Canning is all the rage now. You may have heard about Canvolution, which began as a movement here in Seattle last year and has spread across the country as thick as jam. But, when it comes to cooking with younger Seattle kids, canning isn’t the ideal activity what with all that bubbling, syrupy fruit and hot, sterilized jars. Still, you can celebrate the spirit of handmade jams and jellies.

Rebecca Staffel is a local mom who gave up her corporate job to start Deluxe Foods. She is the “chief tasting officer” and makes jams, jellies, chutneys and sauces that feature flavor twists. Raspberry thyme, blueberry basil, grape jelly with sage are just three of the combinations that Staffel has concocted. You can buy her products at Picnic in Seattle‘s Phinney Ridge-the perfect stop before a Zoo Concert.

Once you have some handmade jams, you can make some simple desserts with your kids. Take a nice store-bought pound cake, slice it in half on the horizontal to create two layers, then let your little ones spread jam on the bottom half. Replace the top half and you have a no-brainer dessert. Whip some heavy cream as a topping, if you wish. You also can add a dollop of jam, such as the Deluxe Foods rhubarb ginger, on slices of several different cheeses to teach your kids about the fun of creating new flavor combinations. And, of course, you could always make jam-filled cookie sandwiches.

– Hsiao-Ching Chou