New Beginnings

Well the month of April will be bringing us many tasks to take on here at Canarella. We have gotten our CFO (Cottage Food Operator) Business license. What does this me for you and I. Well, to start we are going to be able to take our delicious Jams, Preserves and Butter on the road to feed this wonderful jam eating community.

Got the LLC this will protect our little home!  I also had to get a few labels approved this was a bit harder then I thought. I am going to start a portion of this blog on How to Start a Cottage Food Business there is more to it than they tell you!

I have been super busy the first thing I am trying to do is get some partnerships going. This task is not an easy here in California we are very Small Business orientated but no one wants to sell small batch amount's it just is not in there Selling DNA. I get it but next week I am going on a Fruit Stand and Farm run. I am going to hit every stand from here to Ojai!

Asd I had startted on this adventure I notoed that there are not very many people who are helpful or iterested in helping new people to get information or just brainstporming. Well I think I will go do my first How to Post on CFO!But I am thinling fo doing this on a serperate post. this way I can make it an on-gping tutorial. Oh my gosh I can also utuby it! Brillianty.


Making Jam in a Copper Pot

Copper Pans it is an endless voice of knowledge you find on the Internet but all worth the time and effort when making your own jam's. You always want to be safe.

Yes many a cook and beginners do not get the jam leap! Why ?  Fear of poising someone or just plain getting someone sick. If you follow the  instructions they give you in most canning book's you will make good jam. But when in doubt please research.

Over the last 10 + years I have done a ton of research and still find so much I need to do to make safe and delicious jam's.

With that let us get started on Unlined Copper Pan talk. Here are the concerns.

A. High Acid Fruit/lemon

I do not make my Marmalade's in a Copper pan. Oh why ? Well they are high acid and that does not get along with unlined copper pans. Unlined copper reacts to any high acid mixture.  Yes, for year's people in Europe made jam's with copper pans with no problem. BUT this modern day advice is well worth taking. Now keep in mind that the low amount of lemon you put into your jam's mixture is not enough to get any reaction from your copper pot. An example is I use 1/4 cup of lemon to approximately 8 to 10 cups of fruit. This small amount of lemon is okie dokie. Acid and Copper are a no no !

B. Cooking Fruit without added Sugar:

It is "said" and I do not quote anyone or link to sites.  I notice most site's link to sell or promote other sites. So with that. It is said that you need to make sure that your fruit is mixed with the sugar prior to heating it in a copper pan. This is true. Never macerate or warm the fruit in the copper pan with out adding the sugar prior. For those of you who use any pectin product this is nearly impossible so stick with a good stainless steel pot.

C. Copper Toxicity

Copper is good for us but bad when in large amount's. It is all scientific.  So what amount is safe and what will get you sick is for you to research I am only giving you tips on Jam Making and the Unlined Copper Pot!

Now that we have gotten through that I hope you will explore the options of Copper Pans with your jam making. If you make smaller batches there are options for smaller copper pans. It is a worthwhile investment (Mauviel Copper Pot) and worth it for the jam's you make will be glorious!

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.


Strawberry Fig Jam with Pure Vanilla

Now you all know how fond of Fig Jam's in general I am but this year I am trying to take it to another level. I love the fresh strawberries we are able to get here in Southern California. It i a gift from Mother Nature. I have found that I get better results when I mix my strawberries with another fruit or element. Yes I am a mixer when it comes to creating jam's.

Regular Strawberry Jam tends to float and I know the reason why (here is a post explaining)

This Fig Jam is so delicious. I did a few things different than the first Fig Strawberry Jam I made.I added more Figs and some Vanilla powder from the extract we make. And some of the "Pure" Vanilla Extract we also make. It is heavenly.One tip I have noticed is that the Black Fig's you can leave the skin on but the Green Fig's have a bitter tasting skin. Just a note !


4 cup chopped figs
4 cups chopped strawberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla powder
1/4 cup "pure" vanilla extract

As always have your ingredient ready for your recipe. There is something about just adding what is needed as you go then not being prepared.

Start by cleaning your strawberries and pitting them. Next chop your fig's.

Notice I peeled these fig's.

Take your chopped figs, strawberries, lemon and vanilla and put them into your stainless steel pot on a medium flame. Bring them to a soft boil that can not be stirred down. Be sure to stir we do not want burn or scorch.

Time to Stir and Smash

Get your mixture to the right consistency. This is a personal issue. The consistency of any jam is up to the cook. I love my jam's to have pieces of fruit that pop in your mouth.

I have two tool's I use to smash the fruit. The potato smasher for the more delicate Jam and the Immersion Blender.  There is nothing better then the taste of a piece of fruit in your jam it gives it a little Pop of Fruit Pleasure.

Once you have the consistency right start to add your sugar one cup at a time. Let each cup mix and dissolve completely prior to adding another cup.

Your jam or any jam that uses strawberries does not always stay that bright strawberry red but not to worry it still is delicious. It does not mean the jam is bad!

Alright you should have all your ingredients together in your pot and the smell must be delightful. Taste your jam to make sure you have the right taste.

You can always add more of any ingredient but you can not remove once it is mixed.

Once the jam has come back to a boil you can check your gel point. Turn off the burner , skim the foam and get ready to jar!

It is time to jar your jam. I always turn the burner off and let my jam sit for 5 minutes. This is a great trick when you have jam that you want your fruit to set not float in the jam jar. Works great with Marmalade's.

Have your lids ready. Fill your jar's to 1/4 inch from the top and wipe clean. Set the lid and screw on the ring taunt.

Put them into your water bath for 10 minutes. Once done turn off your stove and remove your jars. Place on a counter and let them cool over night. Once cooled remove the twist and store.

Here is a link to the California Fresh Fig Website with many recipes for you to try. I have linked you right to the canning recipes.

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.


Making Vanilla Power

This is a reasonably easy task but time consuming. I have noticed that so many thing's take a bit of patience and elbow grease. But if it were so easy everyone would do it.

I make Vanilla Extract "Pure" that is. When I have gotten all the vanilla I can for the extract I will dry the beans for power. I also take the gooey vanilla from the pods and reuse that also. That is another post.

Another great thing to do with your used Vanilla Pod's is Vanilla Sugar a forever sugar. I will buy sugar cubes and just put Vanilla Pod's in.There are so many ways to use your Vanilla Pod's once they have done there best work.

The main thing is to get your vanilla beans dried out. I have done this with out scraping and scraping either way it is the same out come. Today I will give you a short lesson. I will not bother you with scraping as it all comes out in the end to the same powder.

I use my dehydrator to dry the beans it is fast and convenient and I won't forget about them.  Make sure they are bone dry. By this you should be able to snap them in half. Once this is accomplished you can move to the next step.

Grinding and crushing I tried this many different way and will explain each just a little. Once the pod's are dried to the snap then we can grind. The first method I used was a small spice grinder it is my little hand held one. It is only a bout 2 inches in diameter but it really does a great job in grinding to a powder texture.

This grinds them up to a finer texture but not what I want to cook or to add to my recipes or Jam's.

So once they are done in the chopper I will put them in to my Mortar and pestle to grind as I wish. I just keep it on the counter and when I can will do some grinding by hand until it comes to a fine power.

I use this powder for so many thing's. Baking, Ice Cream making, Jam's the list again is endless.

Always remember prior to throwing anything you use in the kitchen
away think about how else you can use it. From paper to food it can all most likely be re-used or re-purposed. 


Italian Plum and Pear Jam with Ginger

Italian Prunes it sounds so much better when I say Plum ya think? As you all know the State of Washington sends me stone fruit each year to come up with some new and exciting recipes for this fruit. Well I happened upon this recipe because I have a case of Pear's begging to be jam. And a piece of ginger the size of my Grand-baby's head.These plums are a bit more tart then the California grown.

Yup this later in the season surprise from the Washington Fruit Board was delightful ! Italian Prunes we will call them Plum's.


6 cup clean chopped plums
4 cup clean chopped pears
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup of lemon juice
Fresh Ginger peeled and grated about a half cup (or less to taste)

Start by gathering all those little plum cubes and put them into your pot with the lemon juice. Keep this on a low flame while they cook. You need to soften up the plums to make them better apt to crushing. The longer they cook the softer they become and the more juice will come out of them. It is a beautiful thing jam making. Take your time and enjoy the process.

Next you need to add the pear's so far you have done no smashing. Lets gather all the ingredients together then get to the texture! Stir the pear's into the plums and start to add your ginger . I add it directly into the pot. Also I take a large piece and let it cook with the jam until I am ready to jar up.

As you see I grate the ginger right into the jam !  This is what makes our jam's so delightful the fresh part of it.

Alright by now you have your plums, pear's, ginger and lemon juice in your pot. You should have a glorious color and liquid going by now. This is the time you can put in one cup of your sugar. Make sure it dissolves completely prior to dding the other cup of sugar. Also take the time to smash your fruit mixture to the consistency you like.

I always have my two favorite tools ready and waiting for the jam making . They are my potato smasher and my Immersion Blender.

Now let everything cook to a boil you can not stir down. You want to get your jam to gel. I do this with no pectin and the use of a candy thermometer. I want all my Jam to get to 222-223 degrees to get a good gel. Here is a post on getting your jam to gel. Also a post on Is your jam set? Once it is to the right degrees you need to turn off the flame and let it sit for a few minutes. With most jam this is a smart idea it will help you fruit to not fall or float. Also when it is done cooking give it 5 minutes to rest prior to filling your jar's.

Have your jar's ready. Cover your counter to protect the jar and the counter. Fill your jar's to 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rims. Place the lid and twist top . Twist it taunt and put into the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once the time is done let them sit for a few minutes and then remove and place on a covered counter for no less than 24 hours. Once done Remove the Twist and wash your jar's.

Label and Store.

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 Agricultural Extension Service for additional information.