon juice, so I added 2 more plums chopped and another Tbs of lemon juice. I think that this batch is a write-off as jam!

                                    1. re: rstuart

                                      Your proportions look good. I think I'd pop it open and cook it down some more. Could be the maceration just produced more juice than the recipe was developed for.

                                      The plum/cherry combo sounds delicious!

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          Did exactly that (although I was irritated at having to buy more lids!). Boiled for another 10 minutes; it was gelling more on the side of the pot etc. So far, it's not exactly set, but much less liquid than it was before.. I can give it away without shame!

                                          1. re: rstuart

                                            Terrific! You would have been disappointed every time you looked at the liquidy batch.

                                            I've been having a harder time finding canning supplies this year. I look at every place I shop, so haven't missed them. I think a lot of stores just have cut back. Which strikes me as odd since canning keeps gaining in popularity.

                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              That's irritating. there is a large hardware store near where I work, so I visit it on lunch hours for my purchases, and lug everything home on the streetcar.

                                2. re: rstuart

                                  I made a half batch of the most delicious Peach Amaretto jam (found on the Pacific Pectin website), but used the Ball dry pectin I had around. I bought it a year or two ago but the date was still good. It come out delicious and also so firm, almost TOO firm, even though I used a tiny bit less than called for (I had used some in a sugar plum jam that I was experimenting with). I had never used pectin before in any form, always did the half hour boil method, and thought to myself, this is easy! I was so delighted with my creations, that I went out and bought more Ball pectin and enough peaches for a full recipe. Christmas is right around the corner!

                                  So two days ago, I start to make my jam again. I get to the sugar and now it's 7 1/2 cups. All I have is around 5, I always get caught by surprise with the large amounts called for. I figure, the pectin will take care of that. But I was wrong, the next morning it was pure liquid.

                                  So I remembered I had some instructions how to fix it. I go out and get lots of sugar...didn't get new lids, didn't realize until I was cooking away....and did as instructed, added some more sugar,plus an extra cup to each pot to make up for the original shorfall; pectin, lemon juice and wine (it called for grape juice but I don't keep on hand). Broke my jam into two four cup batches and brought to a boil as instructed. Reprocessed. This morning, it still looks totally liquid. I am so sad. If the first batch hadn't come out so good, I would move on to liquid pectin, or go back to the long boil, but guess I'll be giving out fancy syrup for Christmas. Meanwhile I gave out most of the first batch to neighbors, because I thought I'd be overloaded.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    That stinks. It has happened to me as well, either too runny or too set....somehow I've turned it into something usable stirring it into yogurt, pancake sauce or mixing it into quick breads and muffins. Lots of folks use it as a base to marinades but I haven't tried that yet. I'm sure your recipients will still enjoy it!

                                    1. re: geminigirl

                                      Maybe I should make a print out of ideas, and pretend I did it on purpose! I'm not giving up, but next jam I think will be berries.

                                    2. re: coll

                                      Coll's problem raises an interesting problem: Can the alcohol pectin test be used on syrup from jam that failed to gel, to see if there is enough pectin, or must it be used on juice only. And does reprocessing the the syrup denature the original commercial pectin? So much seems to depend on the order in which things are added. The pectin Coll added is normally put in before the sugar. Would she have gotten different results in reprocessing with liquid pectin which is added after the sugar? Anyone out there have any experience with this?

                                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                                        It would be so much simpler that way,I would love to know the scientific facts. I had found my advice on reprocessing online, seemed to be easy and dependable but then again it's the first time I ever tried anything like this. Live and learn!

                                        It seems to be a nice site though

                                        http://pickyourown.org/allaboutcannin...

                                  2. I made a red and black currant jam with cassis.. quite a pain to stem all of those currants! Made it yesterday, and wow, did it set! I hope that it's edible, because I turned a jar upside down, and it's like cement! Yikes..

                                    1. So far it has been apricot, strawberry, and pluot. I am looking forward to figs, and then to Seville orange marmalade later in the year. If apricots are still available this week, I plan to make another batch. A friend made pear/ginger with fruit I had been given but didn't have time to cook. It came out more like candy, so it is destined for cookie fillings. We've had a hard time judging what is a "hard boil" with some of the fruit. I expect I will also make some mixed fruit jam and quince jam, as some early quinces are already in the market.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                                        I found mention in a few places to let the jam reach 220 -221 F. I've been tucking a candy thermometer in my kettle - most times this gives a slightly loose set. Sometimes it seems next to impossible to reach the temperature, my batch will just refuse to move past 210 F.

                                        The second round of figs looks like it will be within a week. I'm going to experiment with the speed of reaching a boil and see what works best.

                                      2. Raspberry Peach Jam.. bit of a pain straining out the seeds, but worth it!

                                        1. A friend brought me a crate of the most delicious Red Haven peaches last week from Wenatchee, east of the Washington Cascades. I've made ginger peach preserves, Amaretto peach butter, and honey peach freezer jam.

                                          The freezer jam was made with Pomona Pectin, and the other two with no added pectin, just cooked a long time. The freezer jam is just okay--my first attempt, next time I won't be as stingy with the honey--but the other two turned out great. I'd never made butter before, and I'd heard it's easy to burn, but this wasn't hard at all (I just parked a chair in front of the stove, sat down with a book, and gave it a good stir every minute or so). Definitely a keeper!

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: MsMaryMc

                                            Mmmm- those sound so good!

                                            I haven't made any fruit butters yet. I have heard several people say they use their crock pot to cook up apple and pear butters so there is no worry about burning it. But then again. I wouldn't mind a free pass to sit and read for an extended period!

                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              I love eating fruit butters, but have yet to make one... a bit afraid (no crock pot, and no immersion blender). Red Haven peaches are great; I've been eating them like crazy! What was your recipe for ginger peach preserves?

                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                I didn't use a crock pot or an immersion blender for my butter--this recipe (from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving) has you cook the diced fruit for 20 minutes, then cool it and run it through a food mill or food processor. Then I just cooked it in a good, heavy All-Clad pot and parked myself in front of the stove in a chair so I could stir it for a LONG time! It was tedious, but it didn't burn or stick at all.

                                                Here's the ginger peach recipe--I would have just linked to it but it's no longer there, so I figure re-posting it is fair game. I've made it before but this time it turned out better--I think because I got some really good, fresh candied ginger at World Spice Merchants http://www.worldspice.com/

                                                Gingered Peach Preserves

                                                Yield: 8 half-pints

                                                5+ lbs. firm ripe peaches (I needed a little more last time
                                                )6 cup granulated sugar
                                                ½ cup candied ginger, chopped
                                                1 Tbl. lemon juice

                                                Wash peaches. Peel, pit and chop. Measure 11 cups chopped peaches.

                                                In a very large bowl combine peaches, sugar, ginger, and lemon juice. Cover with waxed paper. Let stand overnight, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.

                                                Transfer mixture to a 6- or 8-quart Dutch oven or kettle. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring frequently. Boil gently, uncovered, about 1 hour (mine took longer to reach temperature—more like 1.5 hours) or till syrup sheets off a metal spoon or mixture reaches 220 degrees on a jelly thermometer. Quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.

                                                Immediately ladle mixture into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water begins to boil). Remove jars from canner; cool on racks.

                                                  1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                    I am always very leery of altering jam recipes (since I've found that "winging it" doesn't work), but I do wonder how this would cut in half.. I already have too many jams really, but would like to try this one!

                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                      I can't say how it would work with this one, but I've had pretty good results tinkering with some jam recipes. Pomona Pectin particularly has let me halve, or double, or use less sugar, or add in ingredients (like booze), and still get good results. I know you're not supposed to do any of that with recipes using conventional pectins, but maybe that's the key--maybe it's just the traditional pectins (Sure-Jell, Ball, MCP, etc.) that don't take to variations? I haven't tried winging it with a recipe that doesn't use added pectin, like this one, but it might be worth a shot.

                                                      Any more experience jam-makers want to weigh in?

                                                      1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                        I'm starting to think the same. But i"m far from experienced.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          I think that I might give it a try this week-end or next; I will write back with my experiences and let you know if it works! Or if not, what type of disaster I caused in my kitchen...

                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                  I did crock pot apple butter 2 years ago and I didn't like it. It came out over caramelized for my tastes. I do want to try again.

                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                    Is your crock pot older or newer? The older ones cook at a lower temperature. Troubleshooting is such an ongoing pursuit!

                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                      It's from the 1990s. I think I cooked it too long, or I just didn't like that recipe.

                                                2. re: MsMaryMc

                                                  Butters are really easy in the oven, and no splattering burns....slow cooker is a little slower...but a good viable option.

                                                  1. re: geminigirl

                                                    It wasn't the butter that splattered for me, it was the ginger peach preserves! That stuff bubbled and popped and splattered something fierce. Sitting in front of the stove, my hair was at the perfect height to get the worst of it. It was a stiff, sticky mess afterwards!

                                                    1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                      Ouch, what we suffer for good preserves! Its amazing how some sputter like crazy and some cook up with nothing....when my husband walks by and sees the spotted stove, he always gasps! Luckily it cleans up easy:)

                                                      1. re: geminigirl

                                                        Yes, I have resorted to stirring the pot as far as my arm can reach, wearing oven mitts so I don't burn my arm!

                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                          I use these sometimes (used to be a glass blower) - allows more precision in movement:

                                                          http://www.glasscraftinc.com/home/gla...

                                                3. Made a plain strawberry jam this year that turned out perfectly, a peach jam that tastes incredible but might be a tad loose and my favourite has been a Peach-Amaretto Butter. All recipes are from Bernadin's cookbook. I am still a complete novice with Jams but am slowly learning.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: icey

                                                    Jams are so much easier than most people think, aren't they!

                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                      I'm starting to be a bit more comfortable, but the plate test and testing for doneness is still difficult for me. My jams tend to take longer than what the recipes say, maybe because I am simmering them over lower heat.
                                                      My chef friend says that he always uses a 3 day jam recipe, where on the third day he boils it to 106 C and then it is ready. I am going to try his method next time.

                                                  2. I started a thread about microwave jam and probably should have attached it here. I've made strawberry and gingered peach jam--the peach jam with both fresh and frozen peaches. The peach jam has a tendency for the fruit to float to the top. After checking some other threads and references, I am inclined to think that the only sure way to avoid that is to macerate the fruit with the sugar, cook it and let it reabsorb the juices, then cook it again with the liquid pectin--powdered pectin won't do as it has to be added before the sugar. Of course, I could go one step further and follow Madeleine Bullwinkel's preserve approach, which is not quite as complicated as the classic French method. But it still involves cooking the fruit with sugar, draining the juices and adding pectin and then adding back the fruit. I'd follow a recipe exactly a few times to get the hang of it. And I wouldn't be doing it in a microwave. But then you'd end up with a high sugar spread. One of the reasons I like jam, besides the concentrated fruit flavor, is that they can be made with less sugar than a jelly. The regular Ball Real Fruit Pectin label and web site, in fact, recommend the reduced sugar alternative over the traditional proportion which often tastes to me like fruit-flavored rock candy.

                                                    1. Just canned tomatoes for the first time, which makes me a bit nervous, kind of like when I first started with jams....I did 5 pints of crushed tomatoes and they look so pretty sitting in the pantry!

                                                      I also pulled out my dehydrator and did a couple of batches of peaches, apples and cherry tomatoes. So nice to "preserve" without turning on the stove and less prep work (didn't peel the apples or peaches). Im hoping to do a few more batches of each before fall is out Anyone else using a dehydrator and have some good tips / recipies?

                                                      1. So far this year, I've made strawberry jam, peach, pear, pear-vanilla and fig jams. Canned some 'maraschino' cherries, and will do some pear chunks next week.
                                                        The first jar or two of fig jam crystallized after a while in the fridge as we used them- don't know why. And I pureed the peaches a little too much, and they separated into layers of jam and jelly (which may not be all bad!). Over all, I'm pleased with the results.

                                                        1. In addition to those I already posted (above), I've since made several batches.
                                                          --citrus spiced blueberry jam
                                                          --blueberry lime jam
                                                          --sweet & spicy (sliced) pickles
                                                          --spicy tomato jam
                                                          --"Valentine" sauce (raspberry, chocolate, almond)
                                                          --plum vanilla jam

                                                          I'm pretty happy with that. I plan to can some whole tomatoes this weekend - can't live without those for the winter! And then I'll do hot sauce (when the hot peppers come in), apple cider jelly (in the fall), maybe another peach jam (I really liked the peach & prosecco one I made last year). The super-hot July really put a damper on a lot of stuff for me this year. But getting back into the swing of it now. :)

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: LNG212

                                                            Plum vanilla is great... I make a Martha Stewart recipe that's really good..

                                                          2. --I've put up some halved plum tomatoes - just for us (I don't give those away). And I plan to do more next week too.
                                                            --I made Damson Plum with Orange Liqueur which came out really good. I wasn't sure about the combination (it's also in the Ball book, I think) but it works.
                                                            --I just finished a Raspberry Peach no sugar added one (another destined for my mom). It's not bad; and I didn't even strain the seeds this time.

                                                            1. Pickled beets and onions yesterday and Italian-flavored pickled zucchini spears today.

                                                              1. Plum vanilla; a small batch recipe from martha stewart that makes about 3 jars, with no added pectin. Very nice...

                                                                1. My first attempt at canning... bought a bushel of tomatoes and made paste, sauce and crushed tomatoes. They look so pretty on my counter :) Then today I made hot pepper jelly from the bernardin site (Like Ball, but in Canada). I'm hoping it came out ok. Would like to try a marmalade next, or I guess wait until winter when citrus is in season. So maybe a fig something? Figs are pretty expensive in Montreal though which is hard to stomach since my husband has property in Greece where the figs just fall all over the ground and go to waste - if only we could ship them over here somehow. I also made a strawberry freezer jam earlier this summer with black pepper - loved it http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ic...

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: rakeypakey

                                                                    The jam recipe looks very tempting - I love the idea of the addition of five-spice powder!

                                                                    1. re: rakeypakey

                                                                      John Thorne's "Mouth Wide Open" contains a great chapter called, "Maximum Marmalade." One version uses sour oranges and fresh sweet orange juice. The combination is very good.

                                                                    2. Has anyone here used Christine Ferber's apple pectin jelly in their preserve recipes? I want to give this a try. I haven't made any preserves with low pectin fruits in a long time.

                                                                      1. I have a triple batch of hot pepper jam cooling in it's jars, my third round of it this season--my hot pepper crop has been abundant to say the least. Hopefully this batch comes out hotter--I used almost all hot peppers vs. the 3:1 sweet to hot that most recipes seem to call for.
                                                                        I could seriously eat this stuff on everything. Our favorite is dessert pizza from the wood fired oven, lots of hot pepper jam and chevre.

                                                                        Last week I picked ~6lbs. of grapes from the vine that grows on my patio and after a huge effort to stem and juice them I ended up with five half pint jars worth of what I named "spiced patio grape butter" It's delicious and tastes of Fall.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: rasputina

                                                                            Yeah--oh MAN am I gonna try that soon!!

                                                                          2. re: splatgirl

                                                                            wow.. sounds like a lot of work!! Glad it's good!

                                                                          3. I did my first - and last - canning of 2012 yesterday, when I made pomegranate jelly. I did it the easy, and frankly, cheaper, way and used bottled 100% pom juice in a fairly low-sugar (2 cups per quart juice) recipe using Pomona's pectin and enriched with some pom molasses. It's nicely tart-sweet, and I think it'll work nicely with cheese as well as on toast, etc.

                                                                            First time working with Pomona's (and first time making a jelly), and when I whisked in the sugar and pectin, I got a bunch of tiny lumps that wouldn't dissolve. I set a sieve over the funnel when filling jars, so it worked out. I had two half pint jars that didn't seal, and a final one I didn't water bath because it was just shy of full enough. I'm planning to make a big batch of thumbprint cookies on the weekend for gifts, so that will take care of some of what's in the fridge.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                              I just finished my second batch of Quince Jam this morning, made the other last month; to send out with my Christmas cookies. The pectin level is so high, and the jam naturally turns such a pleasant pink color, that it may be my favorite yet. The hardest part is finding the quince!

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                I make quince preserves each year -- because I love the color too! One of our upstate farmers grows quince (here in NY). Have you checked your local farm markets? I see them here in the fall and they are already gone by now.

                                                                                I keep saying I'll cook the quince preserves even longer to get to the membrillo stage but I've never done it. Have you?

                                                                                1. re: LNG212

                                                                                  No it's thick enough after three hours or so, still jam like but yet so thick. I made some last month with really nice quince I got at Best Yet,an ethnic chain here on Long Island, and figured that was it; but was in Manhattan last week and saw some and bought them instantly without thinking. They were small and $2.50 each, but I couldn't resist one more batch. They were starting to go bad after just a few days, obviously old, but they are safely jarred now. How far upstate are you, most of my family is in Columbia County which is big on apples.

                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                    Oh $2.50 each is expensive. I only made one batch this year (8 jars). But everyone likes it so I might have to do more next year.

                                                                                    I'm just in Manhattan but the farmers are from upstate - the one I get quince from is Locust Grove from Milton, NY.

                                                                                    1. re: LNG212

                                                                                      Ah well, no they don't have them at any of the farms here, on eastern Long Island ,but there are enough small grocery stores that have them for a few weeks each fall.

                                                                                      I like that...I'm just in Manhattan! It's good to know quince can grow in our climate, my friend in Morocco has them in her yard, and I know they grow them in California too. But now I remember an article in the Times that said they grow them at the Cloisters in the Bronx too. Guess it's not that they're delicate, just not popular enough (yet!)

                                                                            2. Spent this weekend experimenting with pear cinnamon jam. Need to learn to be judicious about using real Vietnamese cinnamon. Had to double the batch because it started off tasting like a red hot.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                I like the idea of cinnamon in pear jam. I tried vanilla in some of mine this year, but it was kind of a yawn. Next time, I'll try making a batch with cinnamon. Hoe much did you end up using, and how did you like it?

                                                                                1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                                                  When my restaurant size jar of McCormick cinnamon runs out, I was considering some Vietnamese. Thanks for the warning!