1.08.2017

Cinnamon the Truth

Well as promised this year is the year of research. Not daily but when it effects the taste of my jam and preserved food we will discuss it. Cinnamon have we really tasted the true flavor of this spice. We use it on so many thing that we probably just take for granted there is only one True Cinnamon. Wrong people there is not. There are many types of cinnamon. Today we will talk about the main two.

First we will define the two types then we will compare.


There are two cinnamon's most common to all. They are the true Cinnamon which is Ceylon. Then  it's cousin the one we use here in America and Canada is Cassia. Yes it is Cinnamon but not the pure Cinnamon. Cassia on the right is the cousin of Ceylon. Do not get me wrong they are both the bark of two different evergreen tree's BUT here is the difference

                                          Ceylon                                       Cassia

COLOR                            Light Brown                                   Dark Brown
STICK                     thin, soft and rolled tight                thick, hard and hollow
TASTE                             Sweet                                                    Flat
ORIGIN                        Sri Lanka                                    China, Vietnam, Indonesia
AROMA                    Delicate and Rich                            Pungent and Strong
COUMARIN                0.0004 %                                                    5%
COST                          $2.00 per ounce                                   $1.00 per ounce
USED IN                  Europe and Mexico                              USA and Canada


I know your next question is What is Coumarin. Here is an article about that if I got to involved it would go off topic. Let's just say your liver hates it!  But it does come in naturally and normal use with "real" Ceylon Cinnamon your safe.


Now let's not give Cassia Cinnamon a bad name although it is called the Bastard Cousin of Ceylon Cinnamon. I read an article in the 1999 Martha Steward Living Magazine. This is the article that made me think about this so very versatile spice and the differences between it and it's cousin. There are many type's of Cinnamon but to get the true taste which most of us growing up on the cheap stuff would probably not even like. Do your self a favor and research everything you put into your body you might be surprised at the information you find !

But more important is do not think of this Cinnamon in your pantry as an imposter it is cinnamon just a family member not the true spice we never knew.


1.01.2017

The 411 on Pure Vanilla Extract

Pure Vanilla Extract there is nothing better in anything you create than "Pure" . I have preached this sermon endlessly to everyone I know and everyone who uses my Pure Vanilla Extract. And yes I am saying "Pure" over and over I can not tell you enough but let us get down to the facts.

The FDA does not have or should I say has very lenient labeling laws. The reason is that they can make sure all that Fructose Corn Syrup is getting into your body. Lets just go with the most popular brand on the Big Box Shelves McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract. It is what you use no issues I use to use it endlessly for all things baked.


Here is your recipe to make your Vanilla Extract.








The Product that was studied was Mc Cormick Pure Vanilla Extract




So the one thing you need to know is that to make Pure Vanilla Extract all you need are two ingredients Vanilla Beans and Vodka/Rum. In store bought varieties there is Vanilla Bean extractive's. Now, add to the What you need to know Dictionary what is "pure" by the FDA Standards. Well, it is stated as long as you have extracted from pure vanilla beans. So pure just means the flavor. I tell you they get you every time. This is why it is so important to make sure you do your homework!

Decoding Labels McCormick Pure vanilla Extract.  this is an interesting article and has a lot of information. And it seemed that the label on one box of the "Pure" Vanilla Extract had Corn Syrup while another at a different store did not. How fricken strange is that???


11.21.2016

Lime Marmalade

Lime Marmalade a Marmalade for the true Tart Heads. I have made Marmalade for many a year. I took a class in Oakland back in the day and it will forever have taught me that an expert is the best person to learn from. There are many who call themselves "Expert's" and many other names but I find that a person who is skilled in a type of canning is the best to learn from. I learned my Marmalade Techniques from June Taylor of the Still Room.





Lime Marmalade

3 cups lime pulp
1 cup of lemon pulp
1 lime and 1 lemon sliced thin 1 cup (total)
1 cup thinly sliced lime peel (not rinds or pith just peel)
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup of lemon juice & 1 cup lime juice
(fresh squeezed its best but bottled will do)
1 cup of water
5 cups of sugar again to taste I like 4 but I like tart

Gel to the gel point of 223 degreez to gel.



The first step to do is get the rind cut this is the only way to do marmalade if you do not it does not have that little bit of tangy that real marmalade peeps love! Thinly slice the 1 lime and the 1 lemon. The rinds retain their pulp. It comes to about a cup or so give or take.

This step is important do not skip this step.



Now take the slices/peels and cut them into quarters. Put the slices/peels in 1 cup of the water and 1 cup of the lemon juice add the 1/8 tsp of baking soda and put it in a small pot bring it to a boil. Turn it down and let it simmer on low for 20 minutes this tenderizes the rind's.






Here is a link for sectioning your citrus. There is a trick and it makes this job much easier. I will section many a citrus to freeze for marmalade's and the like through out the year.




In the mean time cube up your limes and this is without the peel cut enough to have 4 cups of lime chunk's but like all my tips you make it the consistency you like after all its your jam.

Just do not change the measurements.

Limes are small and tricky but in the ends the flavor tells it all! 





Once the slices/peels have simmered add the rest of the liquid and the chunk's and the pectin
to your large stainless steel pot. Let all the ingredients simmer together and bring them up to a rapid boil you can not stir down. Have your thermometer in place. Keep stirring for 5 to 7 minutes then turn down to a low simmer.





This is my mixture getting ready to come to temperature.



Beautiful color ! 







The picture that I am putting up with the thermometer is from my lemon marmalade. When I make a large batch of marmalade I will also make a bag of pectin while cooking the Marmalade. I wanted you to have a picture of the thermometer I use.

Here the link to make your own pectin super easy and great way to waste nothing. It is all about the pith and seeds and left over citrus stuff!






Ok now back to the recipe. Bring this to a rapid boil it will begin to get a foam from the 5 to 7 minutes rapid simmer. Next step is to add the sugar slowly (Have your sugar measured out and ready) and make sure that your sugar is dissolved completely between each cup. Stir it over a gentle heat do not raise the heat to a boil until you are sure the sugar is dissolved.

Once it has returned to a rolling boil just to gel point that should be 223 on a thermometer.



When it is at it's roiling boil disturb it as little as possible. Do stir to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot. When you are checking to see if your marmalade has reached it's gel point 223 and is setting then turn the boil down. You do not want to over cook it if you do you will have a dark, dry and rubbery marmalade.

Let your marmalade cool slightly this way (as with all fruit filled jams) when you jar it up it will make sure the peels and guts get distributed evenly through out your delicious marmalade. Ladle into jars leaving a 1/4" head space, wipe the rims, cap and water bath time.

Give them a bath 15 minutes is my standard time



This is a super one recipe.  You do not need to add boxed pectin, let me explain if you bring your marmalade up to a rolling boil with a candy thermometer to 223 you will get it to the right gel point but this takes practice.

This picture is of my Orange Marmalade I did not take one of the Lime Marmalade when I was jarring it up. So this is just an example of what it will look like.

Practice makes perfect Marmalade it is a time consuming Jam so be patient and do not give up!





Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes. 

9.20.2016

Pressure Cannng Chicken in Chicken Stock




Pressure Canning Chicken is not as tricky as I expected. I found Fresh Chicken's on sale for 69 cents a pound and out here that is a great price. I bought 4 and decided to make Chicken Broth in pint jars and Chicken Broth with Chicken meat in Quart Jars.






Ingredients

3 Whole Chickens
3 each chopped Carrot/celery/ onion
4  whole garlic cloves
4 chopped fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaf's
Tablespoon of Whole peppercorns
Salt and pepper to taste




This is a very standard recipe for a Chicken Broth. Through out the year I will save/freeze chicken and vegetable parts that I do not use in other recipes. Like Celery head, Carrot tops, cut onion pieces the list goes on. I simply label it chicken soup and when it is time they all come out.  I put it all in a large pot with water and a whole chicken. Let this come to a boil then turn the temperature down to a simmer for at least an hour.









Once the broth has cooked down I will take the chicken out and d-bone it. At the same time I will remove all the stuff from the broth and strain it through a strainer back into the broth.

I want to try to get as clean a broth as possible.


 





Put the broth back into the cleaned pot and add the chicken. You can add a teaspoon of salt per quart half teaspoon per pint but it is not mandatory.

* Note: The broth never comes out totally clear but there is nothing bad in it!This batch looks pretty damn good ! Right?

Put a tablespoon of white vinegar into the pressure cooker water it will prevent hard water stains on your jar's.






While you are getting your pressure canner and jars ready let the soup simmer. Once you have every thing ready to assemble fill the jars leaving 1 and 1/4 inch head space. When Pressure Canning the amount of space is important for the contents to expand and make nice with the jars.








 Never over pack your pressure canner look at the pictures I have provided. They are in but not touching. 

 







Alright for your quarts you want to get your pressure up to 11 pounds for 90 minutes . For your pints it is 11 pounds for 75 minutes.

To the right is a pictures of the broth with and without chicken . The quart have chicken in them. The pints I did not put chicken and I may want to use for other recipes. 




 Do you see the difference in the amount of  liquid in the jars ? Not much.



Pressure Canning Chicken Resource




Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.

9.10.2016

Raspberry, Blackberry Strawberry with Cinnamon Jam


This is a Very Berry Jam like pie in a jar. The Strawberry, Blackberry and Raspberry combo is so delicious. I have made combo Jams prior to this one. I have a Every Berry even Cherry I made when I got a shipment of cherries from Washington.





Ingredients - 8 to 10 half pint jars

3 cups strawberry
2 cups raspberry
3 cups blackberry
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
2 cinnamon stick to simmer while cooking in batch (optional)
3 to 4 cups sugar










Have all you ingredients and equipment ready. Take you berries strawberry, blackberry and raspberry along with the lemon juice and cinnamon and cinnamon sticks.put them into your pot. Bring this up to a simmer and have it warm enough to do your smushing.






I use a potato smasher to accomplish my smuch. Sometimes I use my immersion blender like in my Blackberry Pineapple Jam  because the pineapple is a bit harder to smush.








Once you have gotten the right consistency you can add your sugar one cup at a time. Make sure you allow the sugar to dissipate between adding the next cup of sugar.






As I told you before I do not use pectin. I like to either use a natural pectin or let the jam heat up to a temperature of 223 degrees that will give you the perfect gel. Most of the Time!

Here is our Pot all smushed up and sugar ready. I do keep a lot of the fruit whole. I think there is nothing better than biting into a nice piece of fruit! Yum!






Well once you have your gel point shut off the stove and let it sit
 while you get your jars ready. It is time to get that jam into the jars. Take your warm jars out of the water-bath. Place them on a cloth covered counter next to your jam pot.

Fill each jar till it is 1/4 inch from the top rim of the jar. Once they are all filled wipe the rim of the jars with a clean cloth.

Tip --  I have sponges and cloth's I use only for canning that I wash separate and keep in a separate box. This way I know they are ready for canning and are clean once I start another canning project. 

Now, put the two piece top on and twist the top taunt.  Although they have said now you do not have to warm the lid portion with the seal I do. I have another post on that subject so let not get off topic. Something I do a lot!

Alrighty got all the seal and twist on place them into the water-bath for 12 minutes. Once they are done turn off the heat and remove the jar's. Place you jars on a cloth covered counter and let them cool for no less than 12 hours. Once cooled remove the twist clean you jars and label. Wa La More Yummy-ness



Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.