Strawberry Jam with Balsamic Vinegar

  Balsamic Strawberry Jam what a treat. I do always want to find new way's to kick our jams up just a bit. Adding Balsamic Vinegar is the trick. The sweet of the strawberries and the tiny bite of the rich and beautiful balsamic is so delightful on the palate.

This recipe will yield approximately 6 to 7 half pint jars


7 cups of strawberries
1 cup balsamic vinegar (reduced to 3/4 cup) 
Juice from one lemon
4 cups of sugars

1 box powder pectin if you use it

Clean and cut your strawberries and place them into a non-reactive stainless steel pot. Prior to cooking your strawberries get the balsamic vinegar going. Take the cup of vinegar and put it into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it has reduced to 3/4 cup. This will give it a richer flavor. Bring the strawberries to a slow simmer while crushing them.

I use my smasher tool and the only picture I could find was when I was making Blueberry Peach Jam . By crushing them this will bring out the juice you need to keep from scorching them. 

This tool makes sure I do not over crush my fruit. I love nothing better than to bite into my jam and taste and feel the fruit!

Once you have your strawberries to the consistency you like add the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar to the strawberries. Bring this up to a rolling boil.

If you are adding pectin this is the time to add it and continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Now add your sugar and bring the mixture back up to a rolling boil.

 Just a beautiful color !

Once you have reached your gel point 220 turn off the heat and let the jam sit for 5 minutes. I do this with all my berry jams it help to get the fruit to evenly distribute once they are bathed. If your fruit floats there could be a few reasons. 

Ladle the jam into the jars leaving a 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe the rims. Cap and water bath process for 15 minutes.

This jam was fantastic and so good with some good cheese and crackers!


Rasberry Jam with Mango and Kiwi - Raswingo Tart Jam -

Well sharing is caring and Jayne came up with a good one.
This is a friend who was once a Canning Diva but broke out on her own and Wa La ! Oh those kids just grow wings and fly !

I do so love when we get into out preserving and start to experiment with flavors.  Thank you Jayne !

3 cups of Raspberries
6 kiwis
4 Mango - chopped
3 cups sugar
1 box Sure Jel
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of lemon

Jayne soaked her fruit in an ice bath with fruit fresh while cutting up fruit.
Drained and mashed well

Cooked on med - high with 2 Tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon. 
Bring to a rapid boil and add sure jell
3 cups of sugar
Bring to another rapid boil. Ready to can.
Fill the jars with your jam leaving a 1/4 inch head-space.  Wipe clean, cap and twist. Now water-bath for 10 minutes.

Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.     


Cranberry Banana Jam

Cranberry Banana Jam what the heck!
At first this combination of cranberry and banana seemed strange. I have never used banana's in any jam the only time I have used the banana is for banana bread. But there are so many recipes for this jam on the internet that I had to try it. Ok and I had a ton of cranberries from winter left in the freezer and I need room for Spring/Summer Berries.

So with that little story let us get started. I could have never imagined how delicious this jam would turn out. So simple and so very very delicious. Do make it.

Banana Tip : Here is one thing I would do and I did. Make sure your banana' are just about ripe enough to use for banana bread. This way there is no brown in the jam. I took some still ripe and froze them the reason is that this makes them super mushy when defrosted and still no brown.


5 cups fresh cranberries
2 mashed banana's
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 box of pectin (or not)

Put your whole cranberries with the liquid into your non-reactive pot and keep them on a slow simmer. You are waiting for them to start the popping sound which brings more liquid to the pot. You can smush them now but do keep some whole The whole cranberries look so pretty in the jars.


Now start to incorporate the mashed banana's and lemon. Once incorporated add your pectin if using. This jam does not need pectin it uses the banana as a thickening agent and the natural pectin in cranberries.  Start to add you sugar one cup at a time.  Look how beautiful the little pieces of banana and whole cranberries look.

Bring all the ingredients up to a rolling boil and keep stirring. You need a rolling boil that will not stir down. Notice how the sugar clear's the jam up and makes that nice gel look. Shiny sweet!

 While the jam is sitting for 5 minutes scrape the foam off. There is a lot of foam with this jam so scrape the foam prior to filling your jars.

 Ok have your jars ready to fill. Fill the jars with your jam leaving a 1/4 inch head-space.  Wipe clean, cap and twist. Now water-bath for 10 minutes.

This is crazy delicious and I already know next year this is going to be a big seller at the Holiday Boutique. like the tomato jam last year.

Who'd a thought !

Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.    


Blackberry Jam with Strawberries

This Mixed Berry Jam is delicious and you can easily substitute any berry for the ones I have included.

When the season is fresh full with Berries of all kinds it is the time to Preserve and freeze the bounty you just scored.

Year around there is no end to the way you can use the jam.  Toast, Ice Cream, or just off the spoon.

With that let us get started.


3 cups of Strawberries
3 cups of blackberries
3 cups of sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice fresh
1 box of pectin ( or not)

Get all your stuff ready water-bath, jars, lids and twist tops Ah yes your Berries! Keep your jar's in the warm water-bath this way when you are ready to jar up your jam the jar's will be ready. As you Preserve More food's you will just naturally have all the stuff you need ready and waiting.

Clean and chop the strawberries in half. I do not chop my berries to much as a matter of fact I only chop my strawberries in half all other berries stay whole. I like my jams to be fruit filled. You should get a big taste and feel of fruit when eating jams. Also, the berries do break down as your cook them and if you wish you can always use an immersion blender to thin out your jams .

Add all your berries to your Non-reactive pot. Bring up to a slow simmer. Your blueberries will start to pop. All the berries will start releasing their juices. keep stirring the jam. this is the time to mush your berries. I use a potato smasher to get the berries to the consistency I love.

I using pectin now is the time to add it. I always mix my pectin with the same amount of sugar it seems to blend and meld in better. Bring this back up to a rolling boil. Keep stirring the potion. 

Once that potion has dissolved and your have a good rolling boil you can add the remainder of the sugar. I do this a cup or two at a time. I just love the clean shiny color it starts to get when the sugar is added. Ok bring your jam back up to a rolling boil. If not using pectin make sure you get this to the gel point. Usually a good degree is 220 with most jam to get to the gel point.

Once it reaches the gel point turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. This helps the berries to distribute more evenly through out the jam. While it is sitting skim the foam. Have your jar's ready? time to fill the jars. Ladle the jam into the jar's leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the jar rims clean put on the lid and twist band tighten them taunt. Place the jars into the water bath and process for 10 minutes. Once done turn of the heat and give them a few minutes then remove and let them cool for 24 hours. Once cooled remove twist band and store .

Oh Label Them with the Date.
Now make some toast and enjoy the jam you created! xoxo

Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.     


Kumquat Marmalade

What a funny and delicious little fruit. Let me give you a few Kumquat fact's. The fruit is delicious sweet yet tangy. This fruit resembles a miniature orangey-lemonish fruit.

A Kumquat tree resembles an olive tree when fruit is in season. They bare hundreds of oval shaped little fruit's. The inside is tender and tart with the skin holding all the sugar.

This is my first time making this marmalade and I did my studies with regards to the how to. With all the Marmalade recipes out there they are a dime a dozen. But one name stood out and I semi-followed David's recipe.

Remember have all your tools and fruit ready. This is a time consuming recipe so give your self two day's . One to slice and soak the peel and your feet!  I say this because those little shit's fruit devils are needy.
I did spend a day telling Pa how " I was going to do it different and it was going to be so easy" NOT !

Wait come back don't run away it will be fine when you slather it on your toast with tea during Downtown Abby. Oh ok enough let us get started. This will give you approximately 6 to 7 half pints.

Ingredients for Kumquat Marmalade

1 pound of kumquats
2 lemons
4 1/2 cups of water
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cups of sugar

The first thing I want you to do is thinly slice your lemon's and place them with 1/2 cup cold water into your non-reactive pot. They should be covered. Simmer your peels for about 10 minutes on low. Do this while your still cutting the little kum's. Once the 10 minutes has past turn off the burner and let them sit.

Here are my many slicing pictures because there is a method. Here it is in a nut shell but look at the pictures.

A. Cut off the ends

B. Slice off the ends on each on leaving the center 

C. Take the centers and remove the pith and cut into thin slices.

**Save the pith & seeds for pectin**

Just below is what you should end up with lot's of !

Take the pot the lemon peels are in and toss the water but keep the peels.

Now add the kumquat peels and the lemon peels into the pot with the 4 cups of water. Why 4 you should have used the 1/2 to blanch the lemons. Take all your peels and put them into your Non-reactive Pot.

Time to make the pectin pack!

I do have a post on how to make your own pectin but rather than go there here is a quick reminder. When you chopped and peeled the citrus you should have saved the pith and seed's. This is natural pectin found in most citrus.

Pack up the stuff and tie your cheese cloth with some kitchen string.

Place the cheese cloth pouch into your pot.
Make sure the pouch is covered to cook the stuff well. Bring everything to a rolling boil, stir well and then shut it off. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit covered over night. It is ok not to refrigerate!

Ok the next day which is today you need to return your pot to the stove. Add your sugar and orange juice and bring the mixture up to a rolling boil. Now turn the heat to medium and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes has passed remove the pectin pouch put it into a small bowl and let it cool.

 Look at that beautiful pectin !!!

Pour your pectin into the pot and bring the mixture up to a rolling boil and keep stirring until it get to the right temperature 220 to set.

 Remember to use your spoon and plate test for gelling.

Once it has reached the gel point turn off the heat skim the foam.

Let your marmalade cool slightly this way when you jar it up it will make sure the peels and guts get distributed evenly through out your delicious marmalade.

Ladle into jars leaving a 1/4" head space, wipe the rims, cap and water bath time.

Give them a bath 15 minutes is my standard time 

I hope you all will embrace Marmalade's the way I have in the last few year's.

Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.     

Pectin - What - How -Why

Boxed Pectin
Pectin this is such a simple yet complex topic. I have done several posts on this topic. I have done post on Natural Pectin , Using Pectin, Gel topic the list goes on and on. Pectin question's as well as answers are all over the Internet. Today Marie had a simple question but it got me going ! Again!

Natural Pectin

Her questions was posted in so many words

"Your Apricot Jam has your water-bath time as 10 minutes BUT I read that it should be 5 or less is that correct?"

I did not put in my post that my jars were pints thus the extra time. BUT I of course had to go do research on the whole time with jams and water-bath method using pectin. The questions and answers are endless and I noticed I never really got a straight answer. So this little mind decided to take them all and try to explain some of the "facts" and you know my definition of the word fact

FACT- Foolish Actions Causing Troubles

Let us get started:

The definition of Pectin according to WWW

Pectin :

noun :
a water-soluble carbohydrate, obtained from certain ripe fruits, which yields a gel that is the basis of jellies and jams. Any of a group of water-soluble colloidal carbohydrates of high molecular weight found in ripe fruits, such as apples, plums, and grapefruit, and used to jell various foods, drugs, and cosmetics


The main use for pectin (vegetable agglutinate) is as a gelling agent, thickening agent and stabilizer in food. The classical application is giving the jelly-like consistency to jams or marmalade's, which would otherwise be sweet juices. Pectin also reduces synthesis in jams and marmalade's and increases the gel strength of low calorie jams. For household use, pectin is an ingredient in gelling sugar (also known as "jam sugar") where it is diluted to the right concentration with sugar and some citric acid to adjust pH. In some countries, pectin is also available as a solution or an extract, or as a blended powder, for home jam making. For conventional jams and marmalade's that contain above 60% sugar and soluble fruit solids, high-ester pectin's are used. With low-ester pectin's and amidated pectin's less sugar is needed, so that diet products can be made.

Pectin Question with best answer's Canarella can give you! 


Lemon, Limes and What Not

Well it is truly the Lemon season out here in California right now.

I had a bumper crop of what I thought were Meyer Lemons. Come to find out with the drought and my frugal watering my poor little Meyer's are more like Lime's.

The more I sliced them the greener they got. But as most of us will do, we want to use all fruit and veggies even if it means we create a new Jam. The little Fake Lime's are so tart you can barely lick without your whole face going into a contortion.

So as I juiced them I tried to think of different thing I could use them for. They are tart beyond tart!

Look how green the juice is. 

On a brighter note we are cranking out some killer Marmalade with these Lemon I got from a friend in another county.

 She has a gorgeous Lemon tree on her front lawn that is stuffed full of beautiful lemo

I was lucky enough to get a bag full. I took a class up in Oakland at the June Taylor's Still Room. The class was informative and full of idea's. 

 Well enjoy your week and I will tell you how this Marmalade turn's out.

This is a picture of my first marmalade on some of my homemade toast!