The Boastful Baker

because every cook praises her own broth

So many jars.


2014 CanningEvery Christmas when I sort and package the year’s canned goods to give as gifts, I proclaim that I won’t can so many things the next year. And every year, I fail to can less. This year went a bit more off the rails than normal due to a number of great deals on fresh, mostly local fruit and about 75 pounds of completely free tomatoes from my parents.

Everything I canned in 2014In total, I canned 24 different types of jams, pickles and salsas in 2015. This total doesn’t include numerous small batches of refrigerator pickles or the actual number of batches I produced.

Sadly, unlike my friend Laura, I didn’t count the actual number of jars I canned in 2014. I’m pretty sure that the count was over 300 actual jars, most of which were half pints.

So many thingsThis was the first year of canning with the gas stove in our condo and the gas definitely helped speed up the canning process with its ability to boil water and liquids faster than the lame electric stoves I’ve used in previous years.

2014 was also the first year that I ordered supplies on the Internet. In past years, I’ve run all over town trying to find the best price for canning jars and pectin. I wasted a lot of time over the years, so this year the majority of my new jars were ordered from If you place a large enough order, shipping is free. And they have a great selection of Ball and Kerr products, including the Kerr wide mouth half pint jars that aren’t readily available in Virginia. I could usually find a promo code for a 15% or 20% discount from, so I think the jars ended up costing only slightly more than they would have in my local stores.

While we’re talking about jars, if you’re reading this and happen to be one of the people I give canned goods to each year, I will HAPPILY always take empty jars and rings back from you. I will always use them the next year and to be honest, I’m more likely to give you refills in future years!

Below are a few details about everything I canned this year with links to the source recipe or cookbook.

Fire Roasted Chipotle SalsaChipotle Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa – Source: Simply Recipes

Due to the 75 pounds of free tomatoes from my parents, I made six batches of this salsa in 2014. I started canning this in 2011 (just one batch that year) and I think it’s the most popular thing I can. Details about how I made this salsa are found in a blog post I wrote in 2012.

Smoked Tomato Thyme JamSmoked Tomato Thyme Jam – Source: White On Rice Couple

I started canning this in 2012 after some friends told me about a smoked tomato jam they had tried. It was an instant favorite and I now make at least a couple of batches each year. This year I think I made three batches. It’s fantastic with cheese and bread or crackers. And I’ve been told that it would be great spread on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Smoked Tomato Ginger JamSmoked Tomato Jam with Ginger – Source: White On Rice Couple

This particular variety of tomato jam is a new one for me. It’s the same base recipe as the tomato thyme jam I’ve made for several years, but this one has fresh and crystallized ginger in it.

Zesty Peach BBQ SauceZesty Peach BBQ Sauce – Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

I made this several years ago and loved it on grilled chicken or shrimp skewers, so I made another batch of it when I found myself with an excessive number of peaches.

Smoky Peach BBQ SauceSmoky Peach BBQ Sauce – Source: Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan

Another new item this year, from Marisa McClellan’s newer cookbook. I’m going to try this one with roasted pork.

Sweet & Sour Red OnionsSweet and Sour Red Onions – Source: Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan

I made these a couple of years ago and a couple of friends loved them on burgers, so I made another batch so that they could enjoy them again.

Sweet Pickle RelishSweet Pickle Relish – Source: Canning and Preserving by Ashley English

I think this is the 5th year in a row that I’ve made this relish. For the first time, I saved myself hours of tedious chopping and used my food processor. I didn’t notice any difference in texture in the finished product, so no more chopping for me!

Pickled CranberriesPickled Cranberries – Source: Serious Eats recipe by Marisa McClellan (Food in Jars)

A friend gave me a jar of these last spring and I knew I’d have to make my own batch once cranberry season rolled around. I drop a couple of these into seltzer water with a little bit of the syrup. Or mix them with seltzer and gin for an even better beverage.

Cherry MostardaCherry Mostarda – Source: Put ‘Em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton

I had a bunch of extra cherries in the freezer this year and couldn’t figure out what to do with them, so I made this mostarda. I thought it was going to be a little too mustardy for my liking, but it’s actually really good. I may use some in a pan sauce with pork chops in the not too distant future.

ApplesauceApplesauce – Source: Put ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton

In 2013, I made about 60 pints of applesauce, gave it all to my husband and told him that he could eat about a jar a week. I intended to do the same this year, but only got around to canning about 30 pints. He’ll have to pace himself if he wants it to last until next fall.

Bourbon Sour CherriesBourbon Sour Cherries – Source: Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan

Oh my gosh, these cherries. Some local friends bought a new house this year and the house came with a lot of fruit trees. They moved in during cherry season and invited me over to pick as many as I wanted. I’d never found fresh sour cherries anywhere before, so I practically ran to their house. These bourbon sour cherries are cooked in a bourbon, lemon juice and sugar syrup. They’re so good that I never want to buy maraschino cherries for cocktails again.

Boozy Bourbon CherriesBourbon Sweet Cherries – Source: Adapted from bourbon sour cherries recipe in Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan

Since my supply of sour cherries was limited, I canned a couple of batches of sweet cherries in the same bourbon syrup. I’ve given jars of these out only to people that I know will appreciate them. The rest I’m hoarding for bourbon Old Fashioneds.

Boozy Vanilla Vodka CherriesVanilla Vodka Sweet Cherries – Source: Adapted from bourbon sour cherries recipe in Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan

Same recipe as the bourbon sweet and sour cherries, but with vanilla vodka and sweet cherries. I haven’t tried these yet, but they’ll be going into lots of cocktails in 2015.

Raspberry JamRaspberry Jam – Source: The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich

In my numerous years of canning, I had never made raspberry jam. Yet raspberry jam is my favorite jam. This year I tracked down a pick your own farm about an hour away and picked enough berries for a couple batches of jam and a small raspberry tart. When I made the jam, I swore that I wouldn’t share it with anyone, but a few people did get jars of it in the end.

Peach JamPeach Jam – Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Nothing fancy about this, just ordinary and delicious peach jam.

Bourbon, Vanilla Bean & Peach JamBourbon Vanilla Peach Jam – Source: Beantown Baker

This peach jam, however, is not ordinary since it has vanilla beans and bourbon in it. I started making this one four years ago and it will be made every summer as long as I keep canning.

Ginger Peach JamPeach Jam – Source: Adapted from peach jam recipe in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

This is normal peach jam with the spicy kick of crystallized ginger. I recently ate some of it on sweet potato biscuits with Virginia ham and it was an amazing combination.

Cranberry MarmaladeCranberry Marmalade – Source: The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich

Another one that I’ve made a couple of times. It’s really tart and I can see myself using it in cocktails. I also use it as part of the sauce for meatballs, instead of the usual grape jelly.

Strawberry JamStrawberry Jam – Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Another plain yet delicious jam. Nothing fancy about it, but I have to make it every year.

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper JamStrawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam – Source: Canadian Living

This one is tied with the bourbon peach vanilla jam as the favorite jam I make. This has a bit of balsamic vinegar and a heavy dose of freshly cracked black pepper. It sounded kind of weird to me at first, but it’s really fantastic.

Sour Cherry JamSour Cherry Jam – Source: Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan

This was made with some of the sour cherries from my local friends. I believe the cherry variety was Nanking and they were so tiny that the only way I could get the seeds out was to run the fruit through the food mill.

Amaretto Cherry JamAmaretto Cherry Jam – Source: Adapted from cherry jam recipe in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Another repeat jam from previous years. I used some of it this year in a shaken bourbon cocktail with sour mix and a dash of bitters.

Strawberry SauceStrawberry Sauce  – Source: Adapted from strawberry jam recipe in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

This stuff is amazing on vanilla ice cream. I made it a couple of years ago, but regretted skipping it in 2013. I couldn’t find a strawberry sauce recipe that I liked the first year I made it, so I made regular strawberry jam and intentionally used very little pectin so that the jam wouldn’t set firmly. It’s thick enough to spoon onto ice cream or desserts, but definitely not thick enough to spread on toast.


  1. I’m pretty sure there is no way to keep up with all the stuff I can and that’s without the canning classes. I tried some new things this year – I made some salsas I normally don’t do as well as some things to add to cheese plates (bruschetta in a jar). There are certain things I do in bulk that are the mainstay our of diet – tomatoes, peaches, applesauce, pickled peaches, blueberry syrup, watermelon rind pickles and lots of jams (strawberry, cherry, apple pie, pear ginger) – while other batches are gifts or just for fun. I’ve gotten better about canning broths this year to preserve freezer space. I hear we are getting part of a pig in the coming months, so I have been trying to make space for that.
    The pizza sauce recipe from Preserving by the Pint is definitely a new staple and I will be making several batches of that this coming summer.

  2. Ooh, you’ve reminded me not to skip the strawberry sauce next year! Lots of good things in that list of yours…

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