Adios, Adieu, Goodbye for Now, “Pear, Blueberry Jam with St. Germain”


September crept in right on top of the last days of August…it has been tropical…. rainy and humid and hot, windy with bouts of unusually cool days scattered in between. Most of the local fruit is gone…the peaches, berries…plums and now my pears….adieu, adios and goodbye until next year sweet ones.

In the early dark days of fall and winter I will have my consolations on a shelf in my kitchen. A few jars of preserves…peach and plum. Jars of jam…pear and blueberry with a splash of St. Germain will be there, ready to comfort me.

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Ripe and Ready.

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The evening before I made this jam I cored, peeled and roughly chopped the pears and tossed them in a bowl with some raw sugar and lemon juice, covered the bowl and refrigerated the fruit overnight.  The sugar and lemon juice help to pull some of the juices from the fruit, breaking the fruit down naturally which shortens the cooking process.


Do you know about “Pomona’s Universal Pectin”? I like to use this brand as the recipes for  jams, jellies & preserves can be made with less sugar. I do not like cloying sweet preserved fruit so this pectin is just right. The instructions are easy to follow and there are plenty of recipes inside the package. It is preservative free, kosher, vegan, gluten-free and non-gmo. I usually buy it a Whole Foods, but it is available online at their site as well. DSC_1363

I had la few cartons of fresh blueberries left over from a photo shoot so I tossed them in with the peeled and chunked pears. The blueberries gave the finished jam a lovely soft color. A generous splash of St. Germain elderflower liqueur added another layer of goodness.


You always want to “test” your jam or jelly after cooking to make sure it “sets up”. I do this by spooning some of the mixture out onto a chilled plate. Leave it to sit a few minutes and then check the consistency. This batch “jammed” to perfection.


Every time I begin to can I feel like a novice….no matter how many times I have done it. This is where I am my most careful-self in the kitchen. I read the instructions, reread and double-check before starting. I gather all my canning supplies, pans, jars, ladles before hand and get everything cleaned, sterilized & all lined up ready to go. My best advice is just do what the recipe & canning instructions say…verbatim…all will be well.




Pears, Blueberries Jam with St. Germain

  • Servings: 6-8 half pints
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  • 6 cups cored, peeled & chopped pears
  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups raw/turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup Elderflower Liqueur/St. Germain
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • Pkg of Pomona’s Universal Pectin (or other pectin if you prefer, most have easy, simple canning instructions inside the box. I used the directions for canning pears.
  • Equipment: clean 1/2 pint glass canning jars & lids, canning equipment (or if you prefer you can do this jam for the freezer…no hot water bath canning processing required.)


  1. The night before you plan to can, mix the pears, sugar & lemon juice in a mixing bowl, cover & refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day put the pear mixture in a large saucepan. Add 1 cup of water. Bring to a low boil. Add the pectin according to the package directions, turn stove to low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes stirring often.
  3. The last 10 minutes of cook time add the blueberries & St. Germain. Stir gently.
  4. While fruit is cooking, wash & rinse canning jars in hot water. Set aside to drain on a very clean dish towel. Use new lids & rings. Put these in a pan of hot water until ready to use on low heat. There are many, many methods for hot water bath canning  so use one that works for you.
  5. When jam is almost finished cooking test the jell by spooning some jam mixture onto a chilled saucer, refrigerate for a few minutes. Test to see if the jam is the consistency you prefer. If not continue cooking another 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  6. Fill glass jars with hot jam mixture to within 1/4 inch from the top of the glass rim for hot water bath canning process, 1/2 inch for freezer jam. Wipe each jar rim clean before adding lids. When all jars are filled & wiped clean, top with lid and ring.
  7. For hot water bath place filled jars into your canner rack, lower into the canning pan, cover jars with warm water covering by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, process for 10-15 minutes. Turn heat off. Raise jar rack out of the water bath & place jars on a cooling rack. As jam cools you should hear a soft “pop” as each jar seals. If some jars do not seal then refrigerate to use immediately.
  8. For freezer jam after #6 let jars cool down completely & store in the freezer until ready to eat. Remove jars from freezer a few hours before using.

“Strawberries Fresh Picked & Put Up!” E.A.T. #3

Do you suffer from fear of canning? When you hear the words “water bath” do you shudder?

Hold on! Help is on its way…there is more than one way to overcome your fear, your trepidation, your absolute mind block about “canning”…come, I will share with you my fool-proof method to overcome your suffering as part of my E.A.T. (easy as that) series.

“E.A.T. #3  Fresh Picked Strawberries – Put Up”

My Grandmother, on my Father’s side of the family, Kenny Mae,  called it “putting up”…as in “we are going to put up some strawberries this morning” or “it’s about time to put up some beans”. So let’s forget the word “canning” for a bit…but we will come back to that a bit later this summer…for now I will share with you my “easy as that” method to “put up” fresh picked strawberries that will calm the fearful,  instill confidence in those who doubt, and give the uncertain certainty.

This April has given us an early bumper crop of Strawberries here in middle Tennessee. We are lucky in that the weather has smiled on us, but the moment will be fleeting as the days get hotter and drier.

At our house at this time Wouter & I  eat fresh strawberries every day. We go to the Farmer’s Markets and try berries from different counties around us. We eat them rinsed just out of the container, we eat them on crusty toasted bread with butter…(Wouter says that is the classic Dutch way to eat Spring strawberries)…we put them in all of our dinner salads, on granola for breakfast and in drinks.

Here is how to “put-up” strawberries to enjoy later in the year.

What you will need:

4 quarts of fresh picked strawberries, rinsed & drained

Turbinado or Raw Sugar, 3/4 cup

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or other interesting fruity vinegar

Glass jars & lids that have been washed in soapy water, rinsed & air-dried

What to do?…it’s e.a.t. !

1. Cap berries. That means take off the green tops & discard. If strawberries are large then cut in half, if small then leave whole. Put all capped berries in a large bowl. Every so often sprinkle a layer of the berries with a few tablespoons of the sugar. Repeat until all berries are capped & sprinkled with sugar. Allow berries to sit for at least 15 minutes.

2. Using a fork smash berries to release juices. Don’t try to smash all the berries, just about half of them.

3. Stir in 2 tablespoons of balsamic or other fruity vinegar.

4. Fill glass jars with strawberries &  juice, leaving about 3/4 of an inch of each jar unfilled. (We are going to put the jars in the freezer. Freezing will make the mixture expand.)

5. Put lids on jars snuggly. Place in freezer until you are ready to use for some fabulous treat.

There…now that wasn’t so hard was it? Berries “put up” using this method is the first step to getting over your “fear of canning”. It is a baby step in the world of canning, but a big step for someone like me who just started canning about 2 years ago. This is how I got started. I don’t have a very large freezer so I have to mix this method with the more traditional (water bath) method for some of my goodies.  Freezing berries keeps their wonderful color and flavor. They will still be savory enough for salad dressing, yet sweet enough for desserts.

Let me know if you have questions…My little email hotline is open. Just get in touch:

I am here for you. Start out with just a few jars…jump in, don’t be afraid.

A little gallery of how we eat fresh berries & use some of our frozen berries:

Fresh strawberries, no sugar on toasted bread with Kerrygold butter for breakfast.
More fresh berries with turbinado smashed on more toast with butter for lunch.
Nestled in salad greens from our garden & fresh Mozzarella from Lazzaroli’s in Nashville.
I folded some berries into a pint of vanilla ice cream…to make “faux” Strawberry Ice Cream.
Eaten natural.
Strawberry Aqua Fresca..partially frozen berries, fresh lime juice, honey & water blended.