Yes, you CAN!

Published 9:02 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preserving the flavors of the season

By Janet Tharpe

Who’s ready to jam? We’re on a canning roll here at and want you to help us celebrate the flavorful jams and jellies of summer.

“I gathered some blackberries from my property [recently], in the hopes of making some jam … but I didn’t have enough,” explains home cook Bela Gaytan, Blue Ribbon winner for her Strawberry Blackberry Jam with Lavender. “I decided to use up the strawberries from my recent trip to the farmer’s market, plus add the lavender I grow, as well. So delicious!”

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And so clever! This lovely jam recipe was clearly born of equal parts resourcefulness and inspiration. Wonderfully tart, it’s hard to imagine anything more delicious atop a warm biscuit.

A self-proclaimed “Jelly Queen,” Annemarie Fussell of Douglas, Ga., keeps her family sweet and satisfied by making sure her famous Coconut Lime Jelly is never in

short supply.

“My family loves to eat cream cheese, jelly and crackers for appetizers at family parties,” says Annemarie. “While trying to come up with a unique flavor for a pool party, I could not get the memory of 1980’s suntan lotion smell out of my mind. When coconut flashed in my mind, I immediately heard the lyrics, ‘You put da lime in da coconut…’ and from there I ended up with a delish coconut lime jelly.”

Perfectly summery, this uniquely tropical flavor combo isn’t going to be content on an everyday PB&J. Nope, this jam is so flavorful that it demands a starring role. Try it with crackers and cream cheese like Annemarie suggests, or drizzle a few spoonfuls onto homemade vanilla ice cream. You’ll be transported to the sunny tropics with the first bite.

And speaking of bite, you simply must try Anne McCue’s recipe for Raspberry

Jalapeno Jelly.

“I just got done making 117 jars of this jelly with berries from my berry patch,” explains Anne. “It is a hot item around here. People ask me for it all the time. It’s a great ‘grab and go’ for a last-minute party appetizer or gift.”

This yummy, brightly colored jelly is a real showstopper. As sweet as it is kicky, it’s the ideal before OR after dinner treat. In fact, the recipe is so beloved by us here in the Test Kitchen that one of the crew gals recently made it as her first canning attempt.”

She came away all smiles. “It was so much easier than I thought it would be,” she laughed. “I felt so accomplished when I was done!”

Isn’t that the truth? Canning can definitely be intimidating to us newbies, but with a little practice and a pinch of fortitude it’s really a cinch. These recipes are just a sampling of the terrific recipes available to canners of all experience levels. Pick your favorite fruits, find a fun recipe and start experimenting.

When in doubt, just remember:

Yes you CAN!