Hawaii in a Mason Jar

One thing I often notice about winter is the way it makes you really appreciate warmth. It feels

great to get out of the cold, cuddle up under a blanket and enjoy a hot beverage while you jealously flick through pictures online of other people’s beachside holidays.

I’ve lived in Yukon for almost a year now, and the only vacations I take anymore are trips back home to the balmy tropics of Saskatchewan. But spending time with my family and friends more than makes up for maintaining a ghost-like complexion and the lack of poolside bar service.

So if you, like me, are more likely to gain a tan this winter from standing near your stove, have I got a tasty, tropical recipe for you. It’s a fantastic combination of spicy and sweet, warming you up and giving you that Hawaiian luau feeling – especially if you use it as a glaze for ham!  And if you’ve never canned before, jams are a great place to start.

There are a few basic things you’ll need to get going:

Two large pots. You’ll need one for cooking your jam, and one for processing your jars. The processing pot needs to be big enough to hold all your jars and keep them covered with boiling water.

A canning rack. This is a rack that sits in the pot to keep your jars off the bottom. Alternatively, you can set some extra screw bands on the bottom of the pot.

A set of tongs. They need to be sturdy for lifting jars in and out of the water bath, and preferably have rubber grips on them for extra support.

A ladle. This makes it way easier to get the jam into the jars.

And of course, you will need clean, glass Mason jars with two-piece, self-sealing lids (the flat lids with the screw on bands).

Spicy Pineapple Pepper Jelly

(Adapted from “The Canning Kitchen” by Amy Bronee.)

Makes six 250 ml (1 cup) jars.

4 cups diced fresh pineapple (about 1 pineapple)

2 cups cider vinegar, divided

4 red Thai chilies, including seeds, thinly sliced

1 tbsp dried chili flakes

2 packages (57 g each) regular pectin powder

4 cups granulated sugar

Combine pineapple with 1 cup of vinegar in a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a large pot. Mix in the chilies, chili flakes, remaining 1 cup of vinegar, and both packages of pectin powder. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in the sugar, and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat.

Ladle jam into six clean 250 ml (1 cup) jars, leaving ¼ inch space from the jar’s rim. Be sure to wipe any spilled jam from the rim and sides, and then place the flat lid and screw band on tightly. Place sealed jars in a large pot of boiling water, and process for 15 minutes. Remove from pot and set jars on a towel on a flat surface to cool. Enjoy!

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