August 31, 2013

August 29, 2013

Peach Jam

The recipe for peach jam is here from 2012.
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I just wanted to share the photo from this year because it looks so beautiful!!

August 28, 2013

How To Can Pears

It's that time of year!  I canned 7 quarts of pears last night.  The tree is still loaded with pears and I have another tree that will ripen in a couple of weeks.  Pears, unlike peaches or apples, can be picked early and they will continue to ripen.  I pick them early, wrap them in newspaper and let them set in my dark pantry for a few days.  This lets them get to that perfect ripeness.
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  How To Can Pears
Lids and Rings

Wash and peel your pears.  I slice mine into about 1/4-inch slices, discard the hard middle containing the seeds.  I use a lot of my canned pears to make Pear Custard Bars.  When I get tired of slicing all those pears, I start canning them as halves!  Makes the job go much faster and these are great for the boys when they want a snack.  
I slice the pears into a large bowl of water with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice added to keep them from turning dark while I'm getting them ready to put into jars.
 While I'm doing this, I'm running my jars through the hot cycle on the dishwasher, you can put them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to sanitize them as well.  I also have my large canner on the stove with water heating for the hot water bath part of canning and I put my lids and rings in a small sauce pan over low heat in very hot (not boiling) water. 
About 15 minutes before I finish the peeling and slicing, using a large pot, I put 6 cups of water and slowly add 2 cups of sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.  Bring this to a gentle boil.  This makes a light syrup and will fill approximately 7 quarts of pears.  See the chart below for medium and heavy syrup recipes.
When the pears are all sliced, using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water/lemon juice and pack them into your hot jars.  Make sure the pears are as flat as possible or you'll have a very large gap at the bottom of your jar when your finished.
When your jars are packed with pears, pour the boiling sugar water over the pears leaving 1/4-inch head space.  Using a butter knife or a wooden skewer, run it around the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles.  Wipe the rim of your jar with a damp cloth then adjust hot lids and bands to finger-tight.
Put jars in the hot water bath.  Water should be about 1 inch above jar lids.  Cover and bring to a rolling boil.  Start timing your water bath when it begins to boil.  
For quarts, 25 minutes.  For pints, 20 minutes.
Remove from hot water bath and let sit until cooled.  Lids should be sealed when cooled!  That's it, go can some pears!
Syrup (sugar to water ratios)
Heavy syrup:  4 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water
Medium syrup: 3 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water
Light Syrup: 2 cups of sugar to 6 cups of water

August 18, 2013

Octodogs and Sea Weed - For Lunch!

Give it a sounds awful....BUT......your kids will love it!  I used to fix this a lot for my boys, then they got older and they never ask for it anymore so I thought I'd surprise them with an after church lunch from the past!   Octo-dogs (hot dogs) and sea weed (Ramen noodles with a few drops of green food coloring) 
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It always puts a smile on their faces!  Sometimes we mix it up and make blue or purple noodles.

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Whatever color you want your sea weed to be, I bet they eat it all!

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Just split the hotdog up the middle (like an X almost to the end and leave the octopus' head intact.  I even poke the knife in to make little eyes and a smiley face :).  
Boil the hotdogs in a separate pan while making the noodles and their little legs will curl up just like an octopus.  Technically, mine are QUAD dogs but the legs get a little thin and tend to break off if you try for 8!  Hey if you can have green eggs and ham.......just saying! Have fun!  You may even want to eat some yourself!

August 17, 2013

Freezer Pickles (A New Favorite)

Not sure what to do with all those cucumbers?  This recipe is simple, quick, doesn't require boiling, bathing or processing.....
Quick and Easy Freezer Pickles
7 cups of cucumbers (sliced)
1 cup of bell peppers (sliced)
1 cup of onion (sliced)
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed 

Thinly slice your cucumbers, onions and bell peppers and mix together.
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Mix vinegar, sugar, salt and celery seed and pour over sliced veggies and stir.
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 Marinate over night in the refrigerator, stirring a couple of times.
Using a slotted spoon, pack cucumbers, onions and peppers into freezer containers or zip lock freezer baggies, then add enough of the liquid from bowl to cover pickles.  
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Close tightly and place in freezer.  
(That is if you can keep from eating them all while putting them in containers!)
When you want to use them, remove them from the freezer in time for pickles to thaw.  I usually take them out the night before and put them in the refrigerator.  They'll be as crispy and sweet as they were when you first made them!

August 15, 2013

Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalopenos)

Delicious, whatever you want to call'll make your taste buds sing!  
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Cowboy Candy
3 pounds fresh, firm jalapeños
2 cups cider vinegar
6 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
3 teaspoons granulated garlic (or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wash your jalapeños
Remove the stem and slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. Please wear gloves when you're doing this or you will regret it!!  The first time I chopped jalapeños when canning, my fingers burned FOREVER!  Well, not forever, but it felt like it!
Mix vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seeds, garlic and cayenne pepper together in a large pot. Bring to boiling.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the jalapeños!  Bring back to boiling.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 more minutes. 
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 Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pepper into hot, sterile half pint or pint canning jars.  Take the liquid from your pot and pour over the peppers in the jar, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Using something (I use a wooden kabob stick), remove any air from the liquid in the jar.  I just poke around in there 3 or 4 times to make sure all the little bubbles get loose.  Add your hot lids and bands and process in a hot water bath. 
(10 minutes for half pints/15 minutes for pints)
Yield: 6 half-pint jars 
(I doubled the recipe and got 10 but I packed the peppers pretty tight before adding the liquid.)  photo ek7ntq2f_zpsff8e4371.jpg
Then the HARD part!  You need to wait 2 weeks to a month for all the tastes to mellow and turn into awesomeness!  I tried someone else's......I have 9 days to go before I can try mine!  I'm not sure I'm going to make it!
Hope you enjoy yours!!


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