Posts in Preserving

Quick Pickled Rosemary Cherries

July 1st, 2015 Posted by DIY, Homemade Condiments, Preserving 2 comments

pickled cherries

These do take a few days to pickle once you make them, but they are quick and easy to make. I think my favorite is that they don’t need to be canned, you can just put them in a jar in the fridge. I think I will pickle more things using this method, it’s quick and easy and I can experiment with small batches to find my favorite flavors. Try it will you? Let me know how you like it!  Start today and they will be perfect by this weekend.

These go really well with chicken, or in cocktails!

I got this recipe from Smoke & Pickles By Edward Lee, a crazy-awesome Southern/Korean cookbook that Joel got me for Christmas. There are a lot of inspiring recipes and ideas in this book! If you are looking to shake up your summer cooking, I highly recommend it. 

I tried this recipe with both rice wine vinegar and plain white vinegar, and honestly, they are both delicious. The rice wine vinegar is a little more mellow, and I do love the idea of using that as a pickling vinegar, so if you have some sitting around, try it. If not, plain white vinegar does just fine, maybe add just a pinch of extra sugar. 

quick pickled rosemary cherries


Quick Pickled Cherries
Recipe Type: Condiment
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4 cups
  • 2 pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 cup rice vinegar or white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (iodized or table salt is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper corns
  1. Put the cherries in to a large glass jar that will hold 3-4 cups, depending on the size of your cherries is good. In a small sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cherries and put a tight fitting lid on it. It might seal, but these still need to be stored in the fridge. They will be ready to eat in about 4 days and will keep for 1 month.
  3. Try with chicken, or other poultry or in a cocktail. They are great as a snack too.
From Smoke & Pickles By Edward Lee



DIY Pickling Spice

February 13th, 2015 Posted by DIY, Preserving 1 comment

pickling spice-1

This one is good for everything from pickles to corned beef! You can add in as many of the spices as you want, depending on your tastes. For my blend, I used everything.

This recipe is from Amazing Ribs

DIY Pickling Spice
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 3/4 cup
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3 inches cinnamon sticks, total length
  • 2 tablespoon dill seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, any color
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • Optional
  • 1 tablespoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds (or 1 tablespoon pods)
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 2 star anise pods
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and store in a tight jar. Try to break up the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and star anise pods if using. You can also place the larger ingredients in a ziptop bag and smash with a meat pounder to break them up.
  2. This will last, stored in a cool, dark cupboard, for several months.


Lemon Ginger Marmalade

January 8th, 2015 Posted by Homemade Condiments, Preserving No Comment yet

lemon marmalade

There is a romantic name for jam. It’s a little old English, a little Jane Austin. Can you guess what it is? Marmalade. Isn’t that such a lovely word? It brings to my mind visions of Mr. Darcy and croquet and luncheons immediately.

This marmalade is such a winner because you can make it any time of year. And if canning (because, guess what!? This is a canning recipe) is a little intimidating to you right now, you can just skip that and store your marmalade in the fridge in 3 or 4 larger jars. It’s a completely graceful way to make this elegant jam. You can still share it with your friends, just instruct them to refrigerate. 

So what is marmalade? It’s a tart and sweet kind of jam that includes pieces of actual peel from the citrus fruit. The peel gets soft and is sweetened by the sugar and adds the perfect amount of structure to this jam.

This lemon ginger and mint marmalade is marvelous on scones, biscuits or toast, but other ideas have crossed my mind such as: grilled lamb or a sticky lemon chicken. Can you imagine this on charcoal grilled chicken? Shut up, right now. (oops, Jane Austin probably doesn’t say shut up. What would she say? “Surely you jest?”)

mint lemon and ginger

So here’s how you enter the land of marmalade:

If you are going to can this recipe, you’ll want to prepare your work area and make sure you have the following on hand:

4 – 4oz jelly jars
canning jar lids (new with an un-used seal)
canning rings
a large pot or water canner
canning rack or dish towel to lay on the bottom of the canner or pot

You may also find this post super helpful. It’s from my Cara Cara Orange and Chili Marmalade

lemon marmalade

lemon marmalade

Lemon Ginger Marmalade
Recipe Type: Canning
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: about 2 cups
  • 4 lemons, plus one or two extra lemons just in case
  • 1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups natural cane or granulated sugar
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 (4-oz) jars, lids and bands
  1. Slice the lemons in half lengthwise and use a pairing knife to remove the center pith. Pick out the seeds and discard. Cut the lemon halves into thin slices, roughly 1/16 of an inch. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of lemon slices.
  2. Place the lemon slices, ginger and 1 1/2 cups water in a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rinds feel very soft. You can test them by piercing with a fork. Add more water if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  4. Stir in the sugar and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat right after it comes to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and it measures 220° on a candy thermometer.
  5. To test for doneness, put a teaspoon or two on a cold saucer. Place the saucer in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take it out and drag your thumb across the marmalade. If it wrinkles, it’s done.
  6. Let the marmalade stand in the saucepan for 5 minutes and then add the mint.
  7. Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  8. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Slightly adapted from the book Marmalade: Sweet and Savory Spreads for a Sophisticated Taste by Elizabeth Field




Cara Cara Orange and Chili Marmalade

December 28th, 2014 Posted by Homemade Condiments, Preserving 1 comment

orange marmalade

A fun kitchen project is precisely what a long winter break is for, right? Canning can be extremely rewarding, and starting with something like marmalade can be equally delicious. 

Marmalade is basically jam, but with bits of peel from whatever fruit you are using, usually a citrus fruit. “Bits of peel? How can that be good?” Well, because we add a lot of sugar! And the peel turns into this soft, sweet and tart yummy little thing to bite down on. Marmalade is one of my favorite things to put on toast or english muffins, and is so lovely to say. 

The thing about this marmalade (and lots of other canning recipes) is that you can skip the canning part and make this recipe up to the canning step and store it in jars in the fridge. It’s just as easy to give away; just advise your friends to store it in the refrigerator. I went ahead and canned this jam, so the instructions included the canning steps. 

orange marmalade

Cara cara oranges make this jam so delightful! They are juicier and have more flavor then navels, and they are in season in the winter here. You can use regular navels if you want, but do try a cara cara sometime, even if just to eat out of hand. You won’t regret it. 

cara cara oranges

I love the way these are cut, it makes just the perfect size of peel in the jam. To cut, first cut off each end of the orange, then slice into quarters and cut off any pithy white part that runs down the center of the orange. Then cut each quarter into thirds, and then each third, slice crossways into little triangles. 

cara cara oranges

The chili adds a little kick, but the overall tone of this jam is most definitely sweet.  The chilis and oranges get cooked together and then the chili pods are taken out and the jam is canned. Then you cook the marmalade until it thickens, and the jam is at the “wrinkle stage.” The do the wrinkle test, put a teaspoon or two on a cold saucer. Place the saucer in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take it out and drag your thumb across the marmalade. If it wrinkles, it’s done.

orange marmalade

  You will see some foam after you cook it. This is fine, just skim it off before you ladle it into your prepared jars. 

orange marmalade

 preparing jars for canning

Some notes about canning: 

You can read so much about canning and you really want to look at the resources the Ball Blue Book puts out or your local Extension office. You can also trust the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They have a lot of information here: using boiling water canners

Here’s what I do:

1. Count all your jars, rims and lids to make sure you have enough of the size you are canning (my favorite size for jam is 4oz for the two of us, which allows room for variety and is a size we can get through in a reasonable amount of time. 

2. Wash all the jars, rims and lids in hot soapy water. Clear off a table or counter and line it with towels. 

3. Let everything dry on clean kitchen towels while you prepare the ingredients for the recipe (cut up fruit, zest the lemon, measure out sugar, ect). 

4. Prepare the water bath canner before you start the recipe. The water canner holds a large amount of water and you are going to sanitize jars in it too while you are waiting for your jam to boil/cook, so you might as well start it early. Place the canning rack in the bottom of the canner and fill the canner up halfway. Place your clean jars in the canner (empty) and let them each fill with a little water. Let the water come to a simmer until you are ready to fill the jars. 

For the lids and bands: place the lids in a small pot of warm water and simmer for at least 10 minutes to soften the rubber on the lids. The rings are good to go, just make sure not to use any rusty or dented rings.

Fill a second pot full of water and get it simmering too. You’ll add this water to your canner so that the total amount of water covers the jars by at least an inch. More on that in Step 9.

5. When your jam is ready, you can dump the water out of the jar in the canner using a jar lifter (tilt it to let the water pour out in to the canner or use the handle of a wooden spoon to assist you.)

6. Place your jars on a towel lined surface- you’ll need counter space to let the jars cool anyways, so this is another thing I like to set up at the beginning of a canning session. You want to keep in mind that with canning, you don’t want any extreme changes in temperature (that’s how jars break!) so when handling hot jars, place them on the towel so they don’t come into contact with a cold counter top. 

7. Fill the jars using a funnel, then be sure to wipe the rims clean. Follow directions for the amount of “headspace” to leave at the top of your jar. Headspace is the room from the top of the canning jar to where your jam starts. 

8. Place the lid (from the simmering water) on top of the jar, and twist on a ring to just be “finger tight” meaning sort of loosely tightened. As you boil the jars (“process” the jars) the air inside the jar will escape, taking bacteria and other air borne critters with it, so you want to allow a little space for air bubbles to escape. 

9. Use the jar lifter to take your filled and capped jars to the canner and set them in the rack. You can stack the 4oz size, one right on top of the other, or just do a single layer of larger sized jars. Fill with additional boiling water so that you cover the jars by at least one inch. 

10. Process! Bring the water to a boil in the canner. You have to boil for different times depending on the recipe. For this jam recipe you process for 10 minutes. Count from the time the water comes to a full rolling boil. If at any point the water stops boiling, you have to start over. You need a CONSECUTIVE 10 minute (or what ever processing time your recipe calls for) boil. 

11. After the processing time is done, remove the jars and place them on the towel lined counter. Place additional towels over the jars. This allows them to cool slowly; continuing to release air bubbles. You will start to hear little POPS as the lids invert, letting you know you have a sealed jar! It’s really a cool sound after all that hot steamy work. 

If your jars don’t seal after 24 hours, store them in the fridge. You’ll know if they are sealed if the center is pulled in and doesn’t move up and down when you press on it. But don’t test that until after 24 hours, you don’t want to “press” any jar lids down either-that would create a false seal and not shelf stable food. 

Canning can sound complicated at first, but don’t be intimidated. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, you’ll have tasty jam, pickles or salsa and you’ll have provided for your family and friends in a way cool old-fashioned method. 

Just remember: 

1. Set up your work area ahead of time and clean everything. 

2. Don’t introduce extreme changes in temperature to your jars (hot food should be packed into hot jars, cold food into cold jars, ect)

3. When in doubt, store it in the fridge or throw it out. 

If you are looking for a class on canning, check with your local extension service office. Mine offers several food preservation classes and they are usually at a very reasonable (cheap) price. 

orange marmalade

Cara Cara Orange and Chili Marmalade
Recipe Type: Canning
Author: Sugar Pickles
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-16 jars
  • 2 1/4 lbs cara cara oranges
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 dried Habeñero chili peppers (or 6 dried Colorado or New Mexico chili peppers)
  • 9 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 half pint (8oz) glass preserving jars with lids and bands or 16 4oz jars
  1. Scrub oranges well. Slice about 1/8-inch off of stem and blossom ends (discard). Slice oranges in quarters, remove the middle, pithy seam, then slice each quarter in half (or in thirds, if very large) lengthwise. Slice each section cross-wise into thin strips, transferring fruit to a large measuring cup as you go about 6 and 1/2 cups of oranges, trying to capture the juice as you go too.
  2. Combine oranges, lemon zest and juice and water in a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add chili peppers, partially cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard chili peppers.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner (see instructions in post). Get your canner out and place jars in it. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Maintaining boil, gradually stir in sugar. Boil hard, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches gel stage, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and test gel. If gel stage has been reached, skim off foam.
  5. Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  6. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Adapted from[br][br]And


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