Saturday, August 17, 2013

Crab Apple Butter!!

It's that time of year again! My aunt's oldest friend (my aunt is in her 60's and she's known Pam since they were in the 2nd grade) let us know that it was time to pick crab apples at her dad's house. We met my aunt & Pam over there and started picking.

Chris and I walked away with 2 buckets full! If I had to guess, I would say it waa close to 20 lbs of crab apples!

Our first batch of crab apple butter was underway layter that evening. If you haven't had crab apple butter before, it tastes like Christmas in a jar!

The recipe we use is out of the Ball Canning Book, with a few adjustments to our tastes.

After cutting 6 lbs of crab apples, they went into my trusty dutch oven with some apple cider for a good bake at 425 degrees.

Once they were done, we put them through the food mill...

And then back into a newly-cleaned dutch oven with the remaining ingredients and it was time to stir... And stir... And stir.... And stir...

Until it was finally jar & bath time!!

I will admit, this batch came out with a strong citrus taste (orange zest & the juice of one orange added), but it tastes really good! I can't wait to have somw of this with waffles and some whipped cream!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vanilla Peach Mango Jam

If you couldn't tell, I've been in Jam Mode ever since berry season started. Even though we picked fresh blackberries last night, my husband and I realized we had to use up the left-over mangos from the Strawberry Mango Jam we made earlier. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with them. I had wanted to make a batch of the Vanilla Peach Bourbon jam sans bourbon, so I decided to make some adjustments to that recipe and make Vanilla Peach Mango! I know there are recipes online for Vanilla Peach Mango jam, but I decided to go with adjusting the one I previously used. Since the original recipe called for 6 lbs of peaches, I made adjustments to replace some with my leftover mangos.

This is the original recipe I adjusted:

After peeling and pitting the peaches and mangos, I pureed them in the food processor. It made for a nice, smooth texture. I added my ingredients, cooked, and before I knew it, it was bath time!

The after-bath... (Haha snarf, punny)

We had about 1/3 of a pint left over so I let that cool and put it in the fridge. This is the finished texture the following day after it had been refrigerated.

Good stuff! The finished product did come out a little tart, but I love it! 
Now to make some thumb print cookies to test it out!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Strawberry Mango Jam

When Summer is here, we like to make a lot of jam with fresh berries and fruit. Unfortunately for this batch, we didn't have any fresh local fruit for what I wanted to make. Instead, we got mangos from Costco and the strawberries we had were from my neighbor's mom's garden last year.

First off, I thought this was going to be my first jam fail. The way the mango looked didn't settle well with me (even though I used my food processor to squish it up). It looked really pulpy to me. My husband convinced me to keep going. Once I added the strawberries in, the mixture turned this pretty orange color. It wasn't quite what I was expecting either, but I cooked away. Finally, after adding all of the ingredients and cooking it for a good half hour, it turned a really pretty candy red color.

The taste came out really good. My husband loves it. He's already anticipating what he's going to put it on because he thinks it's too good for peanut butter and jelly! ha!

The recipe I used for this jam can be found here:

This is the jam prior to the bath. My phone was on the charger the whole time we were cooking, so I didn't get pictures of it when it was bright orange, but since we are making a second batch soon, I will take some.

The picture is a bit blurry because my husband and I were doing the "Getting the jars ready for the bath" dance.

Now my pretty jars sit and wait for the addicting pop! noise. I love that noise!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vanilla Peach Bourbon Jam, recipe from

I've been on a bit of a jam kick. Since I have had a dry spell creatively, we've been researching new-to-us jam recipes. One that my husband really likes is Vanilla Peach Bourbon jam. We got the recipe here:

I did make a few adjustments. I used white peaches and I scraped the seeds out of the vanilla beans instead of throwing the whole bean it. I will admit, the kick of bourbon when you first taste it is not generally my thing, but I do think I will repeat this recipes sans bourbon. It does make a pretty jam though.

I really like the color the white peach makes.

Next batch: Blackberry jam with blackberries picked from my mother's property (which just so happens to be the property my grandparents owned and my grandmother would send me and my cousin out to pick blackberries for jam).