Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow makes me think of Bob Marley...

I know that makes no sense, but bear with me.  When the white stuff starts falling and it's freezing cold outside, I put on reggae to make the house seem cozier, and then I start canning, because it keeps me busy and less cabin feverish.  "Jammin" by Bob Marley puts me in the mood for, of course, jam, and while it's winter and not the time for most of my favorite jams and jellies, there are a few recipes I make this time of year that satisfy like no other. I don't really count either of these as a jam, but they are mighty tasty.

Lemon-Blueberry Jam

This is a total cheater's jam, because of the ingredients. You'll see.

4 Cups ripe blueberries (you can use frozen, but really, why would you want to?)
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar (I use 2, because the people I give this to like sweeter jam)
1 package (3 oz) lemon gelatin (I use whatever is cheapest, usually the store brand, but if you like Jell-o, go for it!)


In a large saucepan or dutch oven (I go D.O.) crush half of the blueberries.  Add the other half whole, 2 cups sugar, and package of lemon gelatin.  Stir over medium high heat until it comes to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat.  Now at this point you can either jar it, like I did, using a water bath canner and half-pint jars (makes 3-4) for 10 minutes (more if you live higher up the mountain) or you can put this straight into the fridge.  In jars it'll set over night, in the fridge it sets in about 30 minutes, same as jell-o.

Smear on any bread, muffin, biscuit, waffle of choice, and oh LORD is it a happy time in your mouth!

Cinnamon Spice Apple Butter

Is there any more beautiful phrase in the English language?  I don't think so.  Nothing says love to me like waking up on a cold morning with biscuits and apple butter, and maybe a cup of Earl Grey with lemon.  I make this and it disappears in days, thanks to family and friends and their thieving ways.  :)  This is from a recipe that I originally had to cut in half, because I didn't have a kettle large enough to make it (it was designed to cook over an open fire outdoors, can you IMAGINE how good that would smell???)

5 lbs tart apples, cored and thickly sliced (skins on) about 15 cups
2 1/2 cups apple cider (I get mine from a local orchard, but store brand is fine)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 heaping Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
A pinch of ground ginger

In the largest pot you have (because this will spatter later) place apple slices and cider.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cover, and simmer 30 minutes, until apples are tender.  Press through a food mill, sieve, or toss all in a blender (will take SEVERAL batches in the blender, trust me, if you fill it all the way it'll try to explode out, which is a scalding mess!)

Return to the pot.  Boil it gently (low to medium-low) uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  This is where the bigger the better for your pot, high sides = less spattering on the stove or passers by.  Stir in sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon,  cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.  If the color still looks a little pale (and it will if you use green apples like granny smith) I add a few drops of red food coloring.  I like my apple butter DARK, again like my chocolate (but that's another post.)

Boil gently (again low or medium-low heat) for about 2 hours, stirring frequently to avoid burning on the bottom.  If it starts to scald, lower the heat and stir more frequently, but this does require some watching.

When it looks like butter and tastes like butter and all you want to do is make biscuits by the hundreds (at least, that's what I want to do when it's finished) pour it into half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space, and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (again, longer if you're up higher.) When it cools, HIDE IT IN THE DARKEST RECESSES OF YOUR SHOE CLOSET AND TELL NO ONE IT EXISTS.  Otherwise, be prepared to lose the bulk of your batch.  I'm just saying, people like apple butter.

Keep Eating!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yeah~ now, I can comment. It's me, Kathryn.
    Great blog. You are right about that apple butter.....haha!