Monthly Archives: April 2010

Just Dandy

I’ve been on a *make jam & jelly out of everything* kick as of late, and my most recent adventure, Dandelion Jelly.  To be honest, the jury is still out on this one.  Maybe it’s because I don’t feel well and things taste different when you’re sick, or maybe it’s because the flavor, to me, is reminiscent of something else.  I don’t want to plant any seeds of flavor-doubt in your head, so you can come to your own conclusion on this one.  Regardless, here is the recipe and if anyone is willing to make a batch; I’d LOVE to know your thoughts!!

Dandelion Jelly

2 C fresh dandelion petals.  The best way to achieve this is by holding the flower by the head and cutting with sharp kitchen sheers.  Try to avoid cutting the sepals while collecting your petals, you want as little green as possible.  Obviously, DO NOT use flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides.

2 cups boiling-water

1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

4 cups sugar

1 box of pectin

20-25 drops yellow food coloring  This is optional and I chose to not add it to my jam.

Since I washed the flower heads, it made measuring the petals a bit more difficult, as they wanted to clump together.  My solution: place a single-layer of flowers on 2 large wooden cutting boards, and set them outside to dry for a bit.  I then cut the petals and once again, spread them out on a cutting board, this time drying them inside.  (It was a bit windy and I did not want the loose petals blowing away!)

After the petals were almost dry, I was able to fluff them up and measure out my 2 cups.  Next, you want to place them into a non reactive bowl, and pour 2 cups of boiling-water over them, allowing to steep for 2 hours.

After steeping, strain the petals through cheese cloth; the infusion was muddy brown in color.
Add the lemon juice and food coloring, if desired.

Place the liquid on the stove, add sugar and bring to a boil.  Stir in pectin and bring back to a hard boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and ladle into sterile jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace; process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.  Remove jars from canner and allow to cool, undisturbed for 12-24 hours.  Voila, dandelion jelly!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Boiling-Water Bath Canning, Jam & Jelly, Vegan, Vegetarian

Violet Jelly

You heard me right and no I’m not off my rocker!  I actually made jelly from violets; you know, those little purple flowers, and it’s damn good too!  It’s sweet with a slight tartness.  Turns out you can make jelly from all sorts of things, even dandelions and roses!  My sister-in-law has had rose jelly and she said it’s amazing.  Naturally, I can’t wait to make it!

Right now violets are blooming like crazy.  My property is covered with them!  Originally, I had plans to make this last year, but by the time I remembered it was too late and all the blooms were gone!  This year I was on-the-ball and ended up canning two batches!  Let me tell you how good it felt to be canning again!  Jaime, from Our Little Homestead, is an avid canner as well.  Once she found out I was canning this early in the season boy was she jealous!  I told her I was up to something super secret and she would have to wait to find out.  I’m sure the anticipation is making her nuts, I know it would if it were me!

So without further adieu, I bring to you…

Violet Jelly

2 overflowing cups of fresh violet flowers.  Pick fully open buds for the best flavor and color.

1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

4 cups sugar

1 box pectin

2 cups boiling-water
 

Wash the violets (you do not need to dry them) and place into a non-reactive bowl.  Pour 2 cups boiling-water over the flower petals, cover, and allow to steep up to 24 hours, I left mine in the fridge overnight.  Strain liquid through a cheese cloth, it should be a lovely shade of dark blue.

Next, add lemon juice and watch the infusion morph into a stunning shade of purple. It’s like magic, I tell ya!
Combine sugar with liquid and bring to a boil.  Add pectin and return to a hard boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and ladle into hot, sterile jars, wipe rims and adjust two-piece lids to fingertip-tight.  Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove jars and allow to cool, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours.

Seriously, have you ever seen a more beautifully jelly?  It didn’t set as thick as most other jams and jellies I’ve made; it has a consistency similar to honey, but then again, so did my grape jelly, which developed a harder set over time.

6 Comments

Filed under Boiling-Water Bath Canning, Jam & Jelly, Vegan, Vegetarian

Another One Bites the Dust

While I do find it extremely frustrating to lose yet another jar of peaches, I am very intrigued by the spoilage that is taking place. Plus, I find the composition to be very interesting!

Leave a comment

Filed under Chatter

Curry Lentil Stew

It has been forever since I posted a recipe or shared any of my latest cooking adventures, so I thought I should remedy that starting today! Honestly, I have lots of unfinished posts just hanging out in my que waiting to be published, maybe someday I will actually get around to finishing them! Maybe.
A little over two weeks ago I went home for a family get together and ended up getting more than I bargained for. My niece had a cold that quickly spread throughout my brother’s family. Not wanting to exclude her Aunt DD I ended up getting sick as well. My colleagues are always on my case about the fact that for someone who eats very healthy and exercises regularly I am ALWAYS getting sick! Folks, I’ve been this way my entire life. :/
Last Sunday, which was day seven of my 2 week cold, I was not in the mood to cook. I wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything really. So while putzin’ around on Facebook I noticed a friend was making lentil curry soup for lunch. Instantly I knew that was exactly what I needed to get out of the blah mood I was currently drenched in. I attribute that to the spice!
There was no recipe following here, just a lot of tossing together what was on hand and I am happy to report it turned out deeee-lish!
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 bag of baby carrots, coined
2 large jars of my canned tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bag of dried lentils
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes (make this recipe vegan by subbing veggie stock)
red curry powder
seeds from 5 Thai Dragon Peppers
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Step 1. Chop your veggies
Step 2. In a large soup pot heat oil on med-high heat. Add onion, carrots, potatoes and garlic, saute for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, chicken cubes, lentils, celery, pepper flakes and curry powder. The amount of curry powder depends on how hot you like your food. I like it HOT so I generously sprinkled enough to cover the top of the soup pot, twice.
 
Reduce heat to med-low, cover and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  
I ended up taking the final picture several days after the soup was cooked, so by then it had evolved into more of a stew consistency!

Leave a comment

Filed under Vegetarian

Admitting Defeat

This is how far I got yesterday on the new garden. Very disheartening! I wanted to be erecting my fence and planting veggies today which is clearly not going to be happening. The problem is I am not strong enough to push the front tines of my rototiller into the tightly knit fabric that is the grass. After 45 painful minutes of my rototiller taking ME for a walk (I don’t give up easily) I decided to move onto plan B and start digging, by hand! I would have spent all weekend removing the grass but thankfully my neighbor took serious pity on me and made a phone call to a guy named Noodle. Don’t ask how he got his name, that’s just what you call him. Anyway, he owns a front end loader and will be stopping by Monday to tackle my grass, AND he is refusing to be paid. I bet he won’t refuse a jar of homemade jam though!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Micro-farming

A Tasty Twist

I’ve got something in the works and it involves these tiny beauties!

Leave a comment

Filed under Chatter

Making Progress

 The grass killer is finally starting to take effect. I should be tilling by this weekend!!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Micro-farming

Breaking the Seal

I have an overwhelming fear of botulism, which is why I can EVERYTHING except jams and ‘maters in my pressure canner. Never have I had this happen before, but then again, never have I moved my canned goods from one house to another. When a seal does not set during initial processing, those jars are immediately refrigerated and used. The rest are placed in dry storage which was located in my basement. The new house does not have a basement, so they reside in a very large bathroom closet right off my kitchen, which now doubles as my canning pantry.
Last weekend I was in the mood for some fresh summer peaches. I opened the pantry to get a jar and guess what my eyes did see!
Oops! Guess all the excitement from the move shook things up a little too much! When I pressed on the lid it popped right back up! A clear indicator that the seal was broken. I ALWAYS test my lids after I can to make sure they set, so I know it wasn’t always broken. Plus, if the seal had not set properly after canning I would have had this issue months ago, like in September. I lost a jar of tomatoes as well. My mother discovered that one after I moved in and we were putting the rest of my things away. That bomb was waaaayyyyy too stinky for a picture!!
Now that I have a better idea of what to expect when a canning seal breaks and bacteria enters the environment it’s definitely lessened my fear of botulism. Well, at least a little anyway! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Chatter