Sweet Spreads Workshop

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We’re offering a hands-on Sweets Spread Workshop! If you’ve always wanted to learn to make sweet spreads, but just never had the opportunity, join us! Or if you’re an experienced canner, you’re welcome to  join us, too, to share your knowledge and update your skills.

Sweet spreads are fruit butters, jellies, jams, conserves, marmalades and preserves. The type of fruit, proportion of the other ingredients, the method of preparation and density of the fruit pulp is what makes these spreads different from each other. What makes them alike is that they all contain the four essential ingredients needed to make a jellied fruit product:  fruit, pectin, acid and sugar.

During this workshop we’ll discuss all types of sweet spreads and how to prepare them safely as well as troubleshooting potential problems. This is a hands-on workshop and participants will be working in teams to make a batch of sweet spread. Each participant will be able to take a jar of jam home with them after the class. There are limited spots available due to kitchen size!

The Sweet Spread Workshop will be held on Wednesday August 31 from 2 p.m. till 3: 30 p.m. at the N.C. Cooperative Extension—Brunswick County Center Kitchen at the Government Center in Bolivia.

The registration fee is $10 per person and it can be paid by check or cash the day of the workshop, but pre-registration is required.

During this class we’ll be making a jam recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. This jam contains two fruits that are available this time of year: peaches and blueberries. The recipe does not use added pectin.

Pectin is the gelling substance. The amount of pectin found naturally in fruits depends upon the kind of fruit and degree of ripeness. Underripe fruits have more pectin; as fruit ripens, the pectin changes to a non-gelling form. Cooking brings out the pectin, but cooking too long destroys it.

We recommend processing sweet spreads in a boiling water bath canner to prevent mold growth. Canning jars with two-piece lids are also recommended.

Spiced Blueberry-Peach Jam

  • 4 cups chopped or ground peaches (about 4 pounds peaches)
  • 4 cups blueberries (about 1-quart fresh blueberries or 2 ten-ounce packages of unsweetened frozen blueberries)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon whole allspice

Yield: About 6 or 7 half-pint jars

Prepare jars: Wash and sterilize canning jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer’s directions.

Prepare Boiling Water Bath Canner (BWB):  Before starting to prepare the jam, place the canner rack in the bottom of a boiling water canner. Fill the canner with enough clean warm water so it will be 1 to 2 inches over the top of the filled jam jars. Center the canner over the burner and preheat to 180 degrees F (simmering). The water can preheat while you’re preparing the jam. The clean sterilized jars can be placed on a rack in the BWB canner to keep them hot.

Prepare fruit. Sort and wash fully ripe peaches; peel and remove pits. Chop or grind peaches. Do not use a blender or food processor to prepare the fruit, this incorporates too much air. Sort, wash, and remove any stems from fresh blueberries or thaw frozen berries. 

Prepare spices: Tie in cheesecloth so they can be removed from the cooked fruit. The spices are optional.

To make jam. Measure fruits into a kettle; add lemon juice and water. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and salt; stir well. Add spices tied in cheesecloth. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly, to 221 degrees F or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat; take out spices. Skim. 

Fill hot jam immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Put the sealed jars into the Boiling Water Canner. Turn the heat up and cover the canner until the water boils vigorously. Continue boiling for 5 minutes. The water should be 1 to 2 inches above the jars. Once processed, use a jar lifter and remove the jars one at a time. Carefully place them directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling.

For more information or details on how to register for the Sweet Spreads Workshop, contact Meghan Lassiter at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center, 910 253 2594 or email meghan_lassiter@ncsu.edu. You can also register online at our website

Syracuse is a Family and Consumer Science team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center 910-253-2610