[ Preserving the Harvest ~ Jams & Jellies Edition ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
[ Preserving the Harvest ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Now that summer's heat is beginning to wane and each passing day grows shorter, it's time to reap the last of your fruits of labor from the garden. Fortunately, neither flavor nor freshness need be compromised just because the season is changing.

Using simple preservation methods, you can capture all the goodness of many summer fruits, vegetables and herbs to enjoy long after the growing season is over.

Skip ahead to our Jams and Jellies recipe update by scrolling down to the bottom of this page, or start from the top and review our 2012 newsletter articles on Preserving the Harvest.

[ Preserving the Harvest ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ Preserving the Harvest - THE JOY OF CANNING ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

joy of canning

To the uninitiated, the idea of "putting up" foods at home may seem a little intimidating. While it’s true that there are certain protocols to follow to ensure that foods will be safe to eat when the lid is popped weeks or months later, home canning is actually a very simple process.

Basically, there are three things that need to happen to prohibit bacterial growth:

  • sterilization - All tools that will come into contact with jars and lids must be sterilized, including jars and lids.
  • temperature - the food must be very hot before being packed into jars'
  • time in bath - filled jars must be given sufficient time in a hot water bath to create a vacuum seal under the lids.
  • To clarify, a hot water bath does not mean a soak in the tub or kitchen sink. The "bath" consists of 4 to 8 mason jars (depending on size) partially immersed in boiling water while positioned on a metal rack with lift-up handles that rests inside a large kettle known as a canning pot. If you don't have one, you can use a large Dutch oven with a metal basket or colander that fits inside and heavy-duty tongs designed to withstand the weight of a loaded canning jar.

    Otherwise, consider investing in a proper canning pot, along with the related equipment and a reference book to introduce you to the world of home canning. Alternatively, make small batches and consume the goods within a few days.

    [ Preserving the Harvest - TICKLED WHEN PICKLED ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

    tickled when pickled

    Most people know that jarred pickles purchased in a grocery store start out as cucumbers. It’s a snap to make your own pickles from your garden "cukes." In fact, you can pickle just about anything edible — as long as you follow a few basic guidelines to ensure satisfactory results as well as food safety.

    Unless otherwise stated in a recipe, always use white vinegar or pickling vinegar, which respectively possess between five and seven percent acidity. Other vinegars, while desirable in some recipes, may darken or soften some foods. The same goes for pickling salt and white granulated sugar since ordinary table salt and brown sugar may also cause unappealing color changes in pickled fruits and vegetables. However, as you will soon discover from the recipes that follow, other vinegars and sugars enhance the flavor of certain pickled foods. The key thing to remember is to follow the recipe as written and avoid the temptation to substitute an acidic or sweetening ingredient for another.

    Be just as fickle when you pickle (or can) when it comes to cookware. Always use non-reactive materials, such as glass, enamel or stainless steel. In particular, avoid using aluminum cookware when using highly acidic ingredients (i.e., vinegar) because of the potential for aluminum to leach from pot to product. Some experts claim that anodized aluminum cookware is safe. It may be, but why take the risk at all?

    Canning Row
    [ Preserving the Harvest - GARDEN TO GIFT BASKET ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

    garden to gift basket

    and a handful of recipes to get you started

    Perhaps the only thing more gratifying than preserving the culinary gifts that summer has to offer is sharing them with others.

    If you plan to give homemade goodies as gifts during the coming holiday season, now is the time to plan. While you stir a little love and holiday magic into each recipe batch, don't forget the embellishments that really make such gifts memorable—decorative preserving jars, rustic handwritten labels and personalized gift tags tied on with a bit of homespun ribbon.

    Pickled Green Tomatoes
    Use up all those small but firm tomatoes that have yet to ripen red.

    Pickled Dandelion Roots
    Even if sunny flowerheads are long gone, dandelion roots are loaded with nutrients and flavor.

    Tomato-Basil Conserve with Toasted Pine Nuts
    Another great way to preserve the summer tomato harvest for snacking all year round.

    One-Day Herb and Garlic Pickles
    "Refrigerator pickles." Lovable for their convenience and their great taste!

    Elderberry Syrup
    An old-fashioned nutrient-dense treat. Try it over pancakes, hot cereal, ice cream or yogurt.

    Jellies Row
    [ Preserving the Harvest - JAMS AND JELLIES ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

    jams & jellies

    an update for 2017 - with some additional recipes

    We can all appreciate the sweetness of plain peach jam or the tantalizing tartness of strawberry jelly laced with balsamic and basil. Preserving the fresh flavors of your favorite summer fruits and herbs with a bit of zing is also worthy of praise. In fact, spicing up simple preserves is sure to get your creative juices flowing, not to mention make your palate sing.

    Follow recipe directions carefully. Canning pots often come with the related necessary equipment (i.e., lifting tongs) and nearly always provide a basic canning guide. It’s also a good idea to invest in a reference book on home canning to ensure safety protocols are met, especially if you’re new to canning or live in a higher altitude.

    Pepper Jelly
    This jelly is delicious served with grilled or roasted pork, with sharp cheese on a cracker or with cream cheese on crostini.

    Spiced Apple Cider Jelly
    This jelly is perfect to use as a glaze for roasted or grilled pork and chicken. It’s also nice to warm up with as the weather turns cooler when paired with cheese and crusty bread.

    Rosemary & Garlic Jelly
    Wonderful served on a cracker or crostini with sharp cheese or as a grilling or baking sauce for chicken or pork.

    Rosehip & Cinnamon Jam
    Rosehips provide more vitamin C than any citrus fruit and are packed with antioxidants. Here, their tart flavor is balanced with the sweetness of cinnamon.

    Lavender, Peach & Pink Peppercorn Jam
    The appearance of lavender flowers and peppercorns make this jam memorable in flavor and visual appeal.

    Spiced Pear Jam with Rum
    Bartlett pears are recommended for this recipe. Any dark or light rum will work fine, but Captain Morgan’s Silver Spiced Rum is especially good in this recipe.

    Sweet Onion & Rosemary Marmalade
    A delectably sweet and savory treat that's also incredibly versatile. Try it on a cracker, in a sandwich or as a relish.

    [ Image : Allspice ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

    A classic ingredient in mulling spice mixtures, allspice packs the flavors of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and juniper berries into tiny peppercorns that we call berries. Excellent with apple, peach and other fruit jellies.
    [ Image : Annatto ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

    Use slightly crushed whole annatto seeds to add sweet-spicy flavor and bright color to fruit jellies and jams, especially those that feature apple or sour cherries.
    [ Image : Pink Peppercorn ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice
    pink peppercorn

    Use slightly crushed whole annatto seeds to add sweet-spicy flavor and bright color to fruit jellies and jams, especially those that feature apple or sour cherries. Known as Brazilian pepper in South America, these little fruits come from a tree in the cashew family and provide a bright, peppery flavor to fruit compotes, jellies and jams. Try a pinch or two in rosehip jam or strawberry & basil jelly!
    [ Image : Juniper Berries ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice
    juniper berries

    These “berries” are actually cones from a species of tree in the Cypress family and are a key flavoring agent in gin. In jam, they pair beautifully with sour cherries, rhubarb, blackberries or raspberries.
    [ Image : Nutmeg ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

    Like its common culinary partners, namely cinnamon, allspice and clove, nutmeg lends a warm, spicy flavor to fruit orange marmalade and blueberry or apricot jam.
    [ Image : Cardamom ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

    A traditional component of Indian Chai, green cardamom pods lend a citrus-like, slightly bitter flavor that balanced the sweet and tart flavors of many fruit jellies and jams, such as strawberry, raspberry, peach and plum.

    If you are interested
    in more recipes and tips
    about canning and Preserving the Harvest...

    Check out Monterey Bay Herb Company's board [ preserving the harvest ] on Pinterest.
    Also enjoy some
    FREE printables for year-round
    gifting and labeling...

    Check out Monterey Bay Herb Company's board [ printibles and gifting ] on Pinterest.