My brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life.


Strawberry-Honey Jam 9

Posted on June 15, 2009 by crankycheryl

bread and jelly 002Allow me to start with what is not included in this post:

  • How I brought my children to a hot field on a sunny day with milk in sippy cups, but no water at all.
  • How Z. clung to my leg and whined and pleaded to go home, insisting we hold hands every time I took a step.
  • How I went to pick a week too early, knowing we’d be away for the peak berry-picking weekend, which resulted in twice as much work for half the results.  And a sunburn.
  • The growing awareness of how so many of these allegedly golden, wholesome childhood moments I seem so hellbent on providing are like this.  Sigh.

Regardless, we are completely out of last year’s jam, and I heard that the call had gone out that strawberries were ready.  So off we went to Adam’s Berry Farm in Burlington’s Intervale, at which we can pick our own organic strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.  (For blueberries, I’m also especially fond of Owl’s Head, which has an astonishingly beautiful hillside setting and live music, even if its berries aren’t organic.)

june 007One double bedtime, some serious lolly-gagging, and seven pounds of berry-cleaning later, I was getting ready to can.  Well, truth be told, I was trying to talk myself out of canning because it was 11:00 and I wanted to go to sleep.  But I had washed the berries and couldn’t trust them not to spoil, and there was no way I was letting all that suffering be for naught.

I pulled out the Pomona’s, a citrus pectin that’s activated (i.e., is able to gel your preserves) with the addition of the calcium powder that’s included.  I know some serious jam-makers who don’t like its texture, but I think it makes great stuff.  Plus it doesn’t require a crazy amount of sugar (in fact, you don’t really have to use any), and you can double or triple batches, unlike with many traditional recipes.  Isn’t flexibility nice?

strawberries and chicken 002Strawberry-Honey Jam

About 5 pints

  • 8 cups of strawberries, cleaned, with stems removed, and cut into halves or quarters, depending on how chunky you want the results.
  • 1 cup honey
  • peel from 1/2 organic orange, or 1/2 t. dried
  • 4 t. Pomona’s pectin
  • 4 t. calcium water made from packet included with pectin

Wash and rinse jars, lids and bands.  Some boil everything, and some say this isn’t necessary.  Whichever way you decide to go, do that and then keep in hot water until ready.

Place water in boiling water canner deep enough so that it will cover the jars you’re going to fill once you put them in.

Mix calcium water according to package instructions and set aside.

Put berries, orange peel, and calcium water into stockpot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir pectin into honey.  As berries are approaching a boil, look at the texture and either leave as is, or use a potato masher to smooth out chunks as desired.  When berries are at full boil, vigorously stir honey-pectin mixture in for 1 – 2 minutes, being sure to stir hard enough to dissolve the pectin.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.  Remove orange peel if using large pieces.

Fill prepared jars to 1/4″ of top, wipe around the rim with a wet cloth, then place on lids and bands.  Carefully strawberries and chicken 007place jars into boiling water, and boil for 5 minutes.

Place on a rack to cool.  In the next little while you should hear the slight snap of the lids sealing completely, which will let you know that they’re ready to store.  To test the seal, tap on them.  If they move or wiggle at all, just keep in the fridge and use within three weeks.

This jam is delicious.  Like fresh strawberries themselves, bright and sunny and not overly sugary.  My mom (and you know how moms are always the most objective of critics) said it was the best strawberry jam she had ever had.  It may be immodest, but I agree.  What a treat it’ll be if that taste lasts into the depths of winter.  And by then, I’ll have forgotten the rest.

Makin' It 0

Posted on December 23, 2008 by crankycheryl


Like everyone, I’m looking to be extra-thrifty this year.  And like almost everyone, this means homemade love for those on the gift-exchange list.

I’m always wanting things to make that are relatively simple, have broad appeal, easy to make in big batches, and are somewhat showoff-ish and delicious.  I also like to give things that don’t have to be consumed immediately since nearly everyone is overwhelmed by all the sugary treats that appear in their lives.

So this year (spoiler alert if you’re a gift recipient of mine), I’m giving Chocolate-Raspberry Jam and Mocha Walnut Scone Mix.

Here’s the recipe for the scones, adapted from Recipezaar:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (for God’s sake don’t use bleached, 0kay?)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 t. instant coffee
  • 1 t. cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts (I substituted pine nuts – actually a seed, not a nut – for the nut-allergic people on The List)

You can get the bags that you grind your coffee into free in some places, which is what I got for packing it all up.  You, I’m sure, would have commandeered your delightful,obedient children to decorate the bags with festive holly sprigs and clever snowflakes.  Since mine were busy arguing over whether or not to watch Polar Express (they did), I took a black Sharpie and wrote what was inside the bag.  Then I found some free winter-ish stickers in the mailroom, and cunningly added those.  Tomorrow I’ll print out the instructions for how to turn the mix into baked goods on full-sheet stickers and put ’em on the back:

To make these Mocha Walnut Scones, you’ll need:

  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 3/4 C. milk, plus 1 T. (optional)
  • 1 T. sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Empty jar into bowl
  3. Use pastry blender or fork to mix in butter until mixture looks like fine crumbs.
  4. Mix lemon juice and milk together and stir into batter.
  5. Place dough on lightly floured surface, and turn to coat.
  6. Knead lightly 10 times.
  7. Pat or roll into 9 inch circle on ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar; if desired.
  9. Cut in 8 wedges, but do not separate.
  10. Bake 12-15 minutes till golden brown.
  11. Immediately remove from sheet; carefully separate wedges.

All right:  I haven’t given ’em a test run.  But I’ll have them done before December 25, unlike the scarf I’m excruciatingly
knitting for my father.

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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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