It’s Jammin’ Time: Ground Cherry Honey Jam

I finally had enough ground cherries to make some jam this year. Usually, between Kevin and the boys (and occasionally me too), they all are eaten long before I have enough of the little gems to do anything with them. We have eaten quite a few this year, but we planted several plants, and they actually survived the onslaught of all the deer and groundhog problems – so I got to make jam for the first time ever! I remember my grandmother making this, and it was sooo good.


I used the same recipe I did earlier this year when I made a small batch of blueberry jam. I just substituted an equal amount (1 quart) of ground cherries for the blueberries and used honey instead of sugar. I ended up with five 4-ounce jelly jars of deliciousness that will be hidden out of sight from the boys  🙂

Ground Cherry Honey Jam

1 quart ground cherries
2/3 cup honey (8 ounces)
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pour the ground cherries into a low, wide, nonreactive pan and mash. Add the honey and lemon juice; stir to combine. Let the mixture sit until the honey begins to dissolve.

Place the pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the jam starts to thicken.



When the jam has thickened, ladle into clean, hot jars. Seal with rings and lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Yield:  Approximately five 4-ounce jars


Canning 101: Pork and Beans

I’ve always wanted to try a homemade pork and beans recipe to can, and I found several on Pinterest. Kevin and the boys love baked beans, complete with tons of bacon on top, so I thought it made sense to try and make my own version to have on hand whenever the need for a quick side dish arose.

This recipe was found on, and there are tons of delicious canning recipes there that are on my to-do list for someday. I had leftover sauce from today’s canning session (I doubled the recipe for canning), so I got more beans ready to eat for supper tonight as well. I do think I’ll cut back just a little bit on the amount of vinegar next time, but I’ll wait to see how everything tastes straight from the jar in a few weeks before I decide for sure. The recipe claims to be a clone for one of the Bush’s baked bean recipes, and so far, I think it’s pretty close.



Cloned Bush’s Maple Baked Beans

1 pound navy beans, rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1-1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups ketchup (I used Heinz but homemade would be great too)
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar, either cider or white (I used cider)
Salt pork, cubed in 1-inch pieces (one piece per canning jar)

Add dry beans to a Dutch oven and add 8 cups of water to cover the beans. Cook on high until the beans come to a boil, for about 2 minutes, and turn off the heat. Cover and let the beans sit in the pot covered for 30 to 45 minutes. The beans will soak up quite a bit of the water during this time.

Drain the beans and add 8 cups of fresh water to the pot along with the chopped onion. Cook the beans and onions for 15 minutes at a full boil.

In another saucepan, combine the brown sugar, molasses, mustard powder, salt, black pepper, ketchup, maple syrup, water, and vinegar. Cook to get a slow boil. It will be sweet but not thick.

Prepare 6 pint jars. Fill each pint jar with 1 cup of the bean/onion mixture. Add 1 piece of salt pork. Add more beans until the jar is about 3/4 full. Ladle hot sauce over the beans, leaving 1-inch headspace. Seal.

Pressure can pints for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

Yield:  Approximately 6 pints

I did double the recipe and ended up with 9 pints. I used navy beans that were small, so I’m sure if you use a larger white bean, the yield will be higher.

Canning 101: Salsa

I can’t believe how many weeks have passed since I last posted–sorry! I have been working hard in the canning kitchen and garden, plus my parents had their 50th wedding anniversary, had an auction AND moved the last part of August —-so, I’ve been a bit busy 🙂 I promise I’ll catch you up on all the goodies I’ve been putting up on the shelves in future posts.

Today, though, it was time to tackle a few more tomatoes, and salsa was the name of the game today. When I first made salsa, I went to the store and bought the Mrs. Wages salsa mix. It wasn’t bad, so I did that for a few years. Then our oldest son Cody decided he wanted to grow hot peppers, so he and I came up with a salsa recipe of our own a few years back. I still follow the base recipe, but (of course) I tweak it here and there depending on what peppers I have available and the flavor of the tomatoes. This year we grew San Marzano tomatoes (a Roma-style tomato that I absolutely love), jalapeno peppers, Anaheim chili peppers, habanero peppers, and some sort of miniature bell pepper plant that I picked up on sale at the grocery store. What the deer didn’t eat (can you believe they LOVED eating my Anaheim peppers?), I managed to salvage for a batch of salsa.

Keep in mind this is a base recipe. Cody and I actually did measure the ingredients that first year we made this, but I always adjust peppers and seasonings to taste each time. This recipe will give you a good base for you to tweak to your family’s liking.

Cody’s Salsa

12 pints paste tomatoes, skinned, cored, and chopped
1-1/2 pints finely chopped onions
3 green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
4 to 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 pint cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar (optional)
1 to 2 cans tomato paste (will depend how thick you like your salsa)
3 to 4 teaspoons salt (to taste)
*Optional hot peppers (if you like): Anaheim, habanero, cayenne, etc.

Combine all ingredients in a large, nonreactive saucepot. Cook until desired consistency.



Ladle into hot, sterilized pint canning jars. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.