Lemony Strawberry Jam

I was recently asked to do a food demonstration at a local county fair.  I thought it might be fun to showcase some of the new home food preservation products and make some lemon and strawberry jam.  I bought a bag of lemons, some sugar, pectin and fresh strawberries for the occasion.  A few portable appliances were easy to load into the back of my car and plug into the electrical outlet at the Home and Family Arts Building.  I had a blast making jam for all of the folks visiting the fairgrounds.  I was happy to answer questions and drum up some new found interest in canning.  If you have never preserved food or if you’re looking for a fresh new way to can fruit with ease, check out some of the new items on the market and get busy canning nature’s bounty!



Sprinkle in the pectin…

Add the crushed strawberries…

A fresh additon… lemon zest

Time to give this a stir…

Add sugar and bring to a rolling boil…    This is an amazing little appliance.  Portable, electric, and easy to clean…  Small batch canning is highlighted with this jam and jelly maker.

Getting ready to process…

Set to “canning mode”…

Simply delicious!

Lemony Strawberry Jam

Strawberries

Lemons

Sugar

Pectin

Check out the recipe at the link below.  Follow the recipe exactly as written.  This is a must when preserving foods.  No substitutions, unless directed.  Always use reputable, tested recipes for home food preservation.

https://www.freshpreserving.com/lemony-strawberry-jam—ball-auto-canner-recipes-br1393.html

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Homemade Triple Berry Jam



Our family loves the taste of homemade jam.  In fact, store bought jam or jelly products just don’t cut it in our household anymore.  While it might seem a chore to cook and carefully process the product, new tools and techniques have truly made canning your own food quite easy.  Making freezer jam is also a great option for those wanting to assemble their own recipe in far less time.  

While I’d love to tell you that this is a secret family recipe, home food preservation involves a careful balance of ingredients and it’s something that I never fool around with.  I always choose and carefully follow a reputable recipe when I’m canning foods for my family.  The reason…these recipes have been well tested for food safety.  Processing times, ingredient quantity, and acidity levels have all been checked and rechecked to eliminate the possibility of food borne illness in the products we hope to safely store on our shelves.



Our favorite way to enjoy this scrumptious treat would be to have the jam slathered all over a great big slice of Irish Soda Bread. While  I’m fond of butter and jam, others in the family love the peanut butter and jam combination.  You can find the recipes for my Irish Soda Bread/Scones here and here



Getting back to the homemade jam, this delicious recipe is one that was carefully tested by Sure Jell, which is a fruit pectin company that makes a product to be used to thicken jams or jellies. You can find the recipe here.

I’ve always had great success with this low sugar recipe and the large fruit pieces in the jam make for a lovely texture and add to the delicious fresh flavor of the product.  



Perfect Peach Freezer Jam

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While I have always been a traditional jam and jelly maker, I’m thrilled to find so many new products on the market that are meant to make jelly making so much easier and less time consuming. One such product is the instant pectin that Ball has developed specifically for freezer jam. I’ve made several jars in as little as 30 minutes. Those of you with young children can let them take a bigger role in the jelly making as there is no cooking involved. And the process is quick and simple. I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for home made goodness that is quick and simple.
I have included several screen shots of the peach freezer jam recipe calculator from the Ball/Fresh Preserving website so that you can see just how easy this is.
First, go to the Fresh Preserving website…
Here you will find a pectin calculator for your chosen jam or jelly flavor.
Now, find the fruit that you wish to use for your jam or jelly.

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Once you have chosen a fruit, choose whether you would like to make jam or jelly.

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Next, choose the type of pectin you will be using.

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The calculator will then calculate a recipe for you to follow. Super simple!

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Remember, you’ll want to use Instant Pectin…

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Also, this process is only meant for freezer jam. Store these jars in the freezer until you are ready to use them. Store them in the fridge after opening.

Hearty Oatmeal Pancakes with Homemade Maple Flavored Syrup

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For the last several days, we have been experiencing record-breaking low temperatures in our part of the world. On the positive side, forecasters had given us plenty of warning, so I was able to head out to the local stores last week to stock up on lots of food before the arctic blast set in. All in all, I did pretty well. I purchased lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of oatmeal and other breakfast items, baking supplies to make fresh bread and a few goodies for my home bound troops.
Yesterday, M pulled out our set of Mickey Mouse egg rings and asked if we could make pancakes for breakfast. The rings are meant to mold eggs into the curved shape of a Mickey Mouse head but we usually use them to shape pancakes. We whipped up a batch of our tasty, satisfying Hearty Oatmeal Pancakes before heading out into the blizzard-like conditions to shovel the newly fallen snow.

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After dropping the first batch of batter into the molds, I checked to see if we had an ample supply of maple syrup for the pancakes. To my dismay, we only had a drop of syrup left in the bottle. “No problem”, I said to myself… “I will make a batch of my own maple syrup”.
I had discovered this recipe last year, around the Thanksgiving holiday, when we had sleep-over guests and had run out of syrup. I quickly scoured my cookbook collection for an appropriate substitute. I ended up making this adapted recipe and I also heated some of our Homemade Concord Grape Jam to act as a flavorful, delicious, topping as well.
I keep the syrup recipe close at hand for we always seem to be running out of maple syrup in this house. Enjoy the recipes and stay warm!

Hearty Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil

Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, and extracts. Stir into dry ingredients; just until moistened. Pour batter onto lightly greased, hot griddle. Flip pancakes when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Continue to cook until second side is golden brown.

Homemade Maple Flavored Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple flavored extract
1 teaspoon butter flavored extract

Bring the water, sugar, and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the maple and butter flavored extract; simmer 3 minutes longer. Serve warm. Refrigerate remaining syrup.

Homemade Concord Grape Jam

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We have had a very successful grape growing season and have spent most of the holiday weekend making homemade Concord grape jam.
When our children were little, we used to pick produce like strawberries, blueberries, and apples together and then can the fruit as time allowed. Now that our days are a bit busier, it seems we have little time to do some of the things we so enjoyed years ago.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, our grape vines were bursting with beautiful ripe Concord grapes so we picked them all to prepare them for canning. M was a real trooper and helped me pick and prepare the grapes on Saturday. While we still have quite a few more jars to process, we have adopted a system that seems to work quite well so we should have everything processed soon. I have made two separate recipes to satisfy different family tastes. One that is a traditional Concord Grape Jam recipe and the other is a tart Reduced Sugar Concord Grape Spread that M seems to enjoy. I will post both for those that might be interested. These recipes are found on the Sure-Jel package and are tested as safe by Sure-Jel. Always use a reputable source (USDA, Ball, Sure-Jel, etc.) for recipes and follow strict food safety guidelines when home canning.

Homemade Concord Grape Jam

5-6 cups fresh grape juice (about 3 1/2 pounds of Concord grapes)
1 box of Sure-Jel pectin
7 cups sugar

First make the grape juice by washing 3 1/2 pounds of fresh Concord grapes.

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Mash grapes with a potato masher to break open the grape skins.

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Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 10 minutes. The cooking time starts only after the mixture has come to a boil.

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Strain to squeeze out all the juice with a sieve.

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In a large pan, put 5 cups of the juice. Add the fruit pectin to the juice; mix well. On high heat, bring to a full rolling boil, and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar all at once, and bring back to a full rolling boil, again boil hard for 1 minute stirring constantly. At this time, you can add 1 or 2 teaspoons of butter to help keep the foam down.

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Remove from heat, skim off foam and pour into hot jars; put on hot lids.
Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes.

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Reduced Sugar Concord Grape Spread

5 cups Concord Grape Juice
1 box of Ball (No Sugar or Reduced Sugar) pectin
1 cup sugar

Follow the directions as listed above. This makes a very tart, but slightly sweet version of Concord Grape jelly. You will notice that it is more of a spread than a jelly because of the reduced sugar content.

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My Little Secret Steak Seasoning Mix

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This week, a local market had a great sale on lean steaks so I bought a boatload of them…some to freeze and some to season and grill. Yesterday, after a local charity run and a beautiful day, I fired up the grill for a delicious steak dinner.
I used to buy expensive pre-mixed meat seasonings but soon realized that mixing my own seasonings was certainly more economical but also so much better when tailored for my families taste. This “secret” recipe is a bit like a Montreal steak seasoning and it makes meats tender and flavorful with a bit of a spicy twist. Sprinkle the seasoning on anything that you might be grilling. I’ve even sprinkled it on grilled pineapple and peaches. …So good!

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My Little Secret Steak Seasoning

2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons hickory smoked sea salt
4 teaspoons paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Mix all seasonings together and store in a tightly lidded container in a cool, dry place. Use as a rub for steak, pork, chicken, and shrimp. Sprinkle over grilled fruit or vegetables.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

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This is my “go to” recipe for icing cookies, cupcakes, coffee cakes, and apple slices. The almond extract compliments so many pastry flavors. Add a touch of food coloring to make things a little more festive.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbls milk or cream
1/2 tsp almond extract
Food Coloring, optional

In a medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients and mix well. If glaze is too thick, carefully add extra milk or water (a 1/2 teaspoon at a time) until mixture is smooth and creamy. Lightly spread or drizzle glaze on cooled cookies, cupcakes, etc.