Category Archives: Jams

Magic Almond Flour Muffin and Apple Butter

One of the hardest things for a bread lover on a low carb lifestyle is to pass up the delicious artisan breads, the yummy muffins, and San Francisco sour dough.  All right, I make an exception for sour dough… and a few other too tempting breads, but you can’t do it often and it’s hard to limit your indulgence.

But you can whip up some delicious breads that are made with low carb flours and nut flours.  It just means stocking some of these flours in the house.  I especially like to make what I call “Magic Muffins” for breakfast.  They are a variation on the Atkins Muffin in a Minute in that I use low carb flours in them.  I also frequently use Vanilla Whey Protein Powder.  I use a brand that has less than one net carb in a tablespoon, so it’s easy to add without adding much to the carb count.

This recipe for a muffin made with almond flour and coconut flour is delicious and kind of resembles an English muffin.  The ingredients are mixed in a small bowl and cooked for one minute in the microwave, then I loosen it from the bowl, let it cool about 5 minutes and cut it across the middle to put in the toaster.  It’s sturdy enough to stand up to toasting and the flavor is really good.  Add some butter and jam or apple butter on top and it’s a real treat.  It’s also gluten-free.

Almond Flour Magic Muffin

2 tablespoons Almond Flour
1 teaspoon Coconut Flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (optional)
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Oil
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar Substitute

In a straight-sided microwavable bowl, stir the egg, oil, cinnamon and sugar substitute together until they are completely blended and no white strings of egg are visible. I use a rubber spatula with a small head for this. Stir in the almond and coconut flours and protein powder (if using) until they are thoroughly mixed in. Be sure to scrape the sides down.

Cook in the microwave for 1 minute. Take out, loosen the edges, and let cool for about 5 minutes to set up. Use a knife with a serrated edge to cut the muffin in half. Toast in a toaster or in the oven until browned to your liking. The longer you cook it, the crisper it gets.

Spread with butter and apple butter for a delicious breakfast or anytime treat.  Makes 1 muffin.

Nutrition Information (without protein powder)
Calories: 292 Fat: 26.2 g Net Carbs: 3.4 g Protein: 9.7 g

Nutrition Information (with protein powder)
Calories: 319.5 Fat: 26.2 g Net Carbs: 3.6 g Protein: 16 g

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

This is a recipe I found on at detoxinista’s web site for making no sugar added apple butter in a slow cooker. I followed her recipe almost exactly except I substituted in 1/4 cup diet cranberry juice for the water and I used Gala apples instead of Fuji, but the recipe works with almost any apple. It doesn’t use any additional sugar and the scent in the house is absolutely tantalizing while it cooks.

3 pounds Apples, cored and sliced or chopped
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/4 cup Oceanspray Diet Cranberry Juice

After you’ve cored and chopped the apples, put the in the slow cooker and add the seasonings and cranberry juice. You don’t need to peel the apples. The peels will cook down and blend in once they are pureed. Stir all the ingredients together, then turn the cooker on to low, cover and cook for five to six hours until the apples are falling apart soft. Use an immersion blender to puree the apples or put them into a food processor or blender to puree. I used a hand held drink blender and it worked beautifully.

Cover the pot loosely and cook another two to three hours until the mixture becomes a thick, spreadable butter. Turn off and let cool, then spoon into jars. I got 4 eight oz. jars from the 3 pounds, but you may get more or less, depending on how thick you want your butter.

Makes 3 to 4 cups of apple butter. A serving is 1 tablespoon

Nutrition Information per serving: (based on 48 servings)
Calories: 15.2 Fat: 0.1 g Net Carbs: 3.3 g Protein: 0.1 g

Is Quince a Quasi-apple?

The only quince I knew when I was growing up was my Great Uncle Quince and I always thought it an unusual name.  For many years, I had no idea it was also a fruit. I didn’t actually try that fruit until about two years ago when I found some at one of the local grocery stores.  Although they look like an apple, they are not and you don’t eat them raw. They must be cooked. Once cooked, they taste similar to an apple and they pair very well with apples and pears. Even though they are related, the quince is the only one in its genus, which is Cydonia, although it is part of the Rosaceae family, along with apples and pears. So, related but not… does this make them like an in-law?

Like many fruits and vegetables, the quince has a long history that goes back to ancient Asia, Turkey, Iran and pretty much the rest of the Mediterranean. Although it likes the rocky slopes and woodland marshes of southwest Asia, do not confuse it with the Chinese Quince. The Akkadians called it supurgillu. The modern name came from 14th century France as a plural form of quoyn. The Greeks called it kydonion melon or kydonian apple.

It is possible that quince may have been cultivated before apples and it may be that many references translated to apple may actually have been quince. Customs surround the quince. Ancient Greeks used it a ritual offering at weddings because it had come from the Levant with Aphrodite and was sacred to her. The Greek bride would nibble on quince to perfume her breath prior to entering her bridal chamber. Paris awarded Aphrodite a quince and it was for a golden quince that Atalanta paused in her race. The Roman Apicius cookbook had recipes for stewing quince with honey and even combining them with leeks.

In the past, quince was once a staple in kitchens world-wide but now it is a novel fruit and is not seen too often. I can find it in the fall at one grocery store in Reno. There is a pineapple quince variety that grows in California, but the majority of them are imported from South America. Although interest has diminished in North America, it is still popular in many Latin American countries.


How is is used in different cultures? In many ways. In Moroccan, Persian, Romanian and Balkan cuisine, it is used as a confection. Quince can be added to meaty stews and in much the same way as apples or pears. Called melimelum by the Romans, the Greek name means “honey apple” because the fruit was preserved in honey for jam. The Portuguese called it marmelo, a name that combines melimelum and marmelado, which was a favorite confection. The British used it in tarts and pies.

With a high pectin content, quince is easy to turn into marmalade, conserves, jams or jelly. They can be poached, stewed, baked and pretty much treated as a cooked apple. You just can’t eat them raw. They should be cored and peeled before use. An easy way to peel them is to par boil them for about three minutes, then the skin slides right off.

Nutrition information for 1 fruit, peeled and cored
Calories: 52 Fat: 0.1 g Net Carbs: 9.7 g Protein: 0.4 g

Quince Apple Jam

Scone with Quince-Apple Jam. Photo by R. Averett

Adapted for low carb by Rene Averett

Easy to make and will only store a few weeks. Quince may be found in the fall and there are places where you can order it online.  If you make more than you can eat in two or three weeks, freeze part of the batch in a freezer bag and store for several months.

1 Quince
1 Cooking Apple
1 cup sugar substitute (xylitol, like Ideal sugar)
2 cups of water
1 Tbs lemon juice

Peel and grate, or finely chop, the apple and the quince.

Bring the water to a boil and add the grated or chopped fruit. Let them cook, stirring now and then, until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar substitute and lemon juice, lower the cook temperature to medium and continue to cook until the sauce thickens to a jam. Let cool, then ladle into a clean jar and store in refrigerator.

Makes about 1 cup of jam. About 16 servings.

Nutrition info per tablespoon of jam (1 serving)
Calories:9.7 Fat: 0.0 Net Carbs: 2.6 g Protein: 0.1 g

Sources for information in this blog include Specialty Produce,
Wikipedia, Nature’s Pride and Nutrition and You

Photo at top from Wikimedia Commons, used with permission – “Quitte Cydonia oblonga” by Dietrich Krieger – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Amazingly Scrumptious Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake

Um umm, morning coffee with a piece of coffee cake… could anything be better?  Or missing from a low carb lifestyle?  Not anymore!  Although this is not recommended for phase 1.  It is definitely not on the food list and it’s iffy on phase 2.

I found the base for this recipe on the Tova Foods CarbQuick site and thought it sounded great.  Giving credit where it is due, the original recipe was contributed by nawthwoodshuntress at Low Carb Friends.  I adapted it a little more and used homemade low carb cranberry sauce in it.  It was incredibly good – so good it was hard to believe it was low carb!  I do recommend getting a box of CarbQuick for this kind of baking, but any low carb baking mix will work in it.

The low carb Cranberry Jam is easy to make.  I’m including the instructions after the recipe for my version of this coffee cake.   Obviously, this would be suitable with other low carb jams as well.

If you don’t use the whey powder and/or oat fiber or protein isolate, then substitute in 1/4 cup more CarbQuick or 1/4 cup almond flour.  If you don’t like coconut flour, substitute 1/4 cup or either of those two flours also.

Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake

1 cup whole low carb Cranberry Sauce
1cup Carbquik or other low carb baking mix
2 tablespoons Coconut Flour
2 tablespoons Vanilla Whey Powder (optional)
2 tablespoons Oat Fiber or Protein Isolate (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
3/4 cup Sugar Substitute
1/2 cup Shortening
2 Eggs
1 Egg White (can use packaged liquid egg whites)
1 teaspoon Almond extract
1/2 cup Almond milk or Coconut Milk or 1/4 cup Heavy Cream and 1/4 cup water

1/2 c. Almond Flour
2 tablespoon Flax Meal Cereal or 2 tablespoons Oats
1/4 c. Brown Sugar Substitute
1 teaspoon Sugar Free Maple Syrup
1/4 cup melted Butter,
1/4 cup chopped or sliced Almonds
1 teaspoon Cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.)  Prepare a 9″ square cake pan by spraying with baking spray or grease with with butter.

For the main cake, combine low carb flours and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside. Cream 3/4 c. sugar substitute, shortening, eggs, egg whites and almond extract in a large bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Mix well, then add almond or coconut milk (or cream combined with water), and continue mixing until it forms a batter.

Spread half the batter on the bottom, top with cranberry jam and then spread the rest of the batter over the top.

Spread half the batter into the square pan. Spread cranberry sauce  over batter.  Spread the rest of the batter over the cranberry sauce.

In another small bowl, mix the topping ingredients until they are combined into a crumble topping, then  use a spoon to distribute it over the top.

Bake for about 45 minutes.    Let cool about 10 minutes, then cut into  16 squares.

Makes 16 servings

Nutrition Info per square (with oats)
Calories: 288.1 Fat 30.9 g: Net Carbs: 4.3 g Protein: 6.0 g

Nutrition Info per square (with flax cereal)
Calories: 283.5 Fat: 30.8 g Net Carbs: 3.6 g Protein: 5.9 g

Cranberry Jam

I am a big fan of cranberry jam and the low carb version is easy to make.  Cranberries don’t really require anything to help them thicken.  I’ve added cinnamon and clove to my version, but I know not everyone is a clove fan.  You can add orange flavoring or orange zest to it, but it might change the carb count a little bit.  Pectin is not really necessary in it, but if you aren’t going to eat the jam within a couple of weeks, you might add it to help extend the life.  You can also put part of the batch into a plastic bag, press out as much air as possible and freeze it.  I used Ideal Sugar, which is a sugar alcohol substitute sugar.  It has 0 carbs.  Splenda and other sweeteners that are packaged in a filler material have a small amount of carbs in the filler, so it may increase the carb count.

1 – 10 oz package Fresh Cranberries
1 cup Sugar Substitute
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves (optional)
1/2 cup Water
1 teaspoon Pectin

This is pretty much the package directions. Rinse cranberries in a colander and sort out any bad ones. You will have about three cups of cranberries. Put in a medium-sized sauce pan and add water. Cook over medium high heat, add sugar substitute and stir until it is dissolved. Cook until cranberries pop. Add cinnamon and clove seasonings if you wish. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes until most of the water is gone and you have a thick consistency with the fruit.

Remove from the heat and let set up. When the jam is cooled, spoon into a clean jar with a tight lid. Store in your refrigerator. Will easily keep about three weeks or more, if it lasts that long.

The main difference from cranberry sauce is that it is cooked longer to make it thicker and more of a jam consistency.

Makes about 2 cups of Cranberry Jam or 32 one tablespoon servings.

Nutrition Info per serving based on 32 servings
Calories: 4.3 Fat: 0.0 g Net Carbs: 0.7 g Protein: 0.0 g

Peach Jam is Peachier Without the Carbs

I needed to clear some space in my freezer last week, so I took out the frozen peach slices that I’d done last summer and moved them to the ‘fridge.  By the time I got to them this week, they had gotten soft and there was about a cup of peach juice in the bag, so I decided to turn them into peach jam.  You can start with fresh ones, but they won’t have much juice, so you’ll need to add water.  But the flavor is great and sine they use sugar substitute for sweetening, they are low in carbohydrates and calories.

Easy Peach Jam

3 cup peach slices with juice, if there is any
1/4 cup water if there isn’t any juice
1 teaspoon Cert-O or other canning preservative
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar substitute
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Clove (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot over medium heat and stir as you bring the pot to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Check a couple of time to stir and add water if needed. Check to see if the peaches are sweet enough. If not add a little more sugar substitute.

At this point you have peach compote which can be cooled a bit, then stored in a clean jar and used as topping, side condiment or even made into a peach pie.

For jam, put the cooked peaches into a food processor and pulse a few times until the jam is smooth. Put this back in the pot and simmer until the jam is thick and the consistency you like. Let the jam cool for about 15 minutes, then put into a clean jar and store in the refrigerator.

Fresh jam without preservatives will keep in the refrigerator for about two months. If you made more than you can eat in that time, put the rest in a freezer bag and freeze until you are ready to eat it.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of jam or 24 one tablespoon servings.

Nutrition Info per recipe
Calories: 219  Fat: 1.3 g  Net Carbs: 46.4  Protein: 3.6 g

Nutrition Info per tablespoon
Calories: 9.1  Fat: .1 g  Net Carbs: 2 g  Protein: 0.1 g

Making a Jam or Compote


With the end of summer, I found myself with a decent crop of pears on my 12 year old pear tree… a very unusual occurrence. Normally the birds sample every piece of fruit on the tree as soon as it is fully formed. This year, only a few had holes pecked in them and I decided to pick them before they ripened on the tree. My pears are on a five in one variety of tree that produces small fruits, but it was a plentiful crop this year.

I brought them in, put them a bag to ripen and in due time, they began to turn colors and soften. Now I had way too many pears to eat before they began to turn rotten, so what to do? Pears are not an allowed food on the weight loss part of a low carb diet, although they are allowed when you reach maintenance. But I love the taste and decided to turn them into a jam or compote that would result in a low carb version.

LC Foods has a wonderful product for making cranberry sauce that is 0 carb and 0 calories, so the only thing you have to worry about is the actual carbs and calories in the fruit. Pears are very rich in natural sugars, which makes them high carb’d. While I don’t have a way to remove the carbs, I can use them sparingly and they make a wonderful topping on a low carb muffin.

So, I pulled out the LC-Cranberry Sauce, which uses “Inulin (chicory root) fiber, digestion resistant polydextrose fiber, sucralose, organic stevia rebaudiana leaf and natural luo han guo monk fruit” to make the powder, to make a delicious cranberry sauce. At $7.98, this makes several batches and I used this last year to make the sauce as instructed on the label for Thanksgiving, but also cooked it longer to make it thicker, put it in a jar in the refrigerator and used it as a cranberry jam for about four months. Wonderful!

I thought it would work well with the pears and I am very happy with the result. You can cut back a little on the amount of the LC-Cranberry Sauce powder since pears have a natural sweetness that cranberries don’t have.

With this success, I plan to try more fruits, such as peaches, apples and anything else that I can’t find already made into a jam. (LC Foods has strawberries, blueberries, peaches and blackberries for sale in pint jars for $7.98 a jar, which is really not unreasonable when you compare the prices at the grocery store for small jars of jam.) For now, here’s the recipe I used to make Pear Jam.


Pear Jam or Compote

3 cups diced fresh Pears
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Water
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Clove
1/4 cup LC Foods Cranberry Sauce Mix

Cook diced pears with lemon juice, water, cinnamon and clove until they are just tender and boiling. Add cranberry sauce mix powder and stir in well until it is completely dissolved. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes so that the mixture begins to thicken. Turn off heat and completely cool.

Once cooled, put the pear compote in a jar, then in the refrigerator. It will keep several weeks in the fridge. Or you can bag the compote in a freezer bag and freeze them until you are ready for them. Thaw them out, then put into a jar and into the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups of pear compote.

Nutrition Info for 1 tablespoon
Calories: 13.1 Total Carb: 3.4g Fiber .7g Net Carbs: 2.7g Protein .1g

TIP: Pears ripen from the inside out, so when they are soft when pressed around the stem or the bottom indicates that the pear is ripe.  Once the softness extends to the middle of the exterior, the pear is already over ripened.