Sunday, August 14, 2011

August's Give-Away and a Special Jam Combination

It's mid-August and in spite of painting a cottage, erecting furniture, creating gifts for the Leo's in our family, and working on my 3-D flower projects, I manage to find the perfect summer-time fabric to sew an apron for this month's Give-Away.

Fresh berries are abundant in our Farmer's Markets--raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and of course strawberries,  so when I saw this fabric I knew it said summer.  The kind of summers I spent in my grandparent's garden picking strawberries and blueberries, but also a large variety of veggies.  Knowing I had been part of the harvest made me feel good and oh, did everything taste wonderful; both fresh and canned for the winter months.

The lucky recipient's name (at least I hope they feel lucky, LOL!) will be drawn from the names that leave comments during the month.  This handmade apron will be sent to you with love!

Now, for the jam.  This is not an idea I had for a recipe, but rather, a "request" from a dear friend...who said to me the other day, "You know what kind of jam I'd like to see you make?  Cherry~Cranberry!"  Well, now that's a challenge because these two fruits are abundant in very different seasons and I always like to make jam from fresh fruits.  However, living in the Pacific Northwest, this wasn't as impossible as I discovered it would be.
Our cherries are coming to an end, but the big, sweet Bing are still in season and so that was the easy fruit to get. However, for the cranberries, I had to rely on frozen. Our neighbor to the south, Oregon, produces this "bouncy" fruit (as does Massachusetts and Michigan) and I'm proud that I was able to answer this request and will be sending off several jars to my dear friend tomorrow!

Cherry~Cranberry~Vanilla Jam
1 10oz bag of frozen cranberries
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 box of Sure-Jel powdered pectin
2 Vanilla Beans, split and scraped (optional, but really makes the jam)
1/2 tsp. butter
5 cups granulated sugar

Wash and sterilize six 8 oz. size jars, lids and rings.  After washing the jars, I fill 3/4 full with water and microwave 3 at a time for 3 minutes 45 seconds.  Use jar tongs to remove from the microwave, dump the water and turn upside down on a paper-toweled line baking sheet.  In a medium sauce pan, cover rings with water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and had the lids.

Place the cranberries in a strainer and rinse them under hot water briefly, then, place drained cranberries in the food processor with the knife blade.  Next, stem and pit the cherries and place them in the food processor.
Pulse several times until the mixture is finely chopped, not pureed!  You should have about 4 or 4 1/2 cups of fruit.
Add the fruit, pectin, and butter to a large Dutch oven.  Split and scrape two vanilla beans and place the "seeds" into the fruit mixture.  Toss in the beans in the pot to extract added flavor.
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.  When the mixture comes to a "hard" boil, remove the vanilla bean pods and add the sugar.  Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute.  Turn off he heat.  Skim off the "foam" before ladling into the sterilized jars.
Ladle the hot jam into the jars, wipe around the edges, then use tongs to place a lid then, screw on a ring tightly.  Turn filled jar upside down for 10 minutes so the lids will seal tightly.  You should hear a popping noise when they do.  Cover with a towel while you're waiting.
Jam is not only one of my favorite things to make, but it's one of my favorite "condiments."  I love to bake with it, but mostly I just love to spread it on homemade biscuits, warm bread, or as my grandson likes...dipping a cookie in it!
Thank you my dear friend for the challenge--this jam is really good and will certainly be added to my repertoire.  Enjoy!


  1. That is an interesting mix and how did you know vanilla bean would go with them! Love the apron!

  2. Last month we went blueberry picking at Jone's farm. came home with a bunch of blueberries that I made into muffins and this new recipe that my husband got from a friend called something like blueberry dump.....because it was blueberries with dumplings. it's a good recipe and the best part is it was all done on top of the stove so no oven to heat up the house when it was 90 degrees! froze extra muffins and dump....still have a couple of muffins left in freezer...mmmmm maybe that will be breakfast. stamping sue

  3. Erin, your Mother just knows these things!! I would never have thought to put the two fruits together with vanilla. Wow! Another beautiful apron---love the fabric! Hugs, Barb

  4. Another beautiful apron and more delicious jam. YUM! I don't know how you always come up with the perfect combinations (or where you find the energy!).
    Hugs and love, -mary
    PS: I'm at J&A's for 3 wks. :D

  5. Jam looks great, with some of my favorite fruits. Richard from Amish Stories.

  6. Yum! And I just happen to have some cranberries in my freezer just waiting for a special recipe. Think I've found it...

  7. OH OH OH Susan dear,

    Your package arrived yesterday and I was thrilled to receive it. What an unexpected JOY!!! And the cranberry-cherry delight, which will be used as a topper for some homemade ice cream. How does that sound?

    I LOVE my poppy necklace. You nailed it right on the head. They look like they were plucked from a hillside. Thank you, thank you.

    The cookies? Yikes, I am a tub right now and so I am freezing them for this autumn when so much company arrives. They'll be great with ice cream too.

    Sending love and thanks across the country,


  8. Oh I would be honored to wear that adorable apron while cooking.
    Or while just lounging around the house. Or just to cheer me up when I feel a bit down. It's darling!

  9. Great apron! Love your fabric combo!
    I am so happy to see you back to your blog. I love looking over your recipes and drooling!
    I was away for 11 days and just checking in on some of my favorite blogs. Went to help out my 89 year old Mom who had a total knee replacement! She is doing well. :)