Photos From the Food in Jars Flickr Pool

I’m bringing back the habit of featuring photos from the Food in Jars Flickr group on Sunday evenings. Here are a few pretties from the last few weeks. If you’d like to see your photo featured in this site, please head over to Flickr, join the group and start adding your images.

1823 canned goodies

An assortment of homemade goodness that Karen made last season, posted as inspiration for this canning season. She blogs at Short Story Long.

Black Raspberry Sage Jam

Candy’s black raspberry sage jam. She blogs at Dessert by Candy.

ginger peach jam & peach lavender butter

Gorgeous ginger peach jam and lavender peach butter from Gypsy Forest. Find her blog here.

Honey Strawberry Jam

Aimee’s strawberry jam with honey. Find the recipe over here at Simple Bites.

019

Homemade pickles from Michelle who blogs at Give a Girl a Fig.

Blackberry Syrup

And finally, some blackberry syrup that Wendi made. Check out all her lovely preserving posts at Bon Appetit Hon.

Comments { 12 }

Urban Preserving: Blueberry Ginger Jam

two pints blueberries

Already this summer, I’ve worked my way through nearly two flats of blueberries. I got my first flat from Beechwood Orchards and the second has been picked up piecemeal from various farmers’ markets and produce shops. I made a batch of slow cooker blueberry butter with some of the Beechwood blues and ate the rest. That second flat has gone into smoothies, baked goods and this small batch of blueberry ginger jam.

draining

In the past, I’ve stuck with the combination of blueberry, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s how my mom makes jam and so it tastes like my childhood. However, I had a chunky knob of ginger in my fruit basket and a few hunks of candied ginger knocking around a jar, so I decided to go a different way.

just less than 3 cups mashed berries

I went with the two different styles of ginger because 1). I had them both kicking around and 2). I’ve found that when you use two different methods for infusing flavor, you get a deeper and stronger presence. I also like the surprise of having little bits of candied ginger spread throughout the jam.

plus one and quarter cups sugar

As you can see from the picture above, what I did was use the same measuring cup to portion out all the ingredients. When I make small batches of jam, I like to minimize the number of dishes I use so that the experience is as streamlined and easy as possible. After smashing the blueberries, I had just under three cups and so I measured a little less than one and half cups of sugar right on top of the berries.

adding ginger

After the sugar and blueberries were stirred together, I tossed in about three inches of chopped ginger into the mix. Now here’s where I say that you should deviate from my method and consider putting the ginger into a tea ball or tying it into a length of cheesecloth. I ended up fishing each little slice of ginger out of the jam as it cooked, which was fiddly business.

finished blueberry ginger jam

The finished jam is gently ginger-y with a nice, deep color and flavor. I’ve been eating it on toasted English muffins and I think it would be really good with a bit of cottage cheese.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 70 }

Mrs. Wages Gift Basket Giveaway Winner

On a recent thrifting expedition, I bought a dress that has become my favorite item of clothing. It’s an peasant-y empire thing with 3/4 length sleeves that is both flattering and so comfortable I feel like I’m wearing pajamas. In the week and half that I’ve owned it, I’ve worn it to work twice.

Last night, as I headed into the kitchen to make dinner, I pulled on an apron to protect this precious new-to-me dress and thought of many the apron stories you all shared. I just loved reading about your mothers, grandmothers and friends who played a role in each of your kitchen histories. I also enjoyed your apron confessions and was relieved to know that there are lots of you who are apron-ambivalent (like I so often am).

And now, without further story-telling, the winner of the Mrs. Wages basket is #51, a comment left by Adrienne (I loved her most recent post on pickled cherries!). She said,

“I didn’t start wearing aprons regularly until I started culinary school, and now I feel naked if I cook without one. My every day favorite is plain white heavy cotton, easy to bleach, but my fun favorite is from my mother in law, it’s red and says “bling in the holidays” and its covered with rhinestones. It’s not me at ALL but it’s so her, and I wear it for our annual New Year’s Day brunch.”

Congratulations Adrienne! And for all of you who didn’t win, stay tuned. I’ll have another giveaway for you next Monday.

Comments { 15 }

Peach Oolong Jelly with Alexis of Teaspoon and Petals

peach oolong jelly

For most of my life, I never really thought about tea. As far as I knew, it came in dusty little packets that you plopped into a mug and poured boiling water over. Though in recent years, I have dabbled a bit in the buying of loose leaf teas, I’m still essentially a tea neophyte.

peach oolong jelly

Whenever I have a tea question, I turn to my friend Alexis. She writes the blog teaspoon & petals and is something of a tea expert (as well as drinker and appreciator). For months now, Alexis and I have been talking about the idea of making a tea-infused preserve, but for a handful of reasons (most of them having to do with the fact that I was tethered to my cookbook for most of the last year), it hasn’t happened.

peach oolong jelly

Finally, last Friday, Alexis came over to my apartment with a tote bag full of teas and we set out to make a tea-infused jelly. Since peaches have just come into season in the Philadelphia area, I picked up half a dozen to use as the fruit component for our jelly.

When Alexis first arrived, we stood around my dining room table, each with a peach in hand, sniffing first the fruit and then the various teas, trying to determine which match-up would work the best. We settled on the Orchid Oolong from Mighty Leaf Tea and got to work.

peach oolong jelly

I started by making a simple syrup from two cups of water and two cups of sugar. Once the sugar dissolved, I lowered four bags of tea into the simmering liquid and allowed them to steep for five minutes (we set a timer and everything). While the syrup simmered, Alexis did the work of chopping the peaches.

When the time was elapsed, I removed the tea and we both tasted the syrup. It was amazingly flavorful and I was tempted to stop right there and pour the syrup into a jar for drizzling into seltzer. I may still try that at some point in the future.

peach oolong jelly

But since this was a jelly-making session, we soldiered on and added our sliced peaches (we ended up using four hefty ones) to the pot. The fruit we used was a bit under-ripe, which turned out to be really good for the purposes of the jelly. They added a nice tartness that played really well again the sweetness of the base syrup.

The peaches simmered along in the syrup for a bit more than ten minutes. We tasted several times during cooking to see how the flavors were progressing. Once the balance seemed good, I strained the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, pressed the now-softened peaches to get as much juicy goodness out as possible and returned the syrup to the pot (the gently candied peaches went into a separate container and I’ve been eating them in yogurt for the last few days).

peach oolong jelly

I added some powdered pectin to the syrup (as well as one more tea bag to reinforce that flavor) and brought it to a vigorous boil. Using a candy thermometer, we tracked the temperature as it approached 220 degrees. Once it reached the magic 220 degrees, I swept the pot off the stove, removed the final tea bag, poured the rapidly setting jelly into jars and processed them in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

While the jars were processing, I sliced in a bit of Midnight Moon and we smeared a bit of the jelly that remained on the inside of the pot onto little slivers of cheese. It was a heartbreakingly good combination.

The final jelly is a nicely set, delicately flavored thing. It works with cheese and would also be fantastic smeared on a scone with a mug of milky tea. It’s got me imagining the possibilities for other tea-infused preserves and I’m excited to give a few other flavor match-ups a try.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 41 }

Lovely Photos of Food in Jars From Our Flickr Pool

Hi friends! I’ve decided to bring back the habit of featuring photos from the Food in Jars Flickr group on Sunday evenings. Here are a few pretties from the last few weeks. If you’d like to see your photo featured in this site, please head over to Flickr, join the group and start adding your images.
pickles

An assortment of patriotic pickled vegetables (made on the 4th of July) from Flickr user weshook.

28 Jars of Jam

Twenty-eight jars of strawberry jam from Flickr user and blogger Gypsy Forest.

vinegar + salt + sugar + water

Sugar snap peas on their way to being pickled by Aubrey Rose. She blogs at Eat.Repeat.

Tomato Sauce 6-23

June tomato sauce from pebblie. She tracks her canning and seasonal eating here.

rhubarb cherry jam

Gorgeous rhubarb cherry jam from Yossy. She blogs at Apt. 2B Baking Co.

Quick Pickled Asparagus

This quick, winey-briney pickled asparagus from Sidewalk Shoes.

Comments { 13 }

Mrs. Wages Blueberry Cinnamon Freezer Jam

Blueberry Freezer Jam

I first discovered the Mrs. Wages line of canning products last year and I’ve used them with some frequency since then. In April, I became a contributor to their monthly newsletter. My little column includes some chatty articles and recipes (much like what you find here). This week, I’m pleased to be giving away a basket of their mixes, pectins and other products. If you’re interested in entering to win, click here and leave a comment. Now, time for blueberry cinnamon freezer jam.

Blueberry Freezer Jam

Confession time. Until I made this batch of jam, I’d never tried my hand at freezer jam before. Living in a small apartment, I am desperately short of both refrigerator and freezer space. For me, the point of preserving is to make things that are shelf stable. But I’ve heard people rave about the fresh and bright flavors of freezer jam, so I was excited to give it a try.

Blueberry Freezer Jam

It’s easy enough. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and the contents of the pectin packet in a bowl and stir to combine.

Blueberry Freezer Jam

Set a timer to three minutes so it’s ready to go (this is how long you’re going to stir once all the ingredients are in the bowl).

Blueberry Freezer Jam

Add four cups of mashed fruit (I used blueberries, though from what I hear, strawberries or raspberries are more traditional choices).

Blueberry Freezer Jam

One heaping 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (my mom always puts cinnamon in with her blueberry jam, so my tastebuds are conditioned to like it best that way).

Blueberry Freezer Jam

Start your timer and stir, stir, stir.

Blueberry Freezer Jam

When those three minutes are up, your work is nearly done. Just pour the jam into jars and put the lids on (you can even re-use lids in this case, since you’re not looking to get a good seal. Just make sure to give them a good sniff, so that you don’t end up putting garlicky pickle lids onto your jam).

Blueberry Freezer Jam

Pop ‘em into the fridge (for up to a couple of weeks) or the freezer (for up to a year) and you’re done.

All in all, I felt very satisfied by my first freezer jam experience. I loved the speed with which it came together. However, I have found that this jam is better on toast than it is stirred into yogurt. Because you don’t cook the jam, it utilizes a strong pectin in order to get a set from the fruit. I found that the pectin ends up trying to set the yogurt, leaving it curdled and a little gross. Live and learn!

And don’t forget to click over to the Mrs. Wages giveaway and leave a comment (preferably featuring a story about your apron-wearing habits) to enter. And if freezer jam just isn’t your thing, check back tomorrow when I’ll be posting a different, small batch blueberry jam recipe.

Comments { 26 }