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 »

Meyer Lemon + Rhubarb Marmalade

meyer lemon rhubarb marmalade 1

Winter, meet spring.

meyer lemons

I recently discovered two large freezer bags full of chopped pink rhubarb in my deep freeze, and decided I should get rid of them to make room for a new haul, which considering the weather we’ve been having, is imminent. I haven’t been without a bag of Meyer lemons in my fridge since they became available earlier in the winter, and so was happy to find a recipe for marmalade combining the two in Marisa’s latest book, Preserving by the Pint.

sliced meyer lemons 2
sliced meyer lemons 3

You take your lemons and slice off the nubbly ends, cut them in sixths, then cut the pointy edge off the wedges, bringing the seeds along with them – these go into a tea ball or cheesecloth to simmer along with the fruit and provide pectin. My candy thermometer was lost to dishwater eons ago, but the marmalade still turned out perfectly-sweet and citrusy, not too acidic, with a slightly floral undertone.

sliced meyer lemons 4
meyer lemon marmalade 2

I’ll be honest – the straight-up Meyer lemon marmalade is pretty fab on its own. But the rhubarb brings its own tartness, and a beautiful shade of pink. Because mine was frozen it added a bit of water in the form of ice crystals, but all turned out well.

meyer lemon rhubarb Collage

I’ve chipped away at a chunk of the block of frozen rhubarb. At this rate, everyone I know will be getting a jar of marmalade. I think a batch of rhubarb chutney is next on the list.

meyer lemon rhubarb marmalade 4

Speaking of pretty in pink, I’m heading out to Jasper to an 80s pyjama party with MOLLY RINGWALD. My 15 year old self is DYING. Maybe I’ll bring her a jar of pink marmalade and we’ll wind up being besties. I’ll keep you posted!

meyer lemon rhubarb marmalade 5

Meyer Lemon + Rhubarb Marmalade

from Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan.

1 lb Meyer lemons
3 cups sugar
1/2 lb rhubarb, finely chopped (about a cup)

Scrub the lemons, slice off both nubbly ends, and cut each into 6 wedges. Lay each wedge on its side and slice off the thick piece of membrane that runs down the middle of each lemon, along with any seeds. Place these bits into a square of cheesecloth, gather it into a bundle and tie with kitchen screen. (This will provide pectin to help your marmalade gel.) Put the lemon slices and the bundle into a bowl with 2 cups of water and pop into the fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to make marmalade, put the lemon mixture (including the bundle and water) into a pot along with the sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach 220F – but I’ve been without one for awhile, and mine set beautifully. To be honest, I didn’t even time it that accurately.

Add the rhubarb and simmer for 5 minutes until it softens and turns your marmalade a pretty pink. Divide into clean, hot jars and process if you like for long-term storage; otherwise, the marmalade will last in the fridge for at least a couple months, and can be frozen.

Makes about 3 cups.

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March 13 2015 | preserves | 6 Comments »

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