Archive for the 'preserves' Category

Amy’s Sunshine Cherry Jam

Cherry jam
I’m a sucker for jam – making it and eating it – and I always dig for the wee jar of cherry jam on restaurant brunch tables. BC cherries aren’t quite ready yet, but I happened to have a bag of frozen ones in the freezer – already pitted, even – and so tonight in an attempt to kickstart summer I made a small pot. Four jars’ worth – just enough to disgrace myself with buttered toast, and share a few with those I know will do the same.

cherry jam 1

I can hardly keep up with the influx of beautiful new cookbooks these days, but my pal Amy in Victoria has been working on hers for years, and I’ve been particularly looking forward to it – not only because Amy is awesome, but because I have a fondness for books on the subject of preserves.

Also – a fondness for Amy. She’s sweet and lovely and kind and funny, and showed up at my launch for the dog cookbook at the Empress with a box of Roger’s chocolates for me to be alone with in my hotel room. I remember the day she texted to share the news she had been contacted by Penguin! and asked to write a cookbook! and the topic is so fitting – she earned her certificate in home preserving; she knows her stuff but makes it easy – she’s done a fantastic job of covering everything from jams to pickles to chutneys to mustards to barbecue sauces in a book that’s just the right size to prop up in the kitchen as you work. I wish I was her neighbour.

Jam 2

Amy adds the zest and juice of an orange to her cherry jam, which is something I wouldn’t have thought of – I’ve done so with plums, but cherries are in even greater need of a squeeze of acid and are far better for it. The result still tastes brightly of cherries, but is somehow sunshinier, which explains the whole name thing. It couldn’t be simpler: simmer the fruit and pectin, add the sugar, give it a hard boil for a couple minutes and you’re done. If you’re nervous about whether or not your jam will set, this is what I look for: it should be a little wobbly in the pot, the bubbles thicker and slower, almost like liquid Jell-O. It should look like melted jam rather than syrup, if that makes any sense. And if you dip in a spoon and let it cool off a bit, it should wrinkle when you nudge it with your finger.

the canning kitchen

Yay Amy! It’s here! It’s beautiful! And it’s just in time, because everything is growing.

Sunshine Cherry Jam

I made half as much as this recipe calls for – only because I had a pound and a half bag of cherries in my freezer and a half packet of pectin at the bottom of my baking drawer. It comes from The Canning Kitchen, by Amy Bronee.

3 lb. dark sweet cherries, pitted
zest and juice of 1 navel orange
1 pkg. pectin
6 cups sugar

Coarsely chop the cherries (I halved some, quartered some) and put them into a medium-large pot with the orange zest and juice and pectin. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Stir in the sugar and bring back to a full, hard boil. Keep it at that full boil for a minute or two, then remove it from the heat. When it settles, spoon off any scum that rises to the surface. Ladle into clean jars (I like them fresh from the dishwasher or a hot water bath) and seal.

Makes 7 – 1 cup jars.

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June 22 2015 | preserves | 12 Comments »

Orange Marmalade

marmalade 1

I realize I just posted a recipe for Meyer lemon and rhubarb marmalade, but as citrus is quickly winding down and I find myself with a glut of it, marmalade is the way to preserve really any kind of citrus (try yuzu if you can get your hands on some, but I think they’re done for the season) through the summer. It seems funny to put up preserves for the summer, doesn’t it? And yet every March I find myself filling jars of marmalade in the kitchen on a stormy day out in Tofino, rather than pack up the uneaten oranges to bring back home.

orangesoranges 2

This is a pretty basic formula, and would work as well with blood oranges, Seville oranges or really any variety you want to marmalade – or try pink grapefruit. Simmering the seeds along with the fruit is the way to go because they naturally contain pectin and will help it to gel.

marmalade 2

Orange Marmalade

4 large thin-skinned oranges
5 cups water
pinch salt
4 cups sugar

Cut the oranges in half and poke the seeds out; put them into a tea ball if you have one, otherwise wrap them in cheesecloth. Slice the oranges thinly and then chop them crosswise as big or small as you like. Put them (and the tea ball) into a pot with the water and salt and bring to a boil; simmer for half an hour. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.

Stir in the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for about half an hour, or until the mixture gels; you can test it by dropping a small spoonful onto a saucer that you get nice and cold in the freezer while the marmalade simmers. When the marmalade is the consistency you like remove it from the heat, pull out the tea ball of orange seeds and divide into clean, warm jars and seal or cool completely and store in the fridge or freeze.

Makes about 4 cups.

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March 29 2015 | preserves | 11 Comments »

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