Category Archives: Jams and Jellies

Think sunshine and oranges in winter

We do not have a lot of our home canning recommendations that call for commercially processed ingredients in the recipes. However, here is an idea that does not require the fresh tomatoes, vegetables or fruits fresh from gardens. Just in the last week, I have had two people spontaneously say how much they like this recipe; in one case, it was an educator who said her canning class liked it a lot!

Orange Jelly from Frozen Juice  calls for one
12-ounce can of frozen concentrated orange juice and 1 traditional “box” of powdered pectin and creates a delightful, flavorful orange jelly for toast or biscuits on dreary winter mornings or late afternoons. The recipe yields five or size half-pint jars (we never all seem to get the same quantity for many recipes, do we? Or a final amount that just fills all jars exactly….)

For this one, we recommend using pre-sterilized jars and a very short boiling water process time. To pre-sterilize jars, boil empty, washed and rinsed glass canning jars submerged in boiling water for 10 minutes. (That’s 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil over the jars.) The easiest way to do this is to stand empty jars upright on a rack in a clean boiling water canner filled with clean water. Keep jars hot until they are filled. Prepare lids according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Directions for cooking the jelly are specific as to when to add sugar and pectin, and how long to boil. The process time in the canner is then 5 minutes up to 1000 ft altitude (10 minutes if 1,000-6,000 ft altitude; 15 minutes if over 6,000 ft). Allow jelly to cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours and check seals. You can remove ring bands after the food has cooled if the lids are sealed.

If you don’t want to pre-sterilize your jars, wash and rinse your jars and then keep hot before filling. The process times are then 10 minutes up to 1000 ft in altitude, (15 minutes if 1,000-6,000 ft altitude; 20 minutes if over 6,000 ft).

And enjoy the flavor of your labor, even if it really doesn’t take a lot time!

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Preserving Pears

Pears are a sweet treat over the holidays, some being cultivated and grown specifically for their availability this time of year. So after you’ve eaten your share of fresh pears, what can you do to preserve that special flavor?

If your canner is still accessible (and you have room in your kitchen regardless of holiday cooking!), then you may want to can pear halves. Remember that Asian pears are not as acidic as other varieties and have their own canning procedure which requires that addition of bottled lemon juice.

Pickled Pears are also an option for canning, especially if you have Seckel pears or another firmer, crisper pickling variety.

Pear Relish is another pickled pear product you could try; it includes onion, peppers, celery, and allspice. If you can also get your hands on 2 or 3 chayote, then you could make Chayote and Pear Relish, with allspice and pumpkin pie spice.

A couple of delicious sweet spread choices are available that use pears as a primary ingredient: Pear Preserves is a traditional, no-pectin-added southern-style fruit preserves made with large chunks of pear and a thickened sugar syrup (in other words, not a jam-like spread!).  Pear-Apple Jam is a sweet, gelled spread made with liquid pectin (and a touch of cinnamon!).

Finally, if you are not up for getting the canner going, then you could simply make a sugar syrup and freeze pears.

Get ‘Em While They Last – Raspberries

Raspberry season winds down as we make our way into fall, so make sure you preserve what you can while they are still available fresh off the bushes, market tables, and/or grocery shelves.

If you’ve still got room for jars of jam, then you might like to try this traditional, long boil, no-added-pectin Berry Jam that has just two ingredients: berries and sugar. Combine raspberries with other berries in this recipe if you like.

Uncooked jams and jellies are easy to prepare and do a great job of preserving fresh fruit flavor. If that sounds good to you, then try Uncooked Berry Jelly or Uncooked Raspberry Jam with Fresh Fruit. Remember that uncooked jams and jellies need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, not at room temperature.cropped jars

Another option with raspberries is to make (and boiling water bath can) Raspberry Syrup to top pancakes, ice cream, and baked goods.

 

Raspberries on trayShort on time and want to have some raspberries available for sauces, baking or making smoothies? Freeze them plain and simple, with sugar, or in sweetened syrup.

Try It: Tomato Jam

Spiced Tomato JamTomatoes may be a summertime staple, but you can turn them into an autumn (or anytime) treat by making Spiced Tomato Jam. In this recipe, traditional tomato flavor is warmed by the addition of allspice, cinnamon, and cloves, sweetened by sugar, and brightened up by lemon rind and juice. The lemon juice also helps make sure the acidity is where it needs to be to get a good gel. In addition to the ingredients mentioned, you’ll also need a box of powdered pectin.Spiced Tomato Jam Ingredients (2)

Peeling tomatoes may seem like an unimportant extra step, but the texture of the skin was determined to be undesirable and product testing did not include considerations of how the skin would alter the final product safety. So, scald, peel, and chop tomatoes as described in the procedure. Our canning recommendations are meant to be followed as written, since that is how they were developed and changing ingredients or steps may influence not only the quality but also the safety of the final product.

Complete recipe, procedure and boiling water canning process times are on the NCHFP website: Spiced Tomato Jam.

People also sometimes ask if they can use commercially canned tomatoes in our tomato recipes, but quantity, consistency, and even acidity could be different in commercially canned tomatoes as compared to fresh tomatoes, so we do not recommend using them when fresh tomatoes are called for in a canning recipe.

Wondering what to do with tomato jam? Try serving it on a crackers and cheese platters, smothered over baked brie, or as a condiment with meat dishes. It’s also nice to taste simply spread on toast!