Good Saturday morning Jammers! It feels like so long since I have sat down to write to you all. I meant to have a post to you all at the beginning of this past week but life was turned upside down when my son returned home from a camping trip with a stomach bug and ended up in the hospital with severe dehydration. He is back to normal now (requested a 2nd dinner last night) and I am left feeling like I lost a week but am so eternally grateful that he is well, I never want to see him like that again! Last Saturday, I hosted a jam making day with a few of my fellow Crone’s and we had a blast. No one could really decide on a specific recipe to make, we were all just looking forward to having some fun and making some memories together. A few of the ladies would be passing the main farmers market on their way here and wanted to know what they could pick up. I started thinking about a theme for the recipes and decided that since we were so close to Thanksgiving we should make that our theme. I came up with 5 recipes for us to make with everyone taking them all home at the end of the day. We were going to make 2 cranberry recipes, 2 pumpkin recipes and a creation of our own of a herb jelly. Candles were lit (vanilla and pumpkin ones), jams, jellies and butters were made along with a few great memories and we will start with this one….
Well, let’s just go ahead and come out and say it…down and dirty…”I set the kitchen on fire”. There, I admitted it! Very first batch too…I had completely forgotten about boiling over my pot of zipper peas 2 nights before. The peas had been cooking in a mixture of water and butter. I had wiped the stove top BUT had forgotten to lift the stove top and wipe under it and inside the burner ring. So, all the ladies arrive and one of our batches was to be a cranberry cinnamon jelly and we were starting with whole cranberries so we got that batch started (the recipe will be the next post) so the juice could start to drain. I put the cranberries and water in the big pot and set it to high and turned around to join in the conversation. A few minutes later, we smelled smoke, butter burning from within the depths, and so, I flipped on the exhaust fan above, thinking it will stop any moment. Well, we were watching this smoke and all of a sudden is goes, poof and there is a flame licking the side of the pot. I reached over and turned the heat off but the flame is spreading and getting bigger on the side of the pot. The closest Crone to me suggested we take further action so I immediately thought of the “ji-normous” box of baking soda (it was considered a grease fire, after all) that was stored in the island at my back. In one swift motion, I told her to not move the pot yet, until I was ready, and I grabbed the box and opened it and we both counted to three. She moved the pot and in one swift toss, the fire was doused in a thick layer of white. We then had to stop all the gears from turning and clean the stove and the soot from the pot. A comment was made to the effect of how calm and cool it was handled. Now that the hearth was christened for the day we continued with our cranberry recipes, among a gaggle of giggles and down-right laughter. The jelly batch was started so the cranberries could drain over the jelly bag a few hours while we made the rest of jams. I’ll post that recipe next and am going to go the the first one we actually finished which was a cranberry apple jam recipe that had been posted on the website Food In Jars. See their post here, http://www.foodinjars.com/2009/11/gift-in-a-jar-apple-cranberry-jam/ . I call this one my Crapple Jam. Cranberries are known for their healing powers (see NPR’s recent article here http://www.npr.org/2010/11/12/131272331/bow-down-to-the-medicinal-power-of-cranberries ) and also are thought to spiritually give protection and ward off negativity. Maybe there was another reason, other than pure decoration, as to why they were strung up and hung around the house during the winter in olden times, hummm?!?
Crapple Jam (Cranberry Apple)
8 cups of peeled and diced Golden Delicious apples
4 cups of whole cranberries
6 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 lemons, zested and juiced
Preheat canner and prepare jars and lids. Combine the apples, cranberries, sugar and water in a large pot (use a big one, this jam will bubble) over high heat. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that develops on the top of the fruit. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries pop and the apples soften.
Add the lemon zest and juice and simmer until the liquid in the pot begins to thicken (because both apples and cranberries are naturally high in pectin, you won’t need any additional pectin to help this jam set, as long as you cook it until thick and syrup-y).
Ladle into the hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and add the lids and rings, turning the rings until just finger-tight. Place the jars in the preheated canner and bring canner to a full rolling boil. Process jars for 10 minutes (adjusting according to your altitude, if necessary) then remove canner from heat. Let canner sit for 5 minutes, then, carefully remove hot jars from water with a jar lifter and place them on a towel on the counter and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. Check the seals before storing and use within 12 months.
This jam is so wonderful…not too sweet, not too tart but a perfect balance. Slightly chunky but yet a smooth texture. I can’t wait to serve it Thanksgiving morning on a hot buttered croissant.
An my apologies for the lack/quality of photos. The digital camera was away on a camping trip and the only camera I had to use was the video camera which does not take great stills. The next few posts will be picture poor, I am sorry!
We are off to work in the garden for a bit this afternoon and shop at the Beaches Green Market…wonder what goodies I will come home with today, hummmm? I’ll get another post ready in the next day or two. Check back later.
Till then, Be Blessed and Be Sweet!