Tag Archives: boiling water bath

A Case of the Red, White, and BLUES

And by blues, I mean blueberries!  Around this time each year I am reminded just how much I love those tiny indigo berries!  Not only do they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, but they are also anti-inflammatory, which is a key driver of all chronic diseases!

blueberries

Everyone knows that fresh is best and it’s a no-brainer that blueberries consumed raw is when they best deliver their peak power-house performance!  Wanting to save them to be enjoyed throughout the year I started spinning my preservation wheels and came up with two very delicious recipes!  If you’re looking for something quick and dirty, then the compote recipe is the one for you.  If you have the luxury of time and can commit to some babysitting, then this no pectin jam is the way to go!  These recipes are interchangeable, so if you prefer a blueberry lemon jam or a blueberry vanilla compote then just swap out the cooking times!

blueberry compote

Blueberry Lemon Compote - yields 9 half-pints

11 cups of blueberries

Grated zest and juice of one lemon

1/3 cup honey

1 cup sugar

In a large pot combine blueberries, zest, juice, sugar, and honey over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce to low heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  Ladle compote into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove jars and allow seals to set for 12-24 hours.

Blueberry Vanilla Jam - yields 4 half-pints

11 cups of blueberries

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup honey

1 cup sugar

1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

In a large pot combine blueberries, juice, sugar, honey, vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes; skim off any foam that develops.  Ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove jars and allow seals to set for 12-24 hours.

After canning both recipes I still had quite a few blueberries left over.  Seeing as how my freezer is full of strawberries I decided to can the remaining berries in a light simple syrup.

Blueberries in Light Syrup

Blueberries

1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of water

Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat.  Fill hot pint jars with blueberries and fill with sugar-water leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Wipe rims and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove jars and allow seals to set for 12-24 hours.

These jars of berries will really come in handy when it’s cold outside and I want to heat things up with a bit of pie and cobbler making!

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge.

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Strawberry Fields Part 1: Compote

Two weeks ago I ventured across the river to my friend’s farm.  There, I spent my Sunday morning alone in the quiet fields picking the essence of Summer: sun-ripened, perfectly sweetened strawberries.  Last Sunday I did the exact same thing.  In total my efforts yielded 50 quarts, which translated into hours and hours of washing, hulling, and preserving Summer’s most sought after fruit!

quart containers

In preparation for the harvest I was planning on bringing home, I started formulating my plan of action.  I had already decided that half of my fruitage would end up frozen to be enjoyed in the off-season, and there was definitely going to be a lot of shortcake baking taking place, which eliminated several more quarts.  Now, what to do with the rest?  After flipping through my collection of food preservation books, I finally narrowed it down to three mouth-watering recipes.  First up: strawberry orange compote.  Oh yes!

strawberry compote jar-spoonStrawberry Orange Compote - yields 8 half-pint jars

4 quarts of strawberries, hulled and quartered

grated zest and juice of one lemon

grated zest and juice of one orange

2 cups granulated sugar

In a large pot combine strawberries, sugar, orange and lemon juices and their zest; bring to a simmer over med-high heat, stirring often.  Lower the heat to a minimum and gently simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.  You will end up with a slightly reduced, but still runny mixture.

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace; remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, adjust for elevation.

strawberries & sauce

So far my favorite way to enjoy this slightly sweetened sauce is drizzled over a bowl of creamy vanilla bean ice cream.  Absolute heaven if you ask me!

ice cream & sauce

I also canned a batch where I excluded the zest, therefore reducing the pectin content, which resulted in a slightly looser, but equally delicious sauce.

PDFBadge

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe adapted from Tart and Sweet - 101 canning and pickling recipes for the modern kitchen by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler.

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Apple Butter

Many moons ago, I cooked up my first batch of apple butter.  It was surprisingly simple and tasted better than anything I had growing up; and from what I remember, the jars my mom would bring home tasted pretty darn amazing!  This no-fail low-maintenance method is my constant go-to when making apple butter.  It is so easy you’ll wonder why anyone would choose a different route!

If you want to make apple butter, the first thing you need to do is make applesauce: reada perfect recipe for putting up during the off-season!  The directions for unsweetened applesauce are in the beginning of the linked recipe; although, I highly encourage anyone who loves vanilla and maple to make the “awesome sauce”.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed!  When apples come into season this year, I’m making a batch of vanilla-maple apple butter!

apple butter

Apple Butteryields approximately 9 pints

9 qts unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

4 cups sugar

Place 6 qts of applesauce in your slow-cooker (or however much fills it to within 1-inch of the rim), add the spices and 2 cups of sugar; mix well.  Set heat to high and cook for an hour with the lid vented; resting the lid on a long wooden spoon works well.   Reduce the heat to low and allow to continue cooking for an additional 8-10 hours.

Once the mixture has been reduced by half, add the remaining applesauce and sugar.  Stir and cook several more hours allowing the flavors to mix.  When the apple butter has reached your desired thickness, using an immersion blender, purée mixture into a creamy consistency.  Ladle into hot, sterilized, half-pint jars and remove air bubbles; wipe rims, add two-piece lids and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, or for as long as your altitude requires.

Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe courtesy of PickYourOwn.org.

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Malibu Peach Jam

I miss Summer.  Like, really miss Summer.  I long for the days of sun-kissed skin and endless sunshine.  The blissful aroma of lavender and chamomile wafting through the air.  I want to chase butterflies and dig in the dirt.

When blustery winds and afternoon darkness wreak havoc on my serotonin levels, I turn to my canning pantry for comfort.  Hidden behind those double doors is a cornucopia of Summer’s bounty preserved in jars.  I’m  not sure why, but nothing radiates warm weather and sunshine like peaches and coconut.  They are true mascots of Summer!

Malibu Peach Jam – yields 7 half-pints

4 cups peaches, peeled

3 cups of sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup Malibu rum

Blanch peaches to remove skins.  Discard pits and mash fruit; add sugar and lemon juice.  Over med-low heat, cook mixture ’til sugar is dissolved; continue cooking for 10-12 minutes.  You can test the doneness of your jam by conducting a gelling test.

Once the jam is done, remove it from the heat and carefully stir in your liqueur.  Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace, and process in a boiling-water bath according to your recommended altitude time.  For me it’s 5 minutes.  It may take about two weeks for your jam to reach a firm set.

Images and content copyright © 2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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Cherry Vanilla-Bean Jam

I’m guilty of having a draft box full of unfinished posts.  There are times during the year where I have too much going on to sit down and write!  Other times, I’m just too darn tired!  And it’s usually the latter! ;)  Now that the crush-window of my harvest preservation has passed, I’ve found myself reviewing those neglected (but not forgotten) posts.

I try to keep my posts as seasonally appropriate as possible.  Since it is Spring in Australia, cherries will soon be in season.  Forever the optimist, it’s always Summer somewhere!

Cherry Vanilla-Bean Jam - yields approximately 5 half-pints

4 cups pitted cherries (I use and prefer sour cherries, but sweet will work just the same.)

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 cup cherry juice

1/4 cup bottled lemon juice **only if you are using sweet cherries**

2 Madagascar vanilla beans

1 tsp pure almond extract

3 Tbsp flex-batch pectin

Pit cherries over a bowl to catch all that wonderfully delicious juice!  If you want to prevent oxidation where the pit was removed, sprinkle on a bit of Fruit Fresh.

Place pitted cherries in a food processor and pulse several times to chop them up; do not purée them.  I first tried to mash them with a potato masher, but found that method to work best with softer fruits, like strawberries and peaches.

Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  In a large stainless steel sauce pot, combine cherries, cherry juice, lemon juice if using sweet cherries, and vanilla seeds.  Reserve 1/4 cup sugar to mix with the pectin (this helps to prevent pectin from clumping when added to the hot fruit), add the remaining 1-1/4 cups to the fruit mixture and stir well.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; stir in almond extract.  Add sugar-pectin mix to fruit and stir to incorporate.  Bring jam to a hard boil, one that cannot be stirred away, and cook for one minute.  Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars; wipe rims, adjust 2-piece lids to fingertip-tight and process in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes.  Remove jars and allow to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for 12-24 hours.  Check seals, remove rings, and store in a cool, dry place for one year.

Be sure to give this jam a good stir before using, since most of the vanilla seeds tend to settle on the bottom of the jar!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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Peach Salsa

With my ever-growing collection of food preservation books, I have a slew of new-to-me recipes at the ready!  Pages upon pages of tasty goodness just begging to be put into jars and savored at season’s end.  Peach salsa was a first for me this year and I can’t understand why it took me so long to make this sweet and spicy salsa!

Peach Salsafrom Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving

1/2 cup white vinegar

6 cups chopped pitted peeled peaches

1-1/4 cups chopped red onion

4 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (I used my Chinese 5 Color peppers)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped (I used a Purple Beauty pepper)

1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro

2 tbsp liquid honey

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar and peaches; add onion, peppers, cilantro, honey, garlic, cumin, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Ladle hot salsa into hot sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, and place two-piece lids on jars, adjusting ’til fingertip-tight.

Submerge pint jars in a boiling-water bath and process for 15 minutesRemove canner lid; wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.  Allow jars to cool on a wire rack or kitchen towel, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours so seals can properly set.

Recipe yields 6 pints.

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Amaretto Apricot Jam

With the exception of making yards and yards of seed tape (fall carrots), much of last weekend was spent in my kitchen.  I’m sure I have a solid week’s worth of food posts!  Hopefully, I can squeeze in the time needed to sit down and write seeing as how Sunday night I ended up pulling my remaining Easter planting of root vegetables.  I have lots of canning and juicing on the horizon! :)

Sun-ripened apricots are one of my favorite fruits!  While at the local market paroozing the fresh picked produce (come on now, I can’t grow everything), I noticed a bounty of apricots.  Realizing I had never made apricot jam, I decided the time had come to remedy that!

After flipping through my canning books and online food sites, I decided to make Hitchhiking to Heaven’s amaretto apricot jam.  It turned out awesome and it is now my new favorite add-in to my daily snack of Greek yogurt.  By the way, if you have never added homemade jam to Greek yogurt you need to get on that.  Like now!

Apricot Amaretto Jam - {via}

4 cups apricots, peeled (about 24)

3 cups of sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup amaretto (I used an “airplane” sized bottle of Disaronno, it was perfect!)

Blanch apricots to remove skins.  Remove pits and mash.  Add sugar and lemon juice.  Over med-low heat, cook mixture ’til sugar is dissolved; continue cooking for 10-12 minutes.  Apricot jam tends to foam up quite a bit, so don’t move too far from your stove!  You can test the doneness of your jam by conducting a gelling test.  Place several spoons in the freezer and once you have finished cooking your jam, take one of the frozen spoons from the icebox and scoop out just a bit of jam (not a full scoop).  Place it back in the freezer for about 3 minutes, then hold it vertically.  If your jam slowly creeps down your spoon like the 80′s horror flick the Blob, it’s done!  Once the jam is done, remove it from the heat and carefully stir in your liqueur.  Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace, and process in a boiling water bath according to your recommended altitude time.  For me it is 5 minutes.  It may take about two weeks for your jam to reach a hard set.

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Plum Crazy

Several weeks ago I ventured across the river to my cousin’s abode.  What were once thought to be flowering plum trees, turned out to be fruiting trees.  Score!  Fresh, sun-ripened, organic plums, ready for the pickin’.  Having never worked with plums I decided to explore my recipe possibilities.  I decided my kitchen adventure should be to make and can a spicy plum chutney, as well as plum conserves.  Both recipes came from Food.com, formerly Recipezaar.

Spicy Plum Chutney
makes approximately 6 half pints

4 quarts (about 6 cups) plums, pitted and chopped (I used my food processor)
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup onion chopped
2 Tbsp mustard seed
2 Tsp dried ginger
1 Tsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tsp salt
1 jalapeno, diced
3 cups vinegar (I used 1.5 apple cider and 1.5 white)

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thick, stirring constantly.  Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4″ head space and remove air bubbles; wipe rims and process in a BWB for 10 minutes.

Plum Conserves
makes approximately 6 half pints

5 cups plums, pitted and chopped (I used my food processor)
3 cups sugar
1 cup orange: peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup raisins
orange rind from one orange, finely sliced
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot except for pecans.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Continue cooking until almost reaching gelling point, approximately 15 minutes at a rolling boil.  Add pecans and continue cooking, stirring 5 more minutes.  Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4″ head space and remove air bubbles; wipe rims and process for 15 minutes in a BWB.

Both recipes turned out deliciously awesome!

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Blueberry Butter

This year I decided to try my hand at making and canning fruit butter.  I really really love apple butter, so I assume my taste buds would have the same affection no matter what the fruit.  I found a recipe at pickyourown.org, a long time, go-to source of mine.  It allowed for several variations in the amount of sugar, which to me is important.  The main draw back, however, is that the recipe called for cloves.  I am not a fan of cloves, but I am keeping an open mind.

Low Sugar Blueberry Butter from Pick Your Own .org
10 cups of pureed blueberries
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Feeling the need to have a back up spice plan I continued searching and stumbled on this recipe found at Food in Jars, which had even less sugar than the aforementioned.  Score!

Even Lower Sugar Blueberry Butter from Food In Jars
8 cups of pureed blueberries
2 cups sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, I subbed 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

For both recipes I pureed my berries in the food processor and then placed them into my slow cooker on high.  I added the sugar and lemon juice and turned the heat to low once the mix was hot.  I allowed my butter to cook overnight, approximately 8 hours.  It is important to keep the lid propped open to allow the steam to escape.  A wooden spoon works great!  The next morning I added my spices and continued cooking for an additional hour or so.  Once I had my desired thickness I turned the slow cooker off and allowed it to cool a bit.  I then used my immersion blender to bring the butter to a smooth consistency, ladled it into hot sterilized jars. and processed in a BWB for 5 minutes.

After tasting both recipes I’ve come to the conclusion that the cloves are not as distinct as I initially thought they would be.  I’m super happy with both flavors but next time I may marry all three spices together and keep to the 2 cup sugar recipe!

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Movin’ to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches!

OK, so maybe I already live in the country, but I am definitely gonna eat me a lot of peaches this winter!  Nothing compares to opening up a jar of fresh summer peaches in the middle of winter.  For my mother, that definitely ranks at the top of her nostalgia list!  As a little girl she spent her summers on the farm and canning peaches was the yearly tradition she liked best!

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve made 2 types of jam, canned several pints & quarts, and made honey from the left over skins!  I really, really love peaches!!  Rohrers Orchard is only a few minutes from me, and since I don’t have the room to grow fruit trees of my own, I support local farms that do!  I also plan on getting my apples there come October.  Rohrers last peach picking of the season will be Thursday, so I am stopping by Friday morning for one more half bushel.
This is going to be a 3 part peach post because there is so much deliciousness to share!

Part 1: Peach Jam

Whenever you are using peaches you will first want to remove the skins.  You don’t have to, but they tend to get a bit slimy if you don’t.  I am not overly sensitive to textures, like some people; however, slimy just doesn’t sit well!

Fresh is always best, and canning over-ripe fruit does not improve the quality or flavor.  So, with that being said, make sure your peaches are ripe, but not mushy.  I normally let them sit out in a single layer for about a day or two.  Any peaches with brown spots set aside, you can just cut that section out and slice those up for snacking on while cooking!  Wash your fruit and place it into a large pot of boiling water for about a minute, then transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water. This is called blanching and it is how you remove skins with ease.  If your peaches are not ripe you will have to boil them a bit longer.

After the peaches have cooled in the ice bath the skins just slip right off!  This is also how you remove tomato skins.  I always save the skins to be used for making peach honey.  Not to worry, a post is soon to follow on that delectable diabetic coma inducing sweetness!

Slice your peaches and remove the pits. 

If you are making jam with your peaches, cut them into small chunks and then mash with a potato masher.  You can add either lemon juice or citric acid to keep your peaches from oxidizing and turning brown.  I use Ball Fresh Fruit, which is citric acid in powder form.  Don’t let the name scare you, it’s completely safe and all natural!
For my peach jam, I used 5 cups of mashed fruit and 1 1/3 C sucanat.  Remember how I went on and on about it in this post?  I also used 1 cup unsweetened apple juice and the low sugar pectin.  I have a wicked sweet tooth, so I was a bit nervous about how the jam would turn out.  Fear not sugar lovers, it rocks!  Combine the fruit, sucanat, and juice, and bring it to a rolling boil, then add the pectin.  Once it returns to a hard boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.  Ladle it into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.  Remove the jars from the water and allow to cool on a wire rack while anxiously listening for your jar lids to plink and seal.
I happen to have crappy hard-water, so there is constantly a white chalky residue left on my mason jars!  Simple solution to a pain-in-the-arse problem, add a bit of white vinegar to the canner and cleaning crisis averted!


I also tried out a spiced peach jam this year!  MMMM Baby!  Is it ever good!  Imagine apple pie filling, but with peaches.  Oh yea!  I used the same recipe for the low-sugar jam, but added 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  I think with my final half bushel, I may try a ginger peach jam. :)

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