Tag Archives: canning

Mango Jalapeño Jam

Mango Jalapeno Jam 1

Slightly sweet, slightly spicy. Perfectly versatile.

Serve it with savory scones, like these Bacon Jalapeño Scones:

Bacon Jalapeno Scones 5

Use it instead of apricot jam in this Apricot (Mango) Glazed Chicken:

Apricot Chicken 1

Serve it with these Indian Samosas:

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Heat the jam until warm and dip Chicken Taquitos in it:

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-Bake it with Brie wrapped in puff pastry dough for a delicious appetizer. Or cut pastry dough into squares and press dough into a well-greased mini muffin pan; place a square of Brie in the center and top with ½ tsp jam. Bake until browned.

-Spread it over a block of cream cheese or goat cheese and serve with crackers.

-Spread it between tortillas, along with grilled chicken and cheese, and grill for amazing quesadillas.

-Spread it on an English muffin and top with egg, cheese, and bacon for a breakfast sandwich with a kick.

-Add it to a grilled cheese sandwich.

-Spread it on a sandwich of leftover roast turkey or chicken.

-Add it to a marinade for roast pork or grilled chicken.


Mango Jalapeño Jam

Yield: About 7 half-pint jars

Mango Jalapeno Jam 1

3 lb peeled and seeded mangos (weigh after peeling/seeding), about 6 cups
6-7 oz (about 6-7 whole) jalapeños
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
4 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box low-sugar pectin

Chop mangos in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pureed. You should end up with about 5 cups finely chopped mango. Pour into a large pot.

Use the food processor to finely chop the jalapeños. Leave the seeds/ribs in the jalapeños for a more spicy jam; remove them for a milder jam. Add to the pot along with the vinegar, and 4 cups of sugar.

Bring to a full rolling boil, reduce heat to medium, and boil for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the pectin and ¼ cup sugar. Add pectin mixture to the pot and return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil for 2 additional minutes.

Remove from heat and ladle into sterilized jars. Wipe rims of jars with a damp cloth and add lids and rings. Process jars in a boiling bath canner for 10 minutes for half-pint jars. Remove from canner and place on a towel on kitchen countertop. Let sit 24 hours. Check seals before storing on pantry shelf.

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Filed under Appetizers, Breads, Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces

Low Sugar Cinnamon Vanilla Pear Jam

Cinnamon Vanilla Pear Jam

Canning is generally a summer sport. Summer harvests mean you usually have to spend the hottest days of the year blanching fruit, stirring boiling pots, and having steam from a boiling water bath canner fill the kitchen with heat and humidity.

Do you ever wish that you could do your canning in the middle of the winter, when a little extra heat and humidity would be most welcome? I can’t get rid of all of that summer canning, but here is one recipe that is perfect to make on a cold, snowy day. And it will make your house smell truly heavenly.

Pears make a wonderful jam and are an easy fruit to work with any time of year. Most varieties have thin skins, so you don’t need to peel them, and you can chop them quickly in a food processor.  This jam is also flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, which makes it easy and amazingly delicious!

I use a combination of sugar and stevia to make a lower sugar jam that doesn’t compromise on flavor. You could add additional sugar if you don’t want to use the stevia.

And it’s not just for toast: try stirring it into some plain yogurt or spreading on some homemade pancakes for a delicious breakfast or snack.


Cinnamon Vanilla Pear Jam (Low-Sugar)

Yield: 6 half-pint jars

Cinnamon Vanilla Pear Jam

8-10 ripe medium-sized pears (about 4 lb)
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box low-sugar pectin
½ tsp liquid stevia
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped; or 2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare equipment: sterilize half-pint jars, lids, and canning equipment (ladle and funnel). Prepare a boiling water bath.

Wash and core the pears, but do not peel. Finely chop or coarsely mash to yield 7 cups fruit. (I use a food processor to finely chop/mash the pears). Stir in lemon juice.

In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of the sugar with the box of pectin. Mix well and set aside.

In a large pot, combine the chopped pears, remaining 2 cups sugar, stevia, cinnamon and vanilla beans (both seeds and pods), if using. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium (maintain a low but continuous boil), and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar/pectin mixture and vanilla extract, if using. Return jam to a full boil and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pods and discard.

Remove jam from heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Stir jam. Ladle hot jam into prepared jars. Wipe top edges of jars with a damp cloth. Add lids and rings. Place in a boiling bath canner and when pot has returned to a full boil, process jars for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and place on a towel on kitchen counter. Let sit for 24 hours. Check seals before placing on pantry shelf.


  • Use thin-skinned pears like Bartlett, d’Anjou, or Comice
  • Stevia brands can vary in sweetness. Taste jam before adding pectin and adjust sugar to taste.
  • Use either the vanilla beans or the vanilla extract, not both
  • Letting the jam sit for a few minutes before ladling into jars helps to reduce foam and keep the fruit chunks from settling to the bottom of the jars.

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Canning Apple Pie Filling

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As part of a church young women’s project this fall, I have been teaching MiddleK how to can. We started with Applesauce, then promptly proceeded to eat almost all of it over that next week, which kind of defeated the “storage” role of canning. But it had been a long time since we’d had homemade applesauce around here, and I was glad to see the kids asking for that for a snack instead of chips or candy. So we bought A LOT more apples, and made LOTS more applesauce. With all of our apples we also made this Apple Pie Filling.

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Middle K also wanted to learn to make her own piecrust for her pie filling, and while the family waited for her to finally make a pie, we ate the pie filling stirred into yogurt, as an ice cream topping, or when no one was looking: straight from the jar.

Yesterday, Middle K, under extreme pressure from her siblings, found the time to create this beautiful apple pie. She made the crust all on her own, and she did a fabulous job!

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This canned apple pie filling is chock full of apples in a cinnamon brown sugar syrup. When choosing apples for pie, you want to choose a variety that does not get mushy when cooked, and is not overly tart, or you will need to add a lot more sugar to the syrup. We really like eating Granny Smith apples around here, but I don’t usually use them for pies, unless it is in combination with some sweeter varieties. I also like to use a combination of apple varieties, when possible. Then the different textures of the apples makes a nice balance in the pie. For this pie filling we used a combination of Golden Delicious and Fuji apples.

Good Apples for Canning:
Golden Delicious
Gala (but only in combination with another variety: they get kind of soft when cooked)

Not-So-Good Apples for Canning:
Red Delicious
Gala (on their own)
Granny Smith (too tart on their own; texture is good, but they will require more sugar; good when combined with sweeter varieties)

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When making the apple pie filling, you can thinly slice or dice the apples. I like to dice them because they fit better in the jars and are a nice size for biting in a pie. The chopped apples are mixed with apple cider, sugar and spices, and left to macerate for an hour or more before cooking. This helps release some of the juice from the apples and helps meld the flavors. We kept the spices simple in our batches this year: just cinnamon and a little bit of nutmeg. For a more heavily spiced pie filling, you can add cloves, ginger and/or allspice.

The one special ingredient that you need for making canned pie fillings is Clear Jel. Clear Jel is a modified corn starch made specifically for canning. It is a thickener that will not loose it’s texture or become grainy after being cooked more than once (first while preparing the filling and processing the jars and then again when you cook the pie). I buy mine from a company called Walton Feed. I like that I can get sealed cans. Clear Jel is also available in bags from Amazon.

One problem that we did run into on a couple of our jars was “siphoning”. This is when some liquid from inside the jars seeps out while processing, or immediately after being removed from the canner. The filling is still safe to eat as long as the lid seals, but it does make for kind of a sticky mess and an increased likelihood that the jars won’t seal properly. We left 1” headspace on the jars before processing, but next time I will leave 1 1/4”. After doing some reading, another way to reduce siphoning is to leave the jars in the boiling water bath (with the heat turned off and the lid removed) for about 10 minutes after fully processing them. I will try this next time around. Supposedly, the drastic temperature change from the boiling water to the outside air can often cause siphoning. Pie filling is the only thing I have ever had this problem with. Luckily, all of our jars sealed, but I did mark the ones that had the siphoning problem so that we could eat those jars first.

When making a pie from canned filling, you simply prepare your bottom crust, pour in the filling, add a top crust or streusel topping and bake (for about 45 minutes at 400°F). A regular 8”or 9” pie plate will use one quart jar. For deep dish pie plates (which I have), I use one quart jar and one pint jar. So I can both quart and pint sized jars. You could also just use 1 1/2 quart jars and use the other half jar as ice cream topping.


Apple Pie Filling (for canning)

  • Servings: Makes about 3 ½ quarts
  • Print

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6 lb apples** (about 16-18 apples, or 12 cups sliced/diced apples)
3 cups apple cider
1 cup dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar plus 1 tsp molasses)
½ cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean, scraped)
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
scant ½ tsp ground nutmeg
(OPTIONAL: 1/8 tsp each: cloves, ginger & allspice)
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup Clear Jel

In a very large bowl, mix together 3 cups apple cider, sugars, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and optional spices (if using).

Peel, core and coarsely chop or slice apples. Place apples in cider mixture as you cut them. Allow apples to sit at room temperature for at least 1-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Strain juice from apple slices into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix additional 1 cup of apple cider with the Clear Jel; stir into the cider mixture simmering in the pot. Return to a boil and cook until the juice has thickened, about 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in apple pieces with any remaining juice in the bowl. Return mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Ladle hot pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 ¼” headspace. Use a spatula or knife to remove air bubbles. Make sure that your apples are covered by the syrup. Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth, place lid and ring on the jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes for quart or pint jars. After processing, turn off heat and remove the lid from the canner, but allow the jars to sit in the water for 10 minutes before removing. This will help reduce siphoning (liquid seeping out of the jars). Remove jars from water and place on a clean, dry towel on the kitchen counter. Let sit for 24 hours. Check seal, remove rings and store.

**For best results use a mix of Golden Delicious, Fuji, McIntosh, Jonagold, Rome, Jonathon, Cameo or Gala.

Yield: about 3 ½ quarts

Recipe adapted from LocalKitchen


Canned pie filling can be used to make apple pies, tarts, or apple crisp. Or spoon it onto ice cream or yogurt.

To make a regular 8-9” pie: use one quart of pie filling

To make a deep dish 9” pie: use one quart + 1 pint of pie filling (I can both quart and pint jars to make this easy. Or just use 1 1/2 quart jars and eat the other half quart as ice cream topping)

BAKING: Bake pies at 400°F for 30 minutes. Check browning on top crust. Add a Pie Crust Shield (you can make your own!) or foil to edges as they begin to brown. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is cooked (check often to prevent over-browning of top crust)

I like to use this All Butter Pie Crust.


Filed under Canning/Freezing, Desserts

Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

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One of the kids’ favorite jams from last year was this Raspberry Nectarine Freezer Jam. This year I played with the recipe a little, to reduce the sugar and to make it a regular canned jam (freezer space is precious!).
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Nectarines and raspberries are a great combination! Be sure to leave the nectarine peels on when cutting the nectarines. They help give the rich color to the jam. They will be strained out later with the raspberry seeds. Pressing pulp through a sieve to remove seeds is not my favorite thing to do. It is a lot of work, and it seems like such a waste to not use all of that good stuff. I don’t mind having raspberry seeds in things, so I save the seeds (and pulp that clings to them) in the fridge and add them to smoothies, or stir some into my oatmeal in the mornings. A little extra fiber is never a bad thing, right?!


Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

  • Servings: Makes about 5 half-pint jars
  • Print

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3 cups chopped nectarines (do not peel), about 4-5 nectarines
3 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

Combine nectarines and raspberries in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Press through a fine sieve to remove seeds; discard seeds. Place fruit puree in a large saucepan with the lemon juice.

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into fruit puree in the large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 C sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

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Berry Picking and Raspberry Jams

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It is raspberry picking season here in western PA, and Little A & J helped me take full advantage of it last week. While older kids were off at youth camps, we spent a few days picking berries and making jams. And eating lots of berries on things like This:

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And This:

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We also made three different raspberry jams, two regular raspberry ones that I will share today, and a seedless variety with nectarines for tomorrow’s post. The first jam is a low-sugar red raspberry jam. I love how the fresh fruit taste shines in low-sugar jams, but they do have more of a fruit-spread consistency than the jelled set of full sugar jams.

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I make most of my jams with stevia as a sweetener. I use a little bit of sugar to help with the consistency and “sheen”, but most of the sugar I trade out for stevia. Stevia comes in many brands and forms (liquid: plain and flavored, powdered extract, “spoonable”, packets, crushed leaves), so you will need to do a little experimenting (i.e. tasting) to get the amounts just right.

I use the Sweet Leaf brand most of the time. In the past I have always used the powdered extract, which I highly recommend. This year I tried using their Vanilla Crème flavored liquid variety, and I really liked it. When making low-sugar jams, be sure to use the “no-sugar needed” pectin. For the SureJell brand, this is the pink box.

071311 027-1The second jam we made uses red, black and yellow raspberries. Black raspberries are smaller than the other colors, and have more a few more seeds. Their flavor also seems more concentrated. They make for good finger-staining when you are picking them! And teeth staining when you eat them. I actually prefer their taste over the red ones.

I made jam from just the black raspberries a few years ago, and it came out extremely thick (hold the spoon upside-down thick). So now I combine them with the red and yellow berries to get a better consistency.

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I don’t mind seeds in my raspberry jam, but if you prefer to make it seedless, start with about 1/2 cup more berries, and press through a sieve before adding pectin. If you want to make full-sugar jams, use the same amount of berries, regular pectin and 7 cups sugar (some recipes call for as much as 8 1/2 cups sugar).


Low-Sugar Red Raspberry Jam

  • Servings: Makes 5-6 half-pint jars
  • Print

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5 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

Low-Sugar Triple Raspberry Jam

  • Servings: Makes 5-6 half-pint jars
  • Print

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5 cups slightly crushed raspberries (3C red, 1C black, 1C yellow)
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia


Filed under Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces

Blueberry Syrup



Blueberry Syrup

  • Servings: Makes 4 cups
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5 cups blueberries
3 cups water
1 cup sugar (Turbinado or regular white sugar)
1 whole lemon, washed

Using a sharp paring knife, peel three or four strips of lemon peel from the lemon. Skin should be about 1/2 inch wide and not have too much of the bitter pith or white part on it. Then juice the lemon, and set both zest and juice aside.

Place blueberries and 1 cup of the water in a medium pot. Don’t worry about stems or leaves; they will be strained out later. Using a potato masher, crush the berries. Over medium-high heat, bring the berries and water to a boil, then lower the temperature to medium-low. Simmer berries for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. They will darken considerably.

Remove pot from heat and ladle berries into a fine sieve set over a heat-proof bowl or measuring cup. Using the back of a  ladle, press on the berry solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids.

Wash out your pot, then add the remaining 2 cups of water, lemon peel(not juice yet), and the sugar. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens (or reaches 225°F). Add reserved blueberry juice and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and stir to combine. Boil another minute or two. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove lemon zest.

Using a funnel, pour syrup into clean jars. Top with lid and store in the refrigerator for up to six months. Or process in sterile canning jars with a boiling bath canner (Process half pints for 10 minutes; pints for 15 minutes).

Serve over Cheesecake, Waffles, Pancakes, Ice Cream

Makes about 4 cups


Recipe from Simple Bites

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Filed under Breakfast/Brunch, Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces, Uncategorized