Sunday, October 25, 2009

Applesauce Recipe




















Although this isn't a jam recipe, it is apple time in this part of the country so an applesauce recipe seems fitting. Besides, it's so easy to make and so delicious it would be a shame to not include this in my blog.

So here goes...
  • Buy or pick ~24 apples-sweeter varieties for eating work best
  • Wash them
  • Remove the stems & slice (no need to remove the core)
  • Cook w/ 1/2 cup water until mushy
  • Leave the lid on the pot except to stir now & then
  • Run cooked apples through food mill to remove core, skin & seeds
While still hot (return to stove if necessary) add:
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Cloves (optional)
  • Stir well until mixed
  • Taste & adjust sweetener & spices to your liking
  • Dispense into clean plastic containers w/lids
  • Let cool
  • Lay plastic wrap on top of applesauce to prevent freezer burn
  • Cover with lids
  • Freeze, refrigerate or eat
  • Yield ~8-9 Cups
Here are a few photos of the process.




Sliced apples ready to cook


Cook with 1/2 Cup water until mushy


Run cooked apples through food mill to remove core, skin & seeds

While still hot, (return to heat if necessary) add honey, sugar, cinnamon & cloves

Dispense into clean plastic containers w/lids
Let cool
Lay plastic wrap on top of applesauce to prevent freezer burn
Cover with lids & freeze, refrigerate or eat!

Thanks for reading,
Trish

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Grape Jam Recipe ~ With Honey and Minimal Sugar

As promised here is the grape jam recipe, slightly revised to include the use of the newly discovered natural pectin!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lbs. Concord Grapes ~ 9 Cups
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1-1/2 Cups Mild Flavored Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice (appx. 2 lemons)
  • 2 Tsp. Pomona's Universal Pectin Powder (well mixed into honey/sugar used per package directions)
  • 2 Tsp. Pomona's Universal Pectin Calcium Water
DIRECTIONS:
  • Wash and de-stem the grapes
  • Place in a large stainless steel or enamel pot with 1/2 cup water
  • With a potato masher or wooden spoon mash the grapes
  • Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat to an active simmer
  • Simmer ~10 minutes or until the grape centers soften so they are easily crushed
  • Press the grapes through a food mill or a sieve with a wooden spoon to remove seeds and skins*
  • Discard skins and seeds and return remaining pulp to the saucepan
  • Add Lemon Juice
  • Add Calcium Water
  • Return to a boil and vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture
  • Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to disolve pectin
  • Remove from heat
  • Remove a spoonful, cool and taste for desired sweetness.
  • If necessary add additional honey or sugar.
  • Fill jars, add lids and rings and process
 Photos with recipe notes shown below.








Find the grapes and pick them!
Wash, de-stem, measure, mash, add water and cook.


Press through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds.
A food mill is easier even though it may hang-up a little if the seeds are large. Just turn the handle the other way for a bit and it will free things up.
Discard skins and seeds and return remaining pulp to the saucepan
Add Lemon Juice
Add Calcium Water
Discard skins and seeds and return remaining pulp to the saucepan
Add Lemon Juice
Add Calcium Water
Return to a boil and vigorously stir in the honey/pectin mixture and/or sugar/pectin mixture
Boil gently stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes to disolve pectin














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















....give them a bath!

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

Thanks for reading and following,
Trish

Friday, October 9, 2009

Discovery!

In keeping with my effort to make the best jam using the least amount of honey and/or sugar possible, I have made several batches without the use of commercial pectin. This is because standard commercial pectin, (i.e., "Sure Gel"), requires sugar to work. For example if you have 8 cups of fruit, you would need approximately 4-5 cups of sugar! That's a lot of sugar!

Today I discovered a type of pectin that doesn't require the use of sugar. In fact, you can leave the honey, sugar, etc. out all together if you prefer. Last year at this time I had no luck finding this product. Maybe it's new or maybe I wasn't looking in the right places.

At any rate, the product is "Pomona's Universal Pectin" and it's not expensive. I found it at a local health food store for $4.29 a package which should be enough for 2-4 batches of jam.

So, I'm off to try my first batch of grape jam using this new discovery. I will keep track of any changes to the recipe and post it here.

Thanks for reading,
Trish

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Filling and Processing the Jars

Now the fun part!

When you've tested for gel point and your jam is ready, turn on the burner for your processing pot to get the water boiling. You will need a deep pot for processing the jars. The water needs to completely cover the top of the jars once submersed by 1-2" and they need to boil for 5-10 minutes. This is also referred to as a water bath.

Remove the warm jars from the dishwasher; I usually place them on a towel. Fill the jars leaving ~ 1/4" of space at the top. In other words, don't fill them right to the brim! I use a favorite measuring cup that pours easily for this. If you have a jar funnel you can use, great. If you have left over jam, and not enough jars, no problem. Just place the jam in a clean container, refrigerate and use it!
  • Wipe the edge/rim of the jars with a clean cloth to guarantee a good seal.
  • Lift the warm lids from the simmering pot using tongs and place them on the jars.
  • Screw on the rings but only fingertip tight. Do not over tighten.
  • Please note: You can place a rack in the bottom of the pot. Although I have done it without one, it is quite noisy and there is a risk of jar breakage. A few pieces of silverware will do the trick too. Here's one idea for a rack that might work for the bottom of your processing pot. It's called a steaming rack.

CHECK the BOTTOM DIAMETER of YOUR POT TO BE SURE IT WILL FIT.
  • Once the water in your processing pot is boiling, lower the jars into the boiling water using tongs.
  • Once you have them all in and the pot returns to a boil, cover the pot and boil for 5-10 minutes depending on what the recipe calls for.

COVER ME WITH WATER and GIVE ME A BATH!
  • Place a clean towel on the counter (close to an out of the way corner) to place the jars on. You don't want them to come in contact with a cold countertop and possibly break.
  • Carefully remove the jars using the tongs and place them on the towel. Slide the towel out of the way so as not to disturb the jars.
  • Don't tighten the lids or move the jars for 12-24 hours. This will allow the seals to set.
PLEASE DON'T DISTURB US!


As the jars adjust to the room temperature and seal, they will pop! It's a very nice sound. Some will pop right away, some will take a few minutes. I always like to count the pops just for fun.

After the 12-24 hours have passed you can now test the seals. You can gently press down on the lid with one finger. If the lid doesn't flex or pop, good seal! You can also remove the rings and gently try to lift the lid. If the lid doesn't move, good seal!

You're done!

Next I will post the grape jam recipe and several others.

Thanks for reading,
Trish

Please see earlier posts shown below for step-by-step instructions from the very beginning.