Jul 192014

Homemade Jams, Jellies and Spreads - Over 20 Recipes to Enjoy - Plus 9 Tips for Perfect Results Every Time - Traditional, Low Sugar, No Added Sugar & Pectin

Homemade jams, jellies and spreads are a great way to preserve the taste of summer for year round enjoyment.  They are an easy introduction to home canning, because they require only a short time in a water bath canner, and the acidity and sugar in fruit makes it naturally resistant to spoilage. Because canned products are shelf-stable, you don’t need to give up valuable freezer space.

Unlike some store products that use high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors or colors, you know exactly what goes into every jar of your home canned goodies.  You can use less sugar, honey, or no added sugar at all.  If you’re in a hurry during harvest season, most fruits can be frozen and made into jam, jelly or spread at a later date – like mid-winter when it’s cooler, just in time for gift giving.  Even the littlest kitchen helpers can contribute to preparation by picking, removing stems or doing some smashing and straining.

I’ve gathered together over 20 homemade jam, jelly and spread recipes that are featured on our site; nine tips for perfect homemade jams, jellies and spreads; and a free printable recipe guide from Pomona’s Pectin.  Enjoy, and happy canning! Continue reading »

Jul 042014

Easy coconut oil fudge recipe features coconut oil, nuts, cocoa powder, maple syrup or honey plus dried fruit. Loaded with healthy fat and antioxidants.

Since I keep getting asked for this recipe on Facebook, I thought I ought to do a post about it.  I’m pretty sure I got this coconut oil fudge recipe off the Tropical Traditions website – they have a TON of great coconut recipes there.  It has no refined sugar (it’s sweetened with honey or maple syrup) and is loaded with healthy coconut oil.  (Yes, coconut oil is good for you!)  You can mix it up in just a few minutes – without turning on the stove – and it’s a great not-too-sweet treat to keep on hand in the fridge.

Continue reading »

Jun 272014

Rhuberry Spread - 4 ingredients - no added sugar or commercial pectin. Sweetened with apple juice concentrate and thickened with natural apple pectin.

I enjoy trying new twists on old favorite recipes, and right now our local rhubarb is abundant, so when I found this naturally sweetened strawberry-rhubarb jam, I had to try it.  This rhuberry spread recipe has only 4 ingredients and contains no added sugar or commercial pectin.  It’s sweetened with apple juice concentrate and thickened with natural apple pectin and slow cooking.  The result is a sweet-tart taste that let’s the strawberry and rhubarb flavors shine through.  In addition to being used as a spread, I’m sure this would dehydrate to make a great fruit leather, too.  I hope you’ll enjoy trying something new, too. Continue reading »

May 302014

Rhubarbade and Strawberry-Rhubarbade - A Sweet-Tart Springtime Treat That You Can Sweeten with Sugar or Stevia.  Substitute fresh or frozen cherries or raspberries for a taste twist.

Do you have an abundance of fresh rhubarb, or maybe some leftover rhubarb in the freezer?  Here’s a quick and easy way to use some up and get in some of those rhubarb health benefits.  Yes – rhubarb is good for you!  Read on.  :-)

This recipe is adapted from the book From Asparagus to Zucchini:  A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce.  It’s one of my “go to” recipe books when fresh produce is in abundance, along with The Garden Fresh Vegetable Cookbook and Too Many TomatoesFrom Asparagus to Zucchini also gives storage and cooking tips, as well as background information on the produce.  It was created by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. Continue reading »

May 212014

Dandelion Wine Recipe -  "In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was not proper for ladies to drink alcohol; however, dandelion flower wine was considered so therapeutic to the kidneys and digestive system that it was deemed medicinal even for the ladies."

We have been inundated by dandelions – LOTS OF DANDELIONS!  They are everywhere!  Along the driveway…

driveway dandelions

…in the garden, in the yard – hundreds (maybe thousands?) of dandelions. What do yo do when you’re overrun with dandelions?  Eat them (and make some wine)!  :-) The boys and I got picking and we gathered a large bowl full of dandelion flowers for wine and cookies, plus some greens for a decoction.  I grabbed some roots, too, but then I read that you’re supposed to harvest those in fall, so my dried and roasted dandelion root coffee substitute is on hold. Continue reading »