Food in Season

eating locally all year long

Calling all Jelly Lovers

Judges 9: 11 Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet

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Picture: Pear Cinnamon Jam, Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Blueberry Jelly, Grape Jelly, Wild Violet Jelly

So I have been making jelly now for a year. I have actually only gone through 3 jars and gifted a bunch more. What do I do with all this jelly (especially when my kid is probably the only kid who does not like peanut butter jelly sandwiches). I made thumbprint cookies with the watermelon jelly I made last year. I made peach muffins with the peach jam I made last year. And as soon as I attempt homemade poptarts I will post the recipe. I have used jelly instead of syrup on pancakes and waffles.

Does anyone else have any way to use up all this jelly?

If not – expect a loaf of bread and a jar of jelly for Christmas!

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Out of season – In season – Grape Jelly

Isaiah 62:9  but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary

Eating in season is best. Perseving during the season is still great though. With perserving you can eat locally all year long! Last year I picked grapes and made grape jelly for the first time. It was a long process and very time consuming. Cleaning the grapes and picking them from the stems was not that fun! Well just last week a great friend gave me a jar of frozen grape juice. And not just any grape juice. Grape juice made from the grapes grown at the Harmony Museum in Harmony, PA! So what is better than in season grapes? Preserved local grape juice; because I did not have to wash, destem, and cook those grapes!!! Since this was already frozen I couldnt freeze the left overs. I had enough to make 8 half pints of jelly and some grape pudding. What is grape pudding you ask. Well read on!

 

Grape Pudding

1 3/4 cups of unsweetened grape juice
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
3 Tbs of cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a pan and cook until thickened. This has a very unique taste. Audrey loved it!

 

Now on to what you really came to read about, grape jelly! There are so many recipes for grape jelly. Each book I have has a different on. Each website has their own version. I decided to stick to the simplest version.

Grape Jelly

5 1/2 cups of fresh, local, unsweetened grape juice
(I will post this fall on how to get juice from grapes)
3 1/2 cups of sugar
1 box of low/no sugar pectin

 

Combine the grape juice and 3 1/4 cups sugar in a large pot. In a seperate bowl mix box of pectin with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.  Heat over medium until it comes to a boil that cannot be stopped when stirred. Add pectin mixture and boil 2 minutes (no longer). Quickly ladle hot jelly into sterilized jars. Wipe rims and put on lids. Process 5 minutes (for my altitude 10 minutes) in a water bath canner. This makes 8 half pints of (the most delicious) jelly. This is a very soft set jelly due to the fact there is not alot of sugar in the recipe. It is almost watery until it completely cools and sets. Don’t worry.

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Pressure Canning Dried Beans

Ezekial 4:9 Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself…

Canning dry beans can seem like a real pain. The rinsing, sorting, soaking overnight, changing the water. There’s the “quick cook” method – boil for 2 minutes, soak in the hot boil water for 1 hour, drain, fresh water, bring back to a boil – what a pain! I do not have time to bother with all of that!

So here’s the super easy way to do it!

Fill your pressure canner up to the correct line with warm water and put it on the burner to start the heating process. In a seperate pot boil some water. I fill up my big spaghetti pot.

Rinse and sort the beans. Put 1/2 to 2/3 cup of rinsed sorted beans in each pint jar, producing an approximate yield of 4 to 5 pint jars from each pound weight of dry beans. Pour in boiling water to 1/2 inch of the top (just about where the screw threads start).

Cap your jars and process at 10 pounds of pressure (or my altitude, over 1000 feet, 15 pounds) for 75 minutes. Follow the usual steps for pressure reduction and cooling as specified in your pressure canner user manual.

There you go! Between four and 10 pint jars of pressure canned/cooked beans in about 90 minutes, more or less, ready and waiting for you to deploy them in all sorts of interesting manners.

The cost savings is phenominal! A can of beans is $1.00 or more.  A can of home canned beans is under .50 cents!

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Pear Cinnamon Jam

Zechariah 8:12a The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew…
This weekend I went and visited my CSA farm and since a local farm market is right around the corner I decided to stop. They had a whole bin of discounted fruits and vegetables. I got 2 packs of 5 pears for  .50 each!

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I got home and ate one and OH MY it was delicious. Then the canning bug bit me, and I decided to make some jam. I had read a recipe a while back for pear cinnamon jam. I decided to make it.

Pear Cinnamon Jam

8 cups of cored chopped pears
4 cups of sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice (half a lemon)
1 Tbs cinnamon

I found that each pear yielded about 1 cups of fruit. So I quartered each pear. Cut out the core and chopped – you do not need to peel the pears. I added the chopped pears and 4 cups of sugar to a pan.Image

 

Now you just cook on medium and stir the pears until they can be easily smashed by the back of a wooden spoon. Then you use a potato masher to mash them until they are a mostly smooth sauce.

 

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My daughter loves to help me cook! When they are mashed into the “sauce” add you lemon juice and cinnamon and let cook. Cook until the jam looks thick and passes the plate test. This will fill 6 half pint jars. Process according in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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Wild Violet Jelly

Song of Solomon 2:12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

Spring is here! Wildflowers are popping up every where. Besides bringing beauty after dreary winter there are other things you can do with wildflowers. Today we are making wild violet jelly.

What are wild violets?

Wild violet is a winter perennial, growing 2 – 5 inches tall. The leaves can vary but usually are heart shaped, on long petioles with scalloped to shallow rounded margins. The flowers of wild violet range from white to blue to purple and appear from March to June. Wild violet flowers are pansy-like with three lower petals and two lateral petals on long single flower stalks. Wild Violet leaves actually have medicinal purposes. They are rich in vitamins A and C.
They also contain a type of antioxidant called an anthocyanin.

 

Wild Violet Jelly

2 heaping cups of fresh violet petals (No stems)
2 C boiling wter
1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 C sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)

First you have to pick the violets, and I can see this being an amazing spring tradition. If you have older children they can go on a violet hunt. If you have young children it is a fun time together. My 2 year old learned what violets are and unfortunately what stinging nettle was! I told her, “don’t pick the white ones!” but she did not listen – lesson learned.

One you have two heaping cups full, rinse petals in collander and place in a heat proof glass or non reactive bowl. Pour two cups of boilng water over petals and let steep minimum of 2 hours, up to 24 hours. If not using right away steep in refrigerator. I poured the boiling water over mine and let cool on the counter about an hour and then I put in the fridge.

When you are ready to make the jelly strain the liquid into a glass jar from the flowers. Why the jar… You will see. Bring your kids in they will love this part! Add the juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup lemon juice) and watch the liquid change from a deep blue to a bright magenta!

Then put the liquid in a large pot and mix with 4 cups of sugar. While you are waiting for your sugar water to boil (don’t forget to stir); you can sterilize your canning jars (you will need 4 half pint jars) in the dishwasher or in a pot of boiling water. When your sugar water is at a boil where it cannot be stirred down; add the liquid pectin and boil for 2 minutes. Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Wipe rims. Add lids and rings and process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. These have a shelf life of 1 year.

The taste is hard to describe, but it is very good. I expected it to be very floral like rose water, but it is not. It has its own distinct taste. Also, I have seen variations on the recipe using honey instead of sugar (needs more pectin) And using less sugar and less sugar pectin.

Here is a link on how to use a water bath canner : Water Bath Canning
Here is a Jelly and Jam Q&A on why they reccommend a canner : Jellies & Jams

And a post note: Take your two year old child (who is potty training) potty before you start otherwise just as the jelly starts to boil and you need to stir it and watch it for two minutes and ladle it while it is hot – she will need to go potty, throw a fit because you can’t help, and then have an accident you have to clean up!

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