The Jam and Jelly Lady

  (Lebanon, Ohio)
Yes You Can!
[ Member listing ]

Last week in the cannery... Ready to welcome the new year!

On the home stretch for holiday canning!  And we are wiping the sweat off our brows!

We start our holiday canning race in late May, when we receive our first batch of strawberries. The customers automatically start asking for all our strawberry-based jams: Christmas Jam, Winterberry Jam, Strawberry Syrup with Grand Marnier, Strazzberry Jam, 4th of July Jam, and, of course, Strawberry Jam. As soon as we quench those immediate needs, we start working on building the holiday inventory.

All summer and fall, we juggled the mountain of harvest canning with the surge of Christmas Jam orders.  So I can say that this last week or so of work is bittersweet.  The orders have slowed enough that we decided to quit work early today and do a little shopping, clean the house (haven't seen it much since August), and maybe grab a nap before the kids get home!

But whatever will I do in January?  Well, there are canning classes to teach, new recipes to create, and a cookbook to finally finish.  Can I do all that from the couch, I wonder?...  

 Thanks to all the great folks we've met through Local Harvest, the new customers we've been privileged to serve, and to our warm, caring wholesale accounts who prove everyday that small businesses that stick together will survive in the end...



Winterberry Jam is back in season!


It's Back! Winterberry Jam is my very favorite jam to snuggle up with: a good book, a warm round of Brie, and a crusty baguette spread with Winterberry Jam next to the fire.  This comfort food combination consists of tart cranberries tempered by sweet strawberries, and brightened with a bit of warm brandy and pinch of cinnamon.  Yummmm...  This is why the Biggest Loser would NEVER choose ME!  Too much of a foodie!


Oh, yeah, and NO pectin in this jam.   Just rich fruits, granulated sugar, and organic lemon juice.  So the taste is very intense, and the jam isn't rubbery! 


Grab some delicious jam at our new West Chester location!

This has been simply the best wholesale year for our little cannery in the country!  We just added another retail location where you can find our jams!

La Crema Coffee Company ( in West Chester, Ohio, has the cutest retail shop in the front of the house, and the most fragrant coffee roasterie in the back.  What a hoot to get out of your car and have your nostrils instantly assailed by rich, roasting coffee!

La Crema's retail store is unbelievable.  Melissa Flohn, owner, is quite imaginative, and her products reflect her sassy attitude.  The gift shop is as glitzy and fun as Santa's workshop on steroids!  Stop by for a cup of her fresh brew and enjoy shopping for everything LOCAL: coffee, jam, artwork, infused dipping oils, bread and cake mixes, dip mixes, and lots of fun, colorful coffee accoutrements.

Thanks to all the local businesses who've been a stepping stone to our success this year: La Crema Coffee Company, Liberty Western, Brookville Inn, Valley Vineyards, Picture This, Heritage House, The Dayton International Airport, Bigg's grocery, Keeping It Country, Butcher Bill's, and The Workshops of David T. Smith!


Have a Christmas Canning Exchange!

Here's a new/old idea (new to the canning newbies who are coming out of the woodwork these days!)  Instead of a cookie exchange this Christmas, try a canning exchange!

I hosted one with our Master's Class students.  Each person brought 12 jars of one special jam, chutney, etc.  They had the jars nicely decorated, and the recipe tied to each jar.  What a beautiful arrangement on our table after everyone unloaded their booty for trading!

I made a Thai Dipping Sauce.  I traded for Basil & Garlic Vinegar, Banana Bread Jam, Strawberry and Honey Jam, Peach Salsa, and Asian Plum Sauce, just to name a few.  I was SET for holiday entertaining!!

I used the vinegar to enliven a Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe on my indoor grill.  The jams were a welcome addition to my Christmas morning buffet.  The Plum Sauce was inhaled by my friends on New Year's Eve when I served grilled chicken skewers.  And the salsa, well...  I saved that for my husband and I to savor one quiet evening when the kids had gone back to school. 

Don't forget to make sure the folks you invited to your canning exchange know how to can!  Preserving is a serious business, and you don't want a "corner-cutter" to join your soiree, only to end up giving all your guests an unwanted illness! for more information about our products and classes. 2011 schedule coming soon.  Email us to get on our waiting list.


Southwestern Ohio Christmas Experience

Our delicious Christmas Jam is now available in quite a few Dayton-Cincinnati locations.  I'd like to list the most frequented ones here:

Butcher Bill's - Mason:  Bill is quite the Butcher!  His meat is outstanding, so it is with great pride our jams are sold at his meat market located at the corner of Tylersville and St. Rt. 42 (by UDF).

Picture This - Lebanon:  A plethora of locally-made artwork, pottery, OSU gifts, and Christmas Jam!  I'll be giving a tasting in this shop the day Lebanon hosts the nation's largest candlelit horse-drawn carriage parade: Dec. 4.

Heritage House - Lebanon:  On the corner of Mulberry and Broadway, this unique gift shop also features work from Ohio artists, and JAM! 

Liberty Western - Lebanon: On SR 42, this western shop is more than saddles and feed!  Their boots and moccasins are to die for.  Dan has a wonderful selection of our jams here.

Valley Vineyards - Morrow: Private label jams (that we make for them) infused with their own Honey Mead, Champagne, and Ice Wine.

The Workshops of David T. Smith - Morrow:  David is a legend amongst magazines like Country Living, Midwest Living, and Ohio Magazine.  He and his artisans hand-carve every chair, bowl, cabinet, and bookcase.  Of course, he wanted an American-made jam as well!  American Country Christmas open Fri-Sun, 3-9 till Christmas.  Kids pottery, bonfires, pony rides, and the nearby Big Tree Plantation for your tree.


An American-Made Gift: Christmas Jam!

Christmas Jam has been our best-selling jam month after month, for many years.  It's a combination of all the best Ohio berries:  blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  They're cooked together with only cane sugar and organic lemon juice added - no pectin, citric acid.  We cook the luscious berries until they gel on their own.  

The flavor of jam without pectin is much richer and fruitier than those made with pectin.  Why?  Pectin is a thickener.  It "freezes" a jam into a thick gel, long before all the excess water is cooked out of the berries.  In addition, pectin enables jam makers to add tons of sugar to the recipe.  I know of canneries whose ratio fruit to sugar is 1:3.  Our ratio of 2:1 is much tastier and healthier!  

Right now, we are running our annual holiday special: order a case of Christmas Jam and we will customize your label for FREE.  For example, you can put a family greeting (e.g., Merry Christmas from the Smith Family) or a company greeting (e.g., Season's Greetings from Ace Woodworks).  Just order online or call us and tell us what you want on the label.  If you order a few more jars than a case, that's OK, too.  We'll label 13, 15, as long as it's greater than 12 jars (a case).  

 We ship anywhere in the contiguous 48 states.  And with good help this year, we're ahead of our production schedule (sigh!  We'll enjoy the holidays!), so don't feel that you're late in ordering.  We start accepting orders as early as July, and will continue taking them until December 10.

Happy Holidays! 




Canning Christmas Jam Every Day until December 25!

As the holidays fast approach, we at the cannery are working seven days a week to cook our customers' favorites: 

Christmas Jam: Our best seller contains blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries!  Great stocking stuffer or Christmas gift.  And if you order a case online, we'll customize your jars with your family name for free!

Cranberry Chutney: A spicy condiment loaded with cranberries, pineapple, onions, brown sugar, vinegar, etc.  Perfect for a side dish for turkey, or spread it on late-night Dagwood sandwiches!

Traffic Jam:  You know when you are in a "jam", how you get a little hot under the collar?  This fun jam is the colors of at traffic light:  tart red raspberries, yellow sweet apricots, and roasted green jalapeno peppers.  Add a touch of cumin and cayenne, and this is a delectable topping for cream cheese, brie, or a fantastic glaze for turkey, pork loin, and chicken breast!

Apple Cider Butter:  Traditionally, plain apple butter is made by steaming apples in water, then adding pounds of sugar to make up for all that water!  We chop locally grown Lebanon apples, steam them in fresh-pressed local cider, then mill the sauce, bake it for 15 hours, and finally season it with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  NO SUGAR!  Just sweet, rich apple-y taste!

Visit our site today:

Or give us a call to place an order or ask questions about our high-quality products!


West Chester Market, Christmas Jam, Canning Classes, and More!

Only a few more Saturdays at the West Chester Farmer's Market.  My, how fun it will be to sleep in past 5:30 on the weekend!!  But I'll miss the early morning cuppa joe from La Terza, watching the kids squirm in line for snow cones, and listening to the buzz of the crowd and farmers as they discuss the weather, crops, organics, and bees.

After the market ends, I'll still be attending Winter Market once a month up through Christmas.  You can pick up your Christmas Jam case orders during those markets if you wish.  Don't forget your customized Christmas Jam labels! 

Here's the deal: if you order a case of Christmas Jam (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries), we'll customize your labels free.  For example, you could write "Merry Christmas from the Smith Family" or "Season's Greetings from Acme Plumbing."  (The last one reminds me of Bugs Bunny - remember Acme products? lol) 

Christmas Jam is $6/jar, and there are six jars to a case, so a case is $72.  The jam is handmade in our cannery.  It is the perfect holiday gift to have on hand for the postman, paper boy, unexpected holiday guests, teacher, office mates, etc.  It's even more special to the recipient when your personal greeting is on it, too!

We have 1 more open position in our Beginner's Canning Class this Sunday from 12-6.  We'll be making strawberry jam and glazed carrots - yummy!  In the middle of class, during break, I'll make a quick trifle using some of the jam that the students just made.  Goes perfectly with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee!



Holiday Canning Classes

The end of harvest season is in sight, and I'm making plans for some rockin' canning classes this fall/winter!  Let's start filling your pantry with wondrous gifts that you CAN'T buy at the mall!!!

Ever been nervous about canning shelf-stable food - wary of serving it to your family and friends - worried about botulism?  If you want a comprehensive canning class that focuses on food safety as it relates to USDA-approved water bath and pressure canning techniques, Beginner's Class is for you! 

After taking this class, you'll be canning confidently and knowledgeably with a newfound food science background.  I'm offering one Beginner's Class: October 3, Sunday, noon till 6.  Maximum 10 students.  The second class is on Saturday, November 20, 10-4. $75 per person. Please register and pay on our website!

I'm also offering four Master's Classes in October and November.  You must have completed our Beginner's Class before registering for Master's Classes because I will NOT address food safety in Master's - we concentrate on recipes and techniques. 

On Wed., October 6 at 6:30 p.m. I'll teach Sinfully Rich Apple Variations, featuring Spiced Vanilla Apples and Caramel Apple Jam.  $25 per person.

On Wed., October 27 at 6:30 p.m., I'll teach Holiday Preserves I.  We'll learn Cinnamon & Cayenne Pickled Pears and Cran-Strawberry Butter.  Bring a small basket to hold 2 jars - I'll teach you how to make a wired bow and we'll professionally wrap your basket with the preserves you made this night.  One gift down!  $30 class cost.

On Wed., November 17 at 6:30 p.m., I'll teach Holiday Preserves II.  We'll learn 5-Pepper Jelly and Brandied Cardamom Peach Jam!  Bring a very small basket that will hold 2 1/2-pints of preserves so that I can teach you how to "finish" your gift!  $30 class cost.

Finally, at 6:30 on Monday, November 22, I'll teach one last Master's Class for the year.  I hadn't planned on adding this session, but a customer pointed out that after the November 20 Beginner's Class, I'd not offered any more Master's Courses before the holidays, and she really wanted to learn more about cool canning gifts before that time.  Silly me for not noticing that glitch in the schedule!  Stay tuned for the class description for this date.  Should have it figured out by September 14.  Thanks for your patience!

Online registration, only, at!  Let's Can!


New canners are successful!

Pam, a sweet lady from my last 2009 Beginner Class, called today to order canning jars - for the third time!  It is so very gratifying when I'm able to pass down this delightful hobby to new generations...

Pam took the 2-night course with her daughter, Jamie, who turned out to be my 13-year-old son's writing teacher!  Small world, eh?  They must have enjoyed the course, because Pam purchased a top-of-the-line jam pot and a huge canning kit from me.  Then this past weekend the two of them taught other family members how to can as a part of their Thanksgiving Day celebration!  Now they are planning their Christmas gifts...

I thought it was particularly funny when Jamie told me that their first attempt without me wasn't quite cooked to gel point, so the strawberry jam was runny.  I told her that it wasn't ruined - that they'd created a beautiful strawberry syrup!  The pair appropriately named their creation "Strawberry Drizzle" to convince friends that the concoction was just fine.  It's all in the marketing, right?

I am gearing up for a couple of very hard weeks in the Summer Kitchen.  Making Christmas Jam nearly every day, juggling pick-ups, shipping sometimes twice a day, and taking phone and email orders.  There needs to be three of me!  Can't wait until January - sleep time!


Christmas canning

Well, I both sorry and happy to say that I finished the last canning class of the year this week!  It makes for a hard day, canning all day, hustling the children everywhere, cleaning the house, and putting on a good dinner -- only to spend another 3-4 hours in the Summer Kitchen teaching canning.  But a very good day, nevertheless.

Taught two new recipes: Cran-Raspberry Jam and Holiday Chutney.  I think I just fell in love anew with jam and chutney!  The Cran-Raspberry Jam has little chunk of fruit and dried cranberries, plus a little cinnamon.  But the chutney really wowed all of us: pears, apples, brown sugar, cayenne, cider vinegar, etc.  I served it the next day at a small luncheon I put on for our dentist's office, and the staff loved it.  You could argue that everyone loves free food, but this was really tasty!

The pace of canning for the holidays is beginning to wear on me, and it's only the beginning of November!  My neck is horribly sore and stiff and I'm bone-tired.  I actually wrote a few more paragraphs on this blog about speaking at a gathering of health department officials this morning, and I felt my eyes falling asleep!  So that story is for another blog.  Good night!

RSS feed for The Jam and Jelly Lady blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader