Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mulberry Preserves


I have used mulberries in muffins and pancakes for many years. The tree in our yard produces lots of tasty fruit. However, it wasn't until I saw a blog entry by a woman from Detroit about her quest for berries and her desire to make mulberry jam that I decided to make my own. Besides, I didn't have to go any further than my own backyard for berries! How nice is that.

Our mulberry tree brings lots of beautiful birds to our yard. We also get to enjoy deer, turkey, skunk, woodchucks, chipmunks, rabbits and the occasional coyote looking for a tasty snack. As you might guess this means lots of animal poo in the yard and bird poo on the house and deck. "I'm going to cut that tree down. It makes a mess." my husband used to say...every year around the same time. My only comment was, "Why would you cut something down that gives you food?"  I am happy to report that my husband's disgust with this tree is now gone forever with his first taste of mulberry jam! The tree is here to stay as is the menagerie of wildlife it brings with it. So without further delay....

Here's the recipe, instructions and photos for mulberry preserves using honey, a small amount of sugar and Pomona's Universal Pectin.

RECIPE
  • 4 Cups Clean, Milled Mulberries (You'll need 2 quarts)
  • 1 Cup of Honey
  • 1/2 Cup of Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  •  3 Tsp. Pectin Powder
  • 3 Tsp. Calcium Water*
  • Clean/Prepare 5 - 8 ounce Jelly Jars or 10 - 4 ounce Jars
*Per the instructions make the Calcium water first. You can refrigerate it and use it all summer for various types of preserves and jams.

DIRECTIONS:
  • Measure honey and/or sugar add Pectin Powder, mix well, set aside. In my opinion the pectin dissolves best if mixed into the honey.
  • Wash the berries and run them through a food-mill using the medium grate. You can try de-stemming by hand but the berries are very soft and it is quite messy. Using the medium grate will allow a few seeds to come through, but that's OK. Mulberry seeds have a nice crunch and are not annoying like raspberry seeds!
  • Place in a large stainless steel or enamel pot
  • Add the Lemon Juice and Calcium Water, stir well
  • Bring to a boil
  • Vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture
  • Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin
  • Remove from heat
  • Remove a spoonful, cool and taste for desired sweetness. Remember fruit flavor and sweetness will change from year to year and even between batches.
  • If necessary add additional honey or sugar and boil a little more to dissolve
  • Fill jars, add lids and rings and process for ten minutes (Click for details)
Photos with recipe notes shown below. 

 

Find the berries and pick them! I am lucky enough to have a tree in my backyard. Look how dark and beautiful they are!

Wash the mulberries and run them through the food mill using the medium sized grate.



This is how the berries will look after you run them through the food mill.



Put the berries, lemon juice and calcium water into a stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture. Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin.


Fill the jars, add lids and rings and.... 


....give them a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes! Remove jars to a towel. Let cool. Do not disturb for 12-24 hours. Then check seals and firm up the rings. Store in pantry. Once opened lasts 3-4 weeks.

A couple notes about Mulberry Preserves:

Mulberries are very juicy and low in natural pectin and I have found it necessary to use more calcium water and pectin than the recipe in Pomona's Pectin calls for. Even after doing so, it is still sometimes a bit runny. If you refrigerate it, this takes care of the problem and it gels very nicely.

I hope you can find a Mulberry Tree, harvest yourself a couple quarts and have fun making this jam. Mulberries have a surprisingly light and fresh taste. There are still a few trees yielding fruit here in Michigan at the time of this posting so it's not too late! Get out there, pick some fruit and have fun!

Please feel free to post any questions you may have. I'll do my best to answer.
Thanks for following along.
Trish

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Preserves


Here's the recipe, instructions and photos for strawberry preserves using honey, a small amount of sugar and Pomona's Universal Pectin.

RECIPE
  • 4 Cups Clean, De-stemmed/hulled Mashed Strawberries
  • 1/2 - 1 Cup of Honey
  • 1/2 - 3/4 Cup of Turbinado Sugar
  • 2 Tsp. Pectin Powder
  • 2 Tsp. Calcium Water*
  • Clean/Prepare 6 - 8 ounce Jelly Jars or 12 - 4 ounce Jars

 *Per the instructions make the Calcium water first. You can refrigerate it and use it all summer for various types of preserves and jams.

DIRECTIONS:
  • Measure honey and/or sugar* add Pectin Powder, mix well, set aside. In my opinion the pectin dissolves best if mixed into the honey.
  • Wash, de-stem and hull the berries. There are special tools for this, or you can use a paring knife.
  • Place in a large stainless steel or enamel pot
  • With a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash the berries
  • Add the Calcium Water, stir well
  • Bring to a boil
  • Vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture
  • Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin
  • If there is excessive foaming (and you don't like this), you can add a tablespoon or two of butter, or you can skim off the foam.**
  • Remove from heat
  • Remove a spoonful, cool and taste for desired sweetness. Remember fruit flavor and sweetness will change from year to year and even between batches.
  • If necessary add additional honey or sugar
*Sugar is not only a sweetener, but it also acts as a preservative. If you choose to omit sugar completely, your strawberries may blanch (or become white) over time.
**The foam is not a problem if you leave it. Some people don't like how it looks. If you stir the jam prior to use, you don't even notice it.

Photos with recipe notes shown below.


Find the berries and pick them!

Wash, de-stem, measure, mash, add calcium water and bring to a boil.

Vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture

Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin

Fill the jars, add lids and rings and....

 ....give them a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes!
Remove jars to a towel. Let cool. Do not disturb for 12-24 hours. Then check seals and firm up the rings. Store in pantry. Once opened lasts 3-4 weeks.

Feel free to post any questions you may have and I'll try to help.

Thanks for reading and following,
Trish

Monday, November 1, 2010

Up Next....Canning Pears


There are still plenty of pears available in Michigan, so I know they must be available, (or will be) in other areas as well. So that's what I will post next, How to Can Pears. It's not as difficult as you might think!

Thanks for your patience and for following - Trish


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Freeze Blueberries

OK, so it's not a jam recipe...but they're coming. I'm just getting warmed up. Besides, I was all set to post a few recipes and now the peaches are in! Things are moving fast this summer.

Anyway, blueberries are in season in Northern Michigan and the Northern U.S. so I thought this might be helpful.

You'll be tempted to just toss your blueberries in a bag and freeze them. Don't do it! They may become squished and you'll just have a mess on your hands when you thaw them out.

Purchase or pick your own blueberries. If you can find a farm to pick your own, you’ll save some bucks, support a local farmer and have a good time too! Take the kids along and let them help. They will learn where their food comes from and what it looks like before it is packaged and sold at the store.


As always, organic is best whenever possible.

Don't know about the local farms in your area? No problem! Visit Pick Your Own to find a Pick Your Own farm near you.

De-stem and rinse the blueberries. Don’t do this until you are ready to freeze them or use them. Blueberries have a natural coating on them that helps them to last longer. Once you rinse them, the coating is removed hastening the ripening process and shortening their shelf-life.

After you have them rinsed, spread them out on a paper towel to dry.



















Lay another paper towel over the top and gently blot them to absorb any water that may be on the top.



















You can also gently roll them over a little to dry them as much as possible all the way around. If you leave the paper towel under them and on top, they will air dry in 20-30 minutes.

Once they are dry, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer.

In an hour or so, check to see if they are frozen. They’ll feel like little marbles. Once frozen you can place them in a freezer bag, squeeze out any excess air and put them back in the freezer. Now you’ll have blueberries for future use…..like in the dead of winter when you wish you had fresh fruit. It’s not quite as good, but it’s a close second!

If you want to thaw them, I recommend thawing the blueberries in the fridge.

I hope you found this post informative.

Soon...blueberry jam! It will be delicious!
















Thanks for reading.
Trish

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why there have been no blogs…..

You’ve heard the phrase “year-to-date”. Well how about the phrase “jam-to-date”?

This is why there have been no blogs:


From l to r: Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry and Blueberry jam

My number of "jams-to-date" this spring/summer is already at four! It’s just been one jam thing after another!

The fruits just keep rolling in! The harvest times seem to be one on top of the other with very little down time in between.

I’ve barely had time to enjoy toast and (my own) jam!


Toast with the latest creation, blueberry jam

The next thing on my radar is peaches and I’m hoping we have a couple weeks until they are ready (so I can blog a little). During that time I will post recipes and instructions for all the jams shown above. Although this may not help you with this year’s harvest, the recipes will be here for later.

Please be patient, stay tuned, and thanks for following along.

Take care,
Trish