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Archive for September 23rd, 2011

While out picking the plums today, I figured I would stop and gather some of the last of the tomatoes in the garden as well. I plan to start a fall garden with hope of getting a better yield now that the scorching heat of this past summer is with luck behind us…so green and red tomatoes came into the house in the basket.  As most of the tomatoes were from the Roma plants, salsa was the best use for them I figured.  The jalapeno plant having some peppers remaining, it sealed the deal of their fate.

Fiesta Salsa

Half-bushel of tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, diced

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced fine

4 tbsp lime juice

5 tbsp cider vinegar

4 – 6 jalapenos, diced  ( I don’t remove seeds but if you wish less fire to your salsa, remove the seeds and inner membrane)  DON’T FORGET TO USE GLOVES!!

2 tbsp sugar

Add all ingredients into a pot on stove.  Stir well and bring to boil.  Boil for 5 minutes to incorporate flavors.  Ladle into pint jars and seal.  Hot Water Bath jars for 35 minutes.

 

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I know I’m partial, but I must state that my son is the most amazing photo taker.  Many photo’s in this blog have been taken by him. A dear friend of his turned him on to using the camera to capture his world, and use pictures to help speak for him where he struggled.  Through this he also found a way to across distance share his life with another.  My son took the camera with a passion, it’s almost rare to not see it near him no matter if he’s sleeping, at computer, outside or somewhere in the house.  Granted this also has been a bit interesting for his mother, as he is very skilled at sneaking up on me at those “just the wrong moment” occasions.  I don’t mind, he’s found a way to communicate and share what’s important to him with someone important to him….and lets me use his photos for this blog to share with all of you.

Now, on to the topic at hand.  As most everyone knows this has been a really harsh year on crops for us down here in Texas.  Many of my fruit trees took a bad beating and while I didn’t lose any…thanks mostly to a lot of bailing and carrying grey water from tub/shower, dishwasher and washing machine…the fruits produced were smaller then normal and many fell off the trees before fully ripened.  The wildlife suffering as much as we were, I left them for the fallen ones for them to eat and figured I could make due just fine with what remained on the tree branches.  Last night decision was made it was time to harvest what I could from the Damson Plum.  All in all it wasn’t a bad harvest, it offered me enough to make six freezer containers of jam and left enough fresh fruit for us to nibble on for a treat later.

Though the years I’ve pared many flavors with plum in jams.  Lavender-Plum, Lemon-Plum, Thyme-Plum, Rosemary-Plum, Orange-Plum, Mint-Plum, Cinnamon-Plum…plum is just one of those flavors that is complimentary to a lot of herb.  Depending on what you wish to use it on, can make a big difference in your personal choices for your parings.  For example…Rosemary-Plum is delicious spread on poultry such as chicken or turkey. Thyme-Plum is more complimentary to pork products such as ham or chops.  Orange-Plum is delicious as a plum sauce with duck or pheasant.  I know few people consider adding herbs or spices to their jams, stores teach us to keep with a solid flavor, thankfully home canning allows us to be more creative.

Ginger-Plum Freezer Jam

2 lbs plums, pitted (leave peel on)

1/4 cup grated ginger root

1/4 cup water

5 cups sugar

1 pkg sure-gel

I will be honest, I don’t pit my plums right off bat.  With more freestone varieties I will, but Damson Plums are often difficult to get off the pit.  I cut the plums in half and put the whole lot into the sauce pan with the water.  I then heat them until the flesh “melts” from the pits and fish the pits out.

Add your sugar once you have removed all the pits from the flesh.

Most recipes will tell you to add your box of sure-jel to additional water and bring that water to a boil.  I find this sometimes causes the jam to not set properly.  Rather I just add it directly into the simmering jam on the stove and stir it well as the mixture comes to a rolling boil.  Continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Ladle jam into clean, dry freezer containers leaving 1/2 inch head room for freezing expansion.  Seal containers and let cool at room temperature for 24 hours.  Store in freezer until opened.  They will last 3 weeks in refrigerator. *Mine never make it past a week if lucky to last that long.*

** This jam is naturally light colored, however with pear and peach jams and other such light colored fruits in my freezer already I opted to use a natural food dye to alter it for easier visual identification**

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This is an extremely simple dessert to create yet it has big taste sure to please at your next party, holiday gathering, church function or simply the dinner table.

S’more Pudding Dessert.

1 pkg graham crackers (broken with hammer to crumbs)

1 lg package chocolate pudding (or homemade pudding)

1 sm jar marshmallow cream

Layer all but 1/2 a cup of your graham crackers in bottom of baking dish, cake dish or pie pan.

Over top of this spread your pudding.

Gently warm your marshmallow cream until “puffy” and able to be easily spread.  Spread atop the chocolate pudding.

Sprinkle rest of your graham crackers on top and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

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