fruit

Reduced Sugar Cherry Jam

Posted on July 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I am loving the results I get with Pomona’s Pectin. The jam tastes like fruit gently stewed in honey. Wonderful.

4 cups, mashed or chopped, pitted cherries
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
4 tsp calcium water

Place these ingredients in a large saucepan and start to gently heat.

1 cup honey (or, if you must, 3/4 to 2 cups sugar)
3 tsp Pomona’s pectin mixed thoroughly into the honey (or, yuck, sugar)

Bring the fruit/juice/calcium water to a BOIL. Pour the honey/pectin mix into the saucepan and stir while bringing the mix back to the boil. Pour cherry jam into heated jam jars, lid up, and stick into your boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is up, take off the heat, remove lid from the canner, leave for 5 minutes, then place jars onto a cookie sheet to cool over night. Enjoy!

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Low added sugar blackberry jam

Posted on May 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

Having picked a lot of delicious blackberries at Holmestead Farm as part of my fun U-Pick experience, I set out to create some awesome low added sugar blackberry jam, using Pomona’s Universal Pectin.

Yield: about 5 cups (5 jelly jars)
Thoroughly rinse and pick through your blackberries

  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

1. Prepare jars by washing and rinsing. I leave the jars in the hot water bath canner while I bring it up to a boil.

2. Measure fruit into pan with lemon juice (you can use lime juice instead if you prefer).

3. Add calcium water into pan and stir well.

4. Measure room temperature honey into separate bowl. Thoroughly mix proper amount of pectin powder into honey (if you prefer to use sugar, you can use 3/4 to 2 cups of it instead of honey).

5. Bring fruit to boil. If you prefer a chunky texture just stir the fruit mix – if you want something a bit smoother, you can mash the fruit or even feed it through a food mill to remove seeds. If you want seedless, add an extra cup of fruit to correct for the loss of bulk in the milling process. Add pectin and honey mix and stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes while cooking to dissolve pectin. Return to boil and remove from heat.

6. Fill jars to 1/4″ of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 min. (add 1 min. more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals–lids should be sucked down. Lasts about a hypothetical 3 weeks once opened, but if you’re anything like me it’s doubtful the jar will last more than 3 days 😉

The most awesome part about the Pomona’s Pectin is that you can scale the recipes either way – you can double it or halve it without in any way affecting the quality of the finished product. You cannot do this with conventional pectin, hence my preference for Pomona’s.

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Pluot Jam

Posted on August 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I am in the lucky position where the farmer’s market comes to our office once a week. This is a great way to get people to eat more fruit and veg (put it right in front of them!) so I bought some pluots* and proceeded to make jam with them!

4 pints of sorted, scrubbed, and chopped pluots – about 3lbs
1/4 cup lemon juice – fresh squeezed or bottled
1/2 cup Water
5 cups white sugar
1 packet pectin
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil (I use plain olive oil – not the extra virgin stuff)

Put the chopped pluots in the pot with the water, lemon juice, pectin, and sugar. Heat gently while stirring vigorously to ensure the pectin is completely incorporated into the mix.

Once the pectin is fully incorporated, apply medium-high heat while stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a full, rolling boil – a boil that cannot be stirred down. Keep boiling and stirring for at least 1 minute then take off the heat. If there is a lot of foam stir in the 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Once the 5 minutes is up, stir the mixture, jar, lid, ring, and boiling water bath process for 10 minutes, Yield: 8 to 10 jelly jars (1/2 pint).

* pluot: hybrid between a plum and an apricot

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Blueberry fruit butter

Posted on July 29, 2011 at 7:32 am

Fruit butters are extremely easy to make in your slow cooker and you can use any fruit to make a butter. Use this recipe and technique to design your own – substitute your favourite fruit for blueberries.

 

  • Blueberries – 5 pints / 10 cups / 2.25 litres / about 3.5 lbs / about 1.75 kg, preferably fresh
  • Lemon juice – either fresh squeezed or bottled. 1/4 cup.
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Sugar – 5 cups
  • Seasoning – 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

Pick your blueberries or buy them from the store. It’s better to use freshly picked if you can. If using fresh, wash them thoroughly and pick through for mushy berries, twigs, bugs, and the other stuff you don’t want to be eating!

Mash the blueberries as much as you care to – the mashing will affect the cooking time, which isn’t so much of an issue with this method, as well as the texture – I prefer it a little chunky, so I didn’t worry too much about getting the berries reduces to a paste. If you prefer smoother, you could process the berries in a mixer or food processor.

Place the fruit, water, lemon juice, and sugar in your slow cooker. Put the lid on the cooker and prop it open slightly – you can use a spoon, pencil, or splatter guard, whichever you prefer, so long as one corner of the lid is open to allow water to evaporate. Put the cooker on the longest cooking setting and walk away. That’s right – just walk away!

When the cooker stops cooking and switches to “keep warm”, give the fruit butter a stir and check for consistency. If the consistency is what you want, you’re done! If you want a thicker butter, hit the “cook low and slow” button again and walk away. The butter is ready when it’s how you want it to be, which is the beauty of making it yourself.

If you want to put the butter up on the shelf, prepare your jars and lids and hot water bath process for 10 minutes (below 1000ft above sea level, check with USDA guidelines for extra processing time above 1000ft).

Yield – between 2 and 4 cups, or between 4 and 8 jam jars, depending on how thick you like it. I doubled the recipe and cooked it quite thick which gave me a yield of 9 jam jars or 4.5 cups of fruit butter.

You can use this same technique to turn any fruit into a butter. Enjoy!

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Blueberry pie filling

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 8:33 am

Part 2 of my short series on blueberries – pie!

7 cups blueberries, washed and sorted
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup ClearJel
2tbsp lemon juice

OPTIONAL
12 drops blue food colouring
4 drops red food colouring
1tsp grated lemon zest

Prepare your jars and lids in the usual way.

Half fill a large stainless steel pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Add blueberries for 1 minute to blanch, drain, then return them to the pot. Cover the pot to keep them warm.

Combine the sugar and ClearJel in a large stainless pot. Whisk in 2 cups / 500ml of water, add food colouring if using, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently while stirring until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Stir in lemon zest if using, add the lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the blueberries and any juice until they are well incorporated into the mixture.

Ladle the pie filling into jars leaving 1 inch / 2.5cm head space. Remove any air bubbles, adjust head space if necessary by adding or removing filling. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel that has been sprayed with white vinegar. Lid, band, and hot water bath process for 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes turn off the heat, remove the lid of the boiling water bath canner and wait for 5 minutes before gently removing the jars to a cookie rack.

Cool on a cookie rack overnight, remove the bands, label the jars, put them in your pantry, and enjoy blueberry pie!

Yield: about 4 pint / 500ml jars.

A note on ClearJel: it’s worth using it instead of any other option. Yes, it’s more expensive than, say, corn starch, but ClearJel is specifically formulated to work with pie fillings – repeated heating does not cause the ClearJel to break down into liquidy mush.

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Blueberry Syrup

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Blueberries are in season just now, so get out there and pick some yourself!

Once you have a ridiculous amount of blueberries, what can you do with them? Well, I am here to help with a short series, starting with blueberry syrup.

Prepare your jars and lids by thorough washing with soap and hot water. I also boil the jars for 10 minutes which sterilises them.

6.5 to 7 cups of fresh blueberries, washed and sorted
4.5 to 7 cups of sugar OR 3 cups of natural frozen fruit juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled

Mash the blueberries with a hand held masher, food processor, hand blender, or whatever other method you want to use. The hand masher can be very cathartic if you need to work off some stress. Just saying.

Add the lemon juice to the blueberry mush, bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes – they should be nice and mushy. You now need to make a choice – bits, or no bits? If you want to have a completely smooth syrup with no bits in it, you’ll need to strain the mush with a jelly bag, cheese cloth, or whatever. If you are not bothered about bits, as I am not, you can just move on to the next step.

Add all the sugar in one go. If you need to control added sweeteners, use the fruit juice concentrate instead of table sugar. I added 5 cups of sugar, and am extremely pleased with the result. Bring the blueberry mush and sugar to a boil for about a minute and keep an eye on the texture – you’ll want the syrup to still be a little liquid-y when you put them in the jars as they get some extra cooking time during the hot water processing. Over-cooking at this point could result in a blueberry candy rather than a pourable syrup!

Fill your jars – either pint or half pints – lid, ring, and boiling water bath process for 10 to 15 minutes*. Remove the lid of your BWB processor, wait for 5 minutes, then lift the jars out of the BWB and place the jars on cookie sheets to cool overnight.

Pour over pancakes or waffles and enjoy.

*as usual this is the time for 1000 feet above sea level or less. If you are above 1000ft, please check with the USDA processing guidelines for how much extra time you need to add.

Yield: with 5 cups of sugar I got 4 pint jars, or 8 jelly jars. With 7 cups you should get about 5 pints or 10 jelly jars.

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Cherries

Posted on January 17, 2011 at 9:45 am

Cherry. Wikipedia will tell you the dry facts, but it won’t tell you how you get that burst of sweet, dark fruitiness when you bite into them, or how well they go in desserts, jams, or pies, or how you almost start to salivate at the mere word.

There is one downside. They are intensely seasonal, and you can only get them fresh, ripe, and cheap in a very narrow period in the summer. So I was delighted when our local grocery store had them on sale at $2.99 a pound!

What to do with your cherries?

CANDIED CHERRIES
Candied cherries (also known as glacé cherries) are used in cakes and puddings. They are only on the shelves in my grocery store for a ridiculously short time – about one month. So here’s how you make them yourself.

1 pound fresh cherries, rinsed, stemmed and pitted
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 fresh lemon
1 cup apple juice

In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add the cherries and the lemon. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the syrup is red and slightly thick, about 20 minutes.
Cover and let stand 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.
Strain the cherries, reserving the syrup, and set them aside.
Discard the lemon and add the apple juice to the reserved syrup.
Bring the syrup to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cherries to the syrup, reduce the heat and cook slowly until the syrup is thick, about 220°F (105°C) on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and cool. The cherries can be stored in a tightly covered container for at least six months in the refrigerator.

(source for candied cherries recipe)

CHERRY PIE FILLING

Yield: 7 quarts
6 qts fresh or thawed sour cherries
7 cups Granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups Clear Jel®
9 1/3 cups Cold water
1/2 cup Bottled lemon juice
1 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp Almond extract (optional)
1/4 tsp Red food colouring (optional)

Quality: Select fresh, very ripe, and firm cherries. Unsweetened frozen cherries may be used. If sugar has been added, rinse it off while the fruit is still frozen.

Rinse and pit fresh cherries, and hold in cold water.

Combine sugar and Clear Jel® in a large saucepan and add water. If desired, add cinnamon, almond extract, and food coloring. Stir mixture and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained cherries and immediately fill hot jars with Cherry Pie mixture leaving 1 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.
Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.  Adjust lids and process quart or pint jars for 30 minutes in a hot water bath canner (time given for under 1000 feet, please check source PDF if you live higher than 1000ft).

(Source: National Centers for Food Preservation USDA E-Book chapter 2, canning fruit and fruit products)

Note on Clear Jel: it is specifically approved by the USDA for making pie fillings. Other starch sources are not approved for this purpose. If you can’t get Clear Jel from an online store, you can use other thickeners but you’ll need to freeze the filling rather than canning it. Sorry.

Once you have your own canned cherry pie filling, you can experiment with adding cocoa powder to make a cherry chocolate pie!

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