High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly


High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly

High Bush cranberries, or Virburnum trilobum, grow wild in New Brunswick and while aren’t actually a part of the cranberry family, their bright red berries create a stunning jelly like their buddy the low bush cranberry. I was lucky enough to harvest some ripe and ready berries from my friend April‘s country home. While one baby played in the grass, two kids chased ducks and chickens and with one baby on my back, we yanked and pulled and snipped those berries off the tree!

Thanks to some very helpful blogs and websites, I was able to put it all together to create a superb sweet and spicy jelly. Akin to a pepper jelly, it’s is incredible on a cracker with cheese, slathered on your grilled cheese or melted and used as a glaze for meat.

While this recipe is a bit time consuming with two different straining mixtures, the results and delicious and you have plenty of jars to show for your effort. The juice yield from your cranberries will vary on the ripeness of your berries. Any extra juice can be stored in your freezer or added to another fruit for a multi-fruit jam. Or, if you’d love to give this jelly a try but aren’t in a high bush cranberry growing zone, stop by our Etsy shop where this and other preserves are available for purchase.


High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly

Yields: 6x250mL jars

Recipe inspired by: The Kitchen Magpie and Taste of Home

8 cups high bush cranberries, picked over and cleaned

3 cups water

3 chopped jalapenos, seeded and ribs removed (or not, if you like it really spicy)

1 cup vinegar

7 cups sugar

2 pouches liquid pectin


1. In a large pot, gently boil cranberries and water together for about 15 minutes, crushing with a potato masher to release the juice. Pour mixture in a jelly bag and measure out 3 cups of juice. Clean out your large pot.

2. In your clean pot, pour your 3 cups of juice and diced jalapenos. Bring to a gentle simmer until jalapenos have softened. Pour through cleaned out jelly bag or through a double-lined cheesecloth in a colander and measure out 3 cups of juice.

3. In your pot (no need to clean it out), add cranberry-jalapeno mixture, vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add in two pouches of pectin and return to heat, giving it a hard boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars with 1/4″ headspace and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.




High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly on Punk Domestics

Peach Vanilla Prosecco Jelly (Canning as a Love Song)

Peach Prosecco Jelly

It’s peach season, one of my favourite seasons and while peaches aren’t local to our region, I can at least be kept in good supply of beautiful peaches from the Niagara region.  Mr. Uncanny and I would visit many of those orchards when we were young and early married, living as students in Toronto and vacationing in the wine region, drunk on love and a few too many wine samples.

Peaches bring back fond memories for us but even more so about our daughter. I don’t post a lot about our family. I respect their privacy and their inability to approve of the pictures or stories I’d post. It doesn’t make me any less proud of them though and I often wish I could crow their accomplishments all day long. Honey Bear and her brother are my heart’s delight and being able to stay home with them, while balancing my creative passion through uncanny is a gift that I know many parents would love to enjoy.

Honey Bear’s birthday falls in the height of peach season and in fact, I was in early labour with her when making a big batch of peach conserve. I was 5 days overdue and determined to have a real gritty early labour experience, complete with laundry and jam making. I’d stir through each 2 minute contraction, clutching my back and trying to concentrate getting the conserve to the perfect setting point. It did. I called it my Pre-Game Jam and gave it out to the nurses and doctor at the hospital, but one jar remains in my pantry and I can’t bring myself to open it.

To me, that is the essence of canning. You bottle a moment, a season, a feeling, a wish. Everything I dreamed about our first encounter, all my hopes about her childhood, all my best wishes for her as she grew into an adult. All of it, as I stirred and stirred in the morning before we’d meet.

So this jelly is a love song to our girl. She turns 3 and like this jelly, she continues to sparkle and shine with sweetness.

Peach Vanilla Prosecco Jelly

Yield: 3x250ml

3.5 lbs peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped (reserve the peach skins)

2 vanilla beans, split and caviar removed

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups sugar

1 cup prosecco

1 pouch of Certo liquid pectin


1. Add vanilla beans and peach mixture to a slow simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened, mashing with a potato masher.

2. Strain mixture in a jelly bag and measure out 1 cup of juice. (Save the pulp and the skin. I’ll tell you why in a minute.)

3. In a clean pot, add peach juice. prosecco and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes until all sugar has dissolved.

4. Add in liquid pectin and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and ladle into jars. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Voila!

** One of my favourite things to do with the peach pulp and skin is to turn it into a peach syrup, which I learned about from Homemade Trade. What a fantastic way to make those peaches stretch even further. There is still lots of flavour in the pulp and that vanilla bean still has ways to go. **


Peach Vanilla Prosecco Jelly on Punk   Domestics

What Grows Together, Goes Together


Uncanny has some exciting news: For the first time in our history, we’ll be available for retail outside of the Sackville Farmer’s Market! We’re very excited to be working with Cocagne River Orchard a family run apple orchard located in beautiful Cocagne, New Brunswick. Owners Denis and Nicole are long-time supporters of buying local and living gently on the land and uncanny is delighted to be working together, highlighting the best of South-East New Brunswick. The orchard is available as a u-pick, so when you’re done picking apples from their beautiful property, please visit their boutique where you’ll find a wide range of uncanny products and other interesting finds.


On the theme of growing and going together is a really special preserve that has been crafted from the abundance of local and readily available ingredients. A helpful way to look at flavour combinations is to tour your garden and look at what’s in season and chances are, those flavours will compliment each other. Right now the rhubarb season is winding down, the strawberries are turning red on the vine and the roses are in full bloom. All the makings of a lovely, summery preserve!

If you’ve never preserved with rose petals before, as I hadn’t, give it a try! Here are just a few benefits:

1. They make your kitchen smell like a fairy tale.

2. They are easy to harvest. Nip them in the bud stage and  give them a 2 minute bath in cool, soapy water and a thorough rinse to ensure no bug friends join the party. They open during the day and the petals are ready to fall out by the evening. Super easy harvesting.

3. The flavour is really subtle. I was worried the preserve would taste like a funeral home, but it added just the right amount of floral note. Don’t worry, this is not a jam you’ll be dabbing behind your ears!

My strawberries weren’t perfectly ripe but I wanted them included in the preserve so I opted for my homemade Strawberry Liqueur. All together, you have three beautifully pink ingredients.

I went with a French style with this preserve, letting the rhubarb macerate for a couple of days before boiling the syrup and adding the remaining ingredients back in. I think it’s a darling of a preserve.

Rhubarb Rose Petal Preserve

2 3/4 pounds of chopped rhubarb

2 3/4 cups sugar

juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup rose petals or petals from 2 small roses. Please make sure they’re unsprayed.

**Optional: 2 tbsp Strawberry Liqueur **

1. Slice the rhubarb and toss sugar and juice of one lemon together and pour into 9×13 pan. Cover with parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.

2. The next morning, strain rhubarb mixture and pour juices into a large pan. Add the juice of your second lemon with the strained rhubarb juices. Bring to a boil and reduce by about half. Stir in rhubarb and fresh rose petals and stir over low-medium heat until the preserve is cooked to your liking. I like a bit of texture, so I reduced my liquid to the setting point and added the fruit in. It didn’t take long to finish and the jam is chunky. If you want a smoother, more stewed-like jam, don’t boil the rhubarb juice as much and give your rhubarb extra time to cook and break down.

3. Remove from heat and stir in your strawberry liqueur. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Perfect for Tea Time.

Rhubarb Rose Petal Preserve on Punk   Domestics

Garrison’s Raspberry Wheat Beer Mustard

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that this in between season is hard. Those warm days are a wonderful taste of what’s to come and I’m scrambling to find my gardening gloves and plant my garden. Then comes the cold, gray, rainy days and I’m relieved I held off. I know summer is just around the corner, but I’m anxious for fresh, local fruit and capturing it in a preserve.

Luckily, there are options. Making preserves from frozen fruit is a great way to clear out the freezer and after a long winter, it’s exciting to sample sun-ripened fruit again! (Hitchhiking to Heaven has a great post about making jam from frozen fruit, including invaluable tips on how to store your fruit over the winter so you can have fantastic preserves for the future.)

Another option and one of my favourites is mustard. We eat a lot of mustard and enjoy its versatility. Like a fine wine, mustard gets better with age and starting now gives your mustard a chance for flavours to develop and deepen, just in time for the upcoming barbeque and salad season.  Mustard is one preserve that gets used up the fastest. We add it to vinaigrettes, slather it on grilled sausages, stir it in with tuna, pasta and potato salads, add it to pan drippings and a splash of wine for a quick and tasty pan gravy, slather it on bread for sandwiches and add it to our marinades. One of our favourites is honey mustard dip.

Garrison's Raspberry Wheat Beer Mustard

This mustard features the sweet and mellow Raspberry Wheat Beer from Garrison’s Brewery in Halifax, one of our favourite breweries. Paired with yellow mustard seeds, it’s a really lovely mild mustard. The recipe is direct from Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving and the recipe can be found online at the Ball website. I like the versatility and ease of this recipe as it allows you room to play around with different textures (smooth vs grainy), different colours of mustard seeds (black mustard seeds are bolder and spicier) and room to play with the underlying beer flavour, swapping a light beer for something stronger and complex. Or, swap the beer entirely and try a hard cider. Mustards are incredibly easy to make, have good storage length in the fridge and many can be canned.

To venture further into mustard making, consider these:

Prune Plum Conserve

After talking about and seeing recipes for preserves with prune plums, I was delighted to finally find some at the grocery store. Having made a Blue Plum and Port jam, I was happy, but not over-the-moon happy like I was with last year’s Prune Plum and Port Jam. Prune plum jam is robust and rich and to me is perfectly suited to the holidays.

While the majority of my 2 lbs went to the soon to be Port jam, I saved the other half pound to try my hand at a homemade conserve. It’s ideally suited if you need something quick and don’t want to bother with storing the conserve long term, or just double or triple the recipe for a larger batch and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

The Makings of Something Great

Prune Plum Conserve

Yields: Approx. 1 cup

1/2 lb prune plums, pitted and diced

4 dried apricots, diced

1 tsp lemon juice

Scant 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp water

1 tbsp Grand Marnier

1. Combine plums, sugar, cinnamon, water and lemon juice in a small sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil, stir occasionally until plums and dried apricots have softened. Continue to cook gently until the gel point has been reached (thereabouts, I like a soft set).

2. Add in walnuts and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. At the end, add in your Grand Marnier and remove from heat.

This Conserve Really Sparkles with Flavour

I’m storing this in the fridge, with the cinnamon stick for added flavour. I intend to make this again when I’ve replenished my stock of prune plums. There are a variety of textures, from the soft plums, to the harder walnut pieces. The splash of Grand Marnier adds a great citrus flavour and I can’t think of a better holiday jam to tuck into a last minute gift basket. I tried mine stirred into plain yogurt and it was heaven.

Feel free to play around with the flavours – maybe a dash of nutmeg? Cardmamom? A little spice bag with all spice, cloves, citrus strips and cinnamon sticks? Lots of room to expand here. Enjoy!



To make this recipe safe for canning, increase the acid. When canning, I multiplied this recipe for my 3.5lbs of prune plums and added 3 tbsp. of lemon juice (1 tbsp of lemon juice for every 2 lbs of low acid fruit, according to Linda Zeidrich), the extra acid to account for the dried apricots.



Jam Exchange: Century Crafts

Have I mentioned how much I adore jam exchanges? It’s a great way to meet other canners, share your knowledge and sample some really tasty jam. Thanks to Steph Chows Jam Exchange, I was paired with Jeanne at Century Crafts and it’s been a real joy. Her jams arrived today and I was so anxious to tuck into them, but took a moment to enjoy a lovely note card and appreciate how these exchanges bring people together you wouldn’t normally meet, but you’re so glad you did.

So, without further ado, check out what I scored:

Love the Beautiful Toppers

Gorgeous Colours

The “Everything” jam has a beautiful, syrupy set, so I’m saving it for my next batch of pancakes. I may just wait until the first snow flies and savour the taste of summer’s bounty, all picked locally and most of it from her own gardens. The Peach Jam did not get saved for a wintery day; it got opened almost immediately and savoured.

Jeanne kept her fruit on the chunky side with a soft set, which is my favourite way to enjoy jam. I love spooning jams over things and I’d much rather have recognizable chunks of fruit and a really soft set, then an almost pureed and stiff jam.  The taste of the Ontario peaches is so prominent and the heady aroma of peaches is remarkable. She did a great job capturing the best of pure, peach flavour and letting the true beauty of peaches shine through.

Since I don’t dig traditional bread, I generously spooned it over some coconut flour bread and tucked in with a steaming mug of tea. It was *so* good.

Peach Heaven

My thanks, Jeanne for a great exchange and for sharing your jams with me. Look forward to more exchanges in the future.

Honey Jasmine Tea and Peach Jam

I keep meaning to slow down. I *want* to slow down, I really do. All those prenatal exercise videos keep staring at me and my prenatal clinic keeps reminding me about signing up for labour preparation classes (like I need a reminder of how it’s going to go – its labour! It’s long. It’s painful. It’s not for the faint of heart,  but you get a cool present at the end.)

So, I jokingly blame canning and preserving bloggers for keeping me from nesting. Particularly bloggers much further south of me that come into their fruit season a good 3-4 weeks ahead of me. I’m taunted by some drool-worthy food photography and the most incredible sounding recipes with bold combinations that I just keep squirreling away until my turn arrives. Everyday I seem to be canning just one more preserve, while I tell myself that eventually I’ll get around to preparing for 2.0’s arrival (in a way, I am preparing, right?!) Besides, I’d take a well stocked preserves pantry over a pristine nursery any day!

So, I present this gem of a jam – Honey Jasmine Tea and Peach Jam. Initially inspired by Buffy and George’s recipe for Peach Jam with Honey and Earl Grey Tea, my jam is a riff on theirs and makes use of an ingredient I’ve been longing to try for years: loose leaf tea. I loved the colour of their jam and how the brightness of the peach was still intact and yet the subtle tea flavour still shone through. If you haven’t tried preserving with tea, give it a whirl. This jam had the lovely aroma and flavour of green tea, without being too tannic or punchy. It was delicious on an afternoon scone and I think the floral peach and Jasmine tea combo is a winner.

Honey Jasmine Tea and Peach Jam

Honey Jasmine Tea and Peach Jam

Adapted from: Peach Jam with Honey and Earl Grey Tea from Buffy and George

4 cups peeled, chopped peaches (if you want a smoother texture, mash with a potato masher)

1 tsp good quality loose leaf Jasmine Green Tea

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 tsp calcium water

3 tsp Pomona’s pectin

1. Combine chopped peaches with 4 tsp of Pomona’s calcium water, loose leaf tea and lemon juice in a large preserving pot/pan. Let stand for 10 minutes, giving the tea time to rehydrate.

2. In a bowl, measure out your sugar and stir in 3 tsp of Pomona’s pectin. Measure honey and reserve.

2. Bring peach mixture a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Stir in sugar/pectin mix and reserved honey. Boil for another 2 minutes. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars with 1/4 inch headspace and process for 10 minutes. Enjoy!