Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mom's Apple Pie in a Jar - aka Apple Jam

For Ribbit. Is it the same recipe?


If you're a fan of apple pie - and who isn't? - you will love this luscious apple jam. Serve it on bread of use it more creatively in mini-tarts or as a dessert topping. You're certain to receive rave reviews for its good taste.

3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries (I used dried cranberries)
6 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith or other tart apples (I used Jonathan)
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
1 (1.75oz) regular powdered fruit pectin
9 cups granulated sugar (yeah, that'd be NINE. *craaazy*)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids
2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse raisins until finely chopped. Set aside.
3. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan combine apples and lemon zest and juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occionally, until apples begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in pectin until dissolved. Stir in raisins. Return to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Skim off foam.
4. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Remove airbubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot jam. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Source: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving - 400 delicious and creative recipes for today.

The great apple hunt!

I'm still in a quandary about which kind of apple tree to buy. I've been buying different kinds of apples and sampling them. See, it's not all that bad. ;^) Tonight I've been noshing on Winesap. I've decided that it'd make the *perfect* hard cider apple. So, yeah, won't work this time around. Oh well! Another concern for me is that it has a diploid chromosome number of 34; however because of very defective pollen, it acts like a triploid of 51 chromosomes and therefore shouldn't be relied on as a pollinizer. Which it needs to be! So out the window with that one.

Out of hand eating apples I snacked on yesterday: Honey Crisp and Ambrosia. I sooo love the Honey Crisp Apple, Ambrosia is a very close second. Both bright, crisp and sweet. Neither has a long storage life and aren't so good in baked goods so while they're quite delicious fresh I really need a better all around apple since I've got room for just one tree.

I'm leaning toward Elstar today. But tomorrow? Who knows? I still have till spring to decide.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Checkin' In

I'm not dead! I swear! I've just been busy, busy and you know how things get when the holidays approach.
Thanksgiving was fantastic. We drove down to Yosemite for the holiday.
Here we are going past Mt. Shasta.
The bird in the smoker after brining all night. It was the most scrumptious thing ever.
We stayed with my SIL/BIL and their kids. They just bought a house outside of the National Park. I thought you all might get a kick out of the rose bush "trellis".
The previous owner was an 80 yo lady who spent all day every day outside in her garden. Her sister gave her the walker. Insulted (as she was still quite spry) she used it to her best advantage - in the garden to prop up the rose bush!

In other gardening news we finally got hit with our first hard frost last night. The nasturtiums and marigolds finally croaked because of it. It was really lovely having flowers for so long though!! I also managed to pull the last head of broccoli a few days ago too. But really we need to winterize now. We're supposed to get snow on Sunday. Bleh.

Well at least winter will give me time to think about next years garden. I've checked out a book on apples - I still can't decide which tree to get and it's too late to plant now so I'm giving myself a deadline of spring to figure it out. I've also been drooling at the seed catalogs. I got one that was all tomatoes. DANGEROUS! I realized that two was simply not enough. I'm thinking four to six next year. I can do a whole bed of toms and not feel guilty, right? Right?

The last little bit of gardening news? My sister surprised me by signing us up for a class on natives. It was pretty cool. She's got a lot of work ahead of her - they just bought an acre of land (to build a house on). It's virgin so there's a LOT of planning/landscaping to do. I think she's hoping I'll help her. =)