Foraging for Newfoundland berries and Mixed Wild Berry Jam

I‘m in that post-vacation slump, an in-between state of leisure and productivity where I stall at work because there is too much to do and not enough time.

Eventually I’ll get the laundry put away, the fridge restocked and the emails answered, but today I spooned wild Newfoundland berry jam onto vanilla ice cream, ate it up and joined the kids for a water fight. It takes a day or two to ease into gear and until then, I’m going to fondly reflect back on our time in Canada’s most eastern province.

This is the story of a hike that turned into a berry foraging adventure and the rental kitchen project that happened as a result.

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Honey Sweetened Cara Cara Orange Jam

Back in mid-February, my husband and I made our quarterly trek out to Costco. We got necessary items like toilet paper and dishwasher tablets, as well as a number of not-so-necessary things like 96 ounces of dried blueberries and ten pounds of Cara Cara oranges.

I adore Cara Caras for their pink flesh and sweet/tart flavor. But as the sole fruit eater in my household, ten pounds is a lot to move through in a timely fashion. A preserving project was in order.

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Pomander Spiced Orange Jam

When I was growing up, one of my very favorite holiday-time projects was making pomander balls.

My mom would put out a bowl of oranges and give both my sister and me small dishes filled with cloves. We’d use toothpicks to pre-prick the oranges with patterns and then would poke cloves into those spots. When they were all done, we’d roll them in a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and then set them around the house in small saucers.

10 oranges in a bowl

They were time consuming, but I loved making them. Nothing smells quite so much like the Christmas season to me than the combination of orange and spice.

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Honey Jam Recipe (sugar-free)

My rhubarb plants have been benefiting from the cool summer weather (okay, not this week, but June was awfully rainy) and are still producing at a terrific rate.

As Danny recently wrote, we’ve been frequenting our local strawberry u-pick,  and so it was only a matter of time before these two ingredients were married in a classic jam combination.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Honey Jam on www.simplebites.net #DIY #jam #homemade

Strawberry-rhubarb jam just might be my favorite flavor pairing, and I make several big batches (and a few tiny) every spring. This year, however, I attempted two variations on a sugar-free version, substituting honey instead.

If it works for strawberry jam, why not its sister variety? We go through a lot of jam over the winter, spooning it into homemade yogurt for quick breakfasts, slathering it onto sandwich bread for school lunches, and spreading it on pancakes for a lazy weekend brunch.

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Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake

Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake

Written by Megan of Stetted.

With the temperatures warming and spring produce starting to emerge, my thoughts turn to the impending canning season.

I’m kind of a canning hoarder. Every summer I preserve food until I am sick of chopping and lifting jars, and convince myself that this will be enough to last us until the next season. But then once the new year rolls around, I get stingy with using that bounty. I calculate every last jar, trying to determine if it will last until I can get my hands on sun-ripened tomatoes or sweet strawberries.

As it always happens, thanks to food swaps, planning, and shifting breakfast choices, we have excess of jam when the spring strawberries pop up. While many preserves can last for more than one year if canned properly, I like to replenish my stores yearly for the best quality and flavor. That means cracking open a precious jar or two and finding creative applications.

This chocolate tea cake comes together quickly and is a great way to use up any older jars of jam you have hanging around. The jam lends a subtle flavor to the chocolate, making it easy to swap in any of your favorite flavors. I’m partial to strawberry, cherry, and pear, but feel free to experiment with your star preserve.

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