Concord Grape Jelly

It’s almost Concord Grape season in our area.  I had one quart and one pint of homemade grape juice that we canned in 2015 left in the cellar.  Last night was the perfect night to process it into some beautiful, sweet grape jelly.

You can see how we process our jelly on an older post here:  Concord Grape Jelly

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Cherry Season!!

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It’s cherry season here. It’s a little early and unfortunately the cherries are splitting because of all the rain we have had.  But we were able to take the kids and get a good few bucket fulls of sweet beautiful cherries.

I process our cherries 3 ways to have throughout the year:

1) Canning them

2) Flash freezing

3) Cherry Pies stored in the freezer (these are just like store bought, you pull them out and bake them when ready)

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You can see our recipes (and the awesome technique for pitting) on our Facebook page here:  Cherry Season

Cranberry Sauce

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In our area you can buy fresh cranberries between October and December and then they are very hard to get.  The stores have great sales on them so I always try to grab them and make our supply of cranberry sauce and can it for the year.  I also froze 6 bags so I will be able to utilize fresh cranberries when we need them (especially since my son saw the batch of cranberry sauce I made today and said “mom that won’t last until Christmas”).  He LOVES the stuff.

I made it today using my recipe at the bottom of the post.  I made a double batch so you would need to double the recipe if you are making a double batch also.  I find it best to only double the batch and make multiple batches if you want more than 6 jars as it sets up better.  I will make another double batch next week to can.

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First wash cranberries.

In a pot add 1 cup of water per 12 oz bag and 3/4 cups sugar and bring to a boil.

Place cranberries in boiling sugar water and boil gently for 10 minutes (they will start to pop and foam and look like this picture).

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After 10 minutes take the hot cranberries and pour them through a fine strainer or use a food mill to separate.  I have done both and there are not lumps or pieces of fruit in the sauce after you strain it.

mill  Today I used the food mill.

Once you have it separated you can do:

1) if storing in the fridge, pour into the containers, let cool and then place in the fridge for up to 10 days.

2) if canning it get the jars prepared and water bath

THIS IS FOR CANNING:

Take the strained juice and place it back into the rinsed out stock pot.  Bring to a boil and add 1/2 bag pectin (1.75 oz box) or 3 heaping tablespoons.  Boil for approximately 1 minute.

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Ladle into hot prepared jars and put them in the water bath.  Once the water is boiling again, time it for 15 minutes with the lid on and boil gently.  After 15 minutes turn the heat off, remove the lid and let them sit for 5 more minutes.  Remove and place on a towel or wire rack and let sit for 24 hours before moving.

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This was a double batch

 

Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

As a tip when we are going to eat one I pull it out and put it in the fridge for a few hours so it’s chilled!!

CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE (for 12 oz bag)

12 oz bag cranberries rinsed

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

pectin (if canning)

Bring water and sugar to a boil.  Add cranberries and boil gently for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and pour into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer or use a food mill to separate skins and stems.

IF REFRIGERATING — place in jars or container and let cool.  Cover and store in fridge for up to 10 days.

IF CANNING — have water bath boiling and jars/lids hot

Place the strained cranberry sauce back in the rinsed out stock pot and bring to gentle boil.

Add the pectin and boil for 1 minute stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars and cover with lids and screw bands until tight

Place in the water bath and bring to a boil and boil gently for 15 minutes.

Turn heat off, remove cover and let them sit for 5 more minutes.

Remover from canner and place on dish towel or wire rack and let sit for 24 hours before moving them.

Store in cool dark place for up to a year.

IF YOU WANT TO FREEZE YOUR CRANBERRIES YOU DO IT THE SAME WAY AS I HAVE SHARED FOR OTHER FRUITS SUCH AS PEACHES.  DIRECTIONS HERE:  Flash Freezing Fruit

Sharing the tradition

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These beautiful mums on our kitchen table were a thank you gift from a young friend of mine.  (Lulu’s Musings should be proud of my decorated table inspired by her posts!!)   She had asked me to teach her how to can.  She made apple butter and brought it over to can at our house.

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Canning gets such a bad rap.  I hear all the time about why people don’t can because it’s so much work.  The truth is canning is not the work, it’s preparing what is going into the jars that is SO much work.

When we were finished, which took all of 25 minutes as the apple butter had been prepared ahead of time, she was pleasantly surprised how easy canning truly is.  She is going to make another batch for Christmas gifts and can them on her own.

And another canner is born 🙂

Grape Juice

This is the best grape juice you can have.  All natural, naturally sweet and full of the health benefits of purple grapes.

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To make our grape juice I use 12 cups of grape juice extracted (see how to do that here.)

12 cups pure grape juice

3 cups water

1 cup sugar (adjust to your taste if your grapes are sweet or tart)  There is no exact measurement as each batch of juice is different depending on the grapes.  I don’t even use sugar half of the time as the grapes are so sweet themselves.

Bring all to a boil and place into prepared jars.  Process for 10 minutes and store in dark cool place after cooled for up to 10 months (it won’t last that long 🙂 )

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Canning Peaches

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Peach season is in full swing in our location and the time to can or make jam, preserves, or jelly is right now!!!  You should also freeze some slices to make a fresh peach cobbler or use in smoothies.  You can see how to flash freeze peaches here.

I canned 17 jars of peaches in various size jars last week.  As always I make the most for our family, a few as gifts, and a few to sell.  (step by step pictures at the bottom of post)

Last week at our camp out my son and his friend wanted to catch fireflies.  We were all back at the campsite and he asked me where the mason jars were to use for the bugs.  I told him exactly where they were.  So off the boys went to get a jar.  When they returned they informed me they did not see any empty jars only the peaches so they opened one, ate the whole jar, and now had their empty jar!! UGH…can we at least save a few for winter please!!!

Here is my method for canning our peaches.  If you do not know how to can, you can google it or follow instructions I posted on another blog here:  Canning procedures

I use a hot pack method with my peaches as I believe it helps to retain their color while stored.

Prepare a large bowl with water and 1/4 cup lemon juice.

You will need 8 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar

25 peaches or more

Slice your peaches all the way around and twist the top off (see procedure at the bottom of this page)

Peel your peaches (I have been told to blanch them, however I have never found it to work for me and I like my peaches more on the firm side rather than ripe with soft skins).

Peel one peach at a time and slice or cut into chunks and place in lemon water to keep the beautiful yellow color.

Once the peaches are all sliced and in the lemon water take a stock pot and fill it with 8 cups of water and slowly add 4 cups of sugar stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring it to a full boil.  (you can use more or less sugar if you would like.  I find the half/half method good for fruit that is a bit more firm)

Using a slotted spoon add the peaches to the boiling syrup and bring to a light simmer for 6 minutes (time after you place the last peaches in the pot).

Get your prepared jars and fill each jar to the rim with peaches again using a slotted spoon.

Use a ladle and fill the jar with syrup to 1/4 inch from the top. (the peaches may float up just gently pat them down with the back of a spoon).

Using a plastic knife carefully slide it around the jar to help the peaches settle.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a wet papertowel.

Put on the hot lid and the screw cap until just tight.

Fill all the jars and then process them in the hot water bath once the water comes back to a boil for 25 minutes.

Remove and let cool.  Once cooled, test the top by pressing gently to make sure that it is sealed.

I know this looks like a lot of work but the hardest part is peeling all the peaches.  The rest is very simple.

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This is a great way to enjoy fresh summer fruit during the winter months!!  Please do not hesitate to ask questions if you have them!!