Lavender Vanilla Bean Strawberry Jam with Pomona’s Pectin


Strawberries were so plentiful and delicious this year that I found myself arriving home with flats of those glorious berries several times. We enjoyed strawberry shortcake for bedtime snacks, for breakfast, sometimes as an actual dessert and of course, a good amount of strawberry jam was put away for another season!  

Lavender Vanilla Strawberry Jam & Pomona's Fillmore Container

We had some quartered berries left over after company and didn’t think the berries would be at their best till morning if I simply refrigerated them. So, I weighed them, added some sugar, attached a note to remind me of the weight and how much sugar I’d added and put them in the fridge to macerate. 

TIP 1) Using weights is a good way to increase the accuracy of your preserves, and I’ve found it easier to make adjustments when you don’t have exactly the amount of fruit the recipe requires.

TIP 2) If you’re going to use Pomona’s Pectin, be sure to reserve some of the sugar for jam day – when you will need to incorporate the Pectin Powder into it.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Pomona's Pectin in Sugar


The next morning we decided that we’d try using some of the fresh Lavender from our herb patch and a Vanilla bean. Since I adjusted the ingredient amounts based on the weight of berries, the measurements were somewhat wonky, so I’m sharing the basic proportions, following the guidelines on the Pomona’s Universal Pectin. (A pamphlet with recipe guidelines for different sweeteners and processes is included with each packet!)

Lavender Vanilla Strawberry Jam with Pomona’s Pectin Recipe (reduced sugar)

Yield: 4 – 5 8oz jam jars

  • 4 C clean, hulled, chopped strawberries
  • ¾ C Sugar
  • 1 ½ t Pectin Powder
  • 1 ½ t Calcium Water
  • Vanilla Bean seeds from 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 5 – 7 Sprigs of Budding Lavender (You could also use culinary dried Lavender Buds. We like to use Hope Hills Lavender Farms when we don’t have good fresh lavender. If you’re not in favor of leaving the buds in the jam, use a tea ball, which will allow you to pull them out before jarring.)
  1. Prepare water bath, canning jars, lids in the usual way.
  2. Place prepared fruit into your jam kettle or pan over medium heat.Lavender in jam kettle
  3. Add the Calcium Water to the fruit and stir well, then add the Vanilla Bean seeds and Lavender Sprigs or Buds.
  4. In a separate small bowl, measure sugar. To this sugar, add the pectin powder and stir it very well.
  5. Bring the fruit to a full boil and add the sugar & pectin powder mixture. Stir very well for 1 – 2 minutes to ensure that the pectin dissolves while the jam returns to a full boil. Remove from heat. Remove Lavender sprigs, or buds and Vanilla Bean Pod.
  6. Carefully funnel into jar allowing ¼ inch head space. Wipe the rims and cap with finger-tip tightness.
  7. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

This jam got such a wonderful response from the family. Often I’ll get general comments like “Yes, this is really good!”, but the older my taste testers get, the more  specific the feedback – which I greatly appreciate. They agreed that the jam was just sweet enough, not so sweet that you can’t really taste the strawberry flavor along the other players. Having tasted Strawberry Vanilla Jam before, they knew this one was different, but couldn’t quickly identify the Lavender. Once they knew, they could taste it. I think I like it that way – not overbearing…just the suggestion of that floral savory element.

Pomona's Pectin & Preserving with Pomona's Pectin BookNaturally Sweet Food in Jars cover low res



If you’re new to Pomona’s Pectin, you may wish to add Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin or Naturally Sweet Food in Jars to your preserving library!








June Jamming Giveaway with Pomona’s


It’s time to jump into jamming season, and we’ve partnered with Pomona’s Pectin to help you get started.June Jamming Giveawy

Two very lucky winners will receive:

On June 19th Pomona’s will select the winners and  they’ll share their newest summer recipe with those who entered the giveaway.

In the meantime, after you enter the giveaway, try out this Lavender Vanilla Strawberry Jam made with Pomona’s Pectin.

Click below to enter the giveaway and please share with your friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway










Salsa Canning Class


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 August 19th from 10am – Noon for a canning class and a book signing.

Salsa Canning Class

The hands-on canning class will demonstrate how to make salsa and discuss the safety guidelines of preserving salsa. 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 preserved salsa and a case of Orchard Road Pint Jars & Lids.  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.







Pomona’s Pectin Jam Recipe Round Up


Pomonas_Universal_PectinIf you aren’t familiar, Pomona’s Pectin is a sugar-free, preservative-free, low-methoxyl citrus pectin that does not require sugar to jell. It enables you to make jams and jellies with little to no sugar, or by using alternative sweeteners such as honey. By reducing the sweetener you can make a healthier version of your preserves. For those of us that love to jam, but are trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, Pomona’s is the way to go. To learn more about making low sugar or sugar-free jam with Pomona’s read this, or consider getting the book Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin.

We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite jam and jelly recipes that use Pomona’s.

Pomona’s Pectin Recipe Round-Up

Plum-Strawberry-Rosemary Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Pomona'sRecipeCollage1

Strawberry Vanilla Preserves

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Prosecco Jelly

Low Sugar Strawberry Vanilla Jam

Blubarb Jam

Maple-Vanilla Peach Jam

Sweet Cherry Vanilla Jam

Pear-Cranberry Conserve with Almonds and Crystallized Ginger

Pear Vanilla Jam with Honey

Cranberry-Habanero Jelly

Sunrise Marmalade

Gingered Lemon-Fig Preserves

Amish Christmas Jam

Mulled Merry Merlot Jam

Chocolate Cherry Preserves

Lavender Vanilla Bean Strawberry Jam






Honey Sweetened Preserves


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


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


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


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








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


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









No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bites for National Chocolate Chip Day


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


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)


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

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


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


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


 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:


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.