IN A “JAM”

We’ve had such nice weather lately that when I was out in the valley this week, I decided to stop at the local berry farm and pick up some berries.  I opted to not “U-pick” as I was wearing white pants that day. 🙂   I headed into the market and found the berry counter.  After looking at the “flats” I purchased a 15 lb flat of strawberries and 10 lb flat of raspberries.  It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how many berries I actually had gotten!  I think I was mesmerized by all the good looking red berries haha

Once home I had to decide what to do with 25 lbs of berries!  After all you can only drink so many smoothies and eat so much yogourt with berries sprinkled on top.  Off to the market to pick up more mason jars, sugar, lemons, and pectin (liquid).

These recipes make one batch.  I made strawberry and raspberry jam and the recipes are slightly different but the general idea is the same.

I took the lids off the jars and washed them all in hot soapy water, rinsed well and placed on a deep cookie sheet with 1/2 inch of water in a 300 F degree oven to sterilize them.  I leave them in until just before I have to fill them.

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Take the lids and place them in a sauce pan with water and bring to a simmer. (Screw caps don’t have to be hot and sterilized.

RASPBERRY JAM

4 cups prepared raspberries (pick out leaves, stems and rinse quickly)

6 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp of butter

1 pouch of liquid pectin

Use a deep stainless steel pot as jam will boil up quickly.

Add the raspberries and the sugar and use a potato masher to crush.  I keep crushing and stirring until the sugar is all incorporated.  Add in the butter as it keeps the foaming to a minimum.

 

Boil over high heat stirring constantly until it comes to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.  Add one pouch of pectin and stir in. Boil x 1 min and then remove from heat and skim off any foam.

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Place the hot jars on a clean tea towel and using a wide mouth funnel fill the jars up to 1/4″ from the top.  Wipe the mouths of the jars so that no stickiness remains and top with heated lids and apply the screw cap and screw finger tight.

 

Place jars in a hot water bath using a canner, with 1″ above all the jars.  Cover the canner with the lid and bring water to a full rolling boil. I boiled them for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat at 10 min and remove the lid and let sit for 5 min.  Then using a jar lifter I removed the jars from the water and placed them on another dry tea towel.  Within a few minutes you will start to hear the lids popping (they become concave).  Do not move for 24 hours.

Then label and put away to enjoy!

I used 500ml (1 pint)  canning jars and each “batch” made 3 – 4 jars

STRAWBERRY JAM

3 3/4 cups of crushed strawberries (hull, wash, slice and crush)

4 Tblsp lemon juice

7 cups of granulated sugar

1 pouch liquid pectin

1/2 tsp of butter

Add the sugar, and strawberries and lemon juice and crush until there is no dry sugar visible.

Bring to a full rolling boil and then add the pectin and boil for 1 minute.  Follow the remaining directions for filling jars and water bathing as above.

I ended up with 12 pints of strawberries and 10 pints of strawberries, plus I froze a  ton of berries as I was getting tired from standing and stirring.  Plenty of other recipes to come in future blogs.

Stay tuned!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

 

 

 

PEACHES FOR DAYS!!

IMG_2455   So in my last post I talked about canning peaches. I ended up with 4 quarts and 8 pints of peaches to enjoy during the fall and winter. Can’t wait.  I also mentioned that I went out and got another box of peaches.  They were so fragrant and juicy that it’s been a real treat this year.

Yesterday it was nice and cool in the morning, so I decided to go ahead and start in with the next batch of peaches.

I ended up making 5 pints of peach jam, 2 large zip-loc baggies filled with individual bags of peaches for future smoothies and freezies, a large casserole dish of Peach Crisp and kept about 10 in the fruit bowl for snacking on. 🙂

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The last pics are of the freezies I made. So nice as a light dessert after supper. Especially with all these hot days and warm evenings.  They are made with yogourt and fruit and a bit of sugar although the fruit has been sweet enough so I don’t think you really need it.

Now I’m waiting for tomatoes so that I can put up some stewed tomatoes for future casseroles, spaghetti sauces etc.

It’s very satisfying to see the fruits (literally haha) of your labour. I grew up with my mom preserving and canning and I still call her for tips. She still cans and is 86 yrs old.   I have a couple of girlfriends who can/preserve but we are all of a certain age. I’m hoping that my kids give it a try at some point and continue on with this tradition.

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

WHAT A PEACH!!

IMG_2403We’ve had such hot dry weather this year that I’ve been doing very little in the kitchen.  Now that we have an occasional cool breeze I actually feel like cooking again. I had to drive out in the valley this week, so I popped into a  local market and picked up a box of peaches. They smelled heavenly!  I haven’t canned for a couple of years due to time constraints and peaches aren’t always tasty. Some years every time I’ve picked up peaches they have been mealy and tasteless. This year they are perfect, albeit smaller. ❤

So to start gather your peaches and check to see that they are all of a consistent ripeness. I actually let them sit from Monday to Friday before doing anything with them. They have to give a bit but not so much that they squish.

Wash all your sealers, rings and lids with soapy water and rinse well. Put your canning jars on a large rimmed cookie sheet with about a 1/2 inch of water. Keep in a 300 – 350F degree oven to sterilize the jars until ready to fill. Don’t leave in so long that all the water evaporates like I did 😦 . In a pot on the element put your sealer rings and lids to heat up and this way the little rubber rings get softened and will give a good seal.

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To make the simple syrup, I made 2 cups of sugar to 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil and keep simmering while preparing next steps.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl filled with ice water. This is to aid with peeling the peaches.

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Once the water is boiling add about 8 peaches (depending on size, I had small peaches) and let them sit in the boiling water for 30 sec. Immediately take them out and plunge them into ice water.

In a third bowl fill with water and a cut lemon that you’ve squeezed. This is to prevent the peaches from browning.  You can buy packaged Fruit Fresh but I decided to use lemons this time.

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Cut the peaches in half cutting along the seam. The skin should just slip off. You can slice the little bits of skin that stick, but, for the most part the skin really does just slip off. Kinda like magic 🙂

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Put the cut peaches in the lemon water. Once you get a bowl full of sliced prepared peaches you can take the jars out of the oven. Place the jars on a clean rimmed cookie sheet. Start adding the peach halves cut side down until you get to 1/2″ from the top. Make sure they are well packed. You can slice them if you’d like as well.

Once you get the peaches all placed in the jars, add hot syrup to a 1/2 ” of rim. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth and place the lids and screw caps on. Tighten but don’t over tighten.

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Immediately place in a water bath. I used my stock pot but its definitely worth the investment to get a real canning pot. Make sure the jars are covered with at least 1″ of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 25 – 30 min. Remove from the water and place on a dry, clean tea towel. Make sure they don’t touch. You will hear the lids pop and that signifies they have properly sealed.  Let cool and them retighten lids before storing in a cool dry place.

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The last step is to leave them until the fall or winter when you are craving a taste of summer. Great alone or with ice cream .  Can’t wait! Yum!

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These peaches were so good I went out again on Friday and picked up another box of peaches.  I think jam will be on the list and freezing a bunch for smoothies and freezies.  Stay tuned!! Can’t wait.

Hope you give this a try so you too can saveur a taste of summer when the weather gets cool and skies get gray.

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤