Archive for the ‘Canned Fruits’ Category

Use it to fill pie crusts, or tarts shells.  Spread it between cake layers or as filling for cupcakes.  Smear on pancakes, serve over ice cream or pound cake..or my favorite just grab a spoon and dig in.

Making your own lemon curd at home is not difficult it just involves doing the process in small quantities to assure it turns out.

To make your own curds you will need:

6 egg yolks (save whites for that lemon meringue pie).

1 cup sugar

Large lemons or limes (juiced) to make approximately 1/2 cup or better of juice….OR you can use 1/4 –  1/2 cup  concentrate.

1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz if you make your own butter).

In heavy pan over medium heat whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.  Add lemon juice and using wooden spoon stir to keep from burning.  Stir continually for 10-15 minutes but do NOT let come to a boil.  Don’t fret about any egg lumps they will be worked out later when butter is added.  Once thick enough to coat back of your spoon the curd is done.  At this point add butter and stir well until melted.

Pour your curd into prepared jars place in hot water bath for 20 minutes.

Curd will keep for several months, however it might lose some of it’s color.  This doesn’t not mean it is bad…just use it in things where it won’t be so noticeable.

Canning for shelf storage is only considered safe for lemon and lime.  Orange, Grapefruit and other citrus can be made into curd using same method but require being stored in refrigerator.

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Love, love, love orange marmalade, especially on fresh from oven warm buttermilk biscuits. Thankfully this is citrus season which means bags of oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes adorn my counters and allow for stocking away this golden treasure to enjoy all summer long. Yet I am not a fan of the pieces of rind found in traditional orange marmalade.  Now I’m sure others have created rindless marmalade as well, but this is my method. Besides I have another purpose for those rinds in making citrus cleaner.

8-10 navel oranges peeled and sectioned.

2 packages pectin.

7 cups sugar (if using regular pectin), 4 cups sugar (if using low sugar pectin)

2 cups orange juice

Place oranges in blender or food processor, add orange juice and puree until clump free.  Move to pot on stove and heat to boiling.  While it’s heating remove 1 cup of sugar to separate bowl and add your pectin stirring to incorporate.  Once orange puree is at full boil add your cup of sugar with pectin as well as remaining 7 cups of sugar and stir well.  Bring back up to rolling boil while stirring frequently.  Let boil 5-10 minutes.  Reduce heat, jar and seal.  Hot water bath in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Jars will take up to a month to set into a jelly so don’t be shocked if it stays runny at first.

As another blessing this week, I am the proud foster mother of 8 (and counting) baby chicks.  There really is little that truly announces spring like baby animals which, right now, we’re overflowing with.

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This weekend I was blessed with a pleasant surprise of a bag of pomegranates.  If you never had pomegranates before you are truly missing out. Cleaning them however…left my kitchen looking like a brutal murder scene.

Some of the seeds (or aril for correct term), I placed in muffin tins with a little water and froze for eating later or using in salads.  The rest I turned into jelly.

Making pomegranate jelly is just like all other jelly making.  I put all the seeds in a pot with a little water and let simmer to soften.  When softened I run them through a blender to separate the “seed” from the juices.  Pour the broken down mixture through a fine screen colander or cheese cloth.  Use a spoon or hand to make room for drainage as you will have a LOT of seeds.  After separating the liquid from rest it’s just a matter of using the recipe that comes with your pectin box.  My personal favorite is to add 1 tbsp lemon juice per batch and use low sugar pectin.

This makes a wonderful and tasty seasonal gift to give for the holidays.

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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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Spring never seems to be fully here until the first strawberry jam session of the season.  Today I put up 23 jelly jars worth.  I could have easily done another dozen but have some plans to make strawberry cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries this weekend.

I would post the recipe, but I stick to the traditional found in the Sure-gel box and alter between the freezer jam and shelf stable.  This year I made shelf stable to help preserve some freezer room.

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This time of year pineapple is fairly cheap and filling the farmers markets, local groceries and back of pickup trucks.  While you can buy pineapple in stores, I find it just as easy to can it from home.  Pineapple being a high acid fruit does not need pressure canning just hot water bath.  The process is simple, trim your pineapple, cut into bite sized cubes and place in clean jars.  Make a batch of simple syrup to your personal liking and pour over the fruit in jars.  Seal and process in hot water for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.

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Home canned cranberry sauce is so simple to prepare, and unlike store canned varieties it has no artificial ingredients or sweeteners.  Another wonderful element of this is you don’t need to own a canner. You just need the ability to do a hot water bath to seal.

Home Canned Cranberry Sauce.

Choose the type you wish to make, if whole berry simply cook and mash the berries using a potato masher once the skins split.  If you desire more jelly, run the cranberries through a food grinder, or put in your blender and puree before cooking.

Cook your berries. 1 cup water per 1 bag of cranberries.  You want to boil them until the skins split.  For making whole berry, mash them at this point.  If you are making more Jelly style, lay a piece of cheesecloth inside a strainer, or using a fine sieve strainer run liquid through. Press the puree to get all the liquids.  Return to pot.  (Don’t discard the puree, put it in your food dehydrator to flavor foods or freeze in ice cube trays to put in muffins.)

To the cooked berries add 1 cup sugar per bag of cranberries you used.  Add more if you desire it sweeter.  (Remember always taste test what you cook.)

Let boil 10 minutes before processing in sterile jars.  Seal and hot water bath for 15 minutes per pint.

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I’ll admit, I cheated on this one and took the simple route.  I still ended up with a dozen cans, plus 1/2 a margarine container for immediate use, from this batch. First my grapes have not struck the first frost to be ready to harvest for their delicate sweetness.  Second we were out of grape jelly from last years batch and with all the canning I have done lately, I wanted to whip some up quickly.  I’ve used this recipe and the fresh grapes style alternatively, both work wonderful and honestly there isn’t much difference in taste.  I know numerous people are unable to harvest their own Concord Grapes, and honestly they are not easy to grow in Texas, having lost many plants in the beginning years before finally getting a decent established soil and location they seemed to accept.

With this recipe anyone, anywhere can make their own homemade Concord Grape Jelly, or White Grape Jelly.

Grape Jelly – Canned

6 cups bottled grape juice (be sure its 100% juice)

6 1/2 cups sugar

2 boxes sure-gel

Mix pectin into 1/4 cup sugar.  Add to grape juice and stir to dissolve.  Over medium-high heat bring to full boil.  Add sugar and bring back to boil and hard boil for 1 minute.  Test “Stiffness” by dipping a metal table spoon into ice water, then into the jelly.  Let cool slightly and see if it balls up upon spoon like a thin jelly should.  (It will thicken more as it cools).  Fill jars and HWB for 5 minutes for 1/2 pints and pints.

**Please note, this is for making grape jam using store bought grape juice.  You can also use other juices.**

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We eat a lot of jelly. On toast, in homemade yogurt, in oatmeal, on PB&J sandwiches, it just seems to disappear from this house.  With a recent good deal on strawberries and mango’s I decided to whip together some jelly.  Both the fruits were past their “prime” but not past being able to be made into a nice jelly.  For record, those two flavors are just amazing mixed together. I do not have exact amounts of the fruits, it’s pretty much a wing it but for each pint of strawberries it is one mango.

Strawberry-Mango Jelly

Strawberries, cleaned and sliced.  (I used 3 pints)

Mango, peeled and sliced off pit. (3 mangos)

3 cups sugar

1 box sure-gel

Take clean fruit and put in blender with 2 tbsp lemon juice.  Puree then transfer to pot on stove.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Add sure-gel and return to boil stirring frequently 10 minutes.  Add sugar and bring to boil again, boil 5 minutes or until desired thickness set.

Process in hot water bath 20 minutes for 1/2 point and pint jars.

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I had frozen some cherries that I planned to make into jelly earlier this year.  Today as I was already hip deep in canning, I figured it a good time to pull them out and make them into jelly.

Canned Cherry Jelly

6-8 cups pitted cherries, ground.  (I put them in a blender with a little water it works wonderful.)

4-6 cups sugar (4 for sweet cherries, 6 for tarts)

1 box sure-gel

Place the ground cherries in sauce pan and heat to boiling. Simmer 10 minutes stirring frequently.  Some at this stage then drain them through a cheese cloth to get the liquid but not the cherry bits. I don’t bother. I personally like the little pieces of cherry in my jelly as it is slathered on hot toast or muffins.

Add pectin and 1/4 cup sugar to cherries and bring to boil over medium heat.  Stir for 5 to 10 minutes constantly to keep from burning.

Add sugar and continue to stir. Bring to boil once more and boil for 1-2 minutes.

Test for “thickness” by keeping a metal tablespoon in ice water nearby.  Ladle some of the jelly onto the spoon and let it cool to room temperature.  You want it to stay on the spoon.  If it does not, add a bit more pectin (1/4 package at time) and test again.

Once at thickness desired, ladle into jelly jars and lid/ring.

Place in hot water bath for 5 minutes.

Remove and let cool, enjoy the “Ping” of a job well done.

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