Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today's jam is Peach Melba

I used the standard recipe from the pectin package, the only change is that I used 4 cups of peaches and 4 c of whole frozen raspberries that cook down to about 2 21/2 cups of fruit. I did not increase the sugar, because I have found for me more sugar than fruit is too sweet.

I blanched the peaches, they peeled so easy.

Such wonderful peaches, the smell was great.

I simply mashed them with a potato masher.

Stirred in the frozen berries, packaged pectin and brought to a boil, per package instruction. Added the pre-measured sugar and cooked at a rolling boil. Completed the standard capping process and a 10 minute boiling water bath.

I now clean up the kitchen while the jars are processing in the boiling water, and you know, it only takes about 10 minutes to scrub the jam pot and utensils. That way when you remove the jars from the canner, you are really done.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop by.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today's jam is raspberry

As kids we always would have bread and butter for dinner on the day that Mom made jam. That way the foam that was removed before jarring up, would not go to waste. With 5 hungry kids and a starved Husband, there really was not enough of the treat to go around.

Tonight we too shall have bread and butter with our dinner.

As the raspberries grew and ripened, I picked, washed, towel dried and then froze them individually on a dinner plate or baking sheet; depending upon how many were harvested. This proved handy, I was able to pour the berries out into a large measure.

I guestimated that 2 one quart bags would make the required 5 cups mashed berries as instructed on the leaflet from the pectin package. A rounded 8 cups of berries does thaw and mash to 5 cups.

I chose to make this jam in pint jars, Honey is fond of raspberry jam, so the pint size will not be wasted. The recipe was exact, calling for 8 half pints. I wanted to use a quick cooking recipe for the berries, to preserve as much flavor as possible. Berries tend to be a bit more delicate than stone fruits. It has also been many years since I had made raspberry jam using pectin. I noticed a small change in the directions, cook the fruit and pectin 1 minute on boil then add sugar. The mixture is brought to a rolling boil, boil 1 minute and that is it. Done.

I have another batch to make this evening, the berries have taken up a lot of room in our limited freezer space. I am thinking I will have enough berries left after the second batch for a batch of Peach Melba jam. Daughter in law made some, and boy oh boy, it is so good!

Today will be busy, I have week-end Manager duty, a trip to Costco and more jam this evening. Oh yeah and I will make dinner, after all there is bread and butter to eat!

As always thanks so much for stopping by.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pluot jam

I had only eaten a Pluot once before.

I was not real impressed. I did not find it to be a, fresh eat out of hand, on the spur of a moment, kind of fruit. For me, that is what fruit is, a eat it now, kind of snack. It is refreshing and delicious, with vitamins and fiber. Can you ask for more, in a snack?

But this morning after making the Plum and Blueberry jam, Honey and I had to go to the market for a few things. I happened to see the display of Pluots. And they were on sale for .98 a pound. Now come on, you know I cannot resist a bargain. So we came home with 3 pounds of Pluots. I was not sure, but you know sometimes you just have to step out, and go for it.

I will tell you this, this jam is delicious. Maybe Pluots are the kind of fruit that is better cooked. I think I will stop on the way home tomorrow and get some more.

Pluot jam
makes 4 half pints

Wash, quarter and pit the fruit. Add it to a large pot along with 1 c Riesling wine and 1 cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, let simmer for one hour.

Remove the cinnamon stick and return to the pot. Stir the fruit, mashing and forcing through the colander. You will know when you have forced all the fruit from the skins. The mass in the colander will be pale and pasty looking, discard the remains. I measured the pulp and juice. I had a little over 4 cups.
Add the 4 cups of pulp, 4 cups of sugar and the juice of 1 lemon. Bring to a boil. Boil uncovered over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. You may use this time to prepare your jars, caps etc. As the mixture begins to gel, you will notice the foam cook away. When it had reduced and thickened, fill your jars, cap and process in a gently boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 4 half pints and a bit for now.


Plum and blueberry jam

This morning I made the Plum & Blueberry jam. The plums were gleaned from the kid's yard and the blueberries were from my back yard. This is another delicious jam, the combination of plum and blueberry is bright.

Plum and Blueberry jam
makes 8 half pints

3 c plum puree
6 c blueberries, mashed after measuring or slice frozen in a food processor.
juice of 1 lemon
6 c sugar

Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium. Stir every 15 minutes or so. This will need to gently boil to concentrate the flavor and develop the natural pectin in the fruit. This part takes about an hour, use this time to prepare jars, rings etc.

You will know that the jelling has begun, the foam around the edge of the pan will begin to cook away. At this point you will need to pay close attention to the mixture, stir constantly until the desired thickness is achieved. Remember that the mixture will thicken upon cooling.

If you are new to jam making, place a plate in the freezer, drop a teaspoon of jam on the frozen plate to cool instantly and you will know how thick it will be when chilled.

Ladle into jars, cap and process for 15 minutes in a gently boiling water bath.

Yum! Now I am cooking Pluots with Riesling and a cinnamon stick. Next is Pluot jam.

As always thanks for taking the time to stop by.
I appreciate your comments, enjoy your day!

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

2 Plum Butter

I know I have been on a plum kick here lately, but there is a good reason.

The plums are ready now, and not only has this been fun, it definitely is tasty!

When we came home after spending time with Olivia on Thursday, I put the plums on to simmer. I did not add any spice or wine. I wanted pure plum puree, so that I could mix and play. As it has turned out I don't have enough plum puree to make plum and raspberry jam as well as plum and blueberry jam. So I made an executive decision this evening. I will make a plum and blueberry jam, with the remaining plum puree from the gleaning from Thursday.

This evening I made 2 plum butter.

4 c of cherry plum puree

4 c of Italian prune plum puree.

Combine with 6 (if you like sweet, use equal sugar to puree) c sugar, 4 cinnamon sticks and juice of 1 large lemon (1/4 c).

Bring to a boil, turn to medium and let simmer for about 1 hour. You want to concentrate the flavor by simmering out the excess moisture. Notice the foam around the side of the kettle has reduced along with the moisture. During this time you can prepare jars, rings etc.

At about 1 1/2 hours you will need to start attending to the mixture. It is thickening and you will need to adjust the heat. The heat should be high enough to steam out moisture, but not so hot as to make molten rockets of burning discomfort splashing on your hand as you stir. The stirring will be constant at this point. You want to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan, as it continues to thicken and reduce.

When mixture is reduced by half*, you are ready to jar, and process. I processed this 15 minutes, to make sure the natural pectin is completely activated and the finished product will be spreadable and not a syrup.

Makes 8 1/2 pint jars. I only canned 6, because I have already confessed that the best part is eating some now. I take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to work each day. This will taste great next week.

All that is left now is the clean-up.


*Update: prune plums have a high pectin level. If using prune plums reduce by 1/3, and prepare jars accordingly.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wild Plum, Port and Cinnamon Jam

Tonight I got around to making the jam, and it sure is pretty. Smells wonderful also, plums, port and cinnamon. I did not really use a recipe, but followed the guidelines - somewhat.

Plums have a lot of pectin naturally, so I felt confident that the jam would be just right with a double recipe and only 1 package of pectin. I had made a wonderful plum butter out of some leftover plums and used no pectin, it turned out wonderful and was gone in 3 days.

My favorite part of jam making is the little bit that doesn't fit into a jar. You get to enjoy it now. We always had bread, butter and jam as part of dinner on jam making days, as a kid, when mom made jam.

At this point I had the clean jars resting in a 250 degree oven. And the pan to the rear holds rings and lids, resting in hot (not boiling) water.

This pan of fruit puree, was started on Sunday. It contains 6-8 cups of the cherry size plums washed and left whole. 1 c port wine and 4 cinnamon sticks. Brought to a boil, and then simmered for 45 - 60 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool remove cinnamon sticks, strain fruit through a stainless steel colander, stir gently to push fruit solids and through the holes. You will have a small mound of pits and some skin remnants to throw out.

I measured the puree, I had 6 liquid cups. I added equal sugar and the juice from 1 large lemon. Then it went into the fridge to rest until I was ready/had the time to finish.

To finish, stir 1 package of pectin into the puree, bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 1 minute (you might want to check your pectin brand, it might be different).

Ladle int into 8, 8 oz jars, cap and place in boiling water bath. Process for 10 minutes starting after the water has returned a boil.

Remove jars from pot, set aside to cool. You should hear the "ping" of the seals coming down.

Makes 8, 8 oz and a bit for now.


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