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Cherry Cordial or is it Cherry Squash?

Cordial copy

Two weeks ago I made a syrup from concentrating Homemade Cherry Juice. And I was looking for what to call it. I was calling it cordial, but then somebody asked me if it was squash. And I got confused. The definitions on the left are the two standard ones I have found.

SquashI was under the impression that a cordial was made from a syrup which is then diluted whereas squashes are concentrated fruit juices which you then dilute. I must admit, though, that searches on the net have actually made the difference between the two less clear, rather than more.

I am hoping to make more with other fruits as the season goes on and some will contain things other than fruit. So I believe I will call them Cordial.

CherryDrink copyFor the last 2 markets, we have been taking Cherry Lemon-limeade, made with the cordial and selling by donations. At the last market, we got 20 pounds cherries from Dave Evens. It has been VERY hot here and I did not get to them until Monday morning. Because of the heat, they were over ripe for jamming. I made more cordial.

CherryCordialOut of the 20 pounds of cherries I started with, after cleaning and culling out the soft and mushy ones, I had 14 pounds of cherries, I bagged 12 cups (unpitted) and dumped the rest into a deep pot, covered with water and began cooking them.

After the liquid was reduced by 1/3, I strained and measured the juice. I ended up 18 cups of juice. For each 2 cups pf juice, I added 3/4 cup of sugar and brought to a boil and simmered for another 1/2 hour.

I then poured the syrup into 250ml, sterilized jars and canned for 10 minutes.

We will have it for sale at the next market.

Black Cherry Drink Recipes


Black Cherry Soda

Fill, preferably a Mason Jar (or 2 cup glass) with ice. Add 3-4 tablespoons of cherry cordial. Pour club soda in and stir. Look at what a pretty layered drink this Black Cherry Soda recipe makes before you stir it.

Black Cherry Limeade

  1. Pour lime concentrate into a 2 quart pitcher.
  2. Add 3 cans of water.
  3. Stir till dissolved.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of cherry syrup to the pitcher and stir.
  5. Serve over ice.

Black Cherry Royale

Hard Apple Cider
1 1/2 ounce American Fruits Cherry Cordial
Pour Cordial in Champagne flute.
Add Champagne or Cider.

Black Cherry Vodka Martini

1 ounce vodka
3 ounces tart cherry juice
*optional 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Gran Gala, Triple Sec)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a lime wheel. During cherry season, garnish with a fresh stemmed cherry.

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.

Canada Day Weekend!

Canada Day is on Monday and tomorrow’s market in Grand Forks is the start of the Canada Day long weekend!

The Cat From Hell is ready to celebrate!

canadaday copy

And so is Beary Good Stuff!!!

Bear and Beary Good StuffAnd so are we!!

At the markets this weekend we have:
Blueberry Garlic Jelly

Tequila and Red Jalapeno Jelly

Tequila and Green Jalapeno Jelly

Cherry and Hot Pepper Jelly

Beer Jelly

Cherry and Merlot Jelly

Pina Colada Jam

Margarita Jam

Cherry Vanilla Jam

Merlot Jam

Cherry Lemonade Jelly

Strawberry, Coconut and Vanilla Jam (Thanks Easy!!!)



We have a SALE!!!!

All our Jams and Jellies are on sale for $5.50 a jar!

Have a great long weekend and drive and play safe!

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.



This week at the market

Boy, have we had trouble keeping up with demand!

Who knew Beary Good Stuff could be so popular.  We are also getting back into shape. 3 weeks ago we could never have done 6 batches of Jelly in half a day – it would have taken ALL day to do that much.

Apricot PepperWe made one batch of Apricot, 3 Pepper, Onion and Garlic jelly. There is a story behind this jelly. My Aunt took us to a great local restaurant in the city she lived in and asked me if I could figure out the sauce they had on their chicken.

It took me a few attempts, and we LOVED it. We wondered how it would taste as a jelly.

This has the most incredible flavor. Fresh apricot fruits have a suave and sweet flavor, a taste that is something like a blend of plum and peach. The Apricots last summer were spectacular! We canned juice from 20 pounds and have been using the juice to make this incredible blend.  The combination of Red and Yellow Sweet Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Walla Walla onions and Russian Red Garlic meld and make a great condiment with cream cheese, but thin with some white wine, it makes a great baste with chicken.

We also made 5 batches of Tequila and Red Jalapeno Jelly. Usually we make our Tequila Jalapeno Jelly with green jalapenos, but we found some organic red ones.  After cutting into the first one, I added a mask to the rubber gloves! These hot red peppers play havoc with my sinuses, especially during pollen season!red_chili_pepper

I cut and processed all the peppers as fast as possible (between batches).

Today we also picked up 6 flats of cherries!

Yep! The Okanagan cherries are coming in. Our friends at the Peach Hill Fruit Market saved us the small cherries that they picked on the weekend. These cherries are not what people want to buy for eating (they are smaller) but they are perfect for making juice for jelly and making Jame. They also go through our cherry pitter easier. We find when we pit the larger cherries, the pits slide around inside the skin and don’t pop out! It will take some time to go through all the flats, remove the seeds and get them read for freezing.  Tonight I took some of the cherries and made a vinaigrette dressing to go with fresh salad.

Ba-Da-Bing Cherry Vinegrette

  • Cook 1 cup of diced cherries
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Use a Potato Masher to puree. Cook until reduced by half.
In another saucepan:
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 garlic, clove minced
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp diced pnions
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  1. In a medium saucepan on medium high heat add vinegar, sugar, herbs, onion and garlic till boiling then simmer till reduced by half.
  2. Add cherries and cook 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk in red wine vinegar
  5. Then canola oil. Season with salt & pepper.
The perfect dressing!



Great Weather for Canning


It has been a semi cool week – and that has been perfect for canning. We got lots done and I am hoping we will have enough to last tomorrow and Saturday’s Market.

Friday in Grand Forks and Saturday in Osoyoos, you will be able to purchase:

  • 3 Pepper Jam
  • Apricot, Pepper, Onion & Garlic Jelly
  • Balsamic Onion Jelly
  • Beer Jelly
  • Blueberry Garlic
  • Blueberry Lime Jam
  • Cherries Jubilee Jam
  • Cherry Wine Jelly
  • Honey Lemon Jelly
  • Margarita Jam
  • Merlot Jelly
  • Pickled Asparagus
  • Pina Colada Jam
  • Rhubarb Cherry Jam
  • Rosemary and White Wine Jelly
  • Strawberry Banana Jam
  • Strawberry Daiquiri
  • Tequila Jalapeno

Look for the Bear!



What an incredible week!

We sold so much this week I think I am going to need to clone myself to keep up with the demand. We sell our wares at 2 different markets. Tuesday and Friday in Grand Forks, BC and Saturdays in Osoyoos, BC. They are both busy and we have been making great sales at both, but they are as different as night and day. The Grand Forks Market is more local folks and the Osoyoos Market is tourists, both are heaps of fun!

We made 3 new items last week that will soon be joining our list of regular items.

Pickled Asparagus With a TwistThe first was the Pickled Asparagus – With a Twist – this is different from our regular Dilled Asparagus. It is from an old recipe, that I had forgotten about and rediscovered when I wanted to do something different with the second pickled asparagus batch I made last weekend. This is the Pickled Asparagus described in this post.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe second was White Wine and Rosemary Jelly. This is a local dry white wine and a rosemary infusion made from steeped rosemary from our garden. WOW!!! This morning I opened one of the jars from the batch tasted it and I was blown away.  I am going to take photos and publish the process this week.

3 Pepper JamThe third was 3 Pepper Jam – this combination of red and orange sweet peppers, jalapeños, onion, garlic, lime juice and sugar is one of the freshest pepper preserves I have ever tasted. Like the White Wine and Rosemary Jelly, we sold it all!

I also had 1 Spectacular Failure – that actually turned out OK.

Margarita JamOne very popular product is Margarita Jam. When I make it I squeeze fresh orange juice (as well as limes)  as part of the process. The oranges were Sevilles but when I cut them in half, the sections were reddish, almost like a Blood Orange and they changed the jam to a weird greeny brown. To make the jam more green, I tried to add a few drops of green food color. As I squeezed, the little plastic thingy that makes the drops – popped out and more than a few drops ended up in the pot! The result was “Koolaid” Green!  I was going to toss it but instead thought I would try it at the market. It was a success too! People LIKED the color, even the regular Margarita Jam buyers!.

This last week, we also used up the last of last summer’s Bing Cherries that were in the deep freeze. We made Cherry Rhubarb Jam, Cherry Wine Preserves and Cherries Jubilee Jam. We also made 4 loads of Blueberry Garlic Jelly and 4 loads of Tequila Jalapeño Jelly, 1 of Apricot and Jalapeño Jelly, 1 of Merlot Jelly and more Strawberry Banana Jam.

Now, besides the Blueberry Garlic, Tequila Jalapeño, White Wine and Rosemary Jelly and 3 Pepper Jam, I wonder what other delectable delights I should make this week…



Exaustion Sets In!

It has been a very tiring week.

Beary Good Stuff has been selling at the farm market much MORE than we expected!

This has been both good and exhausting!

Our first market week is now under our belts and boy am I out of shape!

Tuesday morning were were in Grand Forks. We were set up beside Twisted Forks who have all kinds of breads and full (frozen and refrigerated) meals, sausage rolls and the first of the season local strawberries. One of the partners is an old friend (from 20 years ago) so we not only were way busier than we thought, but had a great time as well. Neil has a wicked sense of humor and the banter was flying thick and fast.

I thought I had enough product to last us through until next week (Friday again in Grand Forks and Saturday in Osoyoos).

Boy I was WRONG!

We sold totally out of Blueberry Garlic and Beer Jelly and decimated our stock in most everything else. We ended up shopping for produce, jars and pectin and when we got home at 4, I abandoned the pets and started the prep for Blueberry Garlic (a 2 day process) and washed jars and did some house work and uploaded the Cat From Hell’s birthday blog post, had a very hot bath (to get the kinks out) and went to bed about 8:30 PM.

The next day I was up bright and early, took the dogs for their morning constitutional and did a power clean on  the house before I started canning! I can now “do” 6 loads in 4 hours including the prep.


And I made a “real” meal!

BeefThe problem with working so hard is often meals become something quick and easy (and fattening).

Thursday was more of the same but included labeling the jars and we got all the new canning in the truck for Friday.

The alarm went off way to early!

Before I thought I had gone to sleep, we were up, back in the truck and heading for Grand Forks, BC.

We had to move spots for Friday, It was slow, but steady.

Again, we sold much more than anticipated! I managed to get a hold of freshly picked Asparagus! Asparagus

These sweet and tender spears had just been picked and demanded that I pickle them (well at least 10 pound = 1 canner load)

Because I knew I would be canning, I bought some of Twisted Forks Ribs for supper! After getting home from the market, I made Cherry Wine jam (from Bing Cherries frozen last summer) and Pickled Asparagus.

Then the labeling (we are making all our own labels). We are trying to be as green as possible, using home canning jars (they are thicker walled and can be reused). We print our own labels on our inkjet and stick them on with glue stick so they can be easily removed. We also charge a 50 cent deposit. If you return a jar, you get 50 cents back for it. This has been very popular with our customers.

I made it into bed about 9:30 PM, setting the Alarm for 5:00am.

At 5, we got up and in a torrential downpour, I walked the dogs and loaded 6 dozen jars of new product (some from Thursday that we did not take to Grand Forks) into the back of the truck and we headed for Osoyoos. This is a shot of Osoyoos from the view point on the way down.

From the viewpoint

This is a new market for us as well. This market is awesome. Not only is it in am ideal location-right on main street beside the At Gallery, it has grass and really awesome vendors. We had a stellar day, even though it was rainy and chilly. There is almost NO STOCK left!  I am going to be extremely busy to try to keep up with our sales!

The blogs (Cat From Hell and Beary Good Stuff) will be suffering while I get up to speed.

BlogsI am hoping all this work will also help me to get back into shape (I can feel the burn)!

I promise I will have another “In the Moment while canning” post up soon!



August 13th and 14th!

This weekend the Farm Market and the  Kettle River Festival of the Arts are celebrating!

Throughout the Boundary, there are studio tours and there will be artisans exhibiting at the farm market too! Besides the Art, the farm market is having Wine and Food pairings at 11 AM, 1 and 2 PM on both Saturday and Sunday. For $5 you will have a chance to sample some fine Boundary cooking along with wine from Okanagan Vinyards.

We are going to combine the 2 into one! Besides our regular fare, we will be exhibiting (and selling) some of my animal portraits.

 This week  the taste temptations we are offering are:

  • Strawberry Jalapeno Barbeque Sauce
  • Margarita Jam
  • Raspberry Cherry Compote
  • 8 Bean Salad
  • Blueberry fgarlic Jelly
  • Peach Salsa
  • Dilled Pickles
  • Mini Pina Colada Cheese Cakes
  • and more!



Rock Creek Farm Market – July 16th!

Canada Day at the Farm Market!It has been a hectic month!

In June I spent 2 weeks in Fort McMurray AB with a co-worker installing ticketing software at the Oil Baron’s Arena. It was mostly work, but we did get a chance to go to the Oil Sands Discovery Centre and we drove past the Suncor plant north of Ft McMurray. I had a week between trips and we cooked like mad for a week and managed to can 86 jars. Blueberry Garlic Jelly, Pepper Jam, Baked Beans, Margarita Jelly, Pina Colada Jam, Strawberry Daquari Jam, Strawberry Balsamic and Pepper Jam, Bean Salad and a few other tasty treats, all before Friday July 1st.  We had an exceptional day. We took Saturday off to do some much needed shopping as I was heading to Vancouver for 3 upgrades July 4-8th. July 3rd was a travel day, but I went to Greenwood with Dave and helped him set up for the Sunday Market. Dave did well, we only had a few jars left.

On my way home from Vancouver, I stopped at some lower mainland markets and picked up some gooseberries and peppers. I got home after midnight on the 8th and there was not enough to go to the Market, so we took the weekend off.

This week we have been back in production.

  • Gooseberry Jam
  • Pepper Jelly (with some fresh picked red Jalapenos, red and yellow peppers, garlic and multiplier onions
  • Margarita Jelly
  • Minted Cherry Jam
  • Chili Cherry Jelly (yes! Fresh Chilis too!)

On the burners to come are:

  • Blueberry Garlic Jelly
  • Raspberry White Wine Jelly
  • 8 Bean Salad
  • Bread and Butter Jalapenos
  • Strawberry Banana Jam or Strawberry Jalapeno Barbeque Sauce

I’ll update you on Friday!