Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dill Relish

This is just a quick little recipe for you. I don't have a picture tutorial since I didn't know if I was going to even like this recipe, but after trying it, and putting it in my potato salad Sunday, I wanted to share it with you.

Dill Relish
14 c cucumbers (approximately 5lbs.)
1-1/2 c chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c chopped onion
1-1/2 t celery salt
1 t celery seed
1 t turmeric
5-1/2 c apple cider vinegar
3 t dill seed
6 large cloves garlic, minced
5 T kosher salt

Wash, sterilize, and keep jars hot. Chop vegetables in a processor. In a large pot, stir together celery salt, celery seeds, turmeric, vinegar, dill seeds, garlic and salt. Add the chopped vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer ten minutes. Fill hot jars with hot relish leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles. Make sure liquid covers the top of the vegetables. Clean the rims, and seal with lids and rings. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Makes approximately 7 pints.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Fig Jam

Hi y'all! I was so excited when I was able to get figs the other day. My whole goal was to make fig preserves. I did a little search, copied down a recipe, made it, and was thrilled when it set beautifully. All was well until I had to really search (unsuccessfully) for a fig butter recipe. In that search, I discovered what I had actually made was fig jam. Sigh... heehee! All is well, though. :) It still tastes delicious and looks beautiful, so I thought I would share.

Fig Jam:  yields approximately 7 1/2 half pints
4 c ripe halved figs
7 c sugar
1/2 scant c fresh squeezed lemon juice
zest from 2 lemons
1/2 t butter, optional
1 3oz pouch liquid pectin

Wash and dry figs. Remove stems and cut in half to equal four cups. Measure out sugar. Wash lemons, zest, and juice. Place figs, sugar, juice, zest, and butter in a large pot. Gently mash, leaving some larger pieces. Stir and bring to a rolling boil. Add pectin, and return to a boil. Boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. 

Picture tutorial

Wash and dry your figs.

Remove stems and cut in half.

Measure out four cups. I measure as I go to not cut too many.

Wash lemons and zest two.

I didn't think I had lemons at all. I was relieved to find these four small
lemons in the forgotten bag at the bottom of the frig. The recipe calls for two,
but I used four since the lemons were so tiny.
Since my lemons were not organic, I didn't like the idea of using the zest.
I compromised and used the zest of two.
Squeeze the lemons to get a scant 1/2 cup.

Well...it said a scant half cup, right?? :)
You can use bottled lemon juice if you can't squeeze out enough.
Pour this in with the figs.

Measure out and add the sugar.

Place this mixture on low on the stove and mix until it comes together.

Once the mixture comes together, use a potato masher to gently mash some of the figs, but leave some larger chunks. Bring this mixture to a rolling boil. Please be advised! Use a large pan for this recipe! When it boils, it really rises. I've never had a recipe boil up like this one. I was worried my pot wasn't big enough. This recipe really popped up, too. Be careful of your arm over the pot not to get burned by popping jam. I couldn't even stop to get a picture of the full boil. I used the butter, but it didn't help.

Have your pectin ready and waiting to add as soon as the mixture reaches a rolling boil.

When a rolling boil is reached, immediately add the pectin and return to a rolling boil. Boil exactly one minute and remove from heat. This jam produced a lot of foam-the most I have ever had. Be sure to skim it off for a pretty jar presentation. 

Before skimming
After skimming and almost filling one jar before I remembered the photo! :)
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. 

Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and admire the beauty! 

That last little jar just missed the 1/4" mark, but I canned it anyway. :)

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cinnamon Fig Butter

I was so blessed a couple days ago when my friend Mari from PatchWork Acres said I could pick figs from her beautiful, huge fig trees. Fighting June bugs, wasps, ants, and spiders was well worth my little bundle of organic fig beauties. The only bad thing was that I didn't get enough! No worries, though; she said I could come back.

I knew I wanted to make a fig butter with some of my beautiful, sweet bounty in order to make homemade fig newtons, so I set out on my search for the perfect recipe. It was just nowhere to be found. Sigh...I had to take the more difficult and nail-biting route of making my own. I did have safe fruit to sugar ratios so I just had to dive right in with the spices, tinkering, crossing fingers and toes, and praying that it would work and not be a waste of treasured ingredients and time. What ensued in the aftermath of that experiment in a pot was a pure hallelujah moment! So I present to you today,

Cinnamon Fig Butter
8 c chopped figs
1 c brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
2 t ground cinnamon (add one more for a strong cinnamon flavor)
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1 T vanilla
1/4 c lime juice

Place jars into your water bath canner. Rinse, drain, and chop fresh, ripe figs. Measure out eight cups and place into a large stockpot. Measure out sugar, spices, lemon juice and place into stockpot. Stir ingredients well while heating to a gentle boil. When mixture begins to boil, turn down to low-medium low, depending on your stove. Turn on jars to sterilize. If desired, use an immersion blender to process ingredients to desired consistency. Continue to cook on low, stirring often so that ingredients don't burn until the mixture is thick and will mound on a spoon. Ladle mixture into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in water bath for 10 minutes.

Step by step in photos:

Rinse and drain figs.

Measure out eight mounded cups to ensure you will have enough chopped figs in the end.

Chop and measure out eight cups of chopped figs.

Be sure to remove stems.
I measured as I chopped to make sure I didn't chop too many and waste them.
Once all chopped figs are in the pot, measure out remaining ingredients and add to the figs.

Move the pot to the stove, and stir the ingredients well while it slowly heats.

This photo is actually from my jam making, but it gives an idea of how thick
the mixture is starting out.
Bring the mixture to a slight boil over medium low heat.

Reduce the heat to low and cook the fruit for a few minutes. If you wish, use an immersion blender or food processor to break down the figs. It is not necessary, if you don't desire to do this step.

Continue to cook until the mixture is thick and mounds on a spoon.

One at a time, remove the hot jars from the canner. Fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

This picture is just to show how thick the butter was. It didn't run down the
sides of the funnel the whole time I filled the jars. It hung out in that one
spot, so I ate it when I was done! :)

Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Make sure jars are covered by at least an inch of water, and don't start timing until the water has come to a rolling boil.

I hope you have a chance to try the recipe! Don't be afraid to change the measurements on the spices, except for cinnamon. I wouldn't go over 3 teaspoons. :) Let me know what you come up with!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!