Get your Jam on

The first thing that spring brings me is rhubarb.  What does one do with this bountiful harvest?  I could make baked goods, wine or jam.  I opted for jam but I am sure I will have many more opportunities to try other options!

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First, start by harvesting rhubarb that is 10″ or longer.  There are two varieties that I am aware of.  The red is probably what most people think of, but I have green because it is usually sweeter.  🙂

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I cut mine down the length of the stalk and then diced in small pieces.  I had just shy of three pounds when I was finished.

 

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Place the cut rhubarb, 2 fresh squeezed oranges, 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, a 12 oz bag of frozen cherries (no sugar added) and one package of no sugar pectin.  Bring mixture to a boil at high heat, stirring often.  Chop down the cherries with the edge of your spoon while you cook.  Alternatively, you could cut them before putting them in the pot.

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Once you can not stir down the boil, add the sugar amount you prefer.  I wanted mine more tart that sweet.  I added about 1 1/2 cups sugar.

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Rhubarb Cherry Jam

Place finished jam in hot jars and process accordingly.  I used Ball Canning calculators to know how long to process and how much pectin.  It is a really nice tool to allow some creativity in your jam recipes!

A suggestion a friend gave me is to use this on pork – which I think is brilliant and will be trying soon!

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I would love to hear about some of the creative jam combos you have tried.  Post in the comments below!

 

 

 

Beet this!

I love me some pickled beets.  I like them a bit on the sweeter side and not too many spices in them.  Since beets are in season right now I thought I would give it a try making them.  When I was little either my mom or grandmother made pickled beets.  Unfortunately my mom doesn’t remember, so I didn’t have a recipe to go on.  I read a bunch of different ones and used the one from the Ball Blue Book of preserving as my base. 
First things first.  Go to the farmers market and shop.  I don’t know about you, but I love the farmers market.  The atmosphere, being outdoors, talking with local farmers, it is just fun.

I looked around and decided on 10 of these regular beets.  They had beautiful candy cane and golden beets but one thing at a time, right?

When you get them home, wash them like you would potatoes. Then place them in water and bring the water to a boil.  Keep them boiling for 15 minutes.

Now you get to peel them.  I have some really awesome gloves that came with one of those Ronco rotesseries no one wants to admit they own.  The gloves are amazing though. lol  Basically I just scraped the peels off of them with the edge of my knife and rinsed with water.

Mix the following together in a pot:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of the water that you boiled the beets in
Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While this is cooking, slice your beets into discs.  When your mixture is done cooking, remove the cinnamon sticks.  Pack beets into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

Pour or ladle the hot liquid into the jars measuring the 1/4 inch headspace.

Remove the air bubbles.  Clean the rims of your jars and adjust the 2 piece caps.  Place in hot canning water and process for 30 minutes. 

Let them cool thoroughly.  If they all seal properly, they can be stored for one year.  I went ahead and enjoyed some the next day.  I was really tickled with the way they turned out.  Quite like I remembered!!