Category Archives: Canning

Over the Weekend


Posted by on 21 May 2012 in Canning, Food, Photographs


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Strawberry Season

One of my favorite seasons has arrived in the South.  Actually, it arrived a few weeks ago, much to our delight (Huzzah!  Strawberries!) and horror (Isn’t this too early…?  IT’S GLOBAL WARMING AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE)  (But first, strawberries!  Huzzah!)

I picked up an enormous stash of strawberries from the farmers’ market and this is what I made:

Strawberry Syrup
(I do not like maple syrup. A betrayal to my pseudo-Canadian roots, I know).

  • 5+ cups stemmed and chopped strawberries
  • Liquid: ginger ale, apple, orange or pomegranate juice (natural/no sugar added); quantity will be explained in directions
  • 3+ tbsp lemon juice
  • Sugar
  1. In a pot, bring strawberries and enough liquid to cover bottom of pot to a boil over medium heat and let cook for about 5 minutes.  While the fruit is cooking, set up a jelly bag or a fine mesh strainer lined with a few layers of cheese cloth over a bowl (or to save yourself a step, a large capacity glass measuring cup would be best).
  2. Remove from heat and crush the daylights out of the berries with a potato masher.  Pour the slurry into the jelly bag or prepared strainer and let drain for a few hours.
  3. Reserve solids left in bag/strainer; they make a great addition to smoothies or yogurt.  Measure how much liquid you have and using 2:1 ratio of liquid to sugar, bring liquid and sugar to a boil over medium heat.  Add lemon juice; taste to adjust sugar and lemon levels.  Keep cooking until sugar has dissolved. Let cool, pour into storage container(s) and refrigerate.


  1. Ladle hot syrup into prepared jars, wipe rims, affix lids and bands and water-bath process for 10 minutes.

Note: Fruit syrups are rather thin, so do not expect this to be the consistency of maple syrup.  If you do prefer a thicker syrup, just prior to serving, heat some up in a sauce pan and whisk in some cornstarch.

Strawberry Sauce
Perfect on ice cream sundaes or your French Toast if you prefer something a little more substantial than a fruit syrup

  • Per 5 cups stemmed and chopped strawberries:
  • 1 cup liquid: ginger ale, natural/no sugar juice
  • 1 tbsp citrus zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Put everything except the sugar in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once strawberries become extremely soft and expel a lot of liquid, purée using a stick blender or in batches using a traditional blender.
  2. Add sugar and simmer until sugar has dissolved and mixture has slightly thickened, 5 – 10 minutes.  Let cool, pour into storage containers and refrigerate.


  1. Ladle hot sauce into prepared jars, affix lids and bands and water-bath process for 10 minutes.

Strawberry Jam

  • 8 cups stemmed and chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp low-sugar pectin
  1. Put everything except the pectin in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook the berries down until the are soft and you can mash them to your preferred consistency and all of the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add pectin – stir well!  Let boil for 10 minutes and skim off any foam.
  3. Let cool and place in storage containers.  Jam freezes well.


  1. Ladle hot jam into prepared jars, affix lids and bands and water-bath process for 10 minutes.

I substituted some of the sugar with ginger syrup which gave the jam a fantastic gingery aftertaste.  My CSA informed me there will be even more strawberries in the box this week and my own garden has exploded with them, so if you leave near me, please stop by for some jam.  I need the cabinet space.


Posted by on 16 April 2012 in Canning, Cooking, Photographs, Recipes


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Recipe: Amaretto Cranberry Sauce

My Fellow Americans,

As we approach Thanksgiving, I must ask: when did it become acceptable to confuse cranberry sauce with that horrendous gelatinous mass that slides from a can and holds its shape, right down to the ridges from the can?  There is nothing “cranberry” nor “sauce” about that gastronomical abomination.

I implore you, please consider making your own cranberry sauce this holiday season.  It’s wicked easy and can be made far in advance to be canned or a few days before the big meal and left in the fridge.

Amaretto Cranberry Sauce
Yield: Four 12-oz jelly jars, plus a little extra; depends on how long you let it cook


  • 3 12-oz bags of fresh whole unsweetened cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest from one lemon
  • 2 cups Amaretto


  1. Put everything in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir to coat.
  2. Once sugar dissolves into the Amaretto and becomes thick and syrup-like, reduce heat and simmer; cranberries will start to burst as they simmer.  Cook until desired consistency is reached; 30-60 minutes.  Sauce will thicken as it rests/refrigerates!
  3. You have made cranberry sauce; it will amaze your family and friends.  Your in-laws may even start to like you.
  4. Store in the fridge for a few days or can using the directions below.

To Can the Sauce:

  • Ladle hot cranberry sauce into hot, clean jars leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Wipe rims, place lids and affix screw bands.  Process using the water bath method for 15 minutes.  Let cool on towel-lined counter/table top for 12 hours before checking the seal; label and store.  If any jars failed to seal correctly, refrigerate and consume within a week.

I usually make my cranberry sauce with brandy, but discovered Amaretto works very well.  If you do use brandy, you may want to add a bit more sugar.  On that same vein, you may find that 2 cups of sugar is too much for your liking as Amaretto is already quite sweet.

The alcohol will be cooked out of this by the end, but if you want a true non-alcoholic version of this sauce, I recommend using ginger ale, unsweetened apple or orange juice in place of the booze.

I also enjoy cranberry sauce on salads (makes a great vinaigrette), mixed in yogurt or atop ice cream.  How do you use cranberry sauce?

Please let me know if you made this and any alterations; I love hearing what everyone does in their kitchen (culinary pursuits, you pervs).



Posted by on 22 October 2011 in Canning, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Recipes


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Recipe: Spicy Beer Mustard

Many thanks to everyone who has contacted me asking for additional information about canning as well as recipes.  I’m very flattered.  Here is the first recipe of what I hope will be many.

Unless you start contracting botulism.

Spicy Beer Mustard


  • 1 12oz bottle of beer; darker stouts will have a more pronounced flavor than lighter beers.  I favor brown ales for mustard making
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup mustard powder; my favorite is Colman’s
  • 1 tbsp onion powder; I hate to use vegetable powders, but I just cannot make a real onion work in mustard
  • 1 tbsp sea or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 3 garlic cloves; minced


  1. Pour beer and mustard seeds into a non-reactive pot and set aside for an hour or so, to let the seeds absorb some of the beer.
  2. Mix mustard powder, onion powder and salt in a small bowl, taking care to break up any lumps in the mustard.  Set aside.
  3. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the seeds and beer to desired consistency.  I like my mustard rather grainy and recommend blending no more than half.  Whisk in mustard powder mixture, vinegar, horseradish and garlic and cook over medium heat until just barely boiling; whisking often.  Turn down heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and that’s it!  YOU HAVE MADE MUSTARD.  Yield: approximately 2.5 – 3 cups.

At this point, you have two options for storage: canning or not canning.

Not Canning:

  • Pour your mustard into desired container(s) and keep in the refrigerator for months.  If you are using a glass jar, let the mustard cool prior to transferring.  Sudden temperature changes can cause glass to crack or explode.


  • Ladle hot mustard into prepared jars with adequate head space.  Wipe rims clean, affix lids and screw bands.  Water bath process for 10 minutes, let jars cool 12-24 hours before checking the seal.  Store any jars that did not seal in the refrigerator.


  • Wait a day or two before consuming; gives the flavors a better chance to develop.
  • Play with the recipe!  Use different beers and change the amount of horseradish and garlic to your liking.
  • Please let me know if you make this; I would love to hear about your results and any changes!


Posted by on 11 August 2011 in Canning, Mustard, Photographs, Recipes


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In Which I am a Braggart

Blueberry Jam

Chicken Stock

Spiced Peaches & Peach-Mango Jam


Salsa Verde

Grapefruit-Pomegranate Jam

Vanilla Cherry Jam


Posted by on 31 July 2011 in Canning, Food, Photographs


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