It is time to start thinking about all the fresh fruit and vegetables for the season. Oh, how I love this time of year and always want to make these wonderful treats last longer. My all time favorite food for the summer is a fresh, vine riped tomatoe sandwich. But, it has too be made with white bread and really good mayonaise and salt and pepper. The only thing that can make this better is a thinly sliced fresh picked cucumber added to the sandwhich. I guess this is a dead giveaway that I am a true southerner. But, seriously if you have never tried one of these sandwhiches, you really need to because they are awesome!
Anyway, I also like to turn some of the berries and fruit that are availabe into jams and jellies. I recently picked 5 gallons of blueberries. I really enjoy picking berries. I get up very early and start picking before the sun gets really hot. It is a good time for reflecting on life. It is usually just me, the berries and the birdies. The birds usually are not too glad to see me. This time I had a mockingbird that followed the entire time I was picking. She would land in the tree right at head level and just fuss and fuss. I guess she was afraid that I wasn't going to leave her any berries.
This book has a recipe for just about any type of jam, jelly, preserves or chutney that you can imagine. I made blueberry jam and plan to make blueberry jelly soon. Here is the recipe for blueberry jam.
True Blueberry Jam
Makes about 4-5 8oz (250ml) jars
6 cups or 1.5L blueberries
4 cups or 950ml sugar
1/4 cup or 60ml lemon juice
Prepare the preserving jars. ( I use my dishwasher to wash the jars and lids on the hottest setting)
In the preserving pot, crush the blueberries thourghly with a potato masher. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil rapidly, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Stir and skim off foam from top. pour the jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4" head space. Wipe the rims clean. Seal according to manufacturesm directions. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Here is a photo of my jam made using this recipe. (i doubled the recipe)
Here is a recipe for Apple butter from this book. I didn't pick the apples fom (unless you count picking them up from the grocery) This is so easy and delicious that I will never buy it again.
Makes 6-7 8oz. (250ml) jars
In the past, people cooked apple butter outside in massive kettles slung over an open fire. Luky you!
5lb or 2.25 kg tart apples(I used a combo of granny smith and fuji)
2 cups or 4.75ml apple juice or cider
2 TBS or 30ml lemon juice
1 TBS or 15 ml cinnamon
1/2 or 2.5 ml each ground cloves, allspice and nutmeg
1 1/2-2 cups of brown sugar(I have used white sugar before, but the best apple butter has brown sugar in it)
Core apples and chop them coarsley. Combine the apples and apple juice or cider in your preserving pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover loosely and simmer for 20 minutes or until the apples are tender. stir occasionally. Remove heat. Pass the mixture through a sieve or food mill.
Measure the puree back into your pot. Add 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sugar for each cup of puree, depending on the tartness of the apples. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Cook over low heat, stirring almost constantly for 35-45 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in the spices during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time. Test for doneness if desired. ( put a TBS of the apple butter in the center of a plate and if it doesnt separate after a few minutes, it is ready)
Remove from heat. Spoon butter into sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4" head space. Wipe the rims clean. Seal according to manufactures directions. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
I think that anyone interested in preserving food would benefit from this book!Copyright
Copyright 1998 by Mary Ann Dragon
3rd edition 2009