Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer in a Jar II

This week the local grocer had apricots on sale.  Now I don't know about you, but apricots have been very expensive the past few years so they are a BIG treat.  These were so resonable and yummy I bought 48 pounds of them.  Yep that is not an error.  48 pounds  2 boxes worth of apricots. 

I got home and right away began digging in my recipe box and shelves of cook books for all my favorite apricot recipes.  Oh, Oh, Oh,  where do I start. 
First I made a pork roast with apricot sauce.  Dinner will be good tonight.  Then I knew what my first batch of yumminess would be.  Apricot Conserve. This is the favorite on ice cream, pound cake, pancakes, cream cheese as a dip and the list goes on.

Apricot Conserve from Ball Blue Book of Canning and Freezing

3 1/2 cups apricots ( I put mine in the food processor to mash it)
1 1/2 cups orange juice
Peel of 1/2 orange
2 tbs lemon juice
3 cups sugar ( I do use a bit less if the apricots are really sweet)
1/2 cups chopped nuts

finely shred orange peel.  Combine all ingredients except nuts in a large kettle. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. ( at altitude this takes a bit of time. I keep it at a rolling boil like one does for jam for 3 minutes.)
The last 5 minutes, add the nuts.

Remove from heat, skim and stir.  Pour into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space, Cap, process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. 
remove from the bath, let cool.  seals will pop if sealed properly.
note,  the nuts will rise to the top and leave a carmel color.  It is not bad, found this out the hard way,  thought all had spoiled my first year making this  and tossed them to later discover that the nuts rise to the top. 

Summer in a Jar!

I just love cooking!   Love, Love , Love it

Summer is the best time, for all the fresh produce that is available.  I have a large garden that provides me with lots of fresh herbs and vegies.  Even though this has been a challenging spring,  certain plants are doing really well.  Now that it is getting warmer, others are catching up. 

My salad bed  has been wonderful.   Lettuces and spinach of course,  but also beet greens, swiss chards, radish tops! have made it into our salads.   I know as it warms up, some of these greens will go their way, but others will fill in. 

My family has various food allergies/preferences.  I don't always understand them, but I honor them by trying to make foods soy, dairy, and gluten free.   Today I discovered a new blog GLUTEN FREE GODDESS  that is just wonderful.  I am going to try her blueberry scones tonight.   If you have people who need these adjustments to their food, be sure to check it out.

Summer in a jar!  I have a collection of canning jars from over the years.  Each year I make certain recipes that are used for special occasions.   My first reciper of summer is a rumtopf.   This is a liquer you make by layering.   After the whole summer, it is ready for fall to put over fruit, ice cream, or drink as an after dinner drink.  A batch lasts me all winter so now I have just a itty bitty left.  What will I put it over as my last hurrah?

Recipe for RUMTOPF
       ingredients:   The largest jar you can find
                            1st fruit of the season  washed and cut in half. This is usually strawberries
Cover the strawberries with inexpensive rum, then add a cup of sugar.  Cover and shake the jar.   Put the jar in a dark place ( mine is in my pantry)  When you think of it, mix the ingredients in the jar once or twice a week by turning the jar up and down.
As fruit comes in season,  you just add that to the strawberries.  Right now blueberries are in. So this week I  added  blueberries ( about a cup or 2) cover with rum, add a cup of sugar, shake and put in the pantry. Do this all summer long
Some notes on certain fruits.  Peaches must be peeled- peelings give a bitter taste.  Cherries need to be pitted - so I don't usually use them, too much work.  Don't use pineapple or citrus  the acid  throws it off. 

  • So begin your summer in a jar adventure.   More recipes to follow