Spiced Strawberry Jam

SpicedStrawberryJam

The Ever-Bearing Strawberries continue to sneak in, and I managed to make a quick batch of jam last weekend before I went hiking. Simple. Quick. Do it now, and you won’t regret it in January!

SpicedStrawberryJam

The spices deepen the flavors of the jam, especially the vanilla, which leaves a creamy essence. It is so good on yogurt and even atop strawberry ice cream.

Spiced Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 5 2/3 cups mashed strawberries (measure after mashing)
  • 7½ Tbsp Ball® Real Fruit™ Classic Pectin
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Wash canning jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, take off stove, add in clean jars and keep covered.

Fill canning pot halfway with water, bring to a near boil, then let simmer.

Mash berries with a potato masher and measure.

Following directions on pectin container, measure and put berry mixture in a large pot, stir in pectin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat (a boil that doesn’t stop when stirring). Stir in sugar quickly, return to a full rolling boil, cook for 1 minute after it returns to the boil. Take off the heat and stir in vanilla.

Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel. Ladle the hot jam into the bars, using a sterilized canning funnel. Leave a ¼” headspace.

Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.

Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.

Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.

As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard it immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!) If you are using a different brand of pectin, be sure to read their directions and to follow them.

Made 5 pints, expect to get about 10 cups worth of jam, so you can vary jam jar size if you wish.

Small Batch Strawberry Jam

SJ

End of July brings Everbearing Strawberries into season, and a small batch of jam doesn’t take long to capture the bright taste of it.

SJ

Small Batch Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

Directions:

Wash canning jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, take off stove, add in clean jars and keep covered.

Fill canning pot halfway with water, bring to a near boil, then let simmer.

Mash berries with a potato masher and measure.

Following directions on pectin container, measure and put berry mixture in a large pot, stir in pectin. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat (a boil that doesn’t stop when stirring). Stir in sugar quickly, return to a full rolling boil, cook for 1 minute after it returns to the boil. Take off the heat.

Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel. Ladle the hot jam into the bars, using a sterilized canning funnel. Leave a ¼” headspace.

Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.

Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.

Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.

As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard it immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!) If you are using a different brand of pectin, be sure to read their directions and to follow them.

Made 2 pints and 1 half-pint, expect to get about 5 cups worth of jam, so you can vary jam jar size if you wish.

Sweet and Hot Pickled Green Beans

Greenbeans

As I was prepping this batch of beans, I had decided to use a pack of Ball Heritage Collection Pint Green Jars. Looking at the side of a jar, molded in, is “100 Years of American Heritage “. Growing up, canning was pretty much uncool. Who did that when you could go to a store? My Mom did. But then, we were pretty much poor, so we had to. Had to. Think about that. We ate way better food because buying it made was more money. In the 1980′s it was so embarrassing that my Mom canned. She also made bread, dehydrated food….yeah, it was a rough childhood ;-) I am grateful to her though, that she did teach me how to can and not be intimidated by it. It isn’t hard, it is pretty low-tech and if you do it at night, after the kids go down to bed, it is quiet and the work goes fast.

The history of these cool jars is this “2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the development of a series of jars, designed by the Ball brothers, each intended to be better than the one before. 1913 saw the launch of the first true “Perfect Mason” jar followed in 1914 by the “PERFECTION”. 2014 marks the second year of a multi-year limited edition series with the introduction of the Spring Green Jar. These vintage-inspired green jars maintain all of our modern standards for quality and reliability.” I bought a ton of the blue ones, and snagged the green ones as soon as I saw them! I even bought the matching Ball Green Color 6-Pack Lids and Bands (they come in blue as well!).

I took a recipe from Blue Book Guide to Preserving and adapted it. I played with the spices and vegetables and added in sugar, but didn’t mess with the vinegar or processing time (don’t mess with that!). Do I recommend my recipe? If you feel safe, then yes. I feel comfortable with what I did, but I have canned a lot. If you are new to canning, get a copy of The Blue Book or Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and follow the recipes exactly!

Greenbeans

Sweet and Hot Pickled Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 2½ pounds fresh green beans
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (about ½ pound)
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1½ tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 3¾ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3¾ cups filtered water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp sea salt

Directions:

Rinse, drain, and rinse beans, drain well and lay out on new paper towels to dry. Remove any leaves and wilted beans, discard.

Wash 6 pint canning jars, bands and new lids in hot, soapy water, rinse well.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to a boil, set aside and keep jars in it till needed. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer, add in lids and bands, take off heat and keep covered.

Fill canning pot halfway with water, bring to a near boil.

Bring vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a tall saucepan.

Line up the beans in batches, and trim off the tops, discarding. If beans are long, cut in half.

Remove top off bell pepper, discard with seeds and white parts inside, slice thinly.

Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel, divide beans between jars, fitting in. Squeeze in slices of red bell pepper. Drop in a garlic clove in each jar and ¼ teaspoon of each spice. Gently tap jars to settle. Using a canning funnel, pour in hot vinegar to near the top of each jar. Sterilize a non-metal utensil (a chopstick works well, dip into boiling water) and run along the inside of each jar, to remove air bubbles. Top off with hot liquid as needed, leaving ½” headspace. Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.

Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.

Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.

As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard it immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!)

Makes 6 pints.

Seedless Marionberry Jam

Marionberry

I love marionberries. The bigger, tastier blackberry. We have two plants that grow out back – a Marion is a hybrid of Blackberries that produce a large sweet and tart berry. Out West, they are the preferred blackberry. Alas, none in this picture I took a few weeks back were ripe ;-) But since then, we get a few each day to nibble on!

Marionberry

Thankfully, I know a few local farms that grow them. Canning tip: buy as you can, freeze on cookie sheets, then bag up. Once you get enough, then you can thaw in the refrigerator and carry on with jam making. While this seedless jam does take a bit extra time (and arm muscles) to press out the juice and thick pulp, the bonus is no seeds. I am not a fan of seedy jam. Just don’t like it! But neither do I want jelly. The thick pulp gives the jam great texture and flavor. It is simply amazing served over handmade vanilla ice cream…

Marionberry2

Awhile back Kirk bought me the best unistaker for canning: Norpro 605 Canning Lid Rack. It makes it so much easier to pick up the lids for canning, and they don’t stick together! It also is great when you are washing the lids, once rinsed, you pop them into the rack and they are ready to be inserted into a hot-pot of water.

Marionberry1

Seedless Marionberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups prepared berries (measured AFTER prepping, see below)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 ½ Tbsp Ball® Real Fruit™ Classic Pectin

Directions:

Wash 6  half-pint jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, take off stove, add in clean jars and keep covered.

Fill canning pot halfway with water, bring to a near boil, then let simmer.

Mash berries with a potato masher. In small batches, add a bit of berries to a fine mesh sieve, over a large bowl. Push against the berries with a silicone spoon or spatula, to press the juice and fine pulp through. Keep working at it until there is mostly seeds left, discard seeds and repeat till done. Periodically, using a second spatula, scrape the back side of the sieve and knock into bowl. (Note: just how many berries you will need depends on how juicy the berries are. I think I started off with 12 cups or so.)

Following directions on pectin container, measure and put berry mixture in a large pot, stir in pectin. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat (a boil that doesn’t stop when stirring). Stir in sugar quickly, return to a full rolling boil, cook for 1 minute after it returns to the boil. Take off the heat.

Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel. Ladle the hot jam into the bars, using a sterilized canning funnel. Leave a ¼” headspace.

Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.

Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.

Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.

As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard it immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!) If you are using a different brand of pectin, be sure to read their directions and to follow them.

Makes 6 half-pints.

Blueberry Jam: Canning Summer

BlueberryJam

Jam making isn’t hard, if anything, it is one of the simplest ways to learn how to can! And…if you use pre-bought pectin it is even easier. Be sure to read the boxes/containers of pectin, some types have preservatives added (usually liquid pectin). Sure Jell and MCP brands are both sold on the West Coast and are preservative free. I had found a box of Sure Jell I had bought last year, stuck in the back when we redid the pantry, and a flat of blueberries waiting for me. When you think about it, it isn’t a lot of work to have 8 jars of jam, that will see you through winter.

BlueberryJam

Blueberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups crushed blueberries (measure AFTER crushing, you will need about 8 cups whole berries)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 package dry pectin

Directions:

Wash 8 half-pint jars, with bands and new lids, in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to boil, take off stove, add in clean jars and keep covered.

Fill canning pot halfway with water, bring to a near boil.

Following directions on pectin insert, measure and put berries in a large pot, stir in the entire package of pectin. Bring to full rolling boil over high heat (a boil that doesn’t stop when stirring). Stir in sugar quickly, return to a full rolling boil, cook for 1 minute after it returns to the boil. Take off the heat.

Drain jars using tongs, place on a clean kitchen towel. Ladle the hot jam into the bars, using a sterilized canning funnel. Leave a 1/8″ head space.

Dip a clean paper towel in hot water, then run around the top of each jar. Place a lid on each jar, then a band, screw on finger tight.

Turn canner up to high, place jars in water bath rack, lower rack into water. Water should cover by 1 – 2″, if not add a bit more from the other pot that held the jars. Bring to a rolling boil, covered, process for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully remove jars, placing on a clean dry kitchen towel to cool.

Once cooled, check again that seals are down (you should hear the Ping! as each one seals). Gently remove bands (wash, dry and store for your next project. While they look nicer on, if they have water inside from processing, they can rust. If you are giving away your canned items, you can always slip one back on), note on jar or lid what is in jar with a date. Store in a dry/cool/dark area and use within a year.

Want to see a pectin box insert that will walk you through canning jam?

As always, if you ever go to use a canned item and the lid is not sealed anymore, or bulging, discard it immediately!!!!!! (I have only ever lost one jar in all my canning, so don’t fret!) If you are using a different brand of pectin, be sure to read their directions and to follow them.

It Feels Like Winter!

CB1

SNOW!!!!

Snow2

Yeah, I got excited ;-) So did two little boys who couldn’t wait to get outside! The first real snow of the winter (OK…almost winter….)

Snow1

Who knew a tree stump could be so much fun?

Snow3

We even spotted one of the bald eagles that live on our lake – it is hard to see, but there was a prime specimen in the middle tree, calling out.

Snow4

So my morning got blown out. And that was OK. Snow Day for the oldest, play day for the two youngest. Morning blogging? Nah, not important. They are! And Christmas (er, “Winter”) Break started today as well. Recipes and reviews can wait….

So tied into Christmas coming, and this being the last weekend before, I wanted to celebrate it by giving away my most recent e-book, Sweet Treats Done Naturally, for free, for the weekend! Today through Sunday, you can pick it up on Amazon for free. Just in time to get all that last-minute candy made.

SweetTreats

This was a fun book to put together, a compilation of some of my favorite recipes:

ST

Head over to Amazon and pick it up: Sweet Treats Done Naturally.

Have a great weekend – and I am not sure when I will post next before the end of the year. I am taking the next week or so off, but will be around on Facebook and Twitter. Just want to let my mind have a vacation!

Happy Holidays! 3 Free Week! Craving A Hot Latte?

CB2

3FreeSmall

Today’s grab on Amazon is The Natural Barista: Latte Syrups & Drinks, which if you love lattes, coffee and flavored syrups, this is the book for you!

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Want a preview of why you want this ebook?

PumpkinSpiceLatte4

Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Creamy, spicy, and so much tastier than the $5 a latte you’ll pay at a certain chain…and you’ll have enough to make lots of them! So don’t wait to download your copy of The Natural Barista: Latte Syrups & Drinks, it is only free on Amazon till Midnight today!

The Natural Barista: Latte Syrups & Drinks

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L1

The Natural Barista: Latte Syrups & Drinks – Last week our second e-book debuted. One for the coffee lovers out there!

L2

I truly savor my morning latte every day. I should enjoy every sip of it, preferably with one (or more) of my handmade syrups.

L3

The full-color digital book comes with 9 hand-crafted syrups and 6 drink recipes – to get you inspired in the morning. I also have included tips on how to make ‘cheater’ lattes if you don’t have an espresso machine. And a bonus? Syrups make lovely holiday gifts!

The book is in our bookstore or it can be picked up at Amazon – The Natural Barista: Latte Syrups & Drinks.

Upcycled Advent Calendar

AdventCalendar

AdventCalendar

Last year I wrote about the up-cycled advent calendar I made for the boys. 24 stage 2 glass baby food jars, cleaned and lids painted. Circling a mini 2 foot high tree, decorated in deep blue.

Adventcalendar2

The boys loved it, it went over well. 24 days of candy? Well, yeah, no wonder. I packed up the jars and tree, stowing it away.

Advent1

This year I updated it a bit, adding snowflake stickers to the jars, more ornaments for the tree, a matching mini tree skirt. The candy focus this year is allergy-friendly, so that Alistaire can have some as well. Last year it was only Ford and Walker, now I have 3 boys competing. And since I found naturally dyed peppermint candies even I can sneak one or two.

Advent2

Last year we didn’t put up the big tree, this year? I have the advent calendar ready, and Walker and I just finished a second 2 foot tree for the entryway. And come Thanksgiving, the big tree will be back up :-) It was missed last year! Last week I took the boys shopping for the annual picking out of an ornament for the tree, one each. Walker decided that he and B (Alistaire) needed Thomas and Percy ornaments. My little trees all match, my big tree…is a happy mish-mash from latte cups to trains, to snowhoes. That is a cool thing really!

Advent3

Now I wait till the big tree is up, then I can tuck the little tree in front!

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PS: My interview with Blogging On The Side was posted today – love it! Check it out if you have the time, there is always something new to learn from their site.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Half-way today! It feels wonderful!

Food Gifts: Creamy Vegetable-Lentil Soup Dry Mix

Curious for ideas on savory, non-sweet gifts you could make up easily? Consider this one…which can be presented as a plant-based, minimally processed and vegan friendly gift, always a bonus? I adapted a recipe I saw in the 2012 issue of Better Homes and Garden Food Gifts:

FoodGifts2012

It is one of the thick “magazines” that are more like books, found in stores, near the checkouts or in the magazine aisle. I’d say it was worth the cost, of $10. What had gotten me to pick it up was for packaging ideas, of which it is stellar at. The recipes are well done as well. I did adapt it slightly, to reflect my taste in lentils (called for yellow lentils, I used French Green), varied the vegetables and used my handmade broth mix. I realize most people don’t have containers of dried veggies in their pantry, they should though! They last a long time, are handy in a pinch and in soups work the same as fresh. Buy in bulk and store in mason jars.

I call for a variety of dried vegetables in the recipe, you can of course cheat and use a pre-made mix of dried vegetables, I like making my own though (and I have plenty on hand after this past summers dehydration runs I did – of which I did a number of blog posts here and on my other blog) as the mixes often have way too much onion and parsley to bulk it up. Dried onions and Shiitake Mushrooms are both sold at Costco, onions with the spices, mushrooms are in the produce section.

SoupMix

Creamy Vegetable-Lentil Soup Dry Mix

Ingredients:

Also Needed:

  • 1½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, non-dairy creamer or dairy milk or half and half or undiluted evaporated milk (see below)

Directions:

If you have bought dehydrated vegetables they are normally dice size. If you are drying your own vegetables, cut them into dice size or small pieces before drying.

Layer the vegetables in a clean 16 to 20 ounce jar, pressing down to pack.

Mix the broth through garlic, add to a snack size bag, seal tightly and lay on top of vegetables.

Sort the lentils to endure there is no field debris, pack in a sandwich bag, lay on top.

Seal jar, decorate as desired.

Include with jar, printed or written on a pretty card:

To Make Soup -

Remove lentils, rinse and drain. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan with 4 cups water.

Bring to boiling, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Stir in milk or creamer, let heat through for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 1 gift/1 batch soup.

Note:

We made our soup mix up and used a 12-ounce can of fat-free evaporated milk. The soup is very thick, it would work well as a sauce over rice as well. Feel free to use 5 cups water at the start if you like it thin. I enjoyed how hearty it was!

~Sarah

PS: I’d consider gifting it with a quick bread or scone mix, also presented in a jar, for a nifty gift. I served our soup with Walnut-Rosemary Bread.

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