Monthly Archives: August 2013
My parameters for canning this year have been 1) I have to grow it 2) someone I knew grew it 3) I picked it. I’ve been highly successful with these parameters (plus it helps I live in California, the best place to grow awesome stuff all the time). The only snafu I have encountered is beating my piglet, Silly, to the garden spoils. She is sneaky. Oh so very sneaky.
I’ll put her in her outside pen to root and play in her pool. She waits until she thinks I think she is all settled in, then she will bust out and hit the melon patch like it is her job. I’ve lost several cantaloupe, a few spaghetti squashes and more watermelon than I will admit.
Anyway, I was lucky enough to save a few cantaloupe before she could get them. They were slightly green, so I thought the perfect use would be jam. I found a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Canning 2013 magazine. And jam I made…
Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam
- 2 1/2 cups chopped and peeled cantaloupe
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, the guts scraped out
- the zest of a lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
Place the melon, sugar, and vanilla guts in saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture reaches 220 degrees. Add the lemon zest, juice and pectin. Let vigorously boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Place jam in jars and process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.
Also try these recipes!
So Ryan Goodman from I am Agriculture Proud writes for CNN Eatocracy. He just happened to mention me and my slaughter posts in his article this time. This means that one morning this week, I woke up and my blog had thousands of views. It scared me. Bad. Every time this happens I get “in trouble”. Either industry has a bone to pick with me or my friendly neighborhood vegans have an issue with me. But this time it was positive, people just wanted to see what a custom exempt slaughter looked like. No one chewed me out, no one told me I disgraced the industry, it was a great and positive thing and I am so stoked. Thank you Ryan for continuing to be a positive and wonderful source for agriculture. Thank you for supporting all of us. But most of all, thank you for being real.
Fig trees, olive trees and pomegranates grow really well and almost wild here on the ranch. I haven’t been a fan of figs since I was a little kid and my Mom’s pot-bellied pig made himself sick on them and well, you really don’t want to know the rest of that story because you won’t like them either.
This was a great year for figs! Usually the birds and deer beat me to them, but for some reason I was able to pick lots and lots! And I still have some! I do love fig trees because they are a lot of fun to climb! I had the best fort in an old fig tree out here until the pig incident. After that, it got cut down, we never wanted to have the pig incident again (it really was that bad).
I may not be a huge fan of figs but lots of my friends are. I decided to make some jam to use as gifts. After I tasted it I was surprised to find, I liked it! It was pretty good! I could see myself using it as a glaze for meat. Since it was good I decide to share my recipe (I used this as a base recipe), I give you:
Fig Balsamic Jam
- 4 1/2 cups chopped figs
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup Lucero balsamic vinegar
- 1 3-oz pouch liquid pectin
- 1/2 tsp. butter
- 6 cups sugar
Wash and de-stem your figs. Chop finely.
Add the figs, lemon juice, vinegar, water, sugar and butter in a large saucepan. The butter helps reduce foaming. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often.
Once rolling boiling is achieved stir in liquid pectin. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim foam, and ladle into processed jars leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process for in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
Minds work best when they are like a parachute, open (we all know that quote, right?). I think there is a huge difference between having an open mind and having your brains fall out. Don’t tell my Dad, but I am a whisper hippie, progressive, alternative. I mean, I think he has a sneaking suspicion, but let’s not confirm his fears, huh?
Anyway it’s his fault I am all these things (for the record, my Mom’s open mind influence had NOTHING to do with this, nothing). Seriously though, when I had my break from the Ranch, I got out there and tried new things, it was great! When I didn’t have the financial backing, or the support of the Ranch, I was forced to learn a ton and I think I am a better and more interesting person because of it (trust me, having everything you’ve thought and loved taken away from you, will change your point of view like no other). I kept my mind open, but I didn’t let my brains fall out.
One of those new things I learned about was Kombucha. It’s a fermented tea, with probiotics and stuff. Every time I think I am getting sick, I tend to chug this like its my job. But, really, I mainly like it because it’s fuzzy and not soda.
My friend gave me a SCOBY (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) about a year ago, since I’ve start brewing my own Kombucha. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Especially because some of my friends trade me stuff for it, and now that I am working on the Ranch full-time, I love me some good trades (always looking for jars, produce, neat stuff, money).
It seems counterintuitive to share my recipe, but it is kinda a lot of work to keep a SCOBY going, so I’m not terribly worried. I make my Kombucha in two, 2 gallon batches (because go big, or go home, right?). I got inspired to share this knowledge because my friend and fellow blogger, Jessy wrote about keeping her food choices in check and this is one thing I do. I give you…..
2 gallons spring or distilled water
2 cups sugar
12 bags tea (I use green or black)
1 cup kombucha, plain (save it from your previous brew or get some from a friend)
Bring your water to a rolling boil. Add sugar and tea. Let sit for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags. Place tea in large jar until completely cool. Once completely cool ( I cannot stress this enough, you will kill your SCOBY if your tea is warm), place kombucha and SCOBY in your jar. Cover with cheese cloth for anywhere from one to two weeks in a dark place in your house, and depending on the temperature of your house, (I have no A/C so it’s about a week in the summer, two in the winter when I place in next to my wood stove), you’ll see your tea form a new SCOBY and have lots of bubbles, that is how you know it is brewing. However if you see mold, something went wrong and try again.
Once your to this point you can drink your Kombucha or you can tune back next week and learn how to infuse fruit and bottle this stuff (I highly recommend you do).
As you recall I made a tomato jam earlier in the summer. It was glorious, I mean, honestly, on a sandwich, it almost made me cry. I also made a port-balsamic jelly which was pretty good. Naturally this got me to thinking about more balsamic recipes and more tomato recipes.
Then my Mom found and made this recipe. It tasted amazing. But I thought it could be more vinegar-y and more basil-y. So I played around and came up with this version. It’s a whisper more savory than the other recipe I posted before. I like this one better, simply because of the vinegar taste. I love vinegar.
Balsamic Tomato Basil Jam
- 3 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (I leave the skins and seeds in, I worked hard to grow my tomatoes and I like the texture)
- 1/2 cups good balsamic vinegar (I recommend Lucero brand)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 teaspoons finely minced garlic (I used fresh, but the stuff in the jar works great too)
- 1/4 cup finely minced onion (we’ve made it with and without, both are good)
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons Ball classic pectin
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Put the first 9 ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, and stir well.
Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Mix in the sugar. When the full rolling boil takes place again, start timing and cook jam for 6 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in basil and fill jars. Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
This is fabulous on sandwiches, over cream cheese, on toast, straight from the jar. I’m probably going to make a few more batches to give as gifts, it’s that good.