Pear and Cherry Jam

I had found a great deal on red pears and had so many I decided to make jam with them. Added in some ripe Bing cherries, for a vibrant jam. This is a low sugar jam using our favorite Pomona’s Universal Pectin.

Pear and Cherry Jam



*Pomona’s Pectin is a little different from other pectin. To start, each box has 2 packets. The small one is calcium powder. Mix ½ tsp (basically the packet) with ½ cup filtered water. I do this in a small mason jar, seal and shake to dissolve. Store in refrigerator, it lasts for months. Just shake before using.

*Wash and dry the pears, peel, split in half and then core. Chop, then measure. Wash, dry and pit the cherries, then quarter.

Wash jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Add jars to the rack of a canning kettle, fill pot halfway, bring to a simmer. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer, turn off heat, add in lids and rings, set aside.

In a large pot, add measured pears and cherries, lemon juice and calcium water. In a small bowl, stir dry pectin into the sugar, setting aside.

Bring the fruit to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Add in the pectin/sugar Stir well to combine, continuing to stir as it comes back to a full boil (it will take 1 to 3 minutes). If you see any blobs of pectin, smash with a silicone spatula while stirring. Once it returns to a boil, take off heat.

Drain jars, and place on a clean kitchen towel. Using a sterilized ladle, pour into jars. Run a sterilized chopstick or plastic bubble remover through the jam, adding more if needed. Fill up to ¼” of the top. Wipe rims with a slightly damp new paper towel. Put a lid on and a band, finger tight. Add jars to canning kettle, making sure jars are covered with water, bring water to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes (see the above link for higher altitude canning). Take out jars, let cool on a clean dry kitchen towel. Once cooled, check that lids are flat and sealed. If any are not, just refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.

Store jars in a cool and dark location, for up to 1 year.

Makes about 5 pint jars.


The jam may appear runny for the first 24 hours or so, until it fully cools. It will then firm up.

If your pears are on the crunchy side, add them to the pot first with 1 cup water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes to soften. Then proceed.

Do not substitute other pectin brands, which require a lot more sugar.

Boozy Brandy Peaches

I adapted this recipe out of The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. A fun adult only treat, great for spooning over ice cream or yogurt.

Boozy Brandy Peaches

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 lemon, juiced, or ¼ cup bottled lemon juice
  • 5 pounds ripe peaches
  • 3 cusp water
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup brandy


Put 6 pint jars into a canning pot, fill with water about halfway. Put on the stove to bring to a boil.

Add bands and new lids to a small saucepan, add water to cover, bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, a stockpot works well.

Meanwhile fill a large bowl with ice and water, along with the lemon juice.

Add the peaches to the boiling water in batches, blanching for 60 seconds. Remove with a strainer and put into the ice water to chill. When cool enough to handle, peel peaches and slice into wedges, returning the cut peaches to the ice water to hold.

In a saucepan combine the 3 cups water with the sugar and vanilla, bring to a simmer, stirring often, till sugar dissolves.

Drain jars, place on a clean kitchen towel. Drain and pack peach into the jars.

Ladle the hot syrup over the peaches, filling about ¾ full. Add in 2 Tablespoons brandy in each jar. Remove air bubbles, adding more syrup if needed to reach ½” headspace.

Use a lightly damp new paper towel to wipe the jar rims. Place lids on, finger tighten bands.

Put jars into the canning pot, lower into the water. Bring the water to a rolling boil (jars fully covered) and process for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let jars stand for 5 minutes. Transfer jars and let cool. Remove bands and mark jars.

Store in a cool area for up to a year.

Makes about  6 pints.


Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

It isn’t often I can justify buying vast quantities of fresh lemons in the PNW. A local store a few times a year runs a promotional “fill a bag” deal and this week it included lemons and no limits. Suffice to say I came home with 35 lemons as part of the deal and lemons are normally $1.25 each here! The lemons paid for the bag of produce ($25) and I still had half a bag to fill. And with lots of fresh strawberries around, I decided to do some quick and easy canning for winter. I followed the recipe out of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate


  • 4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 20 lemons)
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • 6 cups granulated sugar


Fill a canning kettle half full with water, and place in 6 clean pint canning jars. Bring to a boil. Fill a saucepan with water about half-full, adding in rings and new lids. Bring the pot to a simmer, take off heat.

Soak the berries in water with a few tablespoons of vinegar to wash, drain. Hull berry caps.

Process the strawberries in a high-speed blender until mostly smooth.

Add the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar to a non-reactive stockpot. Bring to a simmer, till 190°, stirring often.

Lay out a clean kitchen towel on counter, drain jars and place on towel. Dip a clean canning funnel and ladle into boiling water to sterilize. Pour hot concentrate into jars, leaving ¼″ head space. Take a new damp paper towel, wipe the rim of each jar. Place a lid on top, then a ring, hand tightening on. Place jars in canning rack, lower into canning pot. Bring to a rolling boil (make sure the jars are fully covered with water, if not cover with more). Once boiling, process for 15 minutes covered. Turn off the heat, let sit uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from pot, let cool on a dry towel overnight, listening for the ping sound as they cool. Remove and wash bands, mark when made on the lids.

Test lids by pressing gently and making sure they are flat and do not bounce back up. If any do not seal, consume soon and keep refrigerated. For best long-term storage, keep jars in a cool, dry and dark place, and use within a year.

Makes about 6 pints.

To make concentrate into lemonade:

Depending on your personal taste it will be 1 part concentrate to 1 part water for super sweet. We drink it at 1 to 4, but we like more diluted juice.

It’s also great to mix with sparkling water, for a carbonated drink.

Gluten Free Banana Berry Muffins

Gluten-free, lightly sweet, and full of tasty berries these muffins get a nicely moist texture from coconut butter, rather peanut butter or nut butters.

Gluten Free Banana Berry Muffins


  • ¼ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut butter
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2¼ cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries or blueberries


Preheat oven to 350°, line a 12 count muffin tin with parchment paper liners. Add everything but berries to a high-speed blender, process until smooth, tamping as needed.

Scrape batter out into a small mixing bowl, gently stir in berries.

Divide batter into muffin tin.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until muffins look done. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Muffins may feel soft, but firm up with cooling.

Makes 12 muffins.

Coconut butter measure best if slightly warmed up, so it is smooth. A quick 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave helps.

Muffins freeze well.


Gluten Free Brownies

I have made countless brownie recipes over the years, and this is what I have long been trying for: dense, dark chocolate that satisfies. The brownies are thick, and fudgy but not under baked. It’s like getting that perfect mix of cake and fudge together. They slice up easily and taste even more amazing when chilled.

The bonus is this recipe is easy to make. No hard to find ingredients. In fact, you might have everything you need on hand.

Gluten Free Brownies


  • 6 Tbsp melted unrefined coconut oil
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips*
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil an 8×8 baking dish with extra coconut oil, then place parchment paper into it.

Add coconut oil and chocolate chips into a small heavy saucepan, melt over low until melted, stirring often. Set aside.

Add the brown sugar, eggs and salt into a stand mixer bowl, beat until smooth.

Slowly add in the chocolate mixture with beater going, until mixed.

Add in cocoa powder and corn starch, mix in.

Scrape into the prepare dish. Mixture will be thick, spread out evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the brownies look done.

Let cool on a rack, enjoy once cooled. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

*If avoiding dairy, use allergen friendly chocolate chips.