Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jamming Away

Well this has been one very interesting week, which I thought should end with a relaxing day making some jam. After all I have made Jam with my mother in-law, a culinary queen! So I think I got this down. Um nooo, so I decided to enlist the help of a girlfriend of mine that has never made jam before and we can embark on a simple freezer jam together. Yea that sounds perfect! Well I start off buying a clamshell full of strawberries, not sure how much exactly comes in that, except I know we picked out the nicest ones and we got 4 cups worth. I then buy the pectin, expecting to have to cook it.( I found it at Walmart of all places, in the utinsel section) I bought No-Cook Freezer Jam Pectin by Ball. Wow! Even easier right? Well kind of...If the container would just say how many tablespoons of pectin to 4 cups of Strawberries. Let me go back a moment.
After we hulled the strawberries we spent an hour trying to figure out how much pectin we need to use. Mind you this is a VERY easy Freezer Jam to make, IF you just know what to mix and how much. Finally we looked it up on the Ball website. and they have a calculator! to tell you how much pectin to use. Well why didn't we think about this before?
First we made sure to wash and sterilize our "jars" we bought the plastic jars with the purple tops made by Ball, We boiled some water and turned off the heat and dropped our jars and lids in. Waited for them to cool abit and dried them, not sure if we had to do this for this type of jam, but wanted to be safe. Then we mashed up our strawberries and we mixed up our pectin and sugar and poured it on the strawberries, let it sit for 30 min. until it was set and we put it in the fridge/Freezer! All Done.

So specifically here is the recipe:
  • Package of Ball Jars or Ziploc containers for the Freezer ( must close tightly)
Glad Freezer Containers
  • 4 Cups of Strawberries
  • 5 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Instant Pectin
  • 1 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
*Note on jars: We had 5- 8oz Plastic Ball Jars and I bought a package of Ziplock Plastic 4oz. containers
We actually got (3) 8oz and (1) 4oz container worth of jam with our 4 cups of Strawberries.
I also added finely diced Jalepenos to one of my 8oz jars per my husbands request.

1) Wash, hull and mash your strawberries- Set aside ( I also added 2 tablespoon of sugar to them to let them release their juice)
2) In a Large bowl Mix the sugar and pectin til well blended.
3) Add the strawberries to the sugar pectin mixture and mix for 3 minutes.
4) Fill jars - leave 1/2 in. head space at the top for the freezer expansion
5) Let sit for 30 minutes for the jam to set.
6) Enjoy! Immediately and store in fridge or save in Freezer.

They will last 3 weeks in your fridge or 1 year in the freezer.

Our Jam

Instant Pectin (No Cook Freezer Jam)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Well summer is in full swing and BBQ weekends are the standard. We just spent a great day with our best friends enjoying the summer and a refreshing pool swim! This weekend our friends smoked the most amazing ribs! The burgers and potato salad were just as yummy! Potato Salad recipe to come soon!
I made a Sugar Cookie Fruit Tart dessert: Recipe and directions below.

Sugar Cookie Fruit Tart

1 Roll of Sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup Berry jelly- Warm slightly
2 tablespoons of Butter
2 cups of Blueberries
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 cups of Strawberries sliced in half
1 Whipped Cream Can or Tub( optional ) for topping.

Take the chilled cookie dough and use a little powderd sugar on your work surface to form it into a ball and press into tart pan, or as you see I didn't have that pan; I improvised and used a shallow baking dish.
With the palm of your hand press the dough flat and make a small lip around all four sides of the dish, if your using the shallow baking dish.

With a basting brush take the warmed jelly, mine was raspberry that I made with my mother in law earlier this year. Baste the cookie tart with a thin layer of the jelly. Add Pastry Cream and spread evenly. Go to the recipe here: Pastry Cream.

Add fruit: I used Strawberries and Blueberries.
Moisten about a cup of the Blueberries and toss in the powdered sugar.
Use this for stars and the white stripes for the flag on your tart.

Baste the fruit with the jelly to keep it from drying out and it will look glossy and oh so yummy!

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!