As the spring season ushers in warmer temperatures, I am focused on the blossomed plants that will soon produce ripe, succulent berries. My last year’s supply of Bumbleberry Jam is running low so I am hopelessly awaiting the opportunity to pick fresh berries and the prospect of an abundant canning season.
There is nothing sweeter than a freshly baked scone or a slice of whole grain bread slathered with creamy butter and a heaping scoop of Bumbleberry Jam. We also enjoy pairing the jam with a hearty helping of extra crunchy homemade peanut butter to assemble the classic PB&J. Oh, it’s all so berry delicious!
Below you will find the link for this incredible jam. Always remember that using a reputable source for canning recipes is imperative. Some of these sources include the National Center for Home Food Preservation, University Extension Websites, and Ball or Bernardin Recipes. These organizations have thoroughly tested recipes making sure to focus on food safety guidelines.
It’s relatively simple to make jam. Follow the directions exactly as written and you’ll end up with a safe, delicious product. Most jam recipes require an abundance of crushed berries…
Then you’ll often need some pectin and sugar…
You’ll need a large pot to mix all of your ingredients together according to the directions…
After processing the jars in a water bath canner for the recommended time, you’ll let the jars sit to cool for 12-24 hours…
The Bumbleberry Jam recipe can be found here:
Ball has a recipe for Mixed Berry Jam that tastes delicious as well. Here is the link:
The first day of fall has hit the Midwestern region and it seems that gardens are producing a bounty of veggies that need to be picked and processed before the cooler temperatures set in. Once again, a few local growers were kind enough to share an abundance of beautiful produce that was beyond what they could consume. I was thrilled to see a small bag of assorted hot peppers in the mix. The orange, red, and green, color combination would make for a beautiful display in canning jars. Because I would only have enough to fill one large jar, I decided to make refrigerator pickled peppers rather than canning them with a water bath method. This is a quick and simple way to make the great tasting flavor of the peppers last as they sit on the refrigerator shelf and marinate in the sweet and spicy vinegar solution. Use these peppers to top an Italian salad or to add some flavor to a grilled sandwich. Simply delicious!
Sweet and Spicy Pickled Peppers
2-4 cups sliced peppers
2 cups white vinegar
1⅓ cup water
1 tablespoon canning salt
2 tsp sugar
Canning jar(s) with tight fitting lid(s)
Wash jar(s) with warm soapy water; air dry. Pack the sliced peppers in jar(s). Set jar(s) aside.
In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar completely. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool.
Pour mixture over the peppers making sure they are completely covered. Twist on a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. As the peppers sit, the flavors will develop. Store refrigerated for 4-6 weeks.
Well, it’s that time of year again! Ready for the picking are clusters of deep purple grapes hanging off of the vines in my back yard. While the last couple of years have brought bumper crops to our lot, this year’s pickings have been a bit slim. This didn’t stop me from making a few of our family favorites…flavorful grape juice and grape jam.
There’s no greater satisfaction than to grow and process your own produce. Several years ago I planted two Concord grape pods and they have grown to cover a large open area with a plentiful bounty of fruit. Fresh air, rain and sunshine nourish the plants throughout the summer months until the gorgeous fruit are ready for picking. I don’t water, fertilize, trim or fuss. This is my kind of gardening! The reward for leaving the plant to do what it naturally does; lots and lots of grape jam and juice that will last throughout the year.
Above is the recipe from the Ball Blue Book published by Alltrista Corporation.
Here is another method that produces similar results…
Homemade Concord Grape Juice
TO EACH STERILIZED QUART JAR
2 cups washed and cleaned concord grapes
1/2 cup sugar
In sterilized jar place 2 cups grapes.
Add 1/2 cup sugar.
Fill with boiling water leaving 1/2″ headspace.
Seal jars at once with 2 piece lids. Process in water-bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and let sit for 24 hours. Remove metal lid-bands, and label with date and contents. Let juice stand 3 to 4 weeks before using. (The longer you let it sit, the greater the concentration.) Strain juice from grapes and use juice. Refrigerate after opening.
For a great tasting homemade Grape Jam, try this Ball Blue Book recipe…
I was pleasantly surprised this week when a co-worker brought in a big bag of freshly picked pickling cucumbers and plopped them on the break room table. She announced that the cucumbers were from her father’s garden and that anyone was welcome to take as many as they liked. Straight away, I scooped up a good majority of the pickles and packed them away for one of my favorite summer projects. When I returned home from work that evening, I began the task at hand, slicing the veggies for my refreshing refrigerator pickles.
This recipe yields several jars of a delicious, crunchy, sweet condiment. Use a variety of green, red, or yellow peppers to add a bit of color to the mix. You will love the ease at which this recipe comes together (ridiculously easy). More importantly, you will love the taste of these refreshingly delicious refrigerator pickles!
Fresh from the Garden Refrigerator Pickles
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup mixed pickling spice
6 cups sliced pickling cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced green bell peppers
In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved, 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, drop a teaspoon of pickling spices into the bottom of each sterilized canning jar.
Tightly pack the mixture of cucumbers, onions and green bell peppers into jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables, covering vegetables completely. Twist on lids and store in the refrigerator for three days before serving.
This is my favorite time of year… It’s amazing to see the soft rains and bright sunshine help strong plants bare fruits and vegetables. As I browse through the fresh produce at the farmer’s market, I spy dark red cherries, plump blueberries and lots of gorgeous fruit. Pickling cucumbers and fresh dill are making their way to the forefront of my mind as I am a bit excited about my newest kitchen gadget.
Several months ago, as I was reading up on preserving and fermenting, I came across a fermentation device that seemed super simple to use. After watching the web video promoting the product, I quickly ordered it and anxiously awaited it’s arrival in the mail. Well, it’s here, and this is my first attempt at “Real Pickles”, as Kraut Source has named them. To find the recipe and to learn more about this amazing product, visit http://www.krautsource.com.
Here’s a sneak peek at the fermentation process for “Real Pickles”…
First, I made a brine with water and salt. Then, I started the assembly with a clean quart canning jar. I rinsed the pickles and cut an 1/8″ slice off the blossom end of the pickles.
Then, I added mustard seed and a bay leaf…
1/4 of a sliced onion…
5 cloves of peeled garlic…
1 tablespoon of loose tea and 2 sprigs of deliciously fresh dill… I added 6 pickling cucumbers and filled the jar with the brine…
I topped it with the Kraut Source contraption and added a bit more water in the mote around the top of the device….
Viola’ … The pickled will sit on my counter for 7-10 days to ferment! Can’t wait to try them…
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.
I’m a fan of simplicity and this autumn recipe really couldn’t be any easier…
A few days ago, my boss arrived to the office with a box full of assorted squash that she had picked from her garden. She admitted neglecting the overgrown weeds in and around the produce and to her surprise, had found a plethora of ripe, fresh squash that she couldn’t possibly eat on her own. She placed the box on the reception desk with a note encouraging employees to take whatever we wanted. I was elated and quickly rummaged through the produce looking for the best of the bunch.
I guess the hardest part of this recipe is getting the thick skin off of the flesh. Carefully use a knife to trim away the light colored skin keeping the cut side of the squash flat against the cutting surface. Scoop out the seeds and cube the firm flesh. In a short while, get ready for a fantastic side dish!
Caramelized Butternut Squash Cubes
3 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss cubed squash and olive oil until well coated. Arrange squash on an 11X17″ baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and slightly caramelized.
Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar; return to the oven, continue baking for 5-7 minutes or until fork tender.