About this time each year I go on a food preserving frenzy so that I can enjoy summer’s deliciousness during the winter months.
Now that Halloween is over it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Conserve is similar to jam or preserves, but typically contains dried fruit and nuts. This Cranberry Conserve is made with cranberries, oranges, raisins and walnuts. You may use it as a delicious spread or use it in place of a traditional cranberry sauce or cranberry relish. Perfect with poultry, or pork, or spread on biscuits or rolls.
Make the most of autumn apples and make apple pie filling ahead of time. It’s a holiday time-saver and allows you to make delicious desserts such as apple pies, turnovers, crisp, or dumplings.
There’s an easy way to peel peaches. Just bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath. Using a sharp paring knife, score an “x” into the bottom of each peach. Working in small batches, drop peaches into boiling water. Let boil 40 seconds; if peaches are on the hard side, boil up to 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove peaches and place into ice-water bath. Using clean fingers or paring knife, pull skin off starting at the scored “x.”
My family loves this jam served with pancakes and French toast. Pear Jam is easy to make and no pectin is required.
Make this when peaches are plentiful and put it away in the cupboard. Every jar you open in the winter makes the sun come out.
Ridiculously Easy Grape Jam
Get yourself over to your local farmers’ market and pick up some delicious grapes and make this Ridiculously Easy Grape Jam. You will need some basic equipment: Boiling Water Canner, 5 Half Pint Jars, Food Mill, Candy Thermometer & Jar Lifter
3 Pounds Grapes (I Like To Use Concord Grapes)
1 Cup Water
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Low Sugar Pectin
1/2 Cup Lime Juice
Sterilize jars by boiling them for 15 minutes in canner. Turn off heat. Let jars, lids and rings sit in hot water until ready to fill. Remove all stems and wash grapes. Don’t worry about the seeds as they will be strained out. Add grapes and 1 cup water to a large-size nonreactive, heavy saucepan. Bring grapes and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir and smash grapes until they begin to lose shape and seeds float. Remove from heat. Set food mill over large-size bowl. Pour grapes and liquid through mill until all that is left are skins, seeds, and any stray stems. You should have about 4 cups grape pulp. Add the grape pulp back in the same saucepan. Add sugar, pectin, and lime juice. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Cook until mixture reads 220 degrees on candy thermometer. Turn heat off and skim off any foam with a large spoon. Ladle jam into sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space. Wipe off any jam from lip of jar. Place lids and rims on jars and seal. Place sealed jars back into canning pot. Make certain water level is over tops of jars by at least 1 inch. Add more water if needed. Turn to a high heat and boil for 15 minutes. Turn of heat. Using a jar lifter, remove jars to a cooling rack. Jars should begin to seal completely while cooling (you will hear little pops). Check to make sure all jars are sealed and if any have not then place in the fridge. Store the sealed jars in a cool place and out of sunlight. Makes 5 half pint jars of Grape Jam.
I’ve been a jam making maniac the past couple of months. I’ve made rhubarb jam, peach jam, and berry jam and now I’m onto making plum jam. My plum jam is so easy to make and requires no pectin.
12 Pounds Ripe Plums
5 Cups Sugar
Slice and pit the unpeeled plums. Place into a large-size bowl. Pour the sugar onto the plums and let sit on the counter for 2 hours. Transfer the plums and sugar mixture to a large-size pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Do not cover with a lid. Stir occasionally. Boil for 10 minutes and then turn the heat to low. Let simmer for 2 hours. Continue to stir occasionally. Sterilize 8 pint-size jars (with tops and lids). Remove the jam from the heat. Using a wide-mouth funnel transfer the jam in to the sterilized jars. Place the jars into a hot water bath and remove when done. Place onto the counter and listen for the lids to pop. Leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Makes 8 pint-size jars of Plum Jam.
Jam, jelly or preserves? Often words for fruit spreads are used interchangeably, but the spreads have their own distinct character and personality. Jams are made from whole fruits that have been mashed or processed either before or after cooking and are soft and fairly smooth. Jellies, on the other hand, are made from fruit juice and are clear, and very soft. Preserves are made from whole fruit that is minimally processed so that chunks of fruit are discernible in the finished product.
6 Cups Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and/or Hulled & Sliced Strawberries
4 Cups Sugar
You will need to have ready 4 half-pint (8 Ounces) jars with 2-piece lids in hot, but not boiling, water and prepare a water-bath canner. In a food processor or with a potato masher, mash the berries until mushed. Pour the mushed berries into a large-size saucepan and cook over a medium-heat for 1 minute. Add the sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Put a candy thermometer into the saucepan, making sure it is not touching the bottom or sides of the pan. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the thermometer registers 220° F and the jam slides off of a cold metal spoon in one sheet. An exact temperature is important to ensure a good texture, so make sure to watch carefully. Immediately remove the saucepan for the heat. Ladle the hot berry mixture into the hot jars. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace (empty space) at the top of each. Poke the jars gently with a thin rubber spatula to release any trapped air bubbles. Add more jam if necessary to keep the headspace at a 1/4 inch. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place a lid on each jar, seal-side down and secure in place with a screw band. Do not over tighten the screw band. Put the jars in a water-bath canner on a rack and make sure that each jar is covered by 1 inch with water. Cover the canner and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat; remove the lid of the canner and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and let cool in a draft-free area, undisturbed for at least 24 hours. Makes about 4 half pints.
Have this jam on my Cherry Scones and you’ll be in heaven.
3 1/2 Pounds Rhubarb
1 Pound Peaches
Juice of 3 Lemons
3 Pounds Sugar
2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Ginger
Wipe and trim the rhubarb. Trim the stalks. Halve them lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash and slice the peaches. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, peaches, sugar, lemon juice and ginger. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, put the contents of the bowl into a cooking pot and bring to a boil. Cooking time will vary depending on how much juice the rhubarb releases. Boil rapidly for 30 minutes. Once the rhubarb breaks down turn the heat down to a simmer for 40 more minutes. Keep a close eye on the mixture as it simmers. Remove from the heat and skim any foam off the surface. Cool completely and refrigerate up to 2 weeks or can the jam for longer storage. Makes about 5 pints.