Pickling and Jamming

Oh boy, did we strike it rich! We found the most delightful family farm only about 5 miles from our house. the Grams Farm in Maumee. They have a fruit and vegtable stand and they also raise their own hogs and beef cattle, so you can get freezer beef and sausage from them. They had sweet corn, which we had to get a half dozen of and it was super good… and peaches, which I had to get one more basket to complete my plans and pickles, which I needed to replace the basket that I got last week and I let get yucky. Bad me. (I didn’t realize that they were wet and I left them in a paper bag and well, nature took it’s course and they got moldy. I nearly cried. A whole dozen jars of garlic new pickles… lost before they could fulfill their destiny!!)

We also got a package of burgers, to try them out. Good price, a pound of burgers (4) for $3.00 In the store these days, yucky old 30 mixed cow hamburger is like $3.00 or more! This is local good raised beef… and let me tell you, it made some of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever tasted. They were fantastic!

No way was I going to let these pickles go to waste, so last night we chopped and seasoned and brined and made our favorite New Garlic Pickles and we ended up with 12 quarts! YUM! Of course, we’ll share because these are frig pickles and they take up a lot of space. But they are so good. Can’t wait till they are ready… takes a good 5 or 7 days to really taste awesome.

I gotta tell you, playing in my band is sweet… because I bring goodies to all the boys! :-) They’re getting jams and pickles and chutneys this next week…

You know, I am SO not afraid of canning and preserves anymore. They are so easy. We made that batch of pickles in less than an hour. Yep, an hour. That was it. And the pickles only cost $6 a basket, and if you don’t count the jars, and just add a little for spices, salt, vinegar and garlic, it’s less than $8 to make up 12 quartts of garlic pickles. Less than a dollar a jar…

And then today, this evening, we decided it was time to make up some peach recipes before our peaches got all mushy and bruised. So, with my big bowl of peaches and my little worker friends, we got started. We were making burgers too, and some hand cut french fries, so it was a busy kitchen!

These were all local peaches, a variety called Red Haven. I loved the colors of the flesh near to the stones, it was just a beautiful red color. I didn’t do the boil and skin method to defuzz these peaches. Rather I sliced them in had and pulled them apart. And I used a teaspoon to scoop out the good insides. After that, I put all the skins and bits of fruit into a bowl to use for some peach jelly!

We had over 8 cups of peaches, ready for a couple recipes.

First I made a Peach Chutney.

1/4 cup of green onion
1 tablespoon of minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 cups fresh chopped peaches
1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice.

Pretty simple. With a teaspoon of olive oil, sweat the onion, garlic and pepper flakes in a pan at medium heat for a few minutes. Just get them a little soft. Add the raisins, water, honey and vinegar. Cook until the mix gets kind of syrupy, about 10 minutes. I let it get to a good boil, to burn off some of the water and make a thick mix. Then turn off, and add the peaches. Stir good, until the mix is warm. Then add to waiting, sterilized jars, leave a little headspace and process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Super darn good on broiled chicken or pork loin roast!!!
(This recipe made 4 1/2 – 8 ounce jars of chutney.)

Sweating the savory elements….

Adding the sweet chunky peaches…. I can’t wait to try this out. We have some ham slices and I think it would be awesome to warm up the ham and then heat the chutney and pour it over the ham slices… oh boy. Good eating. It turned out with a sweet yellowy coloring. Not quite peachy, but a golden color. Nice.

Next up… was some Peach Jam with Brown Sugar and Rum!

3 cups peaches, chopped (about 2 pounds)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dark Jamaican rum
1 cup white sugar

Combine the peaches with the brown sugar, lemon juice and half the rum, stir and let stand for a few hours, or even overnight, room temperature. (We waited about 5 hours or so) Then pop the mixture into a big pan and start to boil, once boiling, cover pan and cook until the peach chunks look translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t let it burn or scorch. Add the white sugar and increase heat to medium high to cook rapidly, stirring constantly. Cook until it a steady rolling boil that you can’t stop with a spoon. Add the remaining rum. Be careful, it might boil up some. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring all the time. Ladle the hot jam into your jars, leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process for 15 minutes in boiling water bath. Cool jar on a dish towel before labeling and storing.

This is the first jam I’ve ever made without using Sure-Jell… and I’m afraid!!! (g) I shouldn’t be, because it was cooling a bit before the bath and it was already super thick and looking like it was going to set. After a day or two in the cool pantry, it will be wonderful. I can tell, the smell alone was intoxicating. That little bit of rum just made it so… so… tropical, or just a touch different than just plain old peach jam. And the brown sugar as well, just made it smell so wonderful. Can’t wait to taste some of that jam…. mmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmm….

Look at the beautiful coloring as it was cooling. Oh, it was beautiful. Just a really nice looking jam.

Peach Skin Jelly

Skins and flesh of 15 peaches
1 cup of water

First mash and boil down the skins and leftover scouped out flesh of 15 peaches. (Use the majority of flesh for jams and chutneys. But there will be a little left behind. Chop and put in a pan to cook. We boiled it for about 15 minutes or so. Then place in a fine mesh seive or use cheesecloth to suspend the mash and let all the juice drip away. This takes a few hours, and don’t squeeze or mess with it… you will get too much of the skin through and the jelly will be cloudy.

You need…

1 1/3 cups of juice. (If you are a little shy, you can add apple or grape juice, or even a little water.)
2 3/4 cups of white sugar
1/3 package of Sure-Jell

Boil the juice, and then add the Sure-Jell. Get all stirred up nice and boiling again, and then add the sugar. Once you have a strong rolling boil that you can not stop with a spoon, time for one minute and boil longer. Remove from heat, pack in hot sterilized jars, seal and water bath for 10 minutes.

Maggie is always in charge of mashing, smashing and anything to do with the food processor. She loves to deconstruct food. This time we just used the handy slap chopper thingy. It does a pretty good job on most things.
She mashed them up good and we threw them in the pan with a little water to cook and simmer.

We have a nice fine mesh seive and that works pretty nicely. Just sit it down and let it drip. You shouldn’t mess with it. You’ll get cloudy or scummy jelly if you do. Not the prettiest thing in the world.

Once it’s all done dripping, you just use it like you would any jelly. Add to a saucepan, heat up, add Sure Jell, stir a lot… then add the sugar and get to that boil state and boil another minute and then you’re done.

Jessy was bumming… she really only likes grape jelly and we hadn’t made ANY grape jelly yet. Of course, it’s not grape jelly season, but we thought we’d give the fake juice method a try. We got a thing of Juicy Juice, which is 100% juice and no corn syrup and all that. Of course, it’s not ALL grape, but it looked like grape and smelled like grape, so she gave it a try.

It was the first jelly that she’d made pretty much all on her own. Pretty cool.

It wasn’t setting up as fast as the other stuff, but then, well, I dunno, might take juice jelly longer. We’ll see! It’s a bit of learning curve and all we’re out is a bit of juice, sugar and a pack of Sure-Jell. 5 bucks? Maybe 6…. and if it doesn’t work, well, we won’t do it again. She’ll just have to wait until the grapes come in and we can go and pick a bunch! It sure looks pretty though. The color is so, so, purple!!! Love that.

After we were done with the mixes, we commenced to canning it all, with a good proper hot water bath. Will know in the morning it they all set good, but I can still hear them pinging and tinging on the counter and that’s a great sign. It’s really cool to see it all work so easily and it’s so rewarding. I had some of our earlier strawberry jam on my toast this morning and it was delicious. Just so good.

We ended up with 5 – 8 oz jars of peach chutney… 5 – 8 oz jars of Brown Sugar Peach Jam… 3 – 8 oz jars of peach jelly and 5 pints of grape jelly! With the rest of the strawberry and then a couple jars of blueberry butter… we’re doing pretty good. We found a U-pick it place that has fall raspberries and they are just starting to come in. We’re going to go next week and pick some. Maggie loves raspberry jam and so do I. And of course we’ll have to do some grape jelly when its ready soon, and we might even try a bit of apple butter this year too!

I will never buy another jar of pickles or jam ever again. Not when it’s so easy to put up your own and control what goes into it and all. It’s just not that hard. We made all these jams and jellies and chutneys this evening in about 2 hours, maybe 3 if you add the water bath times. (which are simple, you fill up the canner pot, set the time and go do something for a bit. Clean up… hahaha) Don’t be afraid… try it out! It’s so fun and rewarding. And the jars of preserves are SO beautiful.

They make delightful little gifts for your friends. A little bit of sweetness to share. I love sharing the jams and jellies as much as making them! I haven’t had a single soul turn down a fresh jar of local love from the gardens. Not a single soul. Would you?

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of BuckeyeBluegrass.com as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


Pickling and Jamming — 2 Comments

  1. Next week it’s go time for me. Sweet pickled and kosher dills and blackberry jam. Come apple season apple butter! I can’t wait!

  2. Oh yeah, next week I want to try bread and butter pickles and sweet relish. Gonna get another basket of cukes from the farm and give it a whirl. I love canning!!! Can’t wait for my umpteen thousand tomatoes to get ripe!!!