Honey Sweetened Preserves

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Honey has a long history of being the favorite natural sweetener, so it’s resurgence into preserving recipes isn’t surprising.

Why Honey?

It’s a natural, much healthier alternative to processed sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its supporting role of a sweetener allows the flavor profile of the fruit or other ingredients to shine through instead of the super sweetness of sugar.

Substituting Honey for Sugar with Pomona’s Pectin:Pomonas_Universal_Pectin

If you’re familiar with Pomona’s Pectin, you know that there are 2 parts; a liquid – calcium water (that you’ve already made using water, according to the directions on the packet) and pectin powder. The powder is what gets incorporated to the sweetener of choice. When you’re substituting honey, you simply combine the pectin powder with the honey & mix well before you add the honey to your fruit.

Important things to keep in mind:

  • Honey is (believe it or not!) a stronger sweetener than sugar, so if you’re goal is to replace the sugar with honey, ¾ cup honey will equal 1 cup sugar.
  • Your Jam color my darken more with honey sweetened recipe, but they should still last at least a year in the jar, if properly sealed. Sugar does a better job in maintaining that brighter shade – so if you’re really particular about the color of your jam, it’s something to consider.
  • Pay attention to the type of honey that you’re purchasing or planning to use. Most apiaries will label their honey clearly with the type of honey – and the source of the botanical flavor source – such as clover, wild flower or alfalfa and so forth. For preserves, a mild honey is often recommended.  
  • Once you open your honey-sweetened preserves, you can experience a shorter refrigerator life. Here are some suggestions – like with most jams, jellies & preserves – consider how quickly your family or household will consume that opened jar and go from there. If you don’t consume it quickly, or if you enjoy having 5 jam jars going at a time, go with some smaller jars like these.  Do your best to avoid contamination – try to use a clean knife or spoon for scooping jam and resist spreading it and then double dipping.
  • Honey does not react with pectin in the same manner in which sugar will in order to create the “set”. In light of that, only pectin formulations that do not require sugar; such as Pomona’s Pectin or sugar-free pectin are recommended.
  • It is not recommended to feed honey to children under 1 year of age, or who have compromised immune system without the approval of your pediatrician.

Marisa’s latest book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, has an entire section devoted to recipes that use Honey as the sweetener. During one of her preserving classes at Fillmore Container, we made this Pear Vanilla Jam with Honey. It was amazing!

Pear Vanilla Jam with HoneyPear Vanilla Honey Jam-FC

Makes 5-6 pints

6 pounds ripe, thin skinned pears (like Bartlett or Bosc)
3 cups honey, divided
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons calcium water
2 tablespoons
Pomona’s Pectin powder

Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 5-6 pints of jam (the yield varies depending on how much water the pears contain).

Wash, core and chop pears. Place them in a low, wide pan and add 1/2 cup water, 2 cups honey, vanilla seeds and beans, the lemon zest and juice, and the calcium water. Stir to combine and place on the stove. Set the burner to medium-high heat and cover the pot. Cook the pears, stirring regularly, until they are soft. This should take 35-40 minutes.

Once the pears are tender, grab a potato masher and break them down into a chunky sauce. Whisk the pectin powder into the remaining cup of honey. Bring the pears up to a simmer and stir in the pectin-spiked honey.

Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, until the jam begins to thicken. Once it is thickening, remove the pan from the heat. Funnel jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

When time is up, remove jars from canner and set them to cool on a folded kitchen towel.

Sealed jars are shelf stable for up to a year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 weeks.

Marisa shares a wonderful variety of “Honey Sweetened” recipes on her Food in Jars Blog.

 

 

Fillmore Container Honey Jar Collection 2

How to Make Strawberry Freezer Jam with Mrs. Wages

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If you haven’t ventured into freezer jam yet, you should. With no-cook freezer jam, you get to preserve the bounty of summer without even turning on the stove. Not only, is it probably the quickest and easiest way to make a batch of jam, the flavor it offers is much more representative of perfectly ripened fruit.

All you need is ripe fruit, sugar (or other sweetener) and Mrs. Wages No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin. Before you know it, you’ll be topping your yogurt or toast with fresh homemade jam. Freezer jam does have a different consistency than cooked jam.  It offers a softer set, which makes it perfect for spreading.

No Cook Strawberry Freezer Jamstrawberry-freezer-jam

The original recipe is published on www.mrswages.com

Ingredients

4 cups crushed strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 ½ cups sugar or Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener (granular)
1 pouch Mrs. Wages® No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin

Instructions

Place prepared fruit in a large bowl. Set aside. (If using frozen fruit, allow fruit to thaw in refrigerator before crushing.)

Combine sugar or a no calorie sweetener, such as Splenda, and Mrs. Wages® No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin in a small bowl. Blend well.

Stir sugar mixture into crushed fruit. Stir for three minutes.

Ladle jam into clean, freeze-safe containers, leaving ½-inch headspace. Secure lids and let stand 30 minutes to thicken. **This is a great time to those single-piece lids or other lids that have already been used for canning and can’t be used again in those heated processes.**

Unopened containers may be stored in the freezer up to 1 year or 3 weeks in refrigerator. Once opened, keep in refrigerator and use within 3-5 days. Depending on how quickly your family goes through jam, its important to consider the size of your container.

Jars and Containers for Freezer Jam

It’s important to remember to only use jars, or containers that are freezer safe.  Jars that do not have shoulders (ones that are straight sided or “tapered”) are the easiest because the contents can expand upward in the jar during freezing, especially if you’re freezing liquids, such as freezer jam.

In addition to the chart (below) of Ball jars that are freezer safe; Orchard Road wide mouth pints are also freezer safe. If the description of the jar doesn’t mention that it is safe for freezing, double check with your supplier. Shop our freezer safe options here.  You can read more in our Freezing in Jars 101 blog post.

Freezer Safe jar chart

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How to Preserve Strawberries – A Round-Up of Strawberry Recipes

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It is not surprising that strawberries are a popular choice for preserves. Making strawberry jam is often the main way most preserve strawberries, but there are so many other great ways to use these sweet berries. We’ve included a few of our favorite strawberry jam recipes below. If you want to venture outside of jam, we encourage you to try a few of the other recipes we’ve shared below.

Strawberry Jam

Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam

Freezing Strawberries

Strawberry Shrub, Juice, Syrup, and Dressings

 

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No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bites for National Chocolate Chip Day

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So, the timing of this post is quite good for our household…as the last weeks of school are now upon us, and between concerts, field trips, end of year school projects & events, the normal stuff of work, and a daunting new project, I find I’m living with this constant sense that I’m forgetting something  terribly important. Having some decent snacks to grab for the kids (and us) as we manage these next weeks is important. This 1 bowl, easy measure, no bake, delicious Chocolate Chip Protein Bites Recipe is a very good thing right now. While these tasty bites aren’t designed to be a meal replacements, I’m open to that possibility.

Oh, and it’s National Chocolate Chip Day today!

The Recipe:

No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bites Ingredients Fillmore Container1Measure & Mix these dry ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds (roasted, unsalted)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Coconut (Flakes or Shredded or a mix)
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Chopped Cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (We prefer a mix: dark chocolate morsels and some minis)

 

Add the following ingredients and mix well:

  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff!)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Creamy Nut Butter (natural, unsalted)

After everything is mixed well, roll small balls like you would with cookie dough – either with your hands or starting with a small scoop. If your mixture is feeling dry (natural peanut butters can vary in moisture content) you may add more maple syrup. Store them in the refrigerator. My batch filled our 64oz Cracker Jar perfectly! No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bites Cracker Jar Fillmore Container3

 

This recipe can be adjusted to your liking since there isn’t any processing or baking – so if you want to use gluten free, sugar free, GMO free versions of any of the ingredients, or if you want to bump up the portion of certain items, you may. You just might need to adjust for moisture so that the bites don’t fall apart.

What’s your favorite go-to healthy snack when life gets a little crazy?

 

 

Commercial Kitchen, Small Business Incubator, Shared Use Kitchen Directory

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It’s a big step to take your in-home food business to the next level! Finding a commercial kitchen you can rent is often a very good way to grow your business while maintaining control over every aspect of your product. It can provide you the opportunity to do testing for larger batches, make products more efficiently and to make connections with other makers. Often, there are even perks like the ability to use the loading dock – which may mean better buying power and shipping for your glass containers, closures and ingredients. (We’re in the midst of building this directory, state by state, but decided we’d share it awhile so that it might be useful. If you know of a kitchen that you don’t see on our list yet, please let us know)

Delaware

Grace’s Candies, Dover, DE, 302-674-8851

Delaware Kitchen Share, New Castle, DE, 866-294-2046

Maryland

B-More Kitchen; Food Incubator, Baltimore, MD

Commercial Kitchen Rental, Baltimore, MD, 443-744-8095

Commercial Kitchen Space, Morningside, MD, 301-486-0300

Mac’s Commercial Kitchen, Gaithersburg, MD, 240-724-6464

New Jersey

Rutgers Food Innovation Center, Bridgeton, NJ, 856-459-1900

Hesperides Kitchens, Hawthorne, NJ, 845-216-1696  

NJ Kosher Kitchens, Dumont, NJ, 917-699-9502

Pennsylvania

Philly Kitchen Share, Philadelphia, PA, 917-558-3922

YorKitchen, York, PA, 717-846-8879

East Side Community Kitchen, Lancaster, PA, 717-330-4101

Anna’s Commercial Kitchen, Allentown, PA, 610-730-5345

Kitchen Incubator CTTC, Carbondale, PA, 570-282-1255

 

Planning to Preserve the Harvest – Part 2

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 In the 1st part of this series, we shared tips on how to pull together your preserving plan. The focus of Part 2 is on how to make sure that your preserving toolbox is up to date, stocked and ready for action!

canning supplies

Evaluate your Preserving Ingredients:

Check expiration dates & freshness on all of your preserving additives and be sure to make a list of items that you need to replenish!

  • Pectin– check for dates, arrange them or mark them so that you use the ones closest to expiring first, Discard outdated items. (Note: Pomona’s Universal Pectin does not expire. – another reason we love this so much)
  • Spices – check your  pickling spices for dates. If you’re drying your own herbs or spices, or get your spices from a bulk store and forgot to date the container,  be sure to double check for changes in quality. If you’re mixing your own spices for pickling, be sure that those containers are used up first.
  • Don’t forget to check your stock of Vinegar,  Pickling Salt, Pickling Lime,  sugar, citric acid. Discard outdated items. Try to use up containers that have already been opened.

Evaluate your Preserving Supplies & Equipment:

Jars

  • Inspect your canning jars for chips, cracks, scratches and defects. Put aside any that are not suitable so they can be re-purposed, or upcycle them.

Lids

  • If you are using re-useable lids like Tattler, check them for staining or odor. It’s better to sort them when you put them back into storage, but if you haven’t, separate any out that have absorbed dill or garlic odors and label them for use of the same type of products.
  • Check your supply of flat canning lids. As all preservers know, these can only be used once for preserving. You can stock up on regular mouth and wide mouth flat lids by bulk. I keep my post-canning flats in my kitchen drawer so that they don’t get mixed in with my canning supply stash.
  • Check your rings for rust. A little rust is OK, but you really want to pay attention to rust that’s happening on the inside of the band. This can interfere with the sealing of the jar, may make it more difficult to remove the ring, and may also cause staining of your jar. Here are some tips to keep your rings rust-free.  If some of your rings have gotten too rusty, it may be time to send them to the recycle bin or do something else creative with them, or donate them to a creative reuse center.

If you’re not sure what type of lids you should be using, here’s how to choose a canning lid.

Freezer Containers

Waterbath CannerRusty Canner

  • If you have an enamel one, check it for dings & chips that may become problems. Check your rack to ensure that it’s still intact and will be able to handle the weight of canning use. Rust isn’t a huge issue, as long as it doesn’t interfere with its performance and safety. If it’s time to pitch it, consider some fun creative uses first.

Pressure Canners

  • If yours has a gasket, check it for drying, cracking or tearing and find a replacement, if needed. Get your pressure gauge tested. Most extension offices will offer this service during certain times of the year, or by appointment. Some stores that sell pressure canners may also offer testing.

Tools

Canning Ring storage

 

 

Storing all those jars, rings and lids can get tricky. Our customers have shared some great organization ideas here. We tend to use Jarboxes to keep our supplies safe and organized, and we have our canning rings on display using a ribbon and a basket

 

 

 

 

Organization & preparation is key to being a productive preserver. Get organized now, before preserving season arrives.

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Canning Class – Low Temperature Pasteurization Process

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Marisa McClellan, popular canning blogger and author of canning books, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year Round and Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars, is coming to Fillmore Container on July 15th from 10am – Noon for a canning class and a book signing.

Canning ClassThe hands-on canning class will demonstrate how to use a Low Temperature Pasteurization Process to preserve crispy, delicious Pickles. Whether you’re a preserving pro or a newbie, you’ll enjoy Marisa’s perspective and the wealth of experience she brings. Each class attendee will get to take home their very own jar of pickles, a case of Orchard Road Pint Jars & Lids and a coveted Food in Jars sticker! Marisa’s books are available on our site, and can be purchased that morning, or you can bring yours if you’d like her to sign it.

Seats are limited, please reserve your spot today.

REGISTER HERE

Save the date for August 19, 2017 when we’ll be hosting a canning class with Marisa about tomatoes. Be sure to sign-up for our email list to get all the details.

 

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Preparing to Preserve the Harvest – Part 1

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jam-jars-fillmore-containerAlthough some folks continue to preserve all year around, for many of us, spring time brings on a significantly greater opportunity to preserve the harvest at the peak of freshness. Over the years, we’ve prepared for many such seasons, and though we might not follow through on each of our preparing & preserving goals, there are some that are worth mentioning every single year.

 

Preserving Goals & Keeping Record

These two practices are so incredibly helpful, and depending on where you are in your preserving journey, can really have an impact on how you perceive the value of your preserving labors.

On Keeping Record: whether it’s in journal form, spreadsheet form or scrawled on loose paper in your pantry, it will help!Canning Journal Fillmore Container

  • Basics – dates, volume of produce that you started with, recipe &/or process used, actual preserved yield.
  • Research – notes on any variations from the recipe;  addition of herbs or spices;  alterations you’d try on your next batch (such as adjusting amount of Pomona’s Pectin or sugar); observations to compare recipes or processes, or even comparing different strains of produce.

Taking Stock:

  1. Check dates & Check for Spoilage – Make sure that your oldest foods are being used first. Depending on your storage limitations, it can be inconvenient to rotate your stock, but it’s an important task and best done whenever you add freshly preserved items. Do a visual check of seals and quality. If something is unsealed discard it. If any of your preserves look discolored it could be a sign it has spoiled, it is best to discard it. Here are 7 signs of spoilage that will help you evaluate if you need to toss any preserves, and here’s the best way to discard bad preserves.
  2. Update Your Inventory Records – Determine what’s left in your pantry – Re-evaluate how your consuming patterns matched up with your preserving patterns. A preserving journal is a great way to track this. You may decide to skip something this summer, or do more of something else.
  3. Consider some of these tips & tricks from Joel & Dana; creators of Batch Cookbook; on managing your pantry –

    Organize your shelves in groups. Keep jam with jam and pickles with pickles – it makes things easier to find.  If you do multiple styles of preserving you can use different types of jars for each style. We use vintage jars for dehydrated goods, patterned mason jars for most of our waterbath and plain jars for our pressure canning. Don’t be afraid to write on the lids – it’s an easy fix. We are big fans of the Sharpie paint pen for labeling jars (we just write on the side, it washes off later).I use a giant ‘hole punch’ to cut out lid-sized discs to label jars with. The discs are re-usable and easily replaceable. When storing dried goods (such as flour or sugar) I’ll cut a piece of the package out and place it between the lid and the ring to know what’s inside. Have a shelf reserved for one-off jars or jars you want to use soon so help prioritize what preserves you’ll work with first and to make them easy to find. If you’re storing items inside boxes label the contents on a sheet of paper and stick it to on the outside where you can read it. Writing on paper makes the box re-usable!

    4. Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars, offers these 3 organizational tips.

    1.Create dedicated space for your gear. Pots, jars, tools, and accessories all have assigned spots in my apartment, so that I always know where to find what I need. 

    2. Spreadsheets. Late last year, I inventoried every single jar in my apartment and entered everything into a spreadsheet. Now I know (down to the location and year made) where every jar of jam, pickles, and tomato sauce lives. It is a serious upgrade to my previously haphazard system. 

    3. Limit extra gear. There was a period there where I felt compelled to have back-ups of everything. Now I have two sets of gear (one that lives in my kitchen, and another that’s travels with me for classes). More than that is just too much.

Setting your Preserving Goals:

  • Make a Plan – Consider what new things you may try this year and plan for what you may need to add. Pull together the recipes that you know you want to make, and those you’d like to try. Perhaps the past year has brought certain health or dietary concerns to light. Seek out recipes that will help you meet those goals – you’ll likely find some ideas below.

Gathering Resources:     

OrchardRoadJars

Read part 2 of this series, Planning to Preserve the Harvest, which is about how to make sure that your preserving toolbox is up to date, stocked and ready for action!

 

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Anchor Hocking Smooth Sided Canning Jars + Giveaway

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We are excited to add another line of smooth sided regular mouth jars!

Anchor Hocking Canning Jars Fillmore Container

These long-awaited jars by Anchor Hocking are available in 8oz, 16oz and 32oz, are smooth on all sides, sport a softened square shape and shoulders. So easy to write on and to label!

square 8oz jars anchor hocking Fillmore Container

             G08-03C    ***   New Anchor Hocking (AH220)    ***    B08-03C         Our 3 Square 8oz Regular Mouth Canning Jars

Above, you can see how the 8oz size of this new line compares to the 2 versions of 8oz square mason that we’ve carried for years. These do not come with lids, but are compatible with the regular mouth 2-piece lids or single piece lids. For those of you already comfortable using those single piece lids, you won’t be paying for lids you don’t plan to use.

To celebrate our newest arrivals, we’re having a giveaway! 

TWO lucky winners will get:

-1 case of these new jars (their choice of 8oz, 16oz or 32oz)

-12 Canning lids (their choice from the 2-piece or 1-piece regular mouth lids)  

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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3 Ways to Preserve Berries + Blackberry Jam & Jelly Recipe Round Up

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blackberriesSeveral years ago we added a small patch of Blackberries – the thorn-less variety – to our little patch of the world. As it turns out, the kids don’t eat them out of the patch quite like they do the raspberries, so I actually get more opportunity to preserve some! Whenever I have the chance to grab some fresh black or red raspberries or blackberries from a local road side stand, or pick some wine berries from the homestead, I take it. The season for berries always seems to short, and the birds give us some serious competition, so it feels good to be able squirrel some of them gems away for another day.

Here are a couple of ways to preserve their goodness for later!

Freeze them!

Place clean berries in a single layer on a baking tray, cover them and put them in the freezer. When they’re frozen solid, pour them into a widemouth jar, or freezer jars, cap them, label them and return them to the freezer. I like to keep all of my fruit stash in one place and in sight, so that they’re easy to find when I need them, and so that they don’t get overlooked. I love to raid this section of my freezer when I need fruit for smoothies, for shrubs, and for handfuls of fruit to add to muffins, cobblers, pies or pancakes during the off season. If you’re really pressed for space, you can use Ziploc freezer bags.

Make Shrub!black-cherry-shrub-and-meat

One of our favorite ways to preserve just about any fruit – especially when we’ve only got a small quantity – is to make shrub. It’s super quick & easy and the results are so refreshing! If you’re not in a rush to use the shrub, you might opt for the cold-process method. However, if you’re out of shrub and are in a hurry, you could speed things up and use the hot-process. You can simply swap the fruits for both of those….oh, and you can use frozen fruit for this too!

Make Jam or Jelly!

Jam Recipes:

 

Jelly Recipes:

 

What’s your favorite way to preserve the goodness of Blackberries?

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