Canning & Preserving

Chocolate Pear Butter in Jars

Chocolate Pear Butter

Recipes get passed around, and change as they go. Chocolate pear butter is a case in point: it is my own version of a splendid recipe from Marisa McClellan’s second book, Preserving by the Pint, which is itself inspired by a British book, Notes from the Jam Cupboard, by Mary Tregellas. I keep up

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slow-cooker Apple Butter 1200

Slow-cooker Apple Butter

In the fall, as soon as I have made applesauce, I start thinking about making apple butter: thick, silky, and fragrant with spices. It’s an old-fashioned preserve, and the old-fashioned way to make it involves a big kettle and hours of stirring. I prefer a modern method, which still take time,

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canning tomato sauce in quantity

Canning Tomato Sauce

Canning tomato sauce: it’s my end of summer ritual. I’ll do anything to prolong tomato season! Fortunately, I have a lot of friends who agree with me, and we get together each year for a Big Tomato Crush work party – a ton of fun, and satisfyingly productive. It’s not a difficult

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Ginger Pear Butter

Small-batch Ginger Pear Butter

Make a small-batch ginger pear butter: this smooth pear preserve with a tang of ginger is excellent with toast or scones, would be perfect with gingerbread, and delightful with shards of chocolate in an autumn crostata. The only word that properly describes it is a ‘butter’ – it has the mouthfeel of apple butter, but the

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Canning Lids

Canning Alert: changes for lids!

Canning alert: changes for lids!! I first learned about this by reading Theresa Loe’s blog at the Jarden Company, who make lids for Ball canning jars, advise new procedures for using canning lids. It has to do with the red gasket on the inside of the lid. As of 2013, lids are made without BPA and are labeled

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bread & butter pickles

Bread & Butter Pickles

Tangy and sweet, bread & butter pickles are an old-fashioned favorite best made with largish (4 inches or so) pickling (Kirby) cucumbers. If these are not available, use regular cucumbers of the smallest size you can find: you want a cucumber with the fewest seeds possible. It’s been a cool

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apricot jam 1200

Small-batch Apricot Jam

Apricots are one of my favorite fruits, and they’re hard to come by here in SE Michigan. I haunt farmers markets, looking for a grower, and when I find one, I tend to grab some apricots. I always make a little jam: begin with just a bit of fruit, get

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Cherry Apricot Jam | Get the Good Stuff

Small-batch Cherry Apricot Jam

When you have just a bit of fruit that you can’t use right away, don’t let it spoil: make it into a little batch of jam. This small-batch cherry apricot jam took me less than an hour from start to finish. Cherries and apricots just go together; this jam is a

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many jars of jam

How to Make Jam (Jam 101)

I am often asked how to make jam, and is making jam hard? People tend to assume it takes a lot of time; that every batch is unmanageably huge; that it’s scary and uses weird equipment. All this is so, so wrong. You can make jam in a skillet or saucepan

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freeze fresh herbs in oil

Freezing Fresh Herbs in Oil

In the summer, freeze fresh herbs in oil for use all winter long. This technique works well with rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, or any of the tender leafy herbs. Don’t bother to use your best extra-virgin olive oil here: plain, mild olive oil works best. Basil cubes are shown in the photo,

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pear butter

Pear Butter in the Slow Cooker

I make applesauce every year; it’s easy and tastes wonderful. It serves as the basis for apple butter, which I make in a slow cooker, which make it easy, and scorch-proof. This year I tried the same trick with pears. Wow, pear butter is great! I made a version that

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spiced tomato jam 1200

Small-batch Spiced Tomato Jam

2013 has not been a good year for tomatoes in Michigan. First it was wet and cold, and then way too hot, and now, in September, we seem headed for an early frost. Our tomato season has been the shortest one I can recall. Even in a scant year, I

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I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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