Category Archives: Sweet

Black Forest Jam!

The Farm market on Saturday was a resounding success! I sold a lot more than I anticipated and will need to makes a lot of stuff this week for the next market. I got some great dark Cherries from Dave and Jean Evens–and first up this week, Black Forest Jam!

I love Black Forest Cake! Back in the 70’s I worked in a fancy restaurant and the day chef used to make a couple a week, being the inquisitive person I am, I learned how to make them. These days, most often I buy one from the store.

StoreCakeA good cake will look much like the picture above. But lately I’ve made a couple for my husband and my homemade cakes look like this:

BlackForestCakeHomeMadeIf I am feeling extra dangerous, I will cut each layer in 2 and the cake will have 4 slices, but homemade cherry sauce, chocolate sauce and real whipped cream, the layers have a tendency to slide off of each other, and who cares how they look, the taste is incredible!

Because I love the combination of Chocolate and Cherries so much, one of my first endeavors in creating jam was Black Forest Jam.

BUT, it is a fickle jam. If the cherries are too ripe, the humidity is off, the stars aren’t aligned right or I don’t hold my mouth in the right position, the jam does not set up properly, but it still makes the best syrup in the world.

First up you need to cut the pitted cherries in half

Step1You need 3-4 cups of halved, pitted cherries.

Step2Next you take 4 cups of sugar and you stir 1/3 of a cup of cocoa powder into the sugar.


These are the ingredients you need,

StepIngredientsCherry Rum,  sugar/cocoa mix, halved cherries, coconut, lemon juice (and liquid pectin not shown).

I put the cherries, sugar/cocoa mix and lemon juice into a deep pot and let the sugar extract the cherry juices by letting it sit for half an hour.

Step4 Meanwhile, I put the jars in the canner and start it boiling to sterilize the jars.

Next step is to bring the cherries, sugar, cocoa and lemon juice to a full rolling boil.


And boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. I also like to ensure that the mixture reaches 200 degrees f.

I then add the pectin and return to a full rolling boil for another minute (and 200 degrees f).

Step6I turn down the heat and remove the sterilized jars from the canner for filling.

When I remove the pot of jam from the stove to the sink drain board, I stir in the cherry rum and the coconut.

IMG_1643As you can see, I am not the neatest ladeler….

I then whip the rims with a damp paper towel, put on the lids and return to the canner.

Step8I process the jars for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil.

Step9The kitchen smells heavenly! And this jam – heavenly as well.

Now, I am waiting to see if it sets up into jam or if I have the best chocolate cherry syrup in the world.  Black Forest Jam usually takes 2-5 days to set.

If you would like to try and make your own, here is the recipe.

Black Forest Jam

Makes about 7 (8 oz) half pints Ingredients:

  • 4      C sugar
  • 1/3  C sifted cocoa powder
  • 3 ½ C halved, pitted fresh or thawed frozen sweet cherries (about 3 lb)
  • ¼    C lemon juice
  • 6oz Liquid Pectin
  • 1/3  C unsweetened flaked coconut
  • ½   C Kirsh or cherry brandy (or in my case, homemade cherry rum)

7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands Directions:

  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
  2. COMBINE sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine cherries, lemon juice and cocoa mixture in a large saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in pectin. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and add coconut and Kirsh, stirring well. Skim foam if necessary.
  6. Ladle hot conserve into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  7. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


Cherries, Cherries and More Cherries

If you are wondering why we have not posted, it is because last Monday I headed down to my friends at Peach Hill Farm Market to pick up some cherry culls.

Cherry Culls

I got 6 cases of cherries that were too small or a little unripe or have a blemish. For the rest of Monday and Tuesday after we got back from the market, we washed, sorted, bagged, froze and steamed about 40 kilos of fruit.


All together, we had 7 and a half of these FULL of cherries! They are 48 cm X 30.5 cm X 20 cm

What are culls? Culls are the fruit that they can’t sell (or ship). They are most often too small, unripe or have blemishes. The size and the ripeness don’t matter when you are making juice and the ones with blemishes can be used when you are cutting up fruit for jam. After sorting and washing the first case we had a problem with the Vacuum sealer we just  bought for freezing fruit, the element that seals the bags has a blank spot! We had to turn most into juice and freeze the juice instead of freezing the fruit. Finally we went back to ziplock bags! One of the drawbacks of living in the middle of nowhere is I have to plan a 2 hour (one way) trip to the “big” city to take back the Vacuum sealer! Hopefully we can do that this week.

I made 3 dozen jars of cherry and red wine jelly from some of the juice and 48 jars of Tequila and Red Jalapeno Jelly as we headed towards the Friday and Saturday Markets. Canning was actually quite comfortable as the weather was cool and rainy – good for me but bad for cherry farmers. On Saturday, after the Osoyoos Market, we headed for Peach Hill to drop off the cases (and some Red Onion Jelly and Cherry and Red Wine Jelly) and got another 2 cases (about 25 pounds) of cherries picked that day that had splits from all the rain.

Pitted Cherries

Pitted Cherries

For the last 2 days we have been slicing and sorting and freezing cherries. Today I canned. We made a small batch of pitted whole cherries in a light brandy syrup, got a batch of cherry rum going, made Ba-Da-Bing Cherry Jam, more Cherry and Red Wine Jelly – the Red wine is Merlot and the jelly is absolutely incredible – Cherry and Hot Pepper Jelly and put even more cherries in the freezer! We have some washed and sorted cherries in cold storage and are going to make them into Cherry Wine (that we can turn into jelly next summer).  As we sold out of Beer Jelly, we also made 12 jars (2 canner loads) of that.

Cherries are the first crop of the season and we filled the freezer.  We now need to buy another freezer!

Here is our award winning cherry jam recipe:

Bing Cherry Jam

  • 4 cups pitted and chopped fresh, ripe dark (Bing) cherries (this is about 3 pounds)
  • ½ cup strained fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 pouch liquid pectin
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Put 8-9 250mL or 1/2 Pint jars in your canning pot and bring to a boil. Sterilize for 10 minutes.
  2. In your jam pot, combine the cherries, lemon juice and sugar.
  3. Over medium-low heat, stir and heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.


  1. After  1 minute at a full rolling boil, add the pouch of pectin.
  2. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Skim off any foam. Stir in the almond extract.
  3. To prevent the jam from separating in the jars, allow the jam to cool 5 minutes before filling the jars. Gently stir the jam every minute or so to distribute the fruit. Ladle the hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp paper towel. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings.
  4. Process half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, pint jars for 15 minutes.
  5. Cool on a table covered with a towel.

Note: If the fruit all rises to the top of the jar, gently turn the jars upside down several times while the jam cools.



Beer Jelly and More!

Honey lager

We make a great beer jelly using Micro Brewery products. This one is a refreshing, lightly hopped golden ale brewed with all-natural Lillooet honey and made with barley, honey, hops, water and yeast. This beer has a milder hop and malt profile and creates a jelly that goes well with blackened fish, hot wings and cheese.  Thinned with a little ale and some added minced hot peppers, it makes a great Barbeque baste.

GE DIGITAL CAMERADon’t you just love the head on a beer? We try to capture that with our jelly!

GE DIGITAL CAMERAOh yes! You can still eat this on your morning toast!

Now here is a look at the cooling table 4 hours later.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThat would be 6 canner loads – 2 loads of beer jelly, 2 loads of wine jelly and 2 of blueberry garlic!

We sold ALL of it yesterday at the first market of the season in Grand Forks, BC. Back to the kitchen to stock up for Friday and Saturday!




Hot! Hot! Hot!

Wow! We have had some heat here in Boundary Country this last week! If you did not know, you would think this is JULY! 30+ all week.

The river is flooding (this usually does not happen until the end of June).


See that long!log in the river? It is about 40′

We have had a busy week, batches of Blueberry Garlic Jelly, Cab Shiraz (wine) Jelly, Strawberry Jalapeno and Strawberry Banana Jam has been made!

And we are expecting to get some Beer Jelly and more Blueberry Garlic Jelly and Maybe some more Tequila Jalapeno and perhaps some Merlot (wine) Jelly made tomorrow! Yes, For those that knows, tomorrow was supposed to be our first regular farm market day in Grand Forks, BC, but there is something special happening in Midway on the weekend, so we shall take advantage and cook more tomorrow!

What could be happening in our teeny, tiny village, you ask? Every May, the Saturday before Mother’s Day, we have a village wide garage sale! And we get lots and lots of visitors! A few years ago, they started to have a pancake breakfast to raise money for our library and it has raised a lot of money. This year will be special though. Our local grocery and hardware stores are owned by the McMynn Family and they are having a GRAND REOPENING of both stores!

The Festivities will be bigger and better than ever! The breakfast will be in the grocery store parking lot and we will be having a village market! That’s right! All the local farm Market vendors will be displaying their wares!  And we will be participating. We will be donating a percentage of our sales to the library as will the other vendors!

Now, what is new, coming out of our kitchen? STRAWBERRY BANANA JAM!! This yummy jam is delicious on toast but tastes great on cheese and crackers, on pancakes, in a milk shake, and over ice cream! You really want a lo-cal yogurt?  But Low-fat regular yogurt and add a scant tbsp. of jam and you will end up with a wonderful concoction  that is better tasting (and more filling) than the commercially produced stuff.

Moving on, today was Strawberry Banana Jam Day!

StrawberryBanana1 Three years ago, we made our first batch of this jam, using the Bernandin Canning book recipe.

We sold ever single jar at the farm market in less than 2 hours!

You need Strawberries and a Banana.


You Slice and Dice them,

StrawberryBanana3Then you process them and add sugar, lemon juice

and after they have cooked a while – some pectin.


And then you boil the the mixture,

StrawberryBanana5After the Strawberries, Sugar, Banana and Pectin reach a full rolling boil

(I love to say that -full rolling boil- try it out loud)

the pectin (in this case, it is a soft set  jam, so you can use it as an ice cream topping).

And Boil againAnd bring it to a boil again.

You can add butter to reduce the foam, but I must tell you, skim the foam.

The Foam is a terrific accent to any sliced strawberries you have left over.

StrawberryBanana7Ladle the jam into the jars – leaving a 1/4″  head-space.

StrawberryBanana8Then, return the filled jars to the canner, return to a boil for 10 minutes!

Remove from the canner and let them cool on a towel. Check the lids are curved down (sealed).

Yep! LLook at that NATURAL colorThis is what the Strawberry Banana Jam looks like.

StrawberryBanana10And a close up!

This is one of our favorite jams! On toast, with peanut butter, stirred into yogurt, part of a smoothie, we never have any of this left over!

Making Wine Jelly

We live in Canada’s wine belt (well, truthfully just East). And today we made some wine jelly. We have made fruit and wine jellies and herb and wine jellies, but never just wine.   Wine jelly only requires the most basic ingredients: sugar, pectin, lemon juice, and wine. Click here for the recipe.

You only need to use one bottle of wine, but I have a secret, before I start (while the canner is heating up to sterilize the jars), I take 1 cup of wine and boil it to reduce it. This adds a shot of the wine flavor to the jelly you can’t get any other way!

l 2 r -lemon juice, reduced wine, sugar, wine, pectin

With the red Wine Jelly, I am using powdered pectin. I pour the lemon juice the wine and the reduced wine into the pot and wisk in the pectin. It is important to get it well blended our your jelly will have super jel chunks.

Whisk in the powdered pectin

The pot the goes on the stove and the wine, lemon juice and pectin mix is brought to a full rolling boil (that you can’t stir down). You add the sugar slowly, and try to keep the jelly boiling and once all the sugar has been added, You bring it to a full rolling boil for at least one minute.

Full rolling boil! Look at the froth!

After the minute, I turn the heat off under the jelly. I take the hot sterilized jars out of the canner and put them in the sink. The lids are all ready, the ladle and the funnel have been in the boiling water bath with the jars and are now in the lid pot.

Everything is ready to put the jelly pot on the sideboard and ladle the jelly into the jars.

If you think the color is pretty, you should smell it!

The rims are wiped with a clean damp paper towel and the lids are put on then back into the canner the jars go.

They then boil for 10 minutes.

Once the water boils, the jars are canned for 10minutes. That is enough time to wash the all the pots, utensils and cups. Then the water is turned off under the canner and 5 minutes later the jars are taken out of the canner and left to cool on a towel on the table.

Cooling off

The color of this jelly is gorgeous!

On the deck

Here is a shot – looking into the sun!


Also in our back yard is a dancing dog!

Cinnamon dancing

And Finally, the Taste Test! A glass of the wine, with crackers, cream cheese and the wine jelly!  There is nothing like a jelly that goes with the wine!


Bon Appetite!

It was 30 c (that’s 86F) today! I think the kitchen is at least 100!

September 24th and 25th

I have been remiss in posting. That is because I have neglected to take the camera to the farm market!

Here are some shots from 2 weekends ago.

A few Less Vendors

There are a few less vendors now the summer is over and the kids are back in school.


And its been so hot, we have had to put up a tarp on the side of the tent to keep the sun off the jars!

And the wasps! Just call me the Wasp Lady! They LOVE our products!

Last weekend was slow. The Rock Creek Fall Fair was on and people just drove on by. However, those that came were in the mood to buy. The river is too low to tube. We think too many farmers and Big White take too much water out of the poor old Kettle River.

Lowest I've Seen it

This is the lowest I’ve seen it in the last 20 years. We need some rain! Now that it is fall, we have had cool nights and mornings but it still can get hot in the afternoon.

We are all caught up on Strawberry Jalapeno Barbeque Sauce and Blueberry Garlic Jelly. This week we will have new:

  • Beet Horseradish – this stuff is a blend of beets, sweet peppers, garlic, vinegar  and – you guessed it – horseradish.
  • Margarita Jam – I don’t usually make this in the summer, I usually go for the fresh fruit, but I’ve has soooo many requests
  • Pina Colada Jam – ditto above
  • Tequila Jalapeno Jelly – I can’t seem to make enough of this stuff!
  • Apricot, Pepper, Onion and Garlic Jam – this stuff is sinfully good!
  • Fresh Peach Muffins
  • and Tarts. I have not yet decided what to make yet.

Oh yes, Stop on buy and try Dave’s Killer Tomato Juice!



PS Yes we are taking orders for Christmas! The form will be up on the site soon.