Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spicy Pineapple Pepper Slaw


I'LL MAKE THIS QUICK....
cuz WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET...
this is a great salad on it's own, but perfect for tacos and the like.

SPICY PINEAPPLE SLAW
there are no specific measurements.
i make small batches of this all the time.  just use your taste buds.
a little of this and a little of that...
warning...this is pretty spicy

1st you need the Pickle Jalapenos i recently posted....
you will dress the salad with the juice and add some of the pickled jalapenos in...
1 small head of cabbage. 
 i usually use 1/2 heasd.  just depends on how much you are making.
diced pineapple
celery sliced thin might be nice...
cilantro
smoked black pepper
red pepper flakes
cumin
lime zest and or juice if you want

NOTE... SALT ONLY IF NEEDED and just before serving.  this will keep in the fridge, but if you salt it...it will weep and lose it's crunch factor.


i have also use nectarines, pineapple and shredded carrots...YUM !




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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spiced Pickled Canned Peaches


PEACHES...

OH HOW I LOVE MY 
SPICY PICKLED PEACHES

i know i'll get some flack from real peach lovers and "true canners" out there, but i mostly do these with canned peaches.  i'm addicted and have to have them in the pantry all year 'round.
here in Newport Beach fresh peaches aren't really fresh...in my opinion.  they arrive unripened, hard as a rock in a big truck and are expected to ripen in the store. fresh peaches tend to be "iffy" or way too pricey at the farmers markets.  it's hard to trust that each one will be juicy and delicious. i have wasted many a seemingly beautiful peach...too hard, too soft, bruised, pithy or just no peach  flavor at all.  i bought 10 and could only use 6.

YES...i have used real peaches for this recipe and, YES they were better, but canned are dependable, quite a bit cheaper...AND SO MUCH EASIER.  i hate peeling peaches...yes, i have tried the dipping in boiling water trick.  i opted for the good ol' potato peeler.

real fresh peaches are fabulous, BUT...
if you want to try this out and don't want to spend the time and money with fresh peaches...i swear you will love these even if they are...

CANNED "CANNED" PEACHES



oh...i almost forgot...
how do you use these spicy pickled peaches?...

one of my favorites is with fried chicken
OR sliced with a juicy cheeseburger
with charcuterie
diced in vanilla greek yogurt
sliced with fresh ricotta and scone.
along side a beautiful cheese platter.
or serve with CRISPY SKIN PORK BELLY !!!


SPICED PICKLED CANNED PEACHES
(i think this makes about 6 pint jars)

7-8  peeled peaches, sliced 3/4 inch thick
OR...THE CHEATER METHOD...
5 jars "DOLE sliced yellow cling peaches in 100% juice", drained and rinsed in filtered water.

PICKLING LIQUID...
2 qts white grape juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
7 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 big tsp cardamom
1/2 big tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground chipotle
5-6 dried chili arbol
4 cinnamon sticks
6-7 whole cloves
5-6 cardamom pods

IMPORTANT...if canning..sterilize jars and lids.  put a large stock pot of water on for your water bath.

1...dissolve three(3) crushed vitamin C tablets in 2 qts of cool water.  this is to keep the peaches from turning color
2.... get your pickling liquid together and bring that to a boil.  take off heat and let steep while working on peaches.  TASTE TEST...a pinch here, another sprig there?  more sugar?
3...peel peaches.  i use a potato peeler.  i find it faster and easier than boiling water and dunking each peach in to loosen the skin....
4.....cut peaches into 3/4 inch  slices and put them in the bowl of cool vitamin C water.

NOTE...if using "cheater method"...skip steps 1 , 3 and  4

5...strain the pickling liquid through  double or triple cheesecloth, BUT SAVE SOME OF THE GOODIES.  the cloves, cinnamon stick, chili, rosemary, cardamom pods
6...introduce the peaches into the pickling liquid in a large pot and warm everything together.  i don't think there is any need to bring it to a boil, just get it warm enough so that jars are warm going into the canning bath.   remove from heat.
7...fill jars with peaches and liquid.  arrange some rosemary, cardamom, chili and cloves around to add flavor and look nice.
let come to room temp.  they can even sit on the counter over night.  then refrigerate for at least a week to absorb flavors.
NOTE...i like to have extra rosemary, chilis, cloves, cardamom, etc... that have been cleaned and boiled in the liquid.  i like to make sure each jar has these elements because they will continue to flavor the peaches.
 or i suggest canning them.
i have only "canned" these so i don't know how well the flavors will absorb with the refrigerator method.  canning is a bit of a pain, but it is so fabulous to grab a jar out of the pantry when needed.
besides...i don't have that kind of space in my packed-to-the-brim fridge.


PS... my friend Stephanie used the liquid for a BELLINI-MARTINI and cursed me the next morning.  the martinis were so good she had three... 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Super Easy Lemon Curd in the Vitamix


some people are sweet and tart
some people are deep and dark
some people are on the fence...?

BUT this dessert ?..... 'til death do us part.

please excuse my attempt at Valentine's poetry, but someone has to get a bit sappy around here.    Valentine's Day is all about cards, flowers, chocolates and desserts of any kind, but in my books it's yet another FREE-DAY of all treats coming my way.

this one is super easy to whip up.  the lemon curd takes minutes and you can make some delicious truffles ahead of time.  i have quite a few truffle recipes to browse if you go to the search bar in the right column.  OR in a pinch...just go out and buy some at your favorite chocolatier.
IMPORTANT NOTE...you must use a high powered blender such as a Vitamix or maybe a Blendtec.


5 minutes prep
5 minutes blend
wait for it to set...OR DON'T

try not to lick the container with sharp blade until your tongue falls off.

photo sitting in the car...lolololl.

so easy i made it in the garage !...
let me explain...i was all "mise en place" in the kitchen, but "someone" wanted to watch football in the kitchen with his lunch.  my Vitamix and i moved to the garage.

done in 5 minutes !


EASY LEMON CURD in the VITAMIX
recipe from the VITAMIX CREATE book
i found the recipe through Holly at"A Baker's House"on Pinterest...a fabulous blog with delicious goodies galore.

1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
zest from 3 Meyer lemons
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 vanilla bean scraped

put juice, zest, eggs, sugar and salt in the blender starting on variable #1...slowly increase to #10.  let it rip for 5 minutes.  lower speed to #3.  remove small lid cap and add butter and vanilla bean scrapings.  blend for 30 more seconds.  remove, strain through fine mesh strainer, let come to room temp. and refrigerate for a few hours.  will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

NOTE...this has a light and airy texture.  not like regular curd that seems to be a bit more heavy like pudding.  i do not think it will hold it's shape if using in a large lemon tart and cutting perfect slices.  maybe it's best for individual tartletts....or maybe i will play with the ingredient amounts...a little less juice perhaps ?
oh just go ahead and spread it on anything...ENJOY

IT'S REALLY FINGER LICKIN' GOOD !!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moroccan Cherry Preserves


CHERRIES ARE BACK... 

YES..they're expensive.  they aren't quite as dark, plump and sweet as they are when they are in perfect season, but they are worth it for jam and preserves.  Fabulous add to your Holiday breakfasts, brunch, dinners or desserts AND a little jar of this is a much better gift than the last minute scarf or pair of socks.

this recipe lends itself to the sweet AND the savory.  yes, it's delicious on a nice hot scone, but fabulous paired with any main dinner course.  i'm going to serve it along side my Christmas ham.
but for this post i just so happened to be grilling some salmon for a recipe i intended to be about the Beluga Lentils.  when the plate came together for the photo, i thought the preserves were absolutely the star of the show.
it dawned on me...i forgot to post about this fabulous cherry concoction.

so here it is...another jam/preserves recipe.  this one is a winner.
i found the Moroccan spice mixture from a great blog called Anja's Food For Thought.  she has all kinds of healthy interesting goodies, so please visit her site.  Anja used the spices for some delicious looking roasted mushrooms.  my brain was in jam mode, so i quickly bought up a pile of sweet cherries and went to work.  the end result has received rave reviews form my taste tester guinea pigs...i say guinea pigs with love intended.  i don't know what i would do without my faithful (sometimes daring) friends.

MOROCCAN SPICE MIX

2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 chili powder
1/2 sweet paprika
1/2 ground cinnamon
1/4 ground ginger
1/8 ground clove



MOROCCAN SPICED CHERRY PRESERVES

2.5 pounds TOTAL pitted cherries
1 lb. whole pitted cherries...approx.  3 cups
1 lb. 8 oz. halved pitted cherries...approx. 4 cups
6 slices granny smith apple...approx. 3/4 of apple
juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime
zest from 1/2 lemon and 1 lime
5 cups sugar...4 would be okay
cheesecloth pouch with seeds and membrane of lemon and lime
1 chipotle pepper in adobo with seeds..fine mince pepper only...no seeds
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped as fine as possible...(might want a little more)
1 Tbsp Moroccan spice...(might need to add more after taste test)..recipe above

if you are canning...get all your mise en place ready.  small plates in freezer, big stock pot on the stove heating for the canning, sterilize your jars and keep them warm.  for more info on the specifics please visit my Tips and Tricks post or check out Pick Your Own.org.

in a large stock pot add all the pitted cherries, halves and wholes.  add sugar and let sit while you are getting the other stuff done.  they will macerate a little.  zest and squeeze your citrus right into the pot.  make a small cheesecloth pouch with the citrus seeds and membrane (seen here).  cut apple slices and remove seeds.  slices should be at least 1 inch thick.  you will be removing them when jam is ready.  add the chipotle, rosemary and Moroccan spice.  keep some of these last 3 on hand if you need to add some after your taste test when jam is almost done.

start pot on low-ish heat to get things going.  when cherries have released a lot of juices you can turn the heat up to medium high.  don't go far from the pot.  it can start to bubble over.  you should stir a bit every now and then to keep an even heat.  when the jam begins to thicken and it reaches 220 degrees, do a plate test.  DO A TASTE TEST, but beware it is molten HOT!  add extra spices if you see fit.  when the jam looks like it is set to your liking, remove from stove and fill sterilized jars.
proceed with canning process...or seal jars and let come to room temp and refrigerate.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chipotle Bacon Pecan Caramel Apples...


there are no words to describe...

"A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS"


and YES...

BACON DOES MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER
especially when it's got a little kick of chipotle.


better late than never...i've been dreaming about this for weeks.
now it's crunch time and i found myself scrambling for these simple ingredients.
i would normally have gone with the old classic...individual wrapped Kraft Caramels.  i was willing to unwrap as many of those little suckers as possible...man, they are a pain.  i could not find them anywhere today...and i needed them TODAY.  i had a bee in my bonnet.  2 days 'til Halloween and i had to get this done.  i finally found some Werther's Chewy Caramels...a little bit more pricey...and individually wrapped of course, but like i said...i had to get it done...that bee was a buzzin' .

i thought the chews were the right texture, but i did find confirmation that they were right for the job at their website with helpful simple apple dipping instructions....found HERE.

here's what you need to go buy...NOW

4-5 granny smith apples
11-12 oz chewy caramels...Werther's or Kraft
lollipop sticks...wood popsicle sticks would have been better.
2 Tbsp cream.
1 lb. bacon...cooked extra crispy, chopped into small pieces.
i cooked a 12oz package and ran out after 4 apples....so sad.
ground chipotle powder and cinnamon...optional.
i sprinkled ground chipotle pepper and cinnamon on bacon 3/4 way through cooking in the oven
a handful of pecans, chopped...sweet & spicy pecans found at Trader Joes.
dark chocolate  for a nice drizzle?  or double dip ???...
DARN...i ran out of time...again......so sad


for clear cut easy caramel dipping instructions go to WERTHER'S CARAMELS or the KRAFT WEBSITE...

here is what i did...
wash apples...you might need to scrub them or wipe dry very well to remove any waxy coating.
pop clean apples in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
remove stem and push in stick.
prepare a flat surface with parchment that can fit in the fridge.
melt caramel and cream in the microwave on high, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes (depending on microwave).
dip apple and let excess drip from the bottom.
roll in bacon and pecans.
WORK QUICKLY...the caramel sets fast and the bacon won't stick.  you might need to apply bacon and pecans in some missing areas.
quickly put the beautiful bacon pecan apples in the fridge on the parchment.  let set for at least 15 minutes.

NOTE...they should stay chilled until presenting them....
they will begin to sag from the weight of the POUND of BACON you have applied.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Pamplemousse...aka Grapefruit Jam


GRAPEFRUIT...PUCKER UP...THEY'RE IN SEASON

they're big, sour, have tough membranes, big seeds and bitter white flesh that is hard to avoid.  most people need to douse them in sugar and pry the meat out with a special knife or spoon just to get one little morsel...even then it's not all that rewarding.

the poor grapefruit gets a bad rap.  
so many think it's just plain diet food...

NOT SO!


they make for some delicious homemade marmalade.
a little unknow fact is that originally marmalade was made from Quince, but then evolved to oranges.   some say the word marmalade is reserved for Seville oranges and only Seville oranges, but now just about anything with a citrus rind in jam form would be considered marmalade...

oh...and by the way...i called it "Pamplemousse" because i couldn't really label it Grapefruit Lemongrass...the flavor just doesn't scream lemongrass as i had hoped...but it IS in there.  besides...the French word makes it sound more intriguing...right ?


i've been wanting to make some grapefruit jam since my whole JAMMAPALOOZA thing started...i finally got around to it.

since i have the need to color outside the lines, i decided to make Grapefruit Lemongrass Marmalade.  i have cooked with lemongrass quite a few times and know it is usually a strong flavor...i thought it would hold up well to the tart sweet-sourness of the grapefruit.  NOT SO MUCH !  i steeped four pieces (shown in photo) and i even added very thin-thin slivers into the jam as it cooked.  the end result did not show the lemongrass flavor i was looking for.  maybe it was masked by the acid or the sugar?...maybe the lemongrass was a dud ?...i'm not sure, but i'm thinking it added to the overall flavor profile in some sort of way.

in any case...not that i have ever bought any grapefruit jam in my life, but...

i know this is better than any old store bought marmalade.


PAMPLEMOUSSE aka GRAPEFRUIT MARMALADE
(technically...GRAPEFRUIT LEMONGRASS MARMALADE)
makes 6 half pints plus a little extra.

3 ruby red grapefruit, see notes
1 navel orange, thin sliced
1 lemon juice
1 lemon peel, thin sliced
1 clove roasted garlic...optional.  see note
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp fresh ginger finely minced
1/2 vanilla bean scraped
6 cups water

NOTE...optional.  i added four(4) 2 inch pieces of LEMONGRASS, as shown in photo...and some small thin slivers.  the lemongrass flavor did not really come through in the end product, but i hope and imagine it added to the over all flavor layers.
(above is example of lemongrass and pectin pouch after removal from finished product.)

slice the ends off the grapefruits.  run a sharp knife down the sides to remove the peel while leaving the white skin on the grapefruit.  a little white on the peel is ok.  slice the peel pieces to about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.  set aside.  now take that sharp knife and remove the white skin from the fruit...discard.  over a big bowl do your best to segment the grapefruit meat, leaving the seeds and membrane while catching the dripping juices.  squeeze the juice out of the membrane.  save seeds and 1 - 2 membrane clumps for your cheesecloth pectin pouch.  you should end up with about 4 cups of grapefruit meat and juice.

in a large pot, one that you will be cooking the jam in, add sugar, grapefruit meat, juice and peels and the ginger and bring to a boil.  turn off and let this sit over night or for at least 5-6 hours.  this is supposed to help tone down the bitterness.  don't worry, it will still have that slight grapefruit bitter...cuz that's what a grapefruit is...it's bitter.  as mentioned...i added the lemongrass at this point so that it would steep overnight in the mixture.
the next day or when you're ready don't forget to get everything set to go...plates in the freezer for plate test, sterilized jars and lids, start your huge water bath pot and get your work space cleared for take off.
now bring the mixture up to a medium boil.  stir every now and then.  this stage might take a while.  like an hour?  it needs to reduce a bit......don't walk far away, it might boil up on you and that's not a good thing.  add your scraped vanilla bean (and garlic paste if using).  when the jam starts to thicken and reaches 220-222 F degrees try a plate test...if it passes you are ready to proceed with water bath canning.

NOTE about garlic...if you are adding the roasted clove of garlic.   in a small heat resistant cup, take a small amount of the liquid jam out and dissolve the clove into a paste before adding to the jam.  this should be a sight unseen flavor.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

BLUEBERRY LEMON LAVENDER JAM


WHO DOESN'T LIKE BLUEBERRY JAM ?

FRESH BLUEBERRIES... they're still out there.  they're always out there and they are pop in your mouth delicious.  i don't know where you live, but blueberries are a year 'round thing here in So. California so there's really no rush.  sometimes they are better than others and i get excited when they are 2 for 3$ instead of 1 for 4.99$.  the best ones are plump, a bit firm and look like they have a slight white powder dust on them...you know, the ones that have not been man-handled.   grab them up...they're good for ya.

LEMON...might want to go with organic.  always try to use organic when using the outer layer of anything.  i'm a little lazy about this but i really should pay attention.  try cutting your zest in thin slivers as shown in photo with raspberries.  i find it adds a little extra zing when you get that sliver in a bite.

LAVENDER... dried...i buy mine at Mother's Market...inexpensive bought by the ounce.  again, organic...although, i must admit to using some straight from the garden (not so organic garden i might add) and i'm not dead yet.  lavender adds that delicious floral herb aroma flavor that many people aren't familiar with, but detect there's something special in the mix.  it's not overwhelming, but it makes this jam stand out from any ol' store bought jam. 
 NOTE...i should add that you need to be careful adding floral things like lavender in jams...or any food, for that matter...you can easily over do it and end up with something you liken to the face mask you had on your last spa day...or that pretty little candle you got for your birthday labeled RELAX...

 


BLUEBERRY LEMON LAVENDER JAM

6 cups blueberries
3 1/2 cup sugar
juice from 1 lemon or 1/4 cup
zest from 1 1/2 lemon
peel lemon with a potato peeler, then cut into very thin slivers (photo)
2 Tbsp dried lavender tied in a cheesecloth pouch
1/2 tsp dried lavender for the pot
1/2 vanilla bean scraped
1/2 tsp lavender extract.  (if necessary)
note...you can add 2-3 wedges of granny smith apple to the pot for pectin.  remove before canning

i can't stress...mise en place, mise en place...mise en place
don't forget to put a couple of small plates in the freezer for your plate test...and start you huge pot of water for your water bath.  have all your jars sterilized and kept warm so you are ready.

in a large stainless steel or enamel pot add blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest slivers, lavender pouch, lavender buds.  start on low heat until juice is released from blueberries and sugar is dissolved.  some recipes call for you to crush 1/3-1/2 of the blueberries first, but i think i just cut about 1/3 in half.  i like to see whole blueberries in the finished product.  when sugar is dissolved bring the heat up to a medium boil for about 15-20 minutes or until it starts to thicken and temperature is 220-222 F degrees.  add your vanilla bean scrapings and stir well so as not to get clumps of vanilla.  taste test...(careful, it's molten hot) do you need more lavender?  i did so i added in about 1/2 tsp lavender extract.  skim off any noticeable foam.  do a plate test... if you are satisfied, ladle into you warm jars and proceed with the water bath.  i start the clock for 10 minutes after the water has come back to a boil.
after the water bath, let the jars sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours.

i know this is raspberry, but this is an example of the thin lemon slivers



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rose Petal Plum Jam


"A ROSE IS JUST A ROSE..." until it becomes


ROSE PETAL PLUM JAM

another favorite jam from this season...sweet, tart fresh plums with just a wisp of summer rose.
perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea on a cold fall-ish day.
i know you'll be proud to give some away, as i did, but be sure to stick a few jars in the pantry for one of those gloomy blah winter days when you need a little reminder that everything is right in the world.



the jam is a beautiful crimson color with small chunks of plum and an occasional aromatic rose petal...
a little note about the rose petals...smell them!.  some are more fragrant than others.  if buying the dried rose buds, then you'll need to separate them into petals and make sure you weed out the nice looking petals and not all that comes with the whole bud (there's some scrappy stuff you don't want in there).  don't go wild with the petals.  i used 1/4 cup.  they do not dissolve or get really soft in the jam.  you don't want too many rose petal chunks in your delicate jam.  towards the end when i did my taste test i found that i needed to add a little rose extract to really make the rose evident.
it's one thing to call it rose petal jam, but i wanted it to taste like rose petal jam.
and a note about the plums...i bought mine at my favorite Mexican market.  .99 cents for 3 lbs...really?! they had a reddish interior.  the ones in the photo that went by the same name, "Red Plum", had the lighter interior.  i have used both for jams and find that the beautiful skin is what colors the jam so nicely.  OH, and don't buy ripe squishy plums...they should be firm and a little tart.
also, don't be alarmed if the jam is quite stiff straight out of the fridge, it will soften at room temp.
plums are full of pectin and with the assurance of the sliced green apple you will surely get a good "set".  i tend to lean on the more set side, but some like a syrupy jam...it's up to you how far you cook it down.


ROSE PETAL PLUM JAM

3 lbs, plums, equals about 6 cups diced
2 slices of green apple...will be removed
4 cups sugar
1 lemon zest...use a potato peeler and slice into very thin slivers...you can use a microplane, but i like to see the tiny slivers and notice the flavor when you run into one.
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup edible rose petals, carefully picked through
1 tsp cardamom...i started with 1/2 tsp and added the other 1/2 after some taste testing.
1/2 vanilla bean, scrapped
1/2 tsp rose extract... you might not need this depending on the intensity of your rose petals.  i had it on hand just in case and ended up adding it in.

get your water bath ready and start it boiling...it takes a long time to boil a huge canning pot like mine.  put a couple of small plates in the freezer.  get all your jars cleaned and sterilized.  i like to clean the jars and sterilize them in the oven for 20 min. at 220 F degrees...then turn the oven to low until ready to fill jars.  hot jam must go into hot/warm jars. 
put all ingredients except the rose extract,  into your heavy non reactive jam making pot...i use a tall sided stock pot to insure no boil over and no splattering.
start on low until you see the plums releasing their juice.  stir a little to combine.  i like to fold it so as not to mash the fruit more than necessary.  when you see more liquid and the sugar is dissolving, turn the heat up to medium.  get a little boil going...then go to medium-high. stir to insure no hot spots and no burning on the bottom.  the mixture will almost double in size and bubble up, so a large or taller pot is necessary.  stir every now and then.  when the temperature reaches 220 F degrees, do a plate test. if you see any pockets of foam skim it off as well as possible.  this makes for a prettier, glistening jam.  i don't get to finicky about the foam skimming, but i try.   taste test your jam at this point.  please remember to be careful, it is molten hot...even blowing on it will not suffice...let it rest.  rose petals can vary in flavor and aroma intensity...i added the rose extract at this time (you might not need to).  cardamom can vary in intensity as well, but remember, you do not want the cardamom to over power the rose.

remove the apple slices.
when you have passed the plate test, turn off the heat and proceed with canning.
i will not go into the whole canning process because this is getting too long, but you can find good information HERE at Simple Canning.com or Pick Your Own.org



one final note...after the jam has been opened, dipped in to and put in the fridge for a few weeks, i found that it discolored a bit on the sides of the jar...as if it wanted to crystallize.  not to worry, it is not spoiled.  i don't know why it does this.  i have only noticed it on the plum jams and a little on the Orange Tarragon jam after a quite few weeks.  maybe i should eat more jam!, but there are 13 jars in the fridge right now! 



Thursday, September 13, 2012

TIPS and TRICKS from my first season canning



ahhhh...
THE FRUITS OF MY LABOR.
oh how i love my beautiful little jars of jam.
i truly did not make this display for the photograph...i just had nowhere else to put them.
AND THIS IS NOT ALL OF IT!
i have eaten and given quite a bit away.

what used to be a lovely dinning room shared by all has now become my pantry for all these delicious jams.  i know i'll have to move them soon, but for now i'm too proud and happy to shove them into the dark lonely kitchen pantry...


i should preface with the fact that this IS my 1st year canning, so i do not, in any way shape or form, consider myself a wealth of knowledge in the canning dept.  i did, however, turn out some pretty darn good jams...TOOT TOOT.  tootin' my own horn there for a second.  if you have other methods and or more tips...i would love to hear...please pass it on.

TIPS and TRICKS 
SO MANY WAYS TO JAM AND CAN, BUT THESE ARE A FEW THINGS I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY.

investigate some good canning sites such as...

learn your fruits that have high and low pectin...HERE

when choosing fruits...
do not choose the ripest fruits.  it is best to have some that are not ripe, but do have maybe 1/2 that are ripe to ensure the sweet flavor of your chosen fruit.  pectin fades as the fruit ripens.  

if using a low pectin fruit try adding a few wedges of granny smith apple in the pot while cooking, then remove before jarring...
or add in a pouch of lemon seeds and membrane as shown in photos below.

learn how to do a PLATE TEST HERE from Food in Jars (great site for recipes and info)
put a couple of small glass plates in the freezer for plate testing.

get all of your mise en place ready before firing up the pot of jam...
sterilize all your jars.
put in a few extra jars. you don't want to scramble if you have more product than you expected.

don't forget to start your big pot of water for the canning process.  when it boils, turn it off and cover it until ready.

important...choose a pot that is bigger than you think you need.  i use a thick bottom stainless steel stock pot with tall sides.  the jam will double or triple in volume at a full boil and some fruits spatter more than others.  you DO NOT want a spill over of molten hot syrupy jam.

boil a small sauce pan of water for the lids.  when it boils, turn it off and put lids in...cover until ready to use.  do not leave the lids in boiling water, remember to turn off the heat.

TASTE TEST...i can't emphasize this enough.  just be careful of the molten HOT JAM.  try to taste test a few minutes before you think it's going to set so you can incorporate more flavor if needed.
add extracts towards the end...and i  think vanilla bean should be added toward the end.

wipe your rims before putting the lids on...and do not screw the lids on as tight as possible...screw them on so there is no play in the lid.  i use the 2 part lids.

do not tighten the jars after they come out of the bath.

do not disturb the jars for 12 to 24 hours...now you can tighten the lids.



to add extra pectin to non-pectin fruits...
example of cutting out the inner membrane core of lemon with seeds to bundle up in a cheese cloth pouch.  be sure to pull off any cheese cloth threads from the ends.  just gently pluck them off as much as you can.


above is an example of the slivers of lemon versus just grating it in with a Microplane.  i find this adds to the flavor in each bite when you run into a sliver of zesty lemon.


use cheesecloth pouch to infuse spices into jams.
you can steep the flavors in as i did when making my Apricot Ginger Vanilla Chai Jam.


star anise is a great add to many fruits.  i used it in my Chinese Five Spice Blueberry Apricot Jam...whoops, haven't posted that one yet...soon.


my favorite jam of the season???
if i had to choose one...maybe two...okay three

ORANGE TARRAGON MARMALADE
RASPBERRY CHIPOTLE
GARAM MASALA NECTARINE

for more jams please go to my LABELS.
i have not posted all of them yet, but i DO have about 5 more jammy flavors coming soon.


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