Tag Archives: sugar

Pickled Blueberries

‘I can pickle that’ has become my mantra. I know I say that every year and every year I say this is the final year, but who am I kidding? I have a canning addiction. I’ve really gotten into pickling fruit because it compliments my charcuterie plates well. I love being able to make a whole plate of amazing cured fruit and meat, it’s a simple pleasure.

This is what a blueberry bush looks like.

This is what a blueberry bush looks like.

One of my friends recently told me she had pickled blueberries with a fancy meal she ate. Of course the ‘I can pickle’ that voice went off in my head and I had a new mission in life, pickled blueberries.

I finally made and ate some and I was not disappointed. They are tart, but sweet, with spiced warm undertones. I think they’d be delicious on ice cream! Or in a salad! Here is the recipe I used. Enjoy!

Pickled Blueberries

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 quarts fresh blueberries, washed and picked over
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
The start of pickles.

The start of pickles.

Place the first 3 ingredients into a cheesecloth square, to make a spice sachet. Put into a large saucepan with the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes.

Ready for their bath.

Ready for their bath.

Stir blueberries into the saucepan, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Gently shake the pot. Do not stir or you will break the berries. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Strain berries from the liquid and remove the spice sachet. Place berries to hot, sterilized canning jars. Return vinegar to the saucepan and place over high heat. Stir in the white and brown sugars; bring to a boil. Boil until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Ladle hot syrup over berries, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. I like to give them a week to really pickle before I eat them. 

Yum.

Yum.

Also try:

Blueberry Meyer-Lemon Jam 

Spiced Blueberry Jammin’

Blueberry Jam Sugar Scrub 

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Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Jam

Recently, our local blueberry farm opened their gates to the U-pick crowd. Well, being the foodie I am, I had to go. My friend and I loaded up and spent a scant hour picking a bucket of blueberries. I was then faced with the daunting task of making several pounds of blueberries into stuff before they went bad. I succeeded. I ate a whole bunch, then I pickled a whole bunch, then I made this wonderful jam, and the rest I froze for pancakes.

This is what a blueberry farm in Northern California looks like.

This is what a blueberry farm in Northern California looks like.

I think this is now my third favorite jam I make. Which is really saying something since I think I make close to 30 different kinds (I don’t have a problem). I used Meyer Lemons because we have several trees here on the ranch, so they are free in addition to being delicious.

The spoils of my picking! Glorious!

The spoils of my picking! Glorious!

Blueberry Meyer Lemon Jam*

  • 3 cups blueberries, mashed to make about 2 1/2 cups
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1.5 tsps. Meyer Lemon zest, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. Meyer Lemon juice
  • A whisper of butter (to prevent foaming)
  • 1 package (3 oz) liquid pectin
Blueberries, lemon zest and juice ready to be made into jammy goodness.

Blueberries, lemon zest and juice ready to be made into jammy goodness.

Add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, butter and juice in a jam pot. Bring to a roiling boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Add pectin and boil hard for one minute.  Remove from heat. Add to sterilized jars and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

This jam would be breathtaking on a scone, cheesecake or even on toast. It’s light, crisp with a hint of tart. It’s lovely and I ended up making two batches because it’s going to make great gifts.

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*based on Southern Living’s recipe

You also might wanna try:

Blueberry Jam with Mint

Blueberry Mojito Jam 

 

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Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam

When I was a little girl, my Parents would always tell me to leave our rhubarb plant alone, because it was really poisonous and it could kill me. Soon after, my Mom would serve some sort of rhubarb dessert. It confused me to no end, why my Parents would eat a poisonous dessert on purpose!

Finally, after several uncharacteristic refusals of dessert someone explained to me that once the rhubarb was cleaned of it’s green leaf and cooked, it ceased to be poisonous. Good to know.

Rhubarb is so pretty

Rhubarb is so pretty

As an adult I’ve fallen in love with jam and jelly making. There is something wonderful about being able to preserve the bounty of your garden all year long. One of my absolute, hands-down, most popular jams is strawberry-rhubarb. Both rhubarb and strawberries thrive in my little corner of California, so during certain times of the year, I am almost guaranteed to have all the ingredients right outside my door!

Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam

2 cups pureed strawberries

2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 package powdered pectin

¼ cups store bought lemon juice

5 ½ cups sugar

This makes me think of spring!

This makes me think of spring!

Combine the first four ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Add the sugar, stirring constantly until dissolved. Return to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim foam and ladle hot jam into sterilized hot jars, leaving an ¼ inch headspace. Adjust caps and process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

This makes excellent gifts and is breathtaking during the middle of winter! Your friends will love you!

This makes excellent gifts and is breathtaking during the middle of winter! Your friends will love you!

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Pickled Garlic

Neighbor Pete brought me a big box of freshly harvested garlic a few weeks ago. I love garlic and use it in most meals when I can. One of my favorite things ever is to roast it in the oven or on the BBQ and eat it on good french bread. However, neighbor Pete brought me more garlic than I could use in a reasonable amount of time. So I had to get creative – I had to can it.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

My huge ass box of delicious fresh garlic.

This is a super easy recipe! And so so so good! I could probably eat a jar of this myself without a problem.

Pickled Garlic 

6 cups peeled garlic cloves (do yourself a favor and buy the pre-peeled ones at Costco)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon canning salt
3 cups 5% vinegar
bay leaves

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeled garlic. By hand. Such a pain. But so worth it in the end!

Peeling this much fresh garlic is not fun. I tried all the tricks, shaking it in the bowl, using that special garlic tube – nothing worked as well as peeling it by hand. After peeling 6 cups of garlic cloves by hand, I was not amused and my nails hurt!!! Just buy the pre-peeled stuff, trust me.

Yum.

Yum.

Mix the sugar, salt and vinegar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once you have your cloves peeled blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Pack your hot garlic into your sterilized, hot half pint jars with a bay leaf. Ladle the hot vinegar mixture over the garlic and leave ¼ inch headspace. Adjust your lids and process in a water canner for 10 minutes.

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It's so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

I almost ate this whole jar in one sitting. It’s so mild and sweet! One of my favorite things!

Give it about two weeks to cure. And that is it! So easy and so good.

 

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Puerquitos or Piggy Cookies

Being from California we are blessed with an abundance of Mexican food, Mexican restaurants and bakeries. In my humble opinion, this is the best food ever. If you’ve never been lucky enough to go to a Mexican bakery, first, I’m sorry, put it on your bucket list and do it, second, it’s glorious. So good.

Imagine how excited I was when a friend of mine sent me a recipe for these Mexican cookies. She said they were a favorite of hers and they were shaped like pigs. This friend has excellent taste in food, so I knew I had to try them, plus pigs. I have to say, I was super sad that I’d never seen these before, so I found my trusty pig cookie cutter and went to work….

The brown cone is called piloncillo. I've seen it at Mexican stores, but never knew what to do with it. Now I do and it's awesome!!!

The brown cone is called piloncillo. I’ve seen it at Mexican stores, but never knew what to do with it. Now I do and it’s awesome!!!

Puerquitos or Piggy Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups firmly packed grated piloncillo
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 pound  butter
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Ranch honey
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Brown Ranch eggs, beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 Brown Ranch egg, beaten, for glaze
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Saucepan of syrup, it smelled like heaven would.

Saucepan of syrup, it smelled like heaven would.

In a saucepan, mix the piloncillo, water, and cinnamon and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the liquid thickens to a light syrup. Remove from the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Add the butter and honey and stir until they are mixed well.

My dry ingredient made into a well.

My dry ingredient made into a well.

In a big bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the dry ingredients with your syrup. Mix until well combined. Add the 2 eggs and stir until thoroughly mixed. This dough is going to stick like crazy, be prepared.

My ball of dough ready for an overnight stay in my fridge.

My ball of dough ready for an overnight stay in my fridge.

Place dough in plastic wrap, covered tightly, in your fridge until chilled or overnight.

I love this part.

I love this part.

Preheat your oven to 375. On a floured surface, using half of your dough, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut your cookies out, recycle your scrap and roll out again. If you dough gets sticky, place it in the freezer for a few minutes.

If you don't have one already get yourself a Silpat. It's a game changer.

If you don’t have one already get yourself a Silpat. It’s a game changer.

Wash the top of your cookies with the last egg. Bake for 7-9 minutes.

 

Notice I made some of my pigs into red wattles?

Notice I made some of my pigs into red wattles?

When the cookies are cool dust with powdered sugar.

It's a powder sugar wattle!!!!!

It’s a powder sugar wattle!!!!!

These cookies are unique! The have a slightly cinnamon, slight ginger taste. But the texture is what gets me. It’s soft and cake like, so amazing with tea! And maybe a whisper of nutella. I think they will be my signature cookie for a while! Please try them and tell me what you think!

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Kumquat Marmalade

Marmalade is good.

Marmalade is good.

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you will know that one of my many obsessions hobbies includes gardening. My gardening extends to tree growing as well, in fact, my yard’s fence is made out of dwarf citrus trees. All kinds! From naval orange to kumquats to citrons, I have a nice variety.

I was forced to pick all of my citrus this week because of the rare cold snap we’ve had here in Northern California. I’ve actually had to wear two pairs of yoga pants to do my chores in the morning. Anyway, I have a glut of citrus and I was scrabbling to find recipes to use all my citrus up. I made citrus curd. I made salted lemons – it was time for marmalade.

2 cups of chopped kumquat.

2 cups of chopped kumquat.

Since I am not a huge fan of eating plain ole kumquats, I thought the perfect application would be marmalade. Off the the Ball Blue Canning Book I went and found:

Kumquat Marmalade

2 cups thinly sliced kumquats

1 1/2 cups chopped orange pulp

1 1/2 cups sliced orange peel

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 quarts water

sugar

Use a sharp knife, it will make cutting these little suckers easier.

Use a sharp knife, it will make cutting these little suckers easier.

Combine everything except the sugar in a large saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and let stand overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, place your mixture back in a saucepan and cook rapidly until your peels are soft. Measure your mixture and add equal amount of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Bring to a boil, stirring often to the gelling point.

I used almost 8 cups of sugar for this recipe - be aware.

I used almost 8 cups of sugar for this recipe – be aware.

Remove from heat, skim foam and place in sterilized jars. Process in a water-bath canner for 10 minutes.

Cooking jam is so pretty.

Cooking jam is so pretty.

These looked amazing too:

Sunday Morning Kumquat Jam 

Small Batch Kumquat Marmalade 

Kumquat Marmalade 

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Rhubarb Syrup

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4 cups rhubarb, washed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and stir. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to low and simmer until rhubarb is falling apart and color has bled into the syrup, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and, using a fine mesh strainer, strain rhubarb solids (this makes a nice “jam”). Let syrup cool to room temperature, then transfer to a resealable container and store in the refrigerator

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Make sure you clean all the green leaves off! And wash really well.

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I don’t have a fancy mesh strainer, so I used cheesecloth.

Also the “jam” or the leftover mush that once was rhubarb is really good, a little ugly, but still yummy. It can live in your frig for about a week. But you’ll probably use it all on toast by then.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

This is good, I mean really good. Watch out, you’ll eat the
whole batch and not even realize it. Perfect for gifts! (That way
THEY get fat, and not you! Tee hee)

1 Cup water

2 Cups vanilla sugar

1 Cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon fancy salt (plus more for making it pretty)

Add water to a saucepan, add the sugar being careful to pour it in the middle of the pan, trying to avoid letting it touch the sides of the pan. DO NOT STIR. Turn heat to medium until the sugar is dissolved and clear. When the sugar is clear turn the heat to high until the mixture turns golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. DO NOT STIR. I know you want to, but just don’t do it till I say.
Really.

Put your cream in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Meanwhile, turn the heat down to medium/low for your sugar mixture. Slowly whisk (stir!) in the warm cream into the golden sugar. Watch out, it will steam and foam and be kinda scary (because I didn’t turn it down). Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the salt. *Be careful not to overcook it. It won’t be the end of the world, you’ll just have thick caramel.

I poured the sauce into little jars and cooled, then sprinkled some more salt on top. It looked fancy-pants.

(I’m going to make this again soon and take more pictures. I got lazy, sorry.)

 

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Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

4 lemons (I use Meyer, because that is what we grow on the ranch)

1 3/4 cups vanilla sugar (it’s just a jar of sugar that I have placed a few vanilla beans in)

1/2 cup butter (at room temp)

4 eggs (at room temp)

3/4 cup lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler, be careful not to get the white pith, it’s bitter.

 

While you’re at it, go ahead and juice your lemons. Just get all the messy parts out of the way.

Add the sugar and lemon peel to your cuisinart and pulse until the lemon is finely minced.

It should look like this! And it smells super good!

Cream the butter and lemon sugar. Add the eggs, one by one, until fully incorporated, then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

(It looks curdled! But it’s ok, it melts together.)

Add the curd to a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium/low heat until a thermometer reads 170. Stir constantly, being careful never to let the mixture reach above a simmer. The curd will thicken at 170 degrees F. It should take around 10  minutes.

Let cool and refrigerate. I love to use lemon curd with puff pastry, in filled cookies, on toast, off the spoon.

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Homemade Marshmallows

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I use vanilla sugar – recipe below)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • The guts of one vanilla bean
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

 

Vanilla Guts
Vanilla Sugar (add the used vanilla pods to a jar of sugar, let it live there =Vanilla sugar)
 
Mix the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
Mix the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cook over high heat until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.
 
Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is thick and fluffy, about 15  minutes.
 
Add the vanilla and mix until combined.


Dust a 9×13 with the powdered sugar.

Turn out the marshmallow fluff into the dusted pan. Dust with powdered sugar and let it set overnight.

Cut into cubes, roll in powered sugar and share.

Feel free to add other extracts or liquors. Also dip in melted chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. Experiment, you can’t go wrong with these bad boys!

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