Saturday, August 02, 2008

Summer Days: Recipes

I've been a very bad blogger. I haven't been posting regularly enough to even justify doing this. My days have been filled with working in our business, working in my garden and working in my kitchen putting all the things from my garden away. I will go 4 or 5 days in a row without leaving our property. Even though I feel like I'm very busy it's been nice; life seems much simpler in someways.

I had a wonderful visit with Jesse last week. He helped us pick out a new computer . Our old one is close to 8 years old and I have resuscitated it several times. It has been relegated to a school computer and once I get a router an additional internet surfer.

I've been busy making Jams and Jellies and I thought I would share the two I like the best.

First there is Jalapeno jelly, one of our favorites. I decided to grow Jalapenos this year because my youngest son loves hot peppers. I haven't tried any other hot peppers fresh from the garden so I have nothing to compare them to, but these babies I'm growing are HOT! When I sliced them up I started coughing and my throat burned! I was concerned that the jelly would be too hot to eat. It was too late to turn back so I just had to take the chance. I will say that the jelly is perfect. Not too hot but with a bite at the end.

My favorite way to serve Pepper jelly is over cream cheese. At Christmas I have a tree shaped platter that I spread my cream cheese in. I then spread a layer of Pepper jelly over the cream cheese and serve with crackers. It is something that is easy to keep on hand in case unexpected guest drop by. Easy and delicious.

Also a note: The recipe called for 2 packs of pectin. I think next time I may try it with only 1 and see how it works. You might want to check it for yourself before you add the second pack.

Jalapeno Jelly: From the Ball Blue Book.

Makes 6 jelly jars.

3/4 lb Jalapeno peppers ( I used about 1/2 lb)

2 cups cider vinegar

6 cups sugar

2 pouches liquid pectin

Green food coloring, ( this is optional)

Be sure to wear gloves when handling the peppers. They will burn your skin. DO NOT touch your face or believe me you will be sorry.

Wash peppers and drain. Remove stems and seeds. Puree the peppers and a little of the vinegar in a blender or food processor . If I use the food processor I only put in about a tablespoon of vinegar.

Combine the rest of vinegar, peppers and sugar in large saucepot. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, stir constantly.

Stir in pectin. Return to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary. If you like ad a few drops of food coloring. I added 4 drops to mine because I like it to look festive at Christmas.

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leave 1/4 space at jar top. Process 10 minutes in water bath canner.

The second recipe is for Tomato Jam. This is another family favorite and works great for tomatoes that are just a little too ripe to can or freeze.

This is delicious served with butter over hot homemade biscuits. Oh my! My mouth is watering!

Tomato Jam

Makes 6 Jelly Jars.

2 and 1/2 lbs tomatoes. About 5 cups.

2 lbs sugar

dash of salt (to taste)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 box of Sure Jell

Peel and cut tomatoes into small pieces. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add lemon juice and Sure Jell. Bring to a full rolling boil, stir constantly. Add sugar and again bring to a full boil while stirring. Remove from heat, skim and place in sterilized jars. Process for 10 minutes in water bath.

Note: I meant to try this with liquid pectin and forgot to pick up an extra pack. I think it might work better. I used a product called Dutch Jell that I picked up at the Mennonite community. It is supposed to be a natural substitute for Sure Jell.

If you try these out be sure to let me know how you like them.


Shopgirl said...

You have been a busy girl....I think they look delightful. I have not had either of these. I will have to get it a try. I love homemade food, it is the best!
Hugs, Mary

Patty said...

I plan on trying the tomato jam. We are over run with tomatoes.
Thanks for posting the recipes and don't work too hard : )