Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Low Sugar Mulberry Jam

Cutting back on sugar and carbs is all the rage, but sometimes we need to treat ourselves to something sweet, right? So here's a recipe for low sugar mulberry jam that you don't have to feel too guilty about...

I was asked for a recipe for . Since I didn't have such a recipe. I decided to do some experimenting. Actually all I did was buy a box of no sugar needed Sure-Jell and followed the instructions for low sugar raspberry jam, but replaced the raspberries with mulberries.

It set just fine and tasted great. May be I should use low sugar pectin more often.

5 cups crushed mulberries
4 cups sugar (divided)
1 package low sugar powdered pectin

Mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the powdered pectin. Stir the pectin/sugar mix into the berries. Bring to rolling boil over high heat. Add remaining sugar, return to boil, and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary. Fill hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process 10 minutes in a water bath.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

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Mirabelle Plum Conserve

The mirabelle plum is a small, orange plum with a full, sweet flavor. It has long been a specialty of the French region of Lorraine. Check out this delicious recipe for Mirabelle plum conserve...
2 pounds mirabelles, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
a few gratings of lemon zest
1 tablespoon gruner veltliner or sauvignon blanc
1/4 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted

1) Combine the mirabelles, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and allow to macerate for 30 minutes. Turn the fruit-sugar mixture into a small preserving pan and gently bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour back into the mixing bowl. Press parchment paper onto the surface and refrigerate overnight.

2) The next day, turn the fruit-sugar mixture in a small preserving pan. Add the wine. Bring to a boil over high heat, and reduce quickly for four minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the walnuts, and continue cooking to the gel point, another two to four minutes.

3) Ladle the hot preserve into prepared half-pint jars. Run a skewer around the inside edge of the jar to release any air pockets. Seal the jars and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields 1 1/2 pints

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Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop has been used in folk medicine to aid in digestion. It has been used by the American Indians as to cure wounds, colds and coughs, and diarrhea. It's aromatic leaves have been used as seasoning, tea and even as an ingredient in potpourri. But who would know it makes a great flavorful addition to apricot jam...

In case you missed this, a reader named JBE left an interesting comment on the recipe for apricot jam, below. He wrote:

I made this recipe last year, and I added fresh Anise Hyssop to the mix. About 4 nice sprigs, twined together and let it simmer with the apricots during the process. Took it out right before set point. I've had multiple people say this is the BEST jam they've ever had. Going to do another batch this year. Thanks for the recipe.
I had to look up in Jill Norman's Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference. The herb is a native North American species of the genus Agastache, perennials of the mint family. You use the leaves, which have an anise aroma and flavor, as the name suggests, and a sweet taste. Norman says that is typically used in teas, but that they also can be used in marinades for seafood or pork; with winter vegetables such as beets and sweet potatoes; with summertime zucchini and tomatoes; in omelettes and salads, and--wouldn't you know--with summer fruit such as peaches and apricots. Norman also suggests covering leaves with warm honey to infuse the flavor, which sounds like a good saving the season project...

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Peach Butter

Here's a great recipe for making fruit butter. you can use pumpkin, peaches or persimmons. Thanksgiving is coming up and there is still time to make this wonderful dessert...

I'm sorry I haven't told you about this already, but I've been so behind on everything because of apricot season...

Let me go back a step: earlier this year I was tickled pink to get a call from West Elm, and we talked about giving catalogue readers and Front & Main readers a few recipes to go along with West Elm's collection of kitchen essentials, including wire-bail jars and lots of other stuff you need for saving the season. I liked the idea of quick jam and fresh pickles—that is, things that don't need to be canned in a boiling-water bath, but can instead be stored in the fridge. In the summertime when it's so hot outside, sometimes you just don't want to bother with the water bath.
This recipe, for fruit butter, can be adapted to whatever fruit you have: peaches, plums and apricots now, or, in the months ahead, pumpkins, persimmons and winter squash.

 4 to 5 pounds of pumpkin, peaches or persimmons, sugar
optional: spices, bourbon or brandy

1  Peel the fruit and cut it into ½” chunks. Place it in a pot with enough water to cover the bottom ½” deep. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft.

2  Mash the fruit with a potato masher or pass it through a food mill. Measure the puree and note the quantity. For every cup of puree, measure ½ cup of sugar.

3  Add the puree and sugar to a large pot. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until reduced by half — 30 to 45 minutes. You’ll know the butter is ready when a spoonful chilled in the freezer for one minute doesn’t leak liquid at its edge.

4  If you like, stir in 2 teaspoons bourbon or brandy, or add ¼ teaspoon of ground spice. Taste and adjust to your liking.

5  Ladle the hot fruit butter into airtight glass or plastic containers, filling to within ¼” of the top. Put on the lids, allow the containers to cool and store in the refrigerator. Use within a month.
Yields about 2 pints

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A Canning Jar Story

I don't know what made me think of this story. I also don't suppose it really fits into this blog since it isn't about preserving food, but what the heck. After all canning jars can be used for more than just preserving food.

My Mother (who was born in 1923) said that when she headed out to school each day, her mother would give her a canning jar full of cold soup and some bread and butter.

The teacher would put a large pan of water on the stove that was used to heat the school. She would put all of the kids jars in the pan. By noon, they had hot soup to eat.

Prior to when she told me that, I didn't think of kids at that time even having hot lunch at school

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