Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘jam’

Some Jam, Scones And Sour Cherry Hand Pies

When I saw the baskets of sour cherries and gooseberries at the farmers market I had to buy them. Both are delicious but really not great eaten fresh/raw. They are very sour on their own and I thought they would be best made into jam or preserves and a small jar of sour cherry pie filling. They are very tedious to prep, the sour cherries are small and soft and juicy and hard to pit, (please don’t eat cherry pits you can actually get sick when eaten in large enough quantities, saw this article on food52) and the gooseberries need to have the ends pinched off, both ends. Luckily I did not buy a huge amount of the fruit so although tedious it didn’t take me all day to prep them. I have been working on recipes for Teagan’s wonderful Thistledown episodes, I absolutely love this story and am inspired by the magickal world of faeries.

Refrigerator jam is a wonderful thing, no muss no fuss, no canning or preserving, it’s stored in the refrigerator rather than sealed properly and stored in the pantry. I still use sterilized jars and it does seal somewhat but not enough to make me comfortable storing unrefrigerated. It really lasts a long time in the fridge and if you haven’t ever made your own jam or preserves you must give it a go, it really is delicious.

I had 3 pints of sour cherries and 2 pint of gooseberries which was enough to make 2 16 ounce jars and 8 ounces of cherry pie filling. The scones are my favorite recipe from my friend on Food52 Liz Larkin aka @sconeladylarkin on Instagram. The recipe for scones IMHO is the best scone recipe ever, they are tender and light and delicious.

The hand pies were an after thought. There was leftover galette dough after making the tomato tart, and the small jar of cherry pie filling. Cherry pie has always been one of my favorites especially warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Royal Wedding Scones

Recipe by Liz Larkin on Food52

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

6 tbs cold unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Pulse the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder a couple of times in the food processor, add the butter and pulse about 10 times until the butter is broken up in the flour mixture don’t worry if there are some larger pieces butter it doesn’t have to be uniform crumbs. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the frozen blueberries. Mix the egg, cream and vanilla together and add to the flour mixture. Mix with a fork until just combined, be careful not to over mix.

The dough will be a bit shaggy, place on floured work surface and press gently into a circle that is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut in half, in half again and then each quarter into two wedges you will have 8 scones. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until completely frozen about 1 hour. You can then bake them or store in freezer bags until ready to use, I like to wrap each frozen scone individually in either plastic wrap or parchment.  Before baking brush the scones with some heavy cream and sprinkle some sugar on them. Bake in a 420 degree oven until golden brown, when touched with finger they will feel solid. Don’t over bake, because they are frozen it can take a little longer than usual approximately 20-25 minutes.

Sour Cherry Jam and Gooseberry jam

Makes 2 16 oz jars

2 pint sour cherries pitted, in separate pot 2 pint gooseberries trimmed

1 1/2 cup sugar each

pinch of salt

Cook on medium high heat until thickened. Test to see if its ready by spooning some of the jam on a very cold spoon, if it thickens it’s ready because it was not a lot of jam it only took a little less than 30 minutes to cook. Pour into sterilized jar, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Note: The longer you cook the thicker your jam will be, I like mine on the loose side so for my taste about 30 minutes was perfect.

Sour cherry pie filling

Makes 8 ounces

1 pint sour cherries pitted

2/3 cup sugar

4 tsp corn starch

pinch of salt

pinch of cinnamon (optional)

place everything in a medium non reactive pot and cook on medium high heat until thickened. Pour into clean or sterilized jar and refrigerate after it’s cooled to room temperature.

To make the hand pies use your favorite recipe for pie dough or pre made dough works great as well, using a biscuit or something round cut out circles, you will need 2 for each pie. Spoon a little filling in the middle, brush some egg was on the edge of the circle place the other round on top, seal, cut a vent in the top, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake in 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Em-i-lis – A Guest Post And How To Make Jam!


Strawberries prepped for jam

Strawberries prepped for jam

E m-i-lis, the lovely blog that I enjoy every single morning while I’m having my morning cup of coffee, I enjoy it because it’s honest, open, always has amazing recipes and satisfies the voyeur in me by giving me a peek into the life of Emily, her two sons Jack and Oliver and husband T and I can’t forget her adorable Percy the pug and Nutmeg the cat. I asked Emily to do a guest post for me because I love her blog but I also LOVE her jam, I have been the recipient of several jars and it’s the best jam EVER!! I also had the opportunity to meet her in person when she and T came to NYC, we had a great day. I first met Emily on Food52, we became online friends I was in awe of her recipes she submitted on the site, each one so delicious like this Rhubarb Cherry Hibiscus Crumble. Emily is a mother, blogger, caterer, canner, organizer, well she wears many hats. She teaches canning/preserving and jam making in Washington DC where she and her family reside. Check out her blog, subscribe, you’ll love it. I really enjoy sharing what I think is great content on blogs that I follow, I love making jam but haven’t a clue how it is done properly. Emily’s instructions are easy to follow she’ll make a great jam maker out of anyone, even me, you see I have a fear of canning or preserving. 

Allow me to introduce Emily who will demystify the art of jam making and she is also offering a delicious recipe for Strawberry Cardamom Jam. Take it away Em!!

Two of my fondest memories involve jam. Or at least, the jam-making process, also known as canning. When I was a young girl, I often watched my grandmother cook. Nanny, my mom’s mom, lived just a few miles from us, and I grew up spending a great deal of time with her, something I felt lucky about then but appreciate even more now that I’m an adult with children of my own. 

Nanny, a French Cajun, married a Sicilian-American, a handsome, sometimes-grumpy restaurateur who loved to eat. We called him Papa and most of our Sunday lunches were spent sitting with them at their 1950s Formica table, eating steaming plates of spaghetti and roast, fresh salad and iced tea. Papa regularly bellowed from his end of the table, “More cheese!” and one of us would dutifully pass the freshly grated Parmesan Nanny kept in an hinged-top silver bowl. 

One of Nanny’s specialties, and one that very literally made our holiday tables special, was her cranberry sauce. It was the antithesis of that canned cranberry log by which I mean it was instead, a spectacularly crimson, lazy suspension of cranberries and chunks of diced lemon in a sweet-tangy combination of sugar, Mayhaw (a Southern berry-producing tree) juice and grated apple which had dissolved away into nothing but flavor and pectin. Her cranberry sauce made turkey sing, and it was equally wonderful straight from the jar, licked off a tea spoon. She taught me to make it and those lessons were my initial foray into canning. 

Fast forward many years, and my husband and I are in Normandy, staying at a B&B near Mont St. Michel. We were newlyweds so everything was dreamy anyway, and on top of that: France. After we awoke our first morning there, we made our way down to the dining room where we found a literal buffet of fresh jams made by the Madame. We ate an ungodly amount of bread during that breakfast, simply to keep tasting her concoctions. They were magnificent, though the only flavor I recall is her rose petal jelly; the others have swirled together like a decadent taste tie-dye.

It seems no more than obvious, really, that I should now be such an avid canner. I teach canning and preservation classes throughout the D.C. area, and during the summer months, my canning pot never leaves my stove top. Putting things up, as canning used to be called, feels like a bind to the past, a connection to what I idealize as a simpler (though not easier) time. I like being constrained by the seasons, preserving week by week what is being harvested locally at that time. 

Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) are technically not berries but accessory fruits, meaning they grow not from the plant’s ovaries but from the vessel that envelopes them. Nonetheless, they are, at present, brightening up farm stands and grocery displays everywhere. They’re leaking their lollipop red juice down eager fingers, throughout shortcakes and all over whipped cream. Part of the great red trinity that also includes watermelon and tomatoes, strawberries let us know that summer is most definitely here.

A flat of fresh strawberries

A flat of fresh strawberries

Although strawberries are an incredibly delectable ingredient in jam, their lack of natural pectin can make it tough to achieve a set any firmer than sauce. Strawberry sauce is wonderful in its own right; think spooned over ice cream, stirred into fresh lemonade, blended into smoothies. But for toast and its bready kin, you really want something more spreadable than pourable. 

You can certainly add pectin, the powdered or liquid forms made by Ball for example, but I prefer not to because I find that it leaves a vaguely metallic aftertaste (the powdered type) or instills a slightly unnatural wobble (the liquid). Also, I use organic fruit and sugar and feel like I’m letting them down if I add to them a commercially produced substance. Pomona’s natural pectin is gelatin free which is great for vegetarians and folks who keep kosher, but you’ve got to activate it by adding calcium water to your jam, and I rarely feel like taking that extra step.

To avoid dealing with pectin altogether, you can add a pectin-rich fruit to the strawberries -rhubarb adds just the heft you need- but what if you want straight up strawberry jam in which the strawberries are the lone star on the stage? A cored and grated apple does the trick beautifully. Apples are high in pectin and fill in the gelation holes that strawberries alone cannot. 

This recipe, one of my newest, lets summer strawberries shine. Their flavor is buttressed by sugar, apple and lemon, while cardamom adds a magical element of mystery and offsets the sugary sweetness nicely. It’s a loosely set jam studded with hunks of berry and, as was Nanny’s cranberry sauce, it’s as good when used in the “expected” way -toast- as it is off a spoon straight from the jar. I also love it with Greek-style yogurt and homemade granola!

If you have a trusty wooden spoon, use that when you make jam. A great way to tell if your jam is at a set-point is if it sheets, rather than rains, off the back of the wooden spoon. A stainless, plastic or silicone implement will not work for the sheet versus rain test.

Strawberry-Cardamom Jam

Ingredients (I recommend using organic if you can):

4 cups washed and trimmed strawberries, cut into halves or quarters

1¾ cups unrefined, granulated sugar (I use the 365 organic from Whole Foods)

juice of ½ lemon

¾ teaspoon ground cardamom; use a nice pungent one; I like Guatemalan

1 small apple (roughly 4 ounces), cored, grated


Fill your canning pot (or your largest, tallest stock pot) with water, cover, and set over high heat. Do this first because it takes a long time to bring this much water to a rolling boil. You will need enough water to cover the jars by at least a half-inch.

Ready the appropriate number of jars (3 for this recipe, more if you double) and get out your canning funnel, ladle, lid lifter, hot pads and such. On the counter next to your canning pot, place a dish towel; when you remove your sterilized jars from the water (and, later, your filled and sealed jars from the pot), you can rest them here without worry that they’ll slip or slide.

Strawberries macerating

Strawberries macerating

In a jamming pot or other heavy-bottomed stainless pot, stir together all your ingredients. Let sit for a half hour (you can also macerate this overnight; in that instance, don’t start heating your canning pot until you’re ready to actually cook the jam).

When a decent amount of syrup has pooled around the strawberries, set the pot over high heat, and stir regularly (but not constantly) as the mixture comes to a boil. You want it to boil like crazy so as to evaporate off as much water as possible.

Starting to give off liquid

Starting to give off liquid

See the syrup

See the syrup

Strawberries foam a lot as they cook, so if that bothers you visually, skim or carefully spoon the foam off. Keep stirring, and if your berries aren’t breaking down as you’d like, crush them with a potato masher. It really depends on how much “chunk” you like in your jam.

If you’ve not already, sterilize your jars by placing them in the boiling water bath. Sterilize your lids too either by putting them in your canning pot for 2-3 minutes as it boils or by placing them in a smaller pot of boiling water which you then remove from heat. You do not need to sterilize the jar bands.

If you have a Thermapen or similar instant-read thermometer, start checking the temp after about 20 minutes. You want to get to at least 217° F. When things are getting close, a rim of strawberry gunk should have adhered to the sides of your pot (at the level of the jam), the bubbles in the boiling jam should look thick like lava, not loose like boiling water, and the jam should sheet not rain off the back of a wooden spoon 

Strawberry rim

Strawberry rim

When the jam is ready, carefully ladle it into your prepared jars (leave roughly 1/4″ of headspace) and run a thin tool like a chopstick or knife blade around the inside of each jar to let any air bubbles escape. If the bottom of your jamming pot looks like this, you can feel confident that your jam has achieved a good set.



Look at that thick luscious jam

Look at that thick luscious jam

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and bands and carefully place into your canning pot. Process for 10 minutes, remove and sit on a kitchen towel for at least two hours.

Strawberry Cardamom Jam

Strawberry Cardamom Jam

For a list of helpful canning resources and equipment, click here:


Simple Concord Grape Jam

Grape Jam on buttered english muffin

The last two weekends at the farmers market I have found plentiful amounts of concord grapes, it’s that time of year you know. I love them, eating them right off the stem sweet and tart at the same time and an intense burst of concord grape flavor. I bought a lot of them, really way too many to eat so I decided to try my hand at making jam. I have never canned or preserved anything before, one day I will, but not this time, so this jam has to be used fairly quickly within a month or so but honestly, it’s so good it didn’t last more than a week. I sterilized some canning jars poured the hot jam in the jar, sealed and refrigerated it overnight, by the morning it was thick rich intense grape jam.  I have become somewhat obsessed with making jam now, giving jars to my daughter to take home for the kids and they are really enjoying it. This weekend I made a spiced plum jam following a recipe from Hannah and her beautiful blog, Blue Kale Road, it is amazing and you should try it. Back to the grape jam though, it’s so easy to make, and you can make it in small batches. This is going to make a really good PB&J sandwich.


2 quarts (about 8 cups) concord grapes, cleaned and removed from stems

4 -4.5 cups sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Add grapes, sugar and lemon juice to a medium saucepan mash the grapes to release some of the juices. Bring to a boil on high heat, when it comes to a rolling boil reduce heat to medium and let simmer uncovered for about an 1-1 1/2 hours. You will notice it is thickening and it will coat your spoon. Drop some of the jam onto a saucer and if it thickens it’s ready.

simmering grapes

While the grapes are simmering sterilize your jars and lids, let them boil for 15 minutes, remove to a clean tea  towel to dry. When the grapes have finished cooking take a large non reactive bowl, I used an 8 cup heatproof glass measuring cup place a sieve on top and carefully pour the grapes into it. Stir it so that the liquid drips into the bowl, stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the sieve from time to time.

Strain it well

All you want left is the skin and seeds, push the pulp through, there will be very little left in the sieve.

See not much left only seeds and skin

Place the liquid back in the saucepan and simmer on medium for about 15 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars, screw lids on tightly and let sit until it reaches room temperature. You then refrigerate overnight or several days. It will become very thick and jam like.