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