1.13.2021

Canning your Jam Using Frozen Fruit


 A little Canarella History. I have been using frozen fruit since I started canning. My Grandmama Lois taught me to waste nothing and when time was an issue freeze it. She came from a long line of Food Preservers. Every Winter I run out of one jam or another. I get several request for more of the yummy Jams as people have taken to eating them with a spoon right out of the jar. My My ! 


But there are a few easy steps and no tremendous amount of time you to can save that ripe ready Summer fruit for a Winter Recipe. Many a time I buy in bulk because the more you buy the cheaper the price and after many years in business my vendors still give me great deals. Like the strawberries pictured above I got the two large pallets for $22.00 dollars. Lucky me!


Let us start with tools. My favorite tool  I use and have forever  is my Seal Saver. This is the third one I have had in my kitchen since the early 1990's. Did you know Vacuum Food Sealers were invented in the early 40's and in 1950 a man named Karl Busch brought it to the next level for commercial use but eventually it came to our now modern kitchen models. Food Savers are the most popular model but there are so many out there. 

Do your homework and get this tool.

Now back to the original subject the other tool you need is freezer space. I have a upright large freezer. With my canning and Pa's fishing we need it. There are only a few key steps to freezing your fresh fruit and berries. 

Do wash berries they have a lot of dirt and bugs that lodge in the nooks and crannies them. The exception on cleaning prior to freezing berries is blueberries because the skin will toughen up when frozen so be aware of what you will use them for. I make jam so it does not matter to me so I will wash them. Once you wash any berry let it sit in the colander and drain for a good hour.

Second clean fruit by taking the stems off and just lightly rub off any dirty areas. Fresh ripe fruit is delicate so no muscle needed just be gentle.  


I slice and chop my stone fruit to make it easier to use once I defrost the bag. I do not peel any of my stone fruit as the peel dissipate when cooked for jam. All my jams are chunky and have bite size pieces of fruit in them. The fruit is really left whole unless it is a stone fruit. To me jam should have fruit in it that you can feel the texture and taste it full bodied. Plus fruit that has been frozen breaks down really quickly once heated.


Look at this picture of fresh blackberries that I froze. Once properly frozen and then defrosted they still look fresh and read for some jammin'. There are many ways to freeze. I know the most popular way on the world wide webbie is to lay all your fruit out on a tray freeze them and then pack and freeze them. After many years freezing fruit right after cleaning them I think as long as you are eliminating all the air and head space you really do no have to.


Another thing you need to be aware of is fruit that changes colors. Let us take Apricots and Peaches for an example. An easy way to prevent this is to make a bowl with 25% lemon juice with 75% water. While you are pitting and chopping them drop them in the lemon mixture then into a colander to drain. What you are doing is coating them this will not affect the flavor of the jam after all you add lemon to most jams. At least we do. 

You can also add sugar to coat your fruit prior to freezing but make sure you take note of how much sugar you used. Write it on the container you freeze in. So many options and ways to do this. Here is a great website for informations I use. The National Center for Food Preservation.

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 Agricultural Extension Service for additional information and available classes.

12.28.2020

Cranberry Nectarine Preserves


Cranberry Nectarine this jam came out of a desperation to empty my freezer of my left over 2020 fruits. I buy in bulk during the season and what I cannot use right away I freeze. I find that to get the fruit peak is so important to the taste. Many fruits bought out of seasons need extra sweetener to pump up the flavor. 

Two things are that right now cranberries are so ready available and so very tart-ta-licious. Mix that with Summer Nectarine and you have a winner taking cranberry to the next level. I did not take many pictures this go round but the recipe is what you came here for. 


Ingredients

  • 16 cups chopped nectarines
  • 2 bags of cranberries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh  lemon juice

I start by putting my cranberries in a large bowl or just into the pot you will cook the jam in. I add the brown sugar and lemon and give the cranberries a smush. Then I will add this to the pot along with the nectarines. I chop my fruit large and small I find nothing better than being able to feel the fruit in every bite. 

Make sure you are using a stainless steel pot. 


Once you have combined all the ingredients let the jam simmer for at least on hour stirring to keep it from sticking on the bottom of your pot. Once your jam has come to a nice gel you can get your jars ready. 

For this jam I used pint jars rare for me but I was giving them as Christmas Gifts. Have your jars warm when it is time to fill. Fill your jars until you get half inch from the top of the jar. Wipe the rim clean and add the lid and twist. Water bath on a high boil for 10 minutes. 



Wait 5 minutes once the jam is done to remove from the water bath. Once they have cooled take off the twist from of the jar leaving the lid and clean, label and store in a cool dark place.

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 Agricultural Extension Service for additional information and available classes.

11.20.2020

Blackberry Raspberry Schrub


Making Shrubs are made and gone faster than I can explain. I love Shrubs. This one is wonderful because it gives me the tart of the blackberry and the sweet of the raspberry. Every Shrub is simple and you can use fresh or frozen fruit. 

I use turbinado sugar on all my shrubs it (to me) gives it a richer taste. I added some of my dehydrated blood oranges to my cup for extra flavor.



Ingredients


  • 1 cup of raspberries 
  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • 3/4 cup of turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar



Place the raspberries and blackberries into a bowl with the sugar. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.



Stir occasionally. You want the sugar to dissolve.

 


This will save you later when you are straining and you find sugar that is not incorporated. 

Now remove the mixture from the refrigerator and add the vinegar to the syrup and stir. 




Get your strainer ready regardless of what you use. This one I used the jelly strainer. You are going to strain all the liquid out. I will gently get all the fruit into the strainer and let it strain naturally. It takes about a half hour or so. Once it is done I will remove the strainer bag and squeeze the dinkin's out of it. You can use the leftover fruit for compost or perhaps a salad dressing or freeze it for another foodie adventure. 




Now it is time to pour your liquid into a container. I have a lot of various glass container's you will see them in various posts   Once your shrub is incorporated you want to store this in a glass jar and refrigerate. Let your syrup stay in the refrigerator for one week prior to using it. 

Use the leftover solids for your compost or any other project you may have in mind. 

Another good idea is Fruit Leather.  

11.18.2020

Making Your Own Vanilla Powder

Vanilla Beans one of the seasoning and flavor enhancers that I think people have no idea how far you can take these little beans. I will post at the end of this the links for various ways I use these heavenly beans. 



First let us start with a few things you need to do for Vanilla Powder. Let me tell you to use your beans for other things before you use them just for Vanilla Powder. They are potent little ones and can be used multiple times for various projects. I start once I order my beans planning their uses first I make some Pure Vanilla Extract. Once that is done I take the beans out of the extract. There is plenty of flavor left in the beans alone. Even when I make three batches out of my beans. 


I have to start this post on the How to remove the beans from the extract. I never order and use them  fresh to make the vanilla powder this is such a terrible waste of good beans. 

Alrighty enough let's start by removing the beans from the Vanilla Extract. This can be tricky but once you have emptied your vessel of the vanilla extract you made it is a lot easier. I use a narrow fork to grab them by the curl. They all naturally have a nice curl on one end of the bean. Pull the beans from the vessel and place them on a plate.



Once you have removed your beans it is time to cut the end off and slice them down the middle if you did not already do this for your Vanilla Extract. You can use a cookie baking sheet covered with parchment paper to dry the beans. This way they have an area to dry that you can move them around and lose nothing from the beans. Dry the beans on a counter in the house you could also start the process by using your oven set at 170 for a few hours. 


Now that your beans are dried it is time to make the powder. 

I start by chopping the beans as small as possible. I use a Mortar and Pestle to do my beginning grinding. Once they have been crushed you can take them and put them into a spice grinder. I use a coffee bean grinder that is my makeshift spice grinder. It works and it is only for spices to be ground. 





Once the vanilla has been ground I put it through a strainer to keep the larger vanilla beans out and separate. I can use these for other cooking needs. They will work if you make a spice package to use in jam or sauces. Also for Vanilla Sugar.






Once you are done separating the vanilla beans and powder put your powder into a glass container and keep in a cool dry cupboard. Use this power for all your baking needs it comes in extra handy during the Holidays as you do so much baking during winter months. If you make ice cream this pwder is what it needs. 



Also you can make Vanilla Extract. Another great way to use the beans is Vanilla Sugar

Here are a few Jam Recipes using Vanilla

And let us not forget a Strawberry Vanilla Shrub



11.15.2020

Strawberry Vanilla Shrub


Shrub, shrub and more shrubs. This one is wonderful and I was able to use my leftover vanilla beans for this shrub syrup. Plus, I took the center of the pod for all the gooey juicy goodness. As I have said before strawberries are abundant here in Ventura County they grow year around.The directions are easy like all the shrubs so let us get started. 


Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds of ripe strawberries chopped
  • 1.25 cups of trabino sugar
  • 1 or 2 left over vanilla pods or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1.25 cups of quality apple cider vinegar


Place the strawberries into a large glass dish.Add your vanilla pods chopped or the extract.









Sprinkle the sugar on the top of and then mix it well. Seal with a lid or plastic covering for two days in the refrigerator. Stirring daily. This will allow the fruit juices to be drawn out by the sugar.









After two days in the refrigerator take the bowl out of the refrigerator stir the ingredients and make sure there is no undissolved sugar. Next you will want to have a strainer or some cheese cloth on hand so you can strain the liquid. I use cheese cloth because I like to squeeze the dickens out of the fruit once strained. 







Once you have completely strained the liquid add the apple cider vinegar.Stir and restrain the syrup into a clean glass jar. You an use your shrub immediately it will have a true vinegar tang. But if you leave it for a few days it gets a the flavors begin to balance together. Shake it everyday and after about one week the balance between sweet and sour is great. 


You can use your shrub with water soda or regular. Also use your shrub with different mixes of non-alcohol and spiked drinks as well. The ratio is 1:2 but can be adjusted to your specific taste.
It is good refrigerated for about 3 weeks.