August 8, 2015

The Start of Canning Season

I love this time of year; not only because of the fun we have spending time with family and on the lake, but also because it's high season for summer produce.  The canning season, at least for me, has begun :)

My kitchen was buzzing with activity this past week.  Always a happy time for me.  This past week I made six different types of jams/preserves and my first batch of tomato sauce.  That's about 30+jars of jams and seven pints of tomato sauce to stash in my pantry.  Not bad for an early start to the season.

So,  let's see...(from right to left) I made Plum/Orange/Cardamom Preserves, Onion Jam with Thyme and Maple Syrup, Cherry/Port Preserves, Brandied Apricot Preserves with Lemon, Honeyed Apricot Jam with JalapeƱos, Spicy Dill Relish and Farm Stand Tomato Sauce.  Not bad for a week's work, eh? :) 

It's always amazing to me how you start with six pounds of candy sweet onions (which looks like an enormous amount!) and with a little butter, extra virgin olive oil and a little time (about an hour)... end up with a gorgeous pile of caramelized goodness.  And to this I added about 1/2 cup maple syrup, a couple of tablespoons of fresh thyme, a tablespoon of excellent balsamic vinegar, put in 1/2 pint jars, and processed in a water bath for 10 minutes and voila, you have onion jam with thyme and maple syrup.  So easy and SO yummy!  It's a great base for so many dishes throughout the year.

Last week at the Farmer's Market, the plums were just beginning to make an appearance so I bought four pounds of these beautiful little jewels.  I found a great recipe in one of my favorite jamming books, Les Confitures by Christine Farber, and made the Plum with Oranges and Cardamom Preserves.  So delicious!

And next came the tomatoes (and they are just beginning to come in).  I made this Farm Stand Tomato Sauce (in my crockpot no less!) with onions, tomato paste, bay leaves, red wine, tapioca as a thickener and cooked it for 8-9 hours.  It turned out SO good and it made seven pints...way more than I expected the recipe to yield.  And it is delicious!  I think I've found my go-to tomato sauce recipe for this season.  

And the last thing I made this week was Spicy Dill Relish.  This is my 3rd year of making this relish and it is one of my absolute all time favorites.  I use it all year long to make a dressing for egg salad or chicken salad; I use it to make a killer homemade tartar sauce and it spices up just about any dressing/sauce that needs a little umph or crunch.

So as you can see, I had a very productive week in my Michigan kitchen.  And I look forward to many more weeks like this as the season marches on.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love Michigan and I am so very  happy when I am here.


  1. Onion jam! Who would guess?! I might have to try that sometime. What a very impressive collection of preserved foods you've created. Wow! Somehow, I missed your posts about Argentina. I'll have to go back and catch up! :)

  2. I'm coming over!!! Everything sounds sooo good. :o)


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