Showing posts with label Canning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canning. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Failed Pear Jelly

I tried to make Pear Jelly on Sunday while I was making Pear Sauce. I knew you could make apple jelly with the cores and peels of apples and I was pretty certain I could do this with pears. 

I had found a recipe on the internet for Pear Jelly that stated that pectin would not be necessary for this jelly because of the natural pectin in the pear. I had never heard of pears having pectin. I should have listened to myself at this point and did more research. I did not. The original recipe for Pear Jelly was this:

Pear Jelly
4 cups of pear juice
3 cups of sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

This sounds suspiciously like my apple jelly recipe so I should have been more suspicious. I was not. My mistake.

I cooked my pear peelings and cores, minus the stems and blossom ends, in two cups of water to have more than 4 cups of juice.

To the juice I added the sugar and lemon juice. I heated the juice mixture up to boiling and continued cooking.   It appeared to be thickening so I took the pot off of the heat and did the spoon sheeting test. Nothing. Just slid right off the spoon. Hmm...

So I cooked the jelly mixture some more (15 minutes?). I took off the heat. Nothing. Repeated the process. Nothing. I broke out the box of Sure Jell. I read their instructions on gelling jelly and how to fix ungelling jelly.

I did what they said. I tried a trial batch and stuck into the refrigerator. After a day, the jelly appeared to be thickening. So I did the rest according to their instructions. I canned it and processed it.

Beautiful, lovely goldenness, right? Looks good, not gelling. I have put all of them in the fridge for now, but I would appreciate any suggestions on what to do with ungelled jelly. 

I am very disappointed, by the way. I was really looking forward to pear jelly!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Weekly Update Of Our House and Pear Sauce

We have been a busy crew! I didn't get as much done on the farm as I would have like, but I am content with what got done. I just need to take more pictures!

Thursday night, I was at an interview. I was asked to sit on the parents committee for interviewing the superintendent candidate for our schools. I found it to be very intereresting and somewhat hard!

Friday night, Shali's and her classmates had a steak sandwich supper to raise money for their class. Excellent meal! Friday night was also parents night for football and since Shali is a stat girl for football, we were in the line-up to be recognized.

Saturday morning we watched this:

Jordan line judging during the volleyball game 

 Shali in motion (in white jersey)

Shali waiting for the ball 

In between games, we had Rob's birthday! He turned 40 on Wednesday and was trucking on his birthday. He came down Friday and Saturday to watch volleyball. Saturday morning I made him apple crisp. He would rather have that than birthday cake! In between the games, he opened presents. After the games he needed to leave again so he could get a roof on his shed!

After we came home and everyone scattered again, I started canning. I thought I would attempt to make pear butter (from the Elliot Homestead), pear sauce, and pear jelly. I made the pear sauce on Saturday along with two loaves of homemade bread. I am bound and determined to start making all our bread because I cannot handle paying store prices anymore for "healthy" bread!!! Grrr....making our own bread will be better for us anyway!

I also installed the new smoke detector in the kitchen. I guess the old one wasn't working. I put a new battery in it and nothing. Glad I had a new one on hand to install!

Sunday was church and the making of pear sauce and pear jelly. The pear sauce recipe was easy peasy! I don't remember where I got the recipe, but I have had it for two years in a want of making this! I apologize for not giving the proper credit due.

Pear Sauce
40-50 small to medium sized pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into pieces
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup water
sugar to taste
cinnamon to taste

I recruited help from Shali before she left for work to peel, core, and chop 50 small/medium pears. Place pears in a large pot and add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until pears are soft, stirring often.

I added lemon juice, about 1 cup of sugar and 2 tsps. of cinnamon. I didn't want to make the pear sauce too sweet and I wanted the natural sweetness of the pears to shine through. (Next year I want to experiment with sweetners, mainly using honey or rapadura)

I kept cooking the pears until they were really soft. Then I used my masher to mash the pears until it was more like a chunky applesauce. After the pear sauce was done, I sterilized my pint jars in boiling water as well as got my lids hot. I filled the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jars. I removed any air bubbles, put the lids on, and tighten the rings. I processed the jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. (If you use quart jars, you will want to process for 25 minutes.)

I took the jars out of the canner, put on a folded towel to cool, and listened for the ping (so cool!).

Aren't they just gorgeous?

Just so no one thinks I am super woman, I tried to make pear jelly and failed. That will be the next post. After that I cleaned up the kitchen, discovered from the kids that the apples are ready, make supper, and curled up to watch a movie while working on cross-stitch. 

Hope you had a good weekend, have a great day and thanks for reading!

PS - This is linked to the Barn Hop! Check it out!

And also linked to Raising Homemakers Homemaking Link Up:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Freezer Tomato Sauce

My good friend, Jessica, gave me some tomatoes, basil and peppers! What to do, what to  do...hmmm...Monday night I made a sauce that I could have eaten raw before the freezer! Yum!

I found this recipe my mom gave me for Freezer Tomato Sauce! This recipe was taken from the American Profile insert of the weekly newspaper and submitted by Teresa Blackburn. I have seen several similar recipes and wanted to give it a try.

Freezer Tomato Sauce

16 medium to large ripe, but firm, heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
6-8 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 Tablespoons white balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. *I also used a muffin tin because I used Roma tomatoes in this dish.

2. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and place on parchment with X side up.
3. Roast tomatoes 20-30 minutes, until skin begins to pull away from meat of tomato using a sharp knife. Work over a large glass or ceramic bowl to catch juice.
*From this point to the end of the process I don't have pictures. My hands were covered with tomato goodness!

5. Coarsely chop tomatoes in a bowl using knife or scissors, or squish with your hands (yes!). Add basil, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well.

6. Label clean glass jars, freezer boxes or bags. Fill containers two-thirds full with tomato meat and juice; seal or close and place in freezer up to 6 months. Makes about 12 cups, depending on size of tomatoes.

Thanks for reading! Have a good night!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Canning Update

***Just a note of warning: Blog posts will be a bit irregular because our home computer crashed last night. It will be going to the repair shop and get fixed or rebuilt. Either way, hopefully soon!

Anyhoo...back to the regular post for today! The canning update! I will laugh because I don't have a lot to update you on. The very intense heat of the last few weeks has all but killed my garden. Half a row of beautifully producing green beans? Gone. The peas? Gone (but will be replanted). Onions, zucchini, summer squash, garlic? Suffering greatly, but still alive. Tomatoes? Gone. Green peppers? The jury is still out on these. Potatoes? Can you actually kill these? They are still alive and kicking!

I am sure some of you are even asking now: what canning? Thank goodness for Farmers Markets!!! The one in Algona rocks! I bought 8 lbs of beautiful pickling cucumbers for dill pickles. (They come in handy for pickle wraps in which we have a great affinity for!) I also got three onions because I tried earlier this week to dehydrate onions and it worked! Woo hoo! I will be doing a lot more for this winter's needs.

I also picked up a box of canning peaches at Fareway to can my own peaches. I have always wanted to try this and so I will. I also want to try to make my own peach jam because I love peach jam and the kids will too. I wish they would get boxes of pears in so I can try all the pear canning recipes I have saved.

We should have a good crop of apples off the trees in a couple months. I hope to can a lot of applesauce!

The rest of this week and the weekend will be canning:

1. Dill pickes using this recipe: Dill Pickles
2. Peaches using the recipe from the Ball Canning Book
3. Dehydrating more onions out in the garage
4. Possibly dehydrating green peppers too - just to try it!

I will let you all know the results of this canning adventure. My goal was to can/freeze 100 jars/bags. We shall see I guess!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Applesauce and Banana Bread Weekend

In my quest for frugality this weekend, I was trying to use up food at home. I have been trying to organize my food storage and get it a little more presentable so I can take pictures to post for you all!

We had pepperoni and canned olives to use up so we made Pepperoni Pizza Twist! Absolutely a family favorite!

We ate the LAST box of scalloped potatoes. I think I might miss not buying those anymore, but the some of ingredients/preservatives are definitely not good for us. I wish I could master making "real" scalloped potatoes. Somehow, that has alluded me so far.

I threw out some food that was expired and known not to be good anymore. That makes me sad because of the sheer waste of the money spent to buy them. I need to be better about my eating what I have. I like the idea of marking everything with the expiration date using permanent marker. That way I can see the date easily and know by when I need to make the food.

I had two bananas that needed to be used up. They were getting to the point of really mushy and starting to attract the flies' attention. (Gross, eh?) So I washed and peeled the bananas. They guess it, BANANA BREAD! Here is my Great Aunt Doris' super easy recipe for delicious banana bread!

Banana Bread

2 eggs, beaten very well
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil of your choice
1-1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, mashed

Mix together eggs, sugar, & oil. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt. Mix well. Add bananas & mix gently. Pour into a very lightly greased large loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Easy peasy, isn't it? My kind of recipe! After the banana bread, we attempted to make homemade applesauce. I have never made homemade applesauce before. I had bought 10 pounds of apples at the grocery store that were marked down to 19 cents/pound. I had a eye toward making enough to can some of it, but I decided to make a test run first. Besides, I have four people to test this on and they had better like the applesauce before we can it! Another easy recipe!

My Attempt at Homemade Applesauce

We were kind of winging this applesauce recipe. I had the Ball Canning Book and the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook in front of me for guidance. We sent 3 pounds of apples through the apple peeler/corer/slicer (love this contraption!). We added a cup of water to the apples in a heavy 6 quart pot. We bought the water to boiling, then turned the heat to medium low and let them cook down until I could mash them easily, about 40-45 minutes. We cooked the apples in a little bit too much water (lesson learned!) and had a little too much liquid. Maybe I will use only 1/2 cup water instead of a full cup. After I took the apples off the heat, I mashed them down to my desired chunkiness. I added a 1/2 cup of sugar which seemed to be a good sweetness since the apples were already plenty sweet. Then I let the applesauce cool for a bit.

The younger two kids totally loved the applesauce! The older two kids have not tried the applesauce, but will tonight for supper. I loved the applesauce so we will be doing this again and, hopefully, to can it!

Sorry I don't have pictures for any of this! I couldn't find my camera until this morning. Grrr...  Later today I will have a post for my Preparedness Mondays!

I am also adding this to the Barnyard Hop! Welcome to all who are coming over to read my ramblings!

And I am adding this to the Frugal Tuesday Tip! Lots of great tips! Check it out!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rhubarb Pie & Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb Pie - Yum!!!

This particular recipe is from Recipes & Remembrances: Sutherland Community Cookbook and was contributed by Shirley and Pearl Virgil. This is my go-to recipe for Rhubarb Pie as it has never failed me yet! I will confess that I did use a Pillsbury pie crust because I had it in the fridge and did not want it to go to waste.

Rhubarb Pie

3 T. flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 c. rhubarb, chopped (I used 3-4 cups, I like rhubarb)
1 plain pie pastry

(I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon for something different. It was a good different!)

Mix flour and sugar. Add eggs and beat. Add chopped rhubarb; mix.

Pour into pastry-lined pan.

Cover with top crust or lattice.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 35 minutes longer. Cool.

You can cover the edge of the pie with foil if you think your edges are going to burn.

Sadly I think my rhubarb might be done. I hope to get one more picking out of it, but it wasn't looking too wonderful on Sunday night. I was hoping to freeze some more of it and make some rhubarb bread.

I did get a batch of the Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam made (look in one of previous posts for a link to the recipe!) It looks awesome especially with the homemade bread beside it!

And yes I know. Nice gaps in the bottom of the jars. I am hoping the jam will drop, but I am totally thrilled all the jars sealed!

Thanks for reading! Have a great night!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rhubarb Jam

I got my first batch of Rhubarb Jam made this year! Woo hoo! Looks good too! I wish I would have taken more pictures, but here is the recipe and pictures:

Rhubarb Jam

5 cups rhubarb, chopped finely
4 cups sugar
2 boxes of Jell-o, any flavor (I recommend anything red colored)

Mix chopped rhubarb and sugar together in a bowl. I use the pot I am going to cook the jam in so I don't dirty more dishes. Let the rhubarb and sugar sit for an hour.

Add the two boxes of Jell-o and mix well. Bring to a boil on the stove and let boil for a half-hour. Watch carefully and stir often!

Fill sterilized jars with hot jam mixture. Clean top of jars, add lids, and screw on rings. At this point you can do one of two things: (1) turn the jars over on their tops and let the heat seal the jars or (2) process in water canner for 10 minutes. This recipe will make 2 pints or 4 - 1/2 pints.

Sorry about the fuzzy photo, but you get the idea. Also in the back on the photo is my experiment into making my own vanilla extract using vodka. Recipe will be coming on that in the next few weeks as that is how long it has left to infuse!

We also got the party started with making my own dandelion wine. Recipe and pics will be coming on that next week!

Busy rest of the week with Shali and Jordan's first softball game of the season and going to graduation parties. I would rather be busy though than be bored!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Canning Goals...

Aren't goals great? I usually shy away from them. I hate to fail myself by setting goals that I might not attain. However, with this goal, I don't have a choice. We are going to can/dehydrate/freeze whatever we can from the garden this year. I don't want to be on food assistance anymore. I hate being on anything from the government. At the time I applied, I was desperate and needed to feed my kids. Now that I am a little more wiser about my food choices and the burden I am on others by being on food assistance, this needs to end.

My first goal is 100 jars of canned goods. Since my garden is just getting going, the progress is slow for this goal. I do have seven quarts of chicken stock done which is great considering how much we love homemade chicken noodle soup and chicken and noodles. Also, this is great since I conquered my fear of the pressure canner...

I also have two pints of Strawberry-Banana Jam in the freezer. I took this recipe from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. We had a little left over so the kids tried it. I got a thumbs-up from them and they are a tough crowd!

Tonight I hope to make some Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I love this stuff! I am still trying to decide which recipe to go with. I will post more about this tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!