Monday, October 11, 2010

Lullaby Lavender Jelly



Happy Monday Jammers! Did y’all have a great weekend? Mine was very relaxing and I got to spend the day with my honey and one of our best friends on Saturday, after my son went to my parent’s house to spend the night. We went to Joann’s and Michaels for some crafting supplies and I was disappointed to have not found any preprinted canning labels at either store. I would think that there would be something like that made, wouldn’t you? I looked at all the stickers and labels in different sections and even through all the “Martha Stewart” collection labels but came up with nothing! Humm, maybe that’s an idea for a new business? Would you buy them, preprinted canning labels that you just had to fill in the name of what was in the jar and the date made? Maybe some cutsie designs like seasons and holidays and such?

Saturday, we also went down to the Green Market at the beach. It’s a local farmers market, kind of on the small side, but VERY reputable vendors that are consistently there. All of the produce is locally grown and lots of it is also grown organically. You can get organic eggs, meats, cheeses and breads too. There are a few crafters and it’s the best place to grab the local varieties of different honeys. I was searching for tomatoes and jalapenos, as I want to do a savory jam week (and also Cowboy Candy) but not one vendor had tomatoes this week (we are between crops) and one place had a few jalapenos but not enough for what I needed them for. We ended up coming home with some of the best fresh shelled white acre peas I have had in years, they were so tender and sweet last night. We also got some excellent cucumbers, tender red leaf lettuce, fabulous zucchini, scrumptious green onions and a mouthwatering round loaf of rustic jalapeno bread from a local bakery that specializes in breads with no oil, sugar or preservatives. It was divine with an herbed dipping oil Saturday night while we sat and watched movies. After we finished at the Green Market we grabbed the yummy wraps we had picked up on the way and headed next door to the park to sit and eat. While walking down the park pathway our friend noticed a car parked next to the community organic garden area (people or groups of people sponsor and cultivate plots) and she recognized it as her next door neighbor. We walked over there and ate at the picnic tables there and visited with her then she took us on a tour of the garden areas and explained how it all worked. Let’s just say, I think there is an idea brewing around here…stay tuned! Anyway, the neighbor had harvested a couple of bags of items from her plot and gifted me with a nice bag of peppers (she didn’t mention what kind) and a few green bell peppers. After hugging her neck, and promising to send along my recipe for pickled green tomatoes (I have had them before but never made them myself), we headed back to our house and feasted on huge baked potatoes, a wonderful fresh salad and the bread and dipping oil and watched movies till after midnight. It was a great day!

Last night I made the peas and sautéed the zucchini in some olive oil with salt and pepper. I also broiled, very rare, a London broil that I shaved paper thin with the electric knife and we almost finished the jalapeno bread and oil. I had some yellow squash in the fridge that was grown conventionally and bought from the grocery store and for some reason I stopped when I pulled it out and decided that instead of my normal yellow and green sauté medley I would not mix them and go with just the zucchini from the Green Market. I thought that if I was going to add anything to the zucchini, it would only be items from Saturday’s adventure so I decided to add some of those peppers that I was gifted. They were smallish, about 2 inches, or so, long and mostly yellowish in color. I pulled out about 4 of them and decided that I would de-vein them and not use the seeds, which was a good thing. I nibbled the end just a few seconds before the burning started on my hands and my tongue AND lips were now too, on fire! WOWZERS…these little babies are hot. I ended up only cutting up 1 of them, I only wanted an essence of heat and wanted the full flavor of the olive oil and the zucchini to stand out. I also chopped one of the green bell peppers she gave me and tossed it in. Let me tell you, when we took the first bite, we both moaned out loud. I don’t think it was a conscious thing it just sorta happened. It was freakin awesome! The zucchini were so mild and smooth and were perfectly tender. The sea salt and cracked pepper amounts were perfect. I didn’t think about getting a picture, it was beautiful and brilliant and I could have shown you BUT all I could think about was devouring it! There are just enough of it and the peas left for tomorrow night for leftovers. I think I will cut a pepper up to heat with the peas and maybe a corn muffin with another one of the sweet bell peppers diced into the batter. Yum! I plan to go ahead and try my recipe for Cowboy Candy with those little hot peppers, even though they aren’t jalapenos. Maybe I’ll call them Cowgirl Candy! I will post that recipe later this week over on my other page for non-canning recipes at http://frommyhearthtoyourhearth.blogspot.com/ . Remember, you have to leave one comment for each entry are making on that post. You still have time…Good luck! I haven’t decided whether to let my son pull a number out of a hat or if I will use random dot org. I’ll decide that later.

I realized that I had an abundance of lavender left from my last project and it was still nice and fresh. I made sure it was organically grown and meant for consumption before I used it. It was actually purchased in the spice section at the Fresh Market. Last week I looked for recipes using lavender and found 2 that I had everything I needed, except jars. I picked up some jars…well, actually the “Canning Fairy” left a case of them on the counter for me after I mentioned that I needed them. I love my fairy! The first one I did that day was a plain lavender jelly. This was my first time making something called jelly as opposed to jam or butter! I read the recipe and considered it just like making jam. In some recipes I have seen you have to drain it through a jelly bag for a specific length of time but this recipe did not call for that. I thought, this sounds like a pretty simple one, so I gave it a try.

Lavender is associated with love, protection and sleep as we saw in the Relaxing Peach Lavender Jam a few batches ago. It is also known for its peaceful properties, concentration, and tranquility. This would be good as a midnight snack on a piece of toast. In thinking about whether or not I wanted butter on my toast with this jelly or not, I all of a sudden remembered something that was done around my Grannie’s table, mostly. She, and others, would, as soon as their plates were empty, smear a teaspoon or so of butter or margarine on the edge of the plate and then take a big spoon of whatever jam or jelly would be sitting there and stir it into the butter. It always looked gross to me but it was really good on a warm biscuit. The jelly (or jam) would kind of be warm as the butter mixed with it would melt throughout it. It was a light layer, not a lot of it, or it may not have melted through. It was really good, especially with her blackberry or muscadine jams. I haven’t done that in years and don’t think I have ever seen anyone else do it either. I will make a point to do it the next time I have hot biscuits (which, sadly I did not inherit the biscuit making gene in the family, one of my male first cousins did. I buy frozen and bake them). Anyway, I am naming this one my Lullaby Lavender Jelly. It will help set the tone for a night of wonderful rest and peaceful dreams. Ya know, for years we kept a blue sachet bag of lavender tied to the bed post of my son’s bed?
Lullaby Lavender Jelly



3 ½ cups filtered water
¾ cup dried lavender flowers (organic, consumable)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 - 2 pouches liquid pectin
4 cups sugar
½ teaspoon unsalted butter

Preheat canner, sterilize jars and prepare the lids. In a large saucepan over high heat bring water to a rolling boil. Remove it from the heat and stir in the lavender flowers. Let mixture steep for 20 minutes then strain it into an 8qt pot. Discard lavender flowers, unless you want to add them to your potpourri warmer with some water or oil. The smell is tantalizing. Stir lemon juice and one pouch of pectin into the lavender infusion and stir until the pectin is completely dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat and add the sugar and butter. Stirring constantly, return to a hard boil and boil for 4 minutes. This time I tried the jell thickness test on a metal spoon that I had stuck in the freezer before I started. Dip the frozen spoon in the mixture and pull it out. Let the mixture cool and if it is the consistency you want then it is ready, but, mine was a bit too liquidy, so you can add more pectin at this point, depending on your consistency. I used half of the 2nd pouch and boiled again for 1 minute. Use whatever amount you think you need and increase it bit-by-bit until it’s how you like it. You may want to have several spoons ready in the freezer.

Remove pan from heat and skim off any foam. Fill hot sterilized jars with the jelly, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and add the lids and rings and place jars in preheated canner. Bring canner to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Check the seal before storing. Use within 12 months.

Makes about 6 half pint jars.

Oh my, you should have smelled my kitchen when I made this one. And the color of the finished product…WOW! It is gorgeous and taste like a bite of Nirvana. Definitely a food of worthy of a Goddess. You HAVE to make this jelly. I will be making it again when I get some more jars, which will probably be late next week. This will be in lots of my holiday baskets this year. It would be great with a shortbread cookie.

I have another post to make later this week for my other jam I made that day. It is a mixture of lavender and …..well, you’ll just have to check back at the end of the week to find out, now won’t you?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the gift certificate, instructions are included with the post here  http://jamminfromthehearth.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-first-giveaway.html .

Have a great week and remember to Be Blessed and Be Sweet!

2 comments:

vincent said...

Hello,


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,

Vincent
petitchef.com

Suzanne said...

Done, Vincent! Thanks so much for the invite...your link now shows on my blog.

Have a great day!
Suzanne