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Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.

Red Plum Raspberry Jelly {No Added Pectin!}

Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.

Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I’m not very good at making jams and jellies. Even when I use the packs of pectin!

I have switched over to using gelatin to create my strawberry freezer jam, cherry jam, grape jelly and five minute peach jam. They turned out beautifully!

But I recently teamed up with Ball Brand to try one of their recipes. I had the great pleasure of perusing The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving. It’s like a canner’s dream.

The pictures are gorgeous. And the recipes all sound so delicious. I wish I had time to try them all!

But I had to just pick one to try and share with you.

Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.

Trying My Hand At Jelly Again

With our allergies I don’t use pectin. Since I can’t be certain of the source it’s too risky. I know a lot of pectin is made from apples. And my two youngest are allergic to apples.

So instead of modifying a recipe I went for one that didn’t even need pectin. Red plum raspberry jelly sounded like the perfect combination of fruit flavors. And it is!

Neither fruit over powers the other.

There is no doubt that red plum raspberry jelly tastes good. You can use it for your  morning eggs and toast or mixed into some plain yogurt. We like it on pancakes.

Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.

The Outcome

The real question, though, is did I manage to make good jelly without using gelatin?

Ummmm, no.

I read the instructions on how to look for the gelling point. I used a thermometer to monitor the temperature (got it to 220 just like it said).

But the timing worked out that it was right around the gelling point when I was trying to get my toddler down for a nap. And of course this was the one day where she was fighting sleep. In fact, instead of taking 3-10 minutes to get her to sleep it took over an hour and a half (including a dirty diaper change)! Maybe it was all those raspberries she ate!

Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.

So I kept bouncing back and forth between checking the jelly and checking the toddler. And at one point I just said I have to get it done and said a prayer. Well, it wasn’t gelled.

My Big Mistake

And now that I am re-reading the directions I see that it says to stir constantly…oops. Not easy when trying to get a toddler to nap. I think all of the pectin came to the top when I wasn’t stirring…there was a sticky, pink foam. Oops.

Note – keep stirring while it boils!!

All is not lost, though. We now have sweet red plum raspberry syrup! I can’t wait to use it on our pancakes this week (every Friday we have breakfast for dinner…pancakes is on the menu).

I might also try cooking it down a bit or adding a little gelatin when I open a jar. Just to see what happens.

It’s Your Turn

In spite of my inability to make jams and jellies I am sharing this delicious recipe with you today. I bet you’ll have better luck. Maybe you can teach me a thing or two about gel! My motto moving forward is going to be “Follow the directions and keep stirring.”

I hope to try this recipe again and actually cook it the right way. I REALLY want to try red plum raspberry jelly on bread (freshly baked sourdough would heavenly).

How about you? Are you a pro at making jams and jellies? Or are you jelly challenged like me?

I’d love to hear how it goes if you try red plum raspberry jelly.

But there’s more! Keep reading.
Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.

Red Plum Raspberry Jelly
Yields 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. firm, ripe red plums, halved
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 4 cups raspberries
  4. 3 cups cane sugar
  5. cheesecloth
Instructions
  1. Pit plums, reserving pits. Chop plums and place in a 6 qt. stainless steel or enameled Dutch oven. Lightly crush the plum with a potato masher.
  2. Stir in the water and reserved pits. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add raspberries, crushing with a potato masher. Return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Line a large, fine wire mesh strainer with 3 layers of dampened cheesecloth. Place the strainer over a large bowl.
  5. Pour the plum mixture into the strainer (do not press down). Cover and let stand 3 hours or until collected juice measures 3 1/2 cups and mixture no longer drips.
  6. Wash and dry Dutch oven.
  7. Pour the juice into the Dutch oven. Stir in the sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring constantly, to gelling point.
  8. Ladle hot jelly into a hot jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
  9. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust to fingertip tight.
  10. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
  11. Process jars 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid and let jars stand 5 minutes.
  12. Remove jars from canner and cool.
Notes
  1. Tip - plum pits are super high in pectin, so simmering them with the fruit really helps give this jelly its velvety smooth set.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

Looking for a delicious jelly that is naturally free of pectin? This is it! Red plum raspberry jelly is the perfect fruit combination for your morning toast, mixed into yogurt or spread on your pancakes.Can It Forward

Don’t forget to “Can It Forward” with Ball Brand. On July 22, 2016 they are hosting a Can-It-Forward day live on Facebook. You’ll see demos (I think I need to tune in for one on jelly). Plus Ball Brand will be donating to a local charity. The more engagement they receive the more they donate!

Here’s how you can participate.

  • Pledge to can-it-forward by signing up via the pledge page and share with friends.
  • Tune in on July 22nd to watch canning demonstrations via Facebook Live from 10:00AM – 3:30PM ET. Each hour, viewers will have the chance to win a giveaway prize!
  • If you engage with any of the Facebook Live recipe videos, a donation will be made to charity.
  • You can ask Jarden Home Brands canning experts any preserving or home canning questions via Twitter with the hashtag #canitforward from 10AM – 5PM ET on July 22nd. Consumers can also share their own #canitforward creations with the brand on Pinterest and Instagram.

More For You

Ball Brand would also like to give one of my lucky readers coupons for canning supplies and a copy of The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving! Enter below for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Does red plum raspberry jelly sound like a delicious combination? What is your favorite jelly flavor?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Never be without an easy grab and go snack with this simple, allergen free ground beef jerky.

Simple And Nourishing Ground Beef Jerky {Allergen Free!}

When you’re working around allergies it can be hard to find easy and nutritious snacks. This ground beef jerky is easy to make and safe for the whole family.

Never be without an easy grab and go snack with this simple, allergen free ground beef jerky.

One of my biggest struggles having children with allergies is finding easy sources of protein. Our allergies include nuts, dairy, beans and eggs. So basically it’s meat or nothing. And I just don’t feel like cooking meat for every meal of the day!

Limited options.

I do let my kids have sunbutter (we LOVE this brand that is made in a peanut and tree nut free facility!). But it really doesn’t have that much protein. And I only give it every four days to stick with our rotation diet. I also do sardines and anchovies about once a week. Although they are super nutritious that gets expensive!

When it comes to lunches and snacks I stick to easy. And the usual easy protein sources aren’t options. Most days there is enough leftover from the previous night’s dinner that it’s not a problem.

But sometimes there’s not. My solution? Beef jerky!

This simple and nourishing ground beef jerky makes a great snack that is free of allergens.

No soy, please.

I did some research to find a recipe…and couldn’t find one. Most of them use either soy sauce or coconut aminos. When you can’t use soy or coconut that just doesn’t work. Plus I really had no desire to go to the store or buy specialty items.

So I came up with my own recipe using just a few simple and nourishing ingredients. To my great delight this ground beef jerky turned out great!

A snack for the entire family.

My biggest surprise…my one year old was the child that liked it the best! She ate almost the whole batch (don’t worry, not in one day). My husband and I love it too!

It is so easy to stick in the diaper bag when running errands. No mess. No refrigeration. Just a simple, healthy snack that is free of allergens and easy enough for a one year old to eat. Perfect!

Make it your own.

You can adjust the salt and sugar to your liking. I like a lot of salt. You can also add liquid smoke for a smokey flavor. If you really want to bump up the nutrition you can even add desiccated liver!

This simple and nourishing ground beef jerky makes a great snack that is free of allergens.

The other thing I love is how affordable this beef jerky is. I use grassfed ground beef. No fancy steaks. So a whole batch only costs about $6.00 (including the other ingredients)…and makes at least 30 good size pieces of jerky! The ground beef actually makes it a bit softer and easier to chew (trust me, I tried other meat first…and I can barely chew that batch).

Not a fan of beef? Swap it for ground pork, chicken or turkey!

This ground beef jerky is perfect for school lunches or summer picnics. Make a big batch and store it in the freezer. Grab as much as you need any time. It thaws in about sixty seconds.

If you’re like me and always trying to figure out an easy snack that is healthy, satisfying and free of allergens you’ve found it. Ground beef jerky is perfect for the whole family.

What are your go-to allergen friendly snacks?

Put ground beef jerky at the top of your list! Homemade lunch meat is a great option too.

This simple and nourishing ground beef jerky makes a great snack that is free of allergens.

Simple and Nourishing Ground Beef Jerky
Yields 30
A simple beef jerky made with ground beef, broth and seasoning.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. ground beef (or pork, chicken or turkey)
  2. 1/2 cup gelled beef broth (or pork, chicken or turkey)
  3. 1/3 cup sweetener (honey, maple syrup, molasses, brown cane sugar)
  4. 4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  5. optional: 2 tsp. desiccated liver
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 - 8 hours.
  2. Spread strips of marinated meat onto dehydrator trays using 1-2 Tbsp. of meat each (thinner is better when spreading. I just use my hands to spread it).
  3. Dry at 155*F for about 12 hours.
  4. Store at room temperature for up to a week, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.
Notes
  1. Add liquid smoke to the meat mixture for a smokey flavor.
  2. Jerky can be eaten straight from the freezer.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

The Busy Moms Solution to Preserving Pears | Just Take A Bite

The Busy Mom’s Solution to Preserving Pears

Fall is a busy time of canning applesauce and freezing pumpkin. But don’t forget about preserving pears! With a short season and a busy schedule use this guide to stock your pantry with pears before they are gone.

The Busy Moms Solution to Preserving Pears | Just Take A Bite

I try to do a fair amount of canning each fall. How much I do depends on my kids’ ages and how I’m feeling.

Regardless I don’t like to spend hours on end in the kitchen each day to keep up with produce preservation.

Do you have time?

I already take the easy route when it comes to canning peaches. That is a life saver.

Then I get to pears. There is really no way around it.

Canning pears takes a lot of time.

The Busy Moms Solution to Preserving Pears | Just Take A Bite

Lots of peeling and slicing (especially if the pears are small). It can take up to sixty pears just to do one round of canning! That is a lot of peeling.

So I haven’t done it in several years.

I would love to start canning pears again at some point. But while I have little kids and a busy schedule it just isn’t going to happen.

But I still want to preserve this amazing fruit to enjoy it all winter.

The Busy Moms Solution to Preserving Pears | Just Take A Bite

The solution.

Enter pearsauce.

It is just like applesauce but with pears. Honestly, I would take pearsauce any day over applesauce. It is that good.

There is no need to add any sweetener as pears are plenty sweet on their own.

The other thing you don’t have to do – peel them!

Preserving pears is quite easy when you can just wash, quarter, cook and puree. Then either can or freeze the pearsauce.

Use it in many ways.

One of the reasons I love having pearsauce on hand is that it makes a super easy first food for little ones six months and up. You can serve it plain or turn it into a nutrient dense baby porridge. Sign up for email alerts so you don’t miss when that is posted!

The Busy Moms Solution to Preserving Pears | Just Take A Bite

My big kids love it too! Sometimes I even make it extra special by adding strawberries, raspberries or blueberries from our freezer stash. As they melt and let off juice it colors the pearsauce and adds an extra burst of flavor.

Serve it cold. Serve it warm with a pinch of cinnamon. Add it to oatmeal. Mix it in yogurt.

You really can’t go wrong. You also don’t need to spend days on end making pearsauce.

Here is my busy mom’s solution to preserving pears. I worked through a half bushel in one day (with 3 young kids, including a nursing little one) and still managed to get my kids to and from school and activities and get healthy meals on the table.

That was from moving the pears to the sink to pulling the jars out of the canner…twice!

In fact it only took me twenty minutes to wash and slice the first batch of pears while helping my son with school work and feeding my youngest.

If I can do it you can too!

Have you ever tried preserving pears? I encourage you to try pearsauce!

Are you new to canning? Check out my step-by-step tutorial to get you going.

The Busy Moms Solution to Preserving Pears Fall is a busy time of canning applesauce and freezing pumpkin. But don't forget about preserving pears! Even busy moms can get the pantry stocked. | Just Take A Bite

Pearsauce: The Busy Mom's Solution To Preserving Pears
Yields 11
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Ingredients
  1. 35 - 40 pears
  2. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Wash pears.
  2. Quarter and core and place in a large stock pot with 1 cup water.
  3. Cook for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring periodically, until pears are cooked down and have released their juice.
  4. Puree the pears in a high powered blender or use an immersion blender.
To freeze
  1. Chill the pearsauce.
  2. Put the pearsauce in freezer safe containers.
  3. Label and freeze.
To can
  1. Return the pearsauce to the stockpot and keep warm.
  2. Prepare a water bath canner.
  3. Ladle pearsauce into hot jars.
  4. Place lid and band on the jars.
  5. Can in hot water bath for 25 minutes.
  6. Allow the jars to set untouched for at least 8 hours, until completely cool and sealed.
Notes
  1. One batch of pearsauce makes about 11 pints total. Since my canner holds 7 jars I do 4 quarts and 3 pints or 3 quarts and 4 pint with a little left over to eat fresh.
  2. A half bushel of pears will make two rounds of pearsauce with a few pears left for eating fresh or using for baking.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for  you.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly

Wondering what to do with your homemade grape juice? Make grape jelly of course! It is a classic kid favorite that is easy to make and perfect for your pb&j!

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Growing up we ate one flavor of jelly.

Grape.

That’s it.

At home. Grape. In a restaurant. Grape. On toast. Grape. On a sandwich. Grape.

That was really all we knew and all we wanted.

No jelly here.

Want to know something? I have never bought grape jelly for my kids. Most grape jellies are filled with high fructose corn syrup. Not to mention the texture kind of grosses me out now.

But homemade grape jelly – that is a whole different story. Especially when it comes from juice you made yourself!

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

No pectin. No canning.

The unique thing about my grape jelly is that I skip the pectin and the canning.

Most pectin contains dextrose. That’s just sugar, right? Well, yes, sort of.

But it usually comes from corn. My son is allergic to corn. So I don’t use pectin.

Instead I use gelatin and then freeze the jelly. That turns this into such a simple task. It takes about five minutes to make a whole batch of jelly.

This was my own experiment with creating an easy and allergen friendly grape jelly.

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

No complaints.

The consensus from my family? Great! Everyone loves it. Even the adults that grew up with more traditional jelly (both homemade and store bought).

My kids rave about it and keep asking for it on their bread.

We have been enjoying it on toast and on sunbutter and jelly sandwiches. I personally love it on sourdough bread. The contrast between the sour and sweet is delicious.

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

No fears.

Are you intimidated by the idea of making your own grape jelly? Set those fears aside. This pectin free concord grape jelly is so easy!

Use your homemade grape juice or quality organic grape juice. Add some grass-fed gelatin and you’re minutes away from homemade grape jelly.

Your kids will love it, and you’ll feel good about what they’re eating. No more high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and citric acid for breakfast. Just whole, simple ingredients.

Once you get the freezer stocked with grape jelly grab some blueberry juice to make blueberry jelly! It’s another great addition to your morning eggs and toast.

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Pectin Free Concord Grape Jelly
Yields 7
Homemade grape jelly that is free of pectin and high fructose corn syrup.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups unsweetened concord grape juice
  2. 3 cups organic cane sugar
  3. 6 1/2 tsp. grass-fed gelatin
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan combine the juice and sugar. Whisk.
  2. Slowly pour in the gelatin and whisk.
  3. Let sit one minute.
  4. Turn on heat to medium/low.
  5. Slowly whisk until the mixture is warm and the sugar and gelatin are dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Fill half pint glass jars, leaving 1 inch of head space.
  8. Put a lid on the jars and refrigerate until fully gelled, at least 8 hours.
  9. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 year.
Notes
  1. You may need to adjust the sweetness depending on the sweetness of the juice and your taste.
  2. You can increase the gelatin to 8 Tbsp. and pour the whole batch into molds or a glass pan to make grape gummies.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Homemade Grape Juice: From The Vine to Your Cup

When it comes to juice fresh is always best. Learn how to make  your own homemade grape juice starting with picking grapes and ending with sweet juice.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

 

Confession. I love grape juice. Love it.

I don’t drink it very often these days because I know most juice is just empty calories with no nutrition. Otherwise I would.

Once in a while I buy pure organic concord grape juice for making jello or gummies. But I can’t afford to buy that just to drink plain.

Homemade Grape Juice | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Free grapes.

A few weeks ago my mom called to tell me my grandpa said I could have his grapes. My grandma passed away earlier this year and my grandpa is now in hospice. So the grapes on their farm are just sitting there.

He thought I might be able to put them to good use.

He knows me well.

Homemade Grape Juice | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

I made a trip to the farm with my two youngest, hoping to pick a bunch of grapes. Then I realized that picking grapes when everything is soaking wet and you have a toddler with grabby hands strapped to your chest is next to impossible.

At least I had a great helper! We did pick a few to get us started. But I had to send my husband and big kids back a few days later to finish the job.

My suggestions for picking grapes:

  1. Have two free hands.
  2. Use clippers.
  3. Be prepared to get messy.

Making juice.

Once we had the grapes at home I had to figure out what to do with them.

It turns out that making homemade grape juice is quite simple. You basically just wash, cook and strain. You may need to add sweetener if you want to drink the juice plain. It just depends how tart the grapes are.

Homemade Grape Juice | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

It also turns out that the “hardest” part is just separating the good grapes from the bad ones.

It was fun to make my own grape juice for the first time. As I did it I couldn’t help but smile and think of my grandparents standing in the kitchen on their farm making juice together every year for decades.

I felt honored to carry on the tradition, and I think of them every time I drink our homemade grape juice. They are some of the most amazing people I know. And their farm has always been one of my favorite places.

Now we have some grape juice in the freezer for later (that I will try really hard to share with my family). Plus I used some to make grape jelly! I’ll be sharing that recipe tomorrow.

Have you ever tried making homemade grape juice? If you have access to fresh, concord grapes start picking! There is nothing quite like it.

Homemade Grape Juice | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

 

 

Homemade Grape Juice: From the Vine to Your Cup
Fresh, homemade grape juice from concord grapes.
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Ingredients
  1. Freshly picked concord grapes
  2. Organic cane sugar or honey
Tools
  1. Large stockpot
  2. Large fine mesh strainer
  3. Cheesecloth
Instructions
  1. Wash the grapes. Get rid of any bad or unripe grapes.
  2. Place the grapes in a large stockpot.
  3. Mash the grapes with a potato masher to get the juices flowing.
  4. Turn the heat on to high. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer the grapes for 10 - 15 minutes, mashing periodically while they cook.
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Strain the grapes/juice through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl.
  8. Allow the grapes to strain for a few hours or over night.
  9. Discard the grapes/skin/seeds.
  10. Strain the juice a second time through clean cheesecloth.
  11. If using the juice for drinking add sugar if the grapes are too sour. Stir and let the sugar dissolve.
  12. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.
Notes
  1. I used about 1/4 cup cane sugar per quart of juice for drinking.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

The Easiest Way to Can Peaches: A Step-by-step Tutorial

Want to know the easiest way to can peaches? It’s all about one key step. Follow this simple step-by-step tutorial to preserve one of summer’s gems so you can enjoy peaches year round.

The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

The first time I canned peaches I was overwhelmed. There was so much work involved.

I was not new to canning. I didn’t have three kids yet. No big deal.

I had purchased a half bushel of peaches assuming that would be a good starting point. I ended up doing one round of canned peaches and freezing the rest. After peeling, pitting, chopping and canning one batch I gave up and just figured canned peaches would not be on my list of to-dos again for many…many years.

Then my mother-in-law told me a trick that changed everything.

Do NOT peel your peaches!

Of course this makes canning peaches about ten times easier. But it also preserves the sweetness and flavor of the peaches.

There is no need to worry about having to eat the skin either. It comes right off when you are ready to eat the peaches.

I have now successfully canned many…many quarts of peaches! Instead of being the hardest canning task it is about the easiest one I do all year.

I try to buy a half bushel every summer and can twenty one quarts of peaches, with a few left over for baking and eating.

Have you ever wanted to try canning peaches but it seems like a daunting task? I promise you it is not.

Grab a few peaches before they are gone for the summer and preserve them to enjoy all winter.

No more spending hours in the kitchen. This is the easiest way to can peaches. This summer I canned twenty one quarts in ONE day! With three young children, one nursing frequently. If I can do it anyone can!

The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

One round of canning:

One half bushel of peaches = 3 rounds of canning (21 quarts) plus a few extra peaches for eating fresh

The Easiest Way to Can Peaches

The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

  1. Let the peaches sit in a single layer until they are ripe but still slightly firm.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  2. Prepare the simple syrup: Heat water and sugar in a large pot until sugar is dissolved. The syrup needs to be warm/hot when ready to can. You can prepare the syrup up to a few days in advance and just warm it before canning.
  3. Fill the canner with water and place the clean, quart jars inside. Put the lid on. Turn on the stove to high heat and let the water heat up until small bubbles appear. Maintain this low simmer and allow the jars to heat for ten minutes.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  4. Wash the peaches well. This is important since you are keeping the skins on.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  5. Fill a large bowl 2/3 full of water. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
  6. Cut the peaches in half. Twist. Remove the pit. Quarter the peaches and place in the bowl of lemon water. Continue until all of the peaches are quartered.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  7. Remove the jars from the hot water.
  8. Fill the hot jars with the peaches, skin side up if possible.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  9. When all of the jars are full ladel the hot syrup into the jars, leaving 1 – 1 1/2 inches of space at the top of the jar.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  10. Wipe the jar rims. Place a lid on and secure a band around the lid.
  11. Place all of the jars back in the canner. Put the lid on. Return to a boil.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  12. Let the jars process for 30 minutes (25 minutes if doing pints).
  13. Turn off the heat. Remove the canner lid. Let sit for 5 minutes.The Easiest Way to Can Peaches | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
  14. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel. Let the jars sit, untouched for at least 6 hours.
  15. When the jars are completely cool you can remove the bands, label the lids and store in your pantry.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Cherry Jam

Cherry Jam -  Homemade Dutch Apple PieSweet cherries are abundant in the summer here in Michigan.  We love to go picking and then freeze a ton to use all year long (we got almost forty pounds this year!).

We also use a lot of them fresh.  Sweet cherries are great for making desserts and smoothies.

But another way to enjoy them is in jam.  Nothing beats fresh cherry jam!

This jam recipe is very easy to make.  Plus it’s free of pectin.  You can make a big batch and freeze most of it to use throughout the year.

One recipe makes about four 1/2-pint jars.  You can easily double the recipe so you have a lot to freeze.

Not sure you love cherries as much as I do? Swap some of the cherries for another fruit for a combination jam. Cherries and raspberries work very well together.

Cherries offer a perfect natural sweetness so you don’t need to add much to the jam.

Are you ready to start your day with a plate of scrambled eggs and toast with fresh cherry jam? I sure am! I think I could even eat the jam straight out of the jar. It’s that good.

Cherry Jam - Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Cherry Jam
Yields 4
A simple and sweet homemade cherry jam that is free of pectin and fillers.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  2. 2 Tbsp. pure cherry juice (can be replaced with more lemon juice)
  3. 3 tsp. grass-fed gelatin
  4. 4 cups sweet cherries, pitted and chopped (keep any juice that comes out from chopping with the cherries)
  5. 1/2 cup organic cane sugar, sucanat or coconut sugar
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan combine the lemon juice, cherry juice and gelatin. Let the gelatin dissolve for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the cherries and sugar to the pan.
  3. Cook and slightly mash cherries with a potato masher over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  4. Turn down heat and allow jam to simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and pour the jam into clean jars.
  6. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate until fully gelled.
  7. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Notes
  1. This recipe makes about 4 - 1/2 pint jars.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Step-By-Step Canning (Applesauce)

I have been canning for about nine years now.  I am by no means an expert.  But I usually manage to stock our pantry with plenty of good stuff to last the winter.
Recently I’ve had a lot of people asking me about canning.  Although it may sound hard, it is actually quite simple.  Making the food to can is the hard part.  The canning is the easy part.
But I know when I was just learning it was a very daunting task.  And it does take a little practice to feel comfortable doing it.  So for any beginner canner or simply someone that needs a refresher, here is a step-by step guide to canning.
This is how I can.  I’m sure other people have their own methods/steps for things.  But this has always worked for me.  I think in my nine years of canning I’ve only ever had one or two jars that didn’t seal.  Not too bad.
This tutorial is for water bath canning.  Only certain foods can be canned with this method.  Some foods require a pressure canner.  I’ve only ever done that twice.  And it still scares me.  But maybe some day I’ll get better at it and post a tutorial on that as well.  Canning season just ended for me.  So it won’t be this year.

Read through the steps, get all of your supplies, take it slowly…and enjoy the canning process.  And enjoy all of your home canned goods that will fill your shelves.
Step 1. Prepare the food you want to can.  It should be warm when you are ready to can.  So reheat the food if you prepared it in advance.

Step 2. Fill the canner with water about 2/3 full.

Step 3. Place the canner on the stove and the rack in the canner.  Put clean jars in the rack.  The jars should be submerged in the water/have water inside them.

Step 4. Put the lid on the canner and turn on the heat.  The jars will need to sit in hot water for at least 5 minutes before they are ready to use.

Step 5. Place the lids in a small pan with water.  They should be submerged.  About 10 minutes before the jars are ready heat the pan until you can see tiny bubbles.   You don’t want to boil the lids.  Just get them warm enough so the glue is ready to stick to the jars.

Step 6. Make sure your food is ready and warm.

Step 7. Remove the lid from the canner.  You can see there are little bubbles all around the jars.  This tells you the jars are hot enough.

Step 8. Lift the rack from the canner so you can access the jars.

Step 9. Using tongs or a jar lifter carefully remove the jars from the hot water, emptying the water from the jars back into the canner.  Wipe the outsides of the jars and set them on a counter to be filled.  The canner should still be on the stove with the heat on.

Step 10. Use a canning funnel and fill the hot jars with the prepared food.  Most recipes suggest to fill the jars with one inch of space left.  But check the recipe to be sure.  I leave a little extra room when doing applesauce so it doesn’t overflow in the canner.

Step 11. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean towel.

Step 12. Remove the lids from the small pan of water.  Wipe them dry with a clean towel.  Place a lid on each jar.  Tighten a ring around each lid.

Step 13. Place the filled and capped jars back in the canner rack.

Step 14. Move the rack to the bottom of the canner/submerge the jars.  The tops of the jars should be under the water.  If they are not add extra water to the canner.

Step 15. Put the lid on the canner.  When the water returns to a boil set a timer for the time specified in the recipe.

Step 16. When the time is up turn off the heat and remove the lid from the canner.  Set the timer for 5 minutes.

Step 17. When the 5 minutes is over pull the rack up.  Carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a clean towel on the counter.

Step 18.   Allow the jars to set, undisturbed for at least 8 hours.  Often you will hear the lids popping shortly after taking the jars out of the canner.  This is a good indicator that the jars have sealed.  But if you don’t hear the pop it does not mean they didn’t seal.

Step 19. When the jars are completely cool remove the bands.  Make sure the lids are sealed.  Label the jars and put in storage.

Step 20. Enjoy your pantry fulled of home canned goods all winter long!

Are you ready to try canning?  Here are some recipes I’ve made:

Applesauce
Pearsauce
Spaghetti Sauce
Salsa
Peaches
Pears
Chili Sauce
Vegetable Soup Stock
Apple Butter
Blueberry Syrup
Cherry Jam
Dill Pickles

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Nitrites, Nitrates and Processed Meat…You Won’t Find Them Here

I have tried to avoid nitrites and nitrates for a while now.  Especially while pregnant.  And since we’re serving ham for Christmas…something that often contains both…I figured now would be a good time to talk about them.  They are found in most processed meats, like hot dogs, lunch  meat, bacon, etc.

So, what are they and what can they do to you?

I’ll start with sodium nitrate.

Sodium nitrate is in a lot of processed meats.  But did you know it’s also used in the “manufacture of glass antifoamer, fertilizer, dyes and potassium nitrate, also in pharmaceuticals, oxidant and metal hot-treating”?  Should that same thing really be in our food?

So what does it actually do to you?  “Sodium nitrate may damage your blood vessels, making your arteries more likely to harden and narrow, leading to heart disease. Nitrates may also affect the way your body uses sugar, making you more likely to develop diabetes.”

Also, “nitrates in food are a danger in that they can be converted to nitrites, which can react in your stomach to form nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are potent cancer-causing chemicals.”

I find that these days sodium nitrate isn’t used quite as commonly as sodium nitrite.  So, on to chemical number two.

Sodium nitrite is actually a poison.  It is used to give processed meat a pinky color instead of looking gray (like regular cooked meat does).  It has been shown to cause cancer, especially pancreatic and colorectal.  “The USDA actually tried to ban sodium nitrite from the food supply back in the 1970’s, but it was overruled by the meat industry which knew that the chemical made meat look visually more appealing and therefore increased sales of processed meat products.”

Sodium nitrite is also “suspected of playing a role in the development of migraines and chronic obstructive lung disease.”

Pregnant women need to be especially careful about sodium nitrite “due to the greatly heightened risk of brain tumors in infants.”  Sodium nitrite is especially dangerous to fetuses, infants and children.

These two nasty ingredients are in most processed meats today.  But what else in that commonly served meat?  Most list some kind of mechanically separated meat in the ingredients.  Which means “a paste-like meat product produced by forcing beef, pork, turkey or chicken bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue.”  This can even include spinal cords.  Gross!

Do you feed your child hot dogs regularly?  “Leukemia skyrockets by 700% following the consumption of hot dogs. (Preston-Martin, S. et al. “N-nitroso compounds and childhood brain tumors: A case-control study.” Cancer Res. 1982; 42:5240-5.)”  No thanks.

If you do some research you will find a lot of meat companies say it’s totally safe.  Of course they do.  They want to sell their product!  But if you look at the real evidence, you’ll see sodium nitrate and nitrite is not good for you at all.  Especially children.  So the next time you want to feed your child a hot dog, make sure it’s nitrate/nitrite free.

I served a fresh ham roast for Christmas dinner last night.  And it was not pink.  And it did not taste like it had been preserved in chemicals for months.  It was nice 🙂  I spent way too many years consuming large amounts of lunch meat.  Thankfully I have not had any in several  years.  And I hope to prevent my children from eating it as much as possible as well.  The more chemicals we can avoid the better.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Hashbrowns

I made eggs for dinner last night, and I wanted something different to go with them than we usually have.  I remembered seeing a recipe for hasbrowns on Heavenly Homemakers a while back, so I thought I’d t ry it.  I had never made true hasbrowns before.  They turned out great!  We all liked them.  They were very easy to make.  And the best part is that you can make a bunch at once and freeze them.  Then you can pull them out any time for a quick side dish.  I used our homegrown red potatoes.  They worked very well.  I didn’t make a ton extra.  Next time I think I’ll make a big batch so I can freeze a lot.  It’s a great way to preserve a big potato crop 🙂  And you can do it with potato chunks too.  Hopefully I can preserve a lot of our red potatoes this way this year so we don’t end up tossing a bunch.  This recipes is so easy.  You just bake, grate and fry.  I didn’t even bother peeling the potatoes.  Most of the skin came off while I was grating them.  And I don’t mind at all if there is some skin in the hashbrowns (I think it’s the best part of the potato :).  Definitely something I’ll make again and again.  They’d be good with a little onion added too.  We just dipped them in ketchup.  Mmmm 🙂

Hashbrowns

Scrub the potatoes.  Bake the potatoes. I avoid using aluminum foil if at all possible in baking, so I either bake them in a covered dish (400 degrees for about an hour) or wrap them in parchment paper and then foil to bake. Be sure to stab each potato with a knife before baking so you don’t have a massive potato explosion in your oven.

Allow your baked potatoes to cool (I just took the baking dish out of the oven and set it on the stove and left it for a few hours). Peel the potatoes (if desired…I don’t think it’s necessary).

Shred your potatoes with a cheese grater. They shred very easily because they are soft after baking.

At this point, you can either cook them or freeze them. To freeze them, lay them flat on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet into the freezer for a couple of hours or until the potatoes are frozen, then transfer them into freezer bags to cook up when you’re ready. Oh so convenient!

Cook the hashbrowns in an electric skillet or in a cast iron skillet (I used my cast iron skillet…a little sticking but not bad) on the stove in a generous amount of real butter.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

If the hashbrowns are frozen, you can cook them the same way as if they were not frozen…it will just take a few more minutes.

Cook them on one side for 4-5 minutes, then turn. Try not to turn them too much so they don’t get mushy. Cook until the potatoes are golden brown and slightly crispy.

You can use this same trick to make and freeze diced potatoes or potato chunks. Fry those up in butter and you’ve got some wonderful fried potatoes!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.