This is one of my favorite jams. Nothing compares to it at stores. Very difficult to find even at local Farmer's Markets or specialty shops. I have no idea why as this mixture of flavours are to die for. Yes, I'm finally sharing my recipe.

This recipe makes six 250ml jars (for my friends in the States that would 8oz)

You will need:
1 1/2 cups grated carrots. Two large carrots usually does the trick.
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped pears. Since I usually make this jam in the winter I sometimes use my canned pears in place of fresh)
1 (540ml) can crushed pineapple, including juice 
Juice from one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 vanilla bean pod OR 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 package Certo fruit pectin
​6 1/4 cups white sugar

Prepare your canner, jars and lids.

In a large pot combine carrots, pears, pineapple, lemon juice, orange concentrate and spices. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pectin. After the pectin has dissolved bring to a boil. Add in sugar all at once. Return to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat. Stirring jam after a few minutes to evenly distribute fruit and carrots. 

Ladle jam into hot jars, leaving the required headspace. Screw on tops to finger tip tight. 

Water can for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and allow to cool. Listen for the POP!

This jam works well with thumbprint cookies, on toast or make into a sauce for a dinner ham. 


I adore cherries! However up North the trees won't survive the Zone 3 climate conditions. The ones that I did buy in the summer that were imported from the farms down in Southwestern Ontario were really pricey. So what's a girl to do? Why wait for a sale on frozen Ontario Cherries!
I was able to snag a couple of bags for $2.88 each. They already come pitted AND they were picked at the height of ripeness before they were frozen. It's a win/win in my books. To make the jam you will need enough cherries that once chopped will equal 6 cups. 
In a large pot stir together:
6 cups prepared fruit
1 box certo
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
Bring to a boil over medium heat then add 6 cups white sugar all at once. Stirring frequently so that the sugar doesn't burn to the bottom of the pot. 
Bring back up to a boil and boil hard 1 minute and remove pot from heat source. 
Pour into sterilized jars and apply screw bands and lids. Process by water canning for 10 minutes. Allow to set for at least 1 day before use. Makes 8 250ml jars. Enjoy!

I scored at the local farmers stand this week and was able to get seconds of peaches for $8 a 1/2 bushel. That can make quite a bit of peach preserves. I canned more jars of peaches and peach vanilla jam but I still had 1/4 bushel left. An easy way to quickly use up peaches is to make a peach pie filling that can be used later in the year for tarts, pies or cobblers. 
Depending on the condition of the peaches, you can either blanch them quickly in hot water to remove their skins OR if they have too many bruises they tend to go mushy so with a paring knife you can remove the skins by hand if the peaches are large enough. I actually prefer the smaller peaches for canning, however large peaches do well for the pie filling if you remove the skins with a paring knife. 
The process above is what I use for peaches or when canning tomatoes as well. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Submerge the peaches into the water and leave for 30 seconds to a minute. With a slotted spoon remove the fruit and plunge directly into cold water. The skins will easily pull away from the fruit with light pressure from your fingers and thumb. 
At this point you cut the peach in half with a paring knife and get your hands messy by pulling it off the pit. This is going for filling so no need to have perfect peaches. 
In a large stock pot place:
14 cups of chunked peaches, pitted and skins removed
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon to prevent browning
1 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
1 cup cold water combined with 1/4 cup cornstarch dissolved
Bring the mixture up to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Remembering to stir frequently so they don't burn to the bottom of the pot.
Fill large mason jars that have been sterilized with peach mixture, apply screw bands and snap lids. Boil can in hot water for 10 minutes to process. 
That's it folks! Extremely easy to do. Enjoy!

So one of my girlfriends here in Bancroft (thank you Becky) has three fully mature crab apple trees on her property. Good sized crabapples too! 
The deer come around to snack on the fallen apples but I was able to snag some before they were all eaten!
I found a recipe that I tweaked for a Crabapple Butter. 

A little more time consuming but well worth it. 

In a large pot put one cup water and 4 pounds crabapples, stems removed.

The red skin of the apple gives it a wonderful colour. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and stir occasionally until crabapples are soft.

With a food mill puree the apples until they become the texture of applesauce. You can also use a strainer and force it through with a spoon bit by gives your arm a serious work out! In only had to do that a for a few seasons of canning before I invested in a food mill!

Put 6 cups of the applesauce back into the pot and add to it:
Zest and Juice of one orange
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped raisins

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens.
Ladle hot butter into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust screw band lids until finger tight. Water can for 10 minutes. Remove jars from hot water and cool. Listen for that pop!  

A great big thank you to the deer for not eating all of the apples...and thank you Becky for snagging me a few bags full!

If there is one fruit that is easy to can it would be plums. It's not as labour intensive as peaches as you don't need to remove the skins. If you purchase a 3 quart basket at your local market it will give you about 5 jars of canned plums. 

When selecting your plums, use either the purple plums that are deep-colored or golden plums. Both should be of good quality, fruit that you would use for eating fresh. I used golden plums as they were available here at our local market.

The first step is to stem and wash your plums. To can them whole, prick the skins on both sides of the plums with a fork to prevent splitting. Freestone varieties may be halved and pitted. The golden plums I used were freestone so were easy to remove plus you can pack more plums into a jar if they are halved.

I use a light syrup for canning my fruit.  Light syrup is a ratio recipe. 1/2 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup boiling water. To prevent browning of the fruit use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice per jar. 

In a medium pot bring the sugar mixture to a boil with the fruit. Boil one minute. In the meantime, add a half inch piece of a cinnamon stick and a half inch piece of vanilla bean pod to the bottom of the sterilized jars. You can leave these out if you prefer to just have plain plums. 

Pack fruit as tightly as possible without bruising the flesh in sterilized jars.With a ladle pour syrup into jars to cover fruit leaving 1/4 inch head space. Screw on lids to finger tightness and water can for 10 minutes. 

Remove from water canner and allow to cool. Wipe jars clean, label and store.


What to do with all that zucchini that is coming out of your garden? I finally found a decent recipe that uses a fair bit of zucchini up at one time. The is a medium heat salsa that goes well on eggs or just to scoop with chips!
In a large bowl mix
10 cups zucchini, peeled & shredded
4 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt
Allow these ingredient to sit overnight. In the morning drain and rinse the mixture. Put into a large pot. To this add

1 tablespoon pickling salt
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon pepper
7 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently and simmer for 15 minutes.
Pour into sterilized jars and apply screw top bands (making sure you've softened the seal before hand)
In a water bath, bring the water to a boil and water can the jars an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the water canner and allow to cool. Enjoy!

The main part of canning fruit is the prep work of the fruit itself. To prevent browning of the fruit use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice per jar. Pack fruit as tightly as possible without bruising the flesh in sterilized jars. Light syrup is a ratio recipe. 1/2 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup boiling water. With a ladle pour syrup into jars to cover fruit leaving 1/4 inch head space. Screw on lids to finger tightness and water can for 10 minutes. For best flavour use your own fruit from your orchard or from a local farmer's market. I use this syrup for my canned peaches and pears. It can also be used for berries and plums.

Grape Jelly is one of the simplest recipes to make when canning. You will need:
3 cups pure grape juice 
5 cups sugar
1 box Pectin
In a large pot mix together the grape juice and the pectin. Bring to a boil. Add to it the 5 cups sugar. Stirring constantly bring back up to a boil. Boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat. Ladle into sterilized jars and apply screw bands with lids. If not using right away water can for 10 minutes. Done! Tastes delish, way better than anything I've bought from a store. Makes six 250ml jars.

Bread and Butter Pickles were never my favorite as a child. I think I had a cheap store bought brand when I was small at my grandmothers at Christmas and had a bad culinary experience. Suffice to say I never touched them again until I was in my 20's. When you eat a real bread and butter'll love it. There is nothing out there that can compare to homemade pickles. No colourants added because they are so pretty by themselves you don't need green dye to make them look edible. 
The picture below shows 24 cups of sliced pickling cukes in a massive bowl. The crock that it is in was my great grandmother Woods. I remember asking my grandmother if I could have the bowl as it was just being stored in their attic. In my early 30's I was given the bowl and I have used it for canning and for bread (when I could eat bread). 
I love the nostalgia of using it.

2 Quarts Fresh Pickling Cukes scrubbed.
I would highly recommend buying a mandolin as it makes slicing the cukes much easier and consistent in size.
Slice the cukes and place in a large non metallic bowl. Add 1/3 cup salt. Use either pickling salt or dead sea salt. DO NOT use regular table salt as the iodine in it will make your pickles cloudy. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain. 
In a large pot add your 24 cups sliced cukes
8 cups sliced onions
1 red pepper diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon tumeric (this is a must!)
4 cups white sugar
3 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup pickling spice (they say to put them in a spice bag but I like to have the bits floating around)
Bring to a boil on medium heat. As soon as it's too a boil and the pickles have turned from bright green to a yellow colour remove from heat. 
In sterilized jars, ladle the pickles into the jars making sure to add enough liquid to cover, leaving a 1/4 inch gap on the top. Apply screw top lids and boil can for 10 minutes. Remove from water canner and allow to cool. Listen for that pop! and check your lids to make sure they have sealed correctly. Enjoy!

Peaches! Peaches! I love peaches but have you ever looked at the label at the grocery stores as to where your peaches are coming from? Greece or China. I don't have anything personal against these countries however with all the beautiful peach trees in this country why are we buying tasteless peaches in metal cans being transported 1000's of kms? I was able to find almost a 1/2 quart of peaches for jams for $7 Now that's a deal! Hey if they were only going to throw them out, I'll buy them. Go to your local farmer's market and ask your farmers if they carry any "seconds". We don't need perfect peaches for jam. 
I can my regular peaches first and any of the bits that I can't use whole,  I put aside for my jam. If you aren't canning regular peaches than about 8 peaches should do you for a small batch.
In a medium pot boil some water. With a slotted spoon put in peaches and let sit in the boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove the peaches with the slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of cold water. This will allow you to remove the skins easily from the peaches. After removing the skin (you can just rub off with your fingers) cut into quarters and remove the flesh from the pit. Mash with a potato masher until you get 4 cups of mashed fruit. In a large pot put the fruit and sprinkle with one box regular CERTO crystals, 1 tsp of cinnamon and one teaspoon homemade vanilla or scrape out the inner vanilla beans from one pod.  Bring to a boil. I usually add a splash of lemon just to make sure the fruit doesn't go brown. Bring to a boil. Add to this 5 cups sugar and a dab of butter to prevent foaming, stirring constantly on medium heat. Bring back to a boil and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. Remove sterilized jars from oven and with a jar funnel and ladle, ladle the hot jam into the hot jars. Put on screw top lids and hand tighten. (Remember you can also water can!) Then listen for the pop!

Ahhhh good ole dandelions. The bane of the Urban worlds front lawns. Yet I've always had an affection for this little plant. From making dandelion "princess crowns" as a young girl with my twin to making pretend flower "soup" we always had so much fun with this flower.

Dandelions are not native to Canada but were brought over by the Europeans for their gardens and with good reason. Dandelions are known to be a diuretic to help with kidney and urinary problems. They are high in Vitamin A and medicinally can be used as an antibiotic.

To make this jam there is some initial prep work however I enjoy the quiet time spent pulling the dandelion petals and slicing and chopping the orange  and lemon rinds. 

First you will need about 2 cups of fresh dandelion heads. Please make sure they aren't sprayed! On a paper towel place the pulled flower petals making sure that all the green bits are gone. The green will make your jam bitter. Place in a large pot with 2 1/2 cups water.

Wash 6 to 7 oranges and 2 lemons. Using a sharp knife remove the peel, trying not to get any of the pith with it. The pith is the white part which will again make it bitter. Many old fashioned recipes call for half the pith and the seeds which contain natural pectin however I'm using Certo so I'd prefer a sweeter jam minus the pith! Chop the rinds until quite small and add to pot along with a pinch of Baking Soda. Not quite sure why the baking soda...but it fizzed pretty cool when I did it! Over medium heat, simmer for about 20 minutes along with the dandelion water.

In the meantime, heat your jam jars in a heated 200F oven and place sealing lids in boiling water to soften the sealing compound. Now, remove all the pith from the outside of the citrus fruit and chop the fruit into small pieces. Place in a separate pot and add 1 box of Certo fruit pectin crystals. Bring this mixture to high heat, mashing the fruit so you have no huge chunks. To the now soften rind mixture, add freshly grated ginger to taste or cinnamon if you prefer. Add the Certo fruit mixture to the rinds. To this add 6 1/2 cups (yup that's a lot of sugar) all at once to the pot and over medium high heat bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. In order for the rinds not to all float to the top of the jam jars, stir twice in about 5 minutes once removed from the heat. 

Ladle jam into sterilized jars, making sure the rims are clean and hand tighten screw top lids. Some people water can their jam...I don't but that's just me. Just don't sue me if you don't. What an original gift to give someone...and they'll never know it has dandelion flowers in it if you don't tell them!
I have tried various Chili Sauce recipes over the years and I've never had the husband stamp of approval. This time around...I finally got the "yup! this one tastes just like grandma's". It's really quite simple it just took me awhile to figure out the right spices. I really wish grandma had saved her recipes. It would have made my job so much easier!
In a large pot of boiling water gently place tomatoes in for approximately 30 seconds to a minute and remove with tongs and immediately put into cold water. I just use my sink. The skins will peel off very easily. This recipe calls for about 1/2 bushel of tomatoes. I say "about" as there is always a few tomatoes that are beyond ripeness that need to be thrown into the compost. 
Chop the tomatoes into smaller chunks and put in a HUGE stockpot. To the tomatoes add 2 green peppers, diced. One red pepper, diced. 6 onions, chopped fine. 5 cloves of garlic, minced fine. Please don't use the minced garlic from the Dollar Store...spend the money and get potent Ontario garlic! It makes  a difference. 
To this add 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Tablespoon Powdered Ginger
Bring to a boil, being careful not to scorch the tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours until mixture reduces. With a ladle remove some of the liquid. At this point with a hand blender I puree some of the sauce so it will thicken even more. Pour into sterilized jars and put on lids until hand tight. Water can for 10 minutes. Remove from water and listen for the POP!

Once you've canned applesauce or made homemade you will never buy store bought again. Honest. The taste of applesauce is completely different than what you can buy in the store. It actually has flavour. The apples I used were from my friend Becky (once again I have to thank her). Smaller apples than what you would find in the supermarket but larger than crabapples. 
Wash and core your apples of choice, no need to remove the skin. The more red the apples are the prettier the pink colour for the final applesauce result. 
Slice them into quarters to make about 10 cups and put in a pot with about 2 cups of water with the juice from 1/2 a lemon to prevent the sauce from browning. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Add more water 1/2 cup at a time in order for the apples not to burn. While waiting for the apples to reduce, sterilize your jars and soften the seals in a small pot of water. 
Once the apples cook down into a apple mush remove from heat. If you have a food mill this would be the time to use it. Without the food mill you will need to use a strainer and force the sauce through it with a wooden spoon. Gives your wrist a great work out. Add 1 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. 
Ladle the sauce into hot jars. Wipe rims and water process for 10 minutes. One jar is just enough for a treat with a Sunday dinner. Enjoy!

Well after I was veggie bombed I had to do something with all those lovely beets. The only time growing up we had pickled beets was at holiday time at my grandparents house. Even as a child I loved the earthy but acidic taste of pickled beets and have canned them through the years. I use peppercorns and cloves for extra zing!
You will need:
3 or 4 lbs small to medium beets.
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 teaspoons peppercorns
Wash your beets and cut off the tops, leaving the stems and root ends on. Don't make things harder than they have to be. By keeping the ends on you allow for the colour to not leech out into the pot giving your beets a beautiful dark colour in the end. Do not peel. In a large pot boil beets until tender. Remove beets from water and plunge into cold water. Slip off the skins and remove ends. Slice the beets into smaller chunks.
For pickling liquid, in a pan combine vinegar, water and sugar. Bring to a boil. 
Pack your beets into sterlized hot canning jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add a sprinkle of peppercorns and a few cloves. Pour hot pickling liquid over beets. Apply lids to fingertip tight. Process in a water canner for 30 minutes (start timing when the water begins to boil). Remove jars from canner and allow to cool.  

Strange as this may sound, I never tasted raspberries until I was 15 years of age. They were too pricey for our family to buy so I tried my first raspberry at my grandparents house.
I recall going out with my grandparents to pick them at a local UPick and being amazed at how tall the bushes were. I suppose as a city girl I thought they should be shorter.
My little guy and I drove to Magnificent Hill in Highland Grove to pick berries and WOW!! They have  a bumper crop! I will have to go out again as I've already run out of berries. These are a heritage variety. The following recipe will make 8 250ml jars. More then enough for your family AND a few gifts along the way. You will need:

5 cups crushed raspberries

1 pkg Original Fruit Pectin CERTO

7 cups granulated sugar

Place 8 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner or in the oven heating to 180°F. Set screw bands aside. Heat sealing discs in a pot of hot water. Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

Crush raspberries, one layer at a time. I use my potato masher, works like a charm. Sieve some of pulp to remove seeds, if desired. I didn't for this batch because....well....true jam should give you seeds in your teeth!

Measure 5 cups prepared raspberries into a large stainless steel saucepan. Stir in CERTO until dissolved and add 1/2 tsp butter to reduce foaming.

Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Add all of the sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off foam, if necessary.

Ladle hot jam into jars to within 1/4 inch of top for headspace. Wipe jar rim removing any jam residue. Place sealing discs in screw band with tongs. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. 

Water process jars for 10 minutes. The old fashioned way is to just apply the lids and allow to self seal. I have never had a problem this way but you never know so better safe than sorry. 

Cool jars upright, undisturbed 24 hours. Listen for the POP! After cooling check jar seals. Sealed lids should curve downward and do not move when pressed. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year although I bet you that this jam won't last this long!