Tag Archives: canning

Two Quince, a Recipe Swap


I had a whole post written about what I’ve been up to in the past month and offering excuses for why I haven’t been blogging. That post is filed away for next time and this month’s Recipe Swap is taking precedent!

For more than a year, Christianna at Burwell General Store has been sharing vintage recipes with a growing number of talented bloggers. I joined the group a few months ago and look forward to every swap as a new opportunity to really let my creativity loose on a recipe. We all have to come up with something closely or very loosely based on the original recipe. The results are always quite different!


This was the first recipe I didn’t fall in love with at first sight. Zabaglione is not the kind of dessert I would ever order in a restaurant or make myself at home. I guess I have simpler taste in sweets and don’t normally go for boozy food.

It was clear that this swap would take some thought. Unfortunately, I had A LOT going on, as you will read in a future post. My brain just wasn’t on blogging. I bought marsala wine. I bought eggs. Hey, maybe I’d just make zabaglione! I did lots of research. Everyone loves food research.Then, this evening, I made quince preserves.

Quince preserves? Yes. The odd and new-to-me fruit that I picked up in a little market on Mission was calling my name, begging me to simmer it with wine and sugar. I read that quince are like a cross between a pear and an apple but cannot be eaten raw. Many poached quince recipes popped up in my google searches and one of my cookbooks has a recipe for quince preserves.


Fruit put my mind at ease. The marsala addition was my adventuresome throw-back to the zabaglione recipe. One a busy winter night, just back from some weekend traveling, I made two jars of preserves. Could we consider that a reference to the “…for two” part of the original swap recipe?

While I did not do a very good job with this dish from a preserving perspective and I don’t necessarily recommend that you can the mixture this recipe makes, I do recommend that you cook some quince in marsala wine. This recipe would make an excellent compote for ice cream, cake, or even granola+yogurt. It didn’t quite make enough liquid to fill my jars and I didn’t chop the quince finely enough to make spreadable preserves but the result is ridiculously good. I don’t even like wine and the flavors of the marsala and the fruit are so happy together that I have to pat myself on the back for this one.

Really, these are the people with the awesome food.




Marsala Quince Compote

2 ripe quince, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 cup dry marsala wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Combine wine, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Bring liquids to a boil.
Add chopped quince and return mixture to a boil.
Cook on high for 15-20 minutes, or until fruit is soft and partly transparent and the liquid does not immediately flow back together when you drag a spoon across the bottom of the pan.
Pour compote into glass storage or serving dish (heat up the dish in a warm oven first).
Allow the mixture to cool and then cover and refrigerate or use immediately.


Filed under condiments, desserts

California Fig Jam


I might as well call this California Fig Jam – both the figs and I are from and currently residing in CA. I’m very proud to say that this is the first thing I’ve preserved without a recipe (gasp!). Some may find that frightening, but fear not. I know the key ingredients and important steps for successful, safe canning. Let this jam serve as evidence!

This was not in the plan for today. I was driven to make it by the impending deadline to send out some jars for a jam exchange that Steph put together. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew the date was coming up. I fretted about my meager preserving efforts this summer but continued to procrastinate. Finally, I checked the due date this morning. September 10th! I had to mail my jams by September 10th! That’s day after tomorrow! Whew, at least I realized that in time and happened to have a recently purchased more figs than a girl and her fig-hating husband can eat.

So, with this very basic, spontaneous canning outline from Food In Jars, I started chopping. My figs were perfectly, perfectly ripe. The timing could not have been better. I would have liked to use honey in this recipe but I don’t have any. I used brown sugar instead, hoping for the deep, caramelized sweetness it provides. A splash of lemon juice was the only other thing I needed to create this simple spread.


On fresh-baked bread with coconut butter (or off side of the pan when my jars were filled), this stuff is amazing. For my taste, it turned out a little on the sweet side. I erred on the side of caution with the sugar and took into account that most people like things sweeter than I do.

Simple Fig Jam

Approximately 3 cups chopped fresh figs
1 cup packed brown sugar
juice from 1 lemon

Combine ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan or large skillet and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour, or until the mixture thickens and does not immediately flow back together then you scrape a spatula across the bottom of the pan (here’s a great demonstration of this)
When the jam is ready, process it using your preferred method. You can read all about canning from this USDA source.
Don’t forget to heat your pot of water for processing the jars! I forgot that today but fortunately my pressure cooked boils water super fast!

As you may have gathered, I also made bread today. This was not just any bread, it was my first loaf from the Master Recipe in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I bought the book a couple months ago when I saw it on sale a book store. I had been wanting a copy ever since it came out. I read and heard so many raves about Jeff Hertzberg, Zoe Francois and Mark Luinenburg’s first book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Some friends of mine took to baking their own bread all the time after receiving this book as a wedding present. I tried their bread. It was very, very good.


Francois and Luinenburg’s version, concentrating on healthful bread recipes, promises to be a much-used cookbook in my kitchen now that I’ve tried the first recipe. The dough was easy to mix and their whole bread making process made sense to me. The loaf I made today really did come together very quickly. I got it ready to put in the oven while my jam cooked and had fresh bread by lunch time! The flavor is awesome and I think I’m finally getting a hold of the oven-steaming crust procedure.

Bread, I love you, the making and the eating too. (Did I just write a poem about bread! Ha!)



Filed under condiments

Peachy Keen

Do you know anyone who uses that phrase? My dad used to. I haven’t heard him say it for a long time but he use to throw this retro gem out there every once and a while to make my brother and I laugh. What is peachy keen? Playing outside with your friends on a warm summer night, the cool new bike you got for your birthday…


This Peach Vanilla Bean jam is peachy keen. I say jam, but I didn’t quite chop the peaches finely enough so I ended up with more of a compote. Hey, it’s still good and who doesn’t love chunks of sweet, vanilla-y peach on just about anything? Lee tried some jam on pancakes and gave it a good report. I glopped it on bread for lunch yesterday and declared my sandwich a dessert-worthy treat.

I knew I had to make this jam as soon as I saw it on Smells-Like-Home. Peaches are delicious on their own, but add the deep, earthy flavor of vanilla beans and they reach an out-of-this-world level of yum. I could barely keep my fingers out of the pot while the peaches cooked. They smelled so good! When I finally got to taste the product of more than an hour of simmering, I was not disappointed. The chunky jam is perfect with cheese or nut butters on a sandwich, dreamy on toast, pancakes or waffles, and I’m willing to bet it would make a great ice cream topping as well.

You don’t need a ridiculous amount of peaches for this canning project. I bought a flat at COSTCO and only need 5 out of maybe 9 or 10 large peaches. A scale make measuring for this recipe much easier. My 5 peaches weighed 3 pounds but that will vary with the size of your fruit.

One reason I was excited to make this recipe was the package of vanilla beans haunting my pantry. Amazon was a great source for vanilla beans. A huge package came at a great value and now I don’t have to hoard them – I can feel free to experiment with vanilla beans in different recipes.

Head on over to Smells-Like-Home for the recipe! The ingredient list is short and simple so this is a great first-time canning project! I ended up with 5 pint jars that I can’t wait to share!



Filed under condiments

Cranberry conserve – bright, crunchy, stowed away for winter


Provisioning the boat always leads to a few impulse purchases, usually of treats to pull out of a locker at a later date. On one shopping trip for this sail, though, I ended up with a bag of Maine cranberries. I couldn’t resist them. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with fresh cranberries and they marked a transition from Maine summer produce to fall and winter foods.
That bag of cranberries has been shuffling around the boat’s fridge since we left. I had a plan for it, though. I found a recipe for Cranberry Conserve in my canning cookbook that sounded like a perfect way to preserve my impulse-buy cranberries and give us something festive to enjoy around the holidays.
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving defines conserve as “luscious combinations of fresh and dried fruit and nuts, cooked to create a thick, sweet spread with a varied texture.” Yum! I know. It sounded like a winner to me.
I halved the recipe, since I have a limited supply of jars and there weren’t quite enough cranberries to make a full batch. My half batch was a bit too much for two, 8 oz jars, maybe because I didn’t let enough water evaporate by leaving the lid off early in the cooking process. I opted for almonds as my nut.
This conserve has a gorgeous, bright cranberry color and the orange peel and almonds add festive colors to the jars. The spread is definitely sweet and tastes similar to cranberry sauce. It has a slight citrus flavor from the orange and fun crunch from the almonds. The texture is very thick – perfect for spreading – or, as Lee did this morning, plopping on top of your oatmeal.


This is my Fall Fest recipe for todays celebration of “The mad stash”. Visit A Way to Garden to find out more.



Cranberry Conserve
From the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Makes about 4 8-ounce jars

1 orange (un-peeled), seeded and finely chopped
2 cups water
4 cups cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Prepare canner jars and lids.
Combine orange and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Cover partially, and boil gently until the peel is tender (5 min. or so).
Add cranberries, raisins, and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Return to a boil over medium-high heat and boil hard, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens (10-15 minutes).
Stir in nuts and cook, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and test gel. If the mixture gels, skim off foam.

Ladle hot conserve into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace.
Wipe rims, center lids on jars, and tighten to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, covering them completely with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.
Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars and leave them to cool completely.


Filed under Uncategorized