Thirty five jars?

Now I know it’s fresh fruit season and all that, but whatever possessed me to end up with 35 jars (some of them small) after a marathon canning session today? OK, I am only keeping half of them, and OK I expect to give a lot away, but that’s still a lot of jam. But the fruit at the market was so wonderful, it’s the end of the cherry season, and the apricots have taste this year, so I couldn’t resist. Here, in no particular order, is what we made in a 3-1/2 hour session after an early morning trip to the glorious farmers’ market.

1. Apricot lemon chutney.
This is an old favorite from last year, a deliciously sweet-sour concoction from a recipe book I got at Costco last year. It includes softened lemon peel for tang and ginger and cayenne for bite. We notched the spices up a little, with extra ginger and a little extra cayenne and will wait for a month before tasting. From memory, it’s a chutney that goes amazingly well with both meat and fruit. You can almost eat it by itself, straight from the jar.

2. Sour cherry jam. This is a pretty straightforward creation, easy to make (especially when there’s a volunteer to pit the cherries), and relatively quick to set. Simmer cherries with lemon juice, add sugar, simmer, boil hard, add pectin, boil some more, bottle and enjoy. It will work best with yogurt or vanilla ice cream on a hot summer’s day, of which we seem to have many right now.

3. Sweet cherry jam. This was an experiment from the internet, from a link from a seriously enjoyable blog that I’ve been following off-and-on for a while. Tigress in a Jam sets her readers a monthly challenge of making something to follow a particular theme and another blogger, the aptly named Sugarcrafter, offered a recipe last month for an enticing sounding cherry jam with cardamon, cinammon and rum. I mean how can you go wrong with ingredients like that? We didn’t have rum, so threw in cointreau instead, which seemed sensible at the time. No tasting yet. It filled exactly six jars, two of them little giveaway jars.

4. Apricot redcurrant jam. We made this a couple of years ago, throwing in redcurrants at the last minute after an apricot jam declined to set and then failed to recreate it last year by adding too many redcurrants too early and then letting the jam stick to the bottom of the pan. (This did add a caramel taste). So this time we went back to the original, which was a basic apricot jam (apricots, sugar, lemon juice), with a handful of redcurrants thrown in as we took it off the boil. It’s a brilliant orange with little red spots that don’t really show in the picture. I’m looking forward to trying it.

5. And now things got silly. There were loads of sour cherries left, and lots of apricots too, so we just threw them together for an instant experiment. Three cups sour cherries, two cups chopped apricots, a bit of lemon juice, simmer a little, add 4 cups of sugar and boil until it jams. No clue what it will taste like, but the jewel like color is good.

For those in Toronto, jams are available on request. For those outside Toronto, suggestions on what we could have done better are welcome.



  1. WOW!!!
    Wish I had been there! Hope you can make my canning weekend at the end of August. Will be iheavy on tomatoes (sauce, chutney, quartered tomatoes) and can’t imagine as much jam. But I know where we can get large quantities at a wholesale-like farm co-op on Friday night, plus the Trenton farmers’ market. Bring Ami –already one request for the 40-mile BikeFest ride.

  2. […] Apricot lemon chutney: 4 (out of 5) This was a bit less chunky than last year, perhaps because the apricots were riper and fruitier. It is a glorious yellow orange, with soft lemon rinds adding a welcome tang and enough heft to pair even with the strongest cheese. I’m rather fond of it with with a creamy goat cheese for a lunchtime sandwich, preferably with avocado or arugula too. But it still needs a bit more zip. […]

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