Blackberry Cabernet Jam

Last weekend after picking a ton of blackberries I was thinking about what delicious blackberry creation I could come up with, and was reminded of the strawberry Pinot Noir jam that I made two summers ago. Blackberries and wine? Yes please! That sounds like a great idea. Blackberries are bold though, I thought to myself, they need a bolder wine, thus was born the blackberry Cabernet jam. This jam is a real time commitment, as it is pectin free, and has an entire bottle of wine in it. However, if you’re feeling slightly more impatient the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving does have a berry wine jelly using liquid pectin that you could whip up faster. Alternatively, make a half batch and drink the other half of the wine.

Ingredients:
15 cups blackberries
2.5 cups sugar
One bottle of your favourite Cabernet Sauvignon or other bold wine
1 tbsp of lemon juice

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Here’s what I did:

Prepare the canner, jars, and lids (and by prepare I really mean start pondering it, because you actually won’t need to prepare for like 4 more hours). Depending on how long you cook this jam, it will yield about 6-8 pints. Mash the berries to your preferred level of mashiness in a large pot, and add the sugar, wine, and lemon juice. Leave a small amount of wine in the bottom of the bottle to sip on while you bring the jam to a boil.

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Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce and maintain a gentle boil for a good many hours, stirring occasionally. I think I ended up cooking this for nearly 5 hours. Be patient, or play with adding some liquid pectin of you want a firmer set. Near the end of the cook time, pay close attention to avoid any burning on the bottom of the pot.

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Fill hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids, and tighten bands finger tip tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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Deeeeelicious. And oh so pretty. Now who wants to host a cocktail party or wine night so that I can bring some of this jam? 😉

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A “berry” good weekend – things to do with strawberries

Believe it or not, strawberry season is wrapping up here next week! So sad! However, I did do a pretty good job taking advantage of the berries this year. We bought a chest freezer, so I’ve frozen a bunch, and I did some dehydrating, canning, and wine making with the rest last weekend. A berry good weekend indeed. For many of you, berry season is probably just beginning, but whether this is your last week, or first, here is some inspiration for things to do with your berries.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling – my first blog post ever, and still one of my favourite recipes. The universe is telling us to put these two awesome items together by having them mature at the same time – you should really listen.

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Strawberry Fruit Leather – Since this post, I’ve learned adding some apple sauce or other more fibrous fruit helps with the cracking and crispiness issue. But I also still love it with just strawberries.

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Strawberry jam – a classic favourite of course. Or on the wilder side, add some wine to your jam and try this strawberry pinot noir jam.

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Strawberry wine – heck yes! It’s really not as hard as it seems by the length of the post. You should really really try it. Shorter, point form directions coming soon to entice you more, since not all of you have the attention span for this novel of a post.

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Or a non-alcoholic beverage  (or alcohol optional I should say) – strawberry lemonade concentrate!

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Got a couple handfuls left over still? Flavour some vinegar (or vodka? Post coming soon on that, but it’s basically the same as vinegar)

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Now go, quickly, before they are gone!! Pick some berries! Eat some berries! Can some berries! Dry some berries! Love the berries! And don’t forget to eat some fresh – sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in preservation.  And lay off the caffeine! (Oh wait, that one’s for me.)

Can it forward day. A giveaway!

Happy international can it forward day! I hope that you all canned something today and/or ate something that you had canned to celebrate. To me, can it forward day is basically everyday, as I love to get others on to the canning train. I didn’t actually can today, because I just got home from a conference late last night, but zucchini relish and tomato sauce are on the roster for tomorrow. But anyways that brings me to the reason for this post. A can it forward day giveaway!! Pictured below are my giveaway items. I’ve decide to include 4 canned goodies, the zesty zucchini relish and tomato sauce are the two pint size jars, and you will get the fresh stuff I make tomorrow. The half pints are strawberry jam and Victorian barbecue sauce. Yum yum yum. The other exciting thing is that I will be giving away a copy of So Easy to Preserve, which is written by the University of Georgia extension service. This book is an amazing resource with many scientifically tested and trusted recipes. The one caveat, however, is that they are coming out with a new edition at the end of the month so I don’t yet have this book in my possession. What that means is I will likely ship (or give to in person depending who wins) the winner the other prizes first, followed by the book when it comes out. But what this does mean is you’ll be getting the most up to date awesome recipes!

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OK here is how to enter. There are going to actually be multiple ways that you can enter this contest. First you will receive one entry for commenting on this page and telling us who first introduced you to canning. Was it a parent or grandparent, a friend, or something you just started doing on your own? I love to hear how people got started, so that will earn you an entry. You can also earn an entry by liking the babbling botanist Facebook page and inviting others to do so. In the spirit of canning it forward I’d like to be able to reach more people and Facebook is a great way to do so. This is going to get complicated for me to tally up, but this is my plan. Anyone you invite gets an entry, but it also earns you an entry if they post the name of the person that invited them like my page on my Facebook wall. I hope this doesn’t get too confusing for everyone involved, but I’m going to give it a shot! The contest will close on the one year anniversary of me starting this blog, August 22 2014 at 9pm Pacific time.

Happy canning! And sorry, but I can ship to Canada and USA only.

Thanks y’all, this giveaway is now CLOSED.

Blueberry Lime Jam

I do love blueberries on their own, but sometimes you just need a little something extra to really bring out the flavour of a berry. If you are looking for a jam that really kicks it up a notch, you’ve come to the right place. Adding the juice and zest of a lime or two really enhances the flavour of the blueberries and makes a delicious jam. This recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. The only change that I make is to use a lower sugar pectin and less sugar, and two limes rather than one, but here it’s written as in Ball.

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Ingredients:
4.5 cups crushed blueberries
5 cups sugar
Zest and juice of 1-2 large limes
1 package of regular pectin (or use low sugar pectin and adjust sugar accordingly)

Here’s what we did:

Prepare the canner, jars and lids. This yields around 6 half pints unless you reduce the sugar.

In a stainless steel pot, combine the crushed berries, lime juice, lime zest, and pectin. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.

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Bring the jam to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add the sugar all at once when the boil is reached, and return to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, then remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Fill the hot jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids, and tighten the bands finger tip tight.

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Process the jars in a boiling water bath canner, covered by at least 1-2 inches of water for 10 minutes, starting the time when the water reaches a full rolling boil. After the 10 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. Cool the jars 12-24 hours, remove bands, check seals, wipe clean, label and store.

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Kiwi Daiquiri Jam

The other day they had local kiwis for sale at one of my favourite farm stands just outside of town. “Local Kiwis! Whaaat. Don’t mind if I do,” I thought to myself. So of course, despite having any idea what I might do with them, other then eat a few, I bought a box. Luckily, I found this recipe for Kiwi Daiquiri Jam in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

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Kiwis are so pretty! Doesn’t it look like eyes with really long lashes?

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Ingredients:
2 cups crushed, peeled kiwifruit
2/3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1/3 cup lime juice
1 package regular powdered pectin
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup rum (plus a shot for yourself)

Here’s how we made it:
Prepare the canner, jars and lids. This yields about 4-5 half pint jars.

Peel and crush the kiwi. Combine in a stainless steal pot with the pineapple juice, lime juice and pectin. Premeasure the sugar into another bowl for later, the rum into a measuring cup, and a shot for yourself into a shot glass (and one for your helper if you have one).

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Heat the jam to a boil over high heat, while stirring frequently. Once you reach a boil that can’t be stirred down, add the sugar all at once. Return to a boil, and boil for one minute, starting the time once a full boil is reached. After the one minute, pour the 1/4 cup of rum into the jam, and take your shot. Stir it in, and remove from heat.

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Fill the jars, leaving a quarter inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids, and tighten bands finger tip tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes covered by at least 1-2 inches of water, starting the time when a full rolling boil is reached.

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After 10 minutes, turn off the heat, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. Cool 12-24 hours, check seals, remove bands, and wipe clean. Label and store.

Gosh dang that’s a pretty jam. This one would make a really pretty gift. And the combo of pineapple, lime and kiwifruit makes for a lovely, tropical flavour.

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Kiwi Daiquiri Jam on Punk Domestics

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Strawberry Freezer Jam

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Freezer jam is a super quick and easy alternative to making canned jam. I love canning, and think everyone should learn how (do it, do it now!!) but there are also a few advantages to freezer jam. First, you don’t have to cook the berries at all. This means you can keep a little more of the natural consistency and taste of the uncooked berries. It’s also faster, and you don’t need a canner, jar lifter or anything like that. I think it’s a great gateway into canned jams, although I did about a million jars of canned jam before ever trying it. But, if you have a little bit of extra freezer space, all you need is the jars, pectin and the berries to make quick an easy freezer jam.

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Ingredients:
4 cups crushed fruit
1.5 cups sugar
1 packet freezer jam pectin

For this endeavor I used Mrs. Wages freezer jam pectin, but Ball and many other brands also make freezer jam pectin.

First, wash, hull and crush the berries.

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Separately, combine the sugar and pectin together and stir to evenly mix them.

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Stir in the crushed berries and then continue to stir the jam for 3 minutes.

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Now all you do is pour it in jars. Leave a half inch or so of head space for the jam to expand when it freezes. Put on the lids and bands. Let it set up at room temperature for a half hour or so prior to freezing it.  You can leave it longer if you want, just not longer than 24 hours. After that just pop it into the fridge or freezer. It will keep around 3 weeks in the refrigerator or a year in the freezer.

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Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Now you really have no excuse to buy store bought jam anymore. This takes under a half hour and yields about 5 jars.

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Strawberry Jam with Liquid Pectin

Yes, I did already post a strawberry jam recipe a few weeks ago, you didn’t hallucinate it, but we made strawberry jam again and had liquid pectin on hand, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight the difference between using powdered and liquid pectin. Also if I’m going to make every recipe in Ball I need to make the liquid pectin ones too of course 😉

Ingredients:
4 cups crushed strawberries
7 cups sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 pouch liquid pectin

How to make it:
Crush the berries and put them in a deep, stainless steel pot.

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Mix in the sugar and the lemon juice. This recipe has an absurd amount of sugar in my opinion and is too sweet, but liquid pectin doesn’t come in a low sugar version as far as I know. Yes, I’m posting a recipe I wouldn’t necessarily make again, I think it’s informative though. The sugar added here is the major difference when using liquid pectin. The sugar goes in at the beginning, then you bring the jam to a boil, then add the liquid pectin. With powdered pectin, the pectin goes in at the beginning and the sugar is added once you reach a boil. They are not always directly interchangeable, but you can often find a recipe for either, especially for berry jams. For example there is a lot more sugar in this recipe than the powdered pectin one I posted earlier, so you can’t just use the same recipe with a different pectin always.

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Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, and squeeze in the pectin.

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Boil hard for 1 minute, remove from heat, and skim the foam. Personally, I think that liquid pectin has it’s place, but this may not be it. The liquid pectin is great for jellies I think though, like the pepper jelly I posted recently. Adding the sugar at the beginning seems to cause this jam to get really foamy. Plus I like to reduce the sugar and use low sugar pectin with strawberries since they are so sweet already. But the full sugar makes a nice gift and could be good for later season, less sweet berries.

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Fill the hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids, and tighten bands finger tip tight. Place the jars in the canner, covered by at least 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 10 minutes.

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After 10 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. Cool 12-24 hours, remove bands, wipe clean, label and store.

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