Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alright we're jammin!

Christmas has officially peeked around the corner and yelled BOO!  It surprised me.  I have been thinking on how much Jelly or Jam I need to make, and the number astonished me.  I have over 154 Jams and Jelly's to get done in....well....yeah not alot of time.  The last couple of days I have been busy.

I had planned on a 4 day no interruption weekend to get this done, but it didn't work out the way I had planed.  It never does.  Sooooo without further ado.....Its Jelly time!

I boil all of my jars in the caner, and then put them on cookie trays in the oven at 200 degrees.  Keeps em nice and hot.  I have not had a jar explode when coming into molten sugar since I have been doing it this way.

Next we have our trusty caner, and trusty kettle.

Now the one thing that makes all of this craziness possible.....

Chocolate...mmmmmmmm Auntie C hooked me up with these..... Okay so back to my art!

I have quite a list to fill for Christmas.  Apple Butter, Pomegranate Jelly, Orange Marmalade, and White Wine Jelly.  I also have 2 custom orders pending right now, Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, and Jalapeno Pomegranate Jelly.  Both sound like interesting combinations.

Monday I pretty much only worked Apple Butter.  We went up to Apple Hill this year, and I came home with 40+ lbs of apples.  I ended up running out and had to run to the store to get 2 lbs of apples. 

First I cook them in a pot with Water and Apple Cider Vinegar for about 20 minutes at a medium boil

I cook them till they are soft, but firm.  I quarter them and leave the peels and cores and stems in them, it all adds to the pectin. comes the fun part.

Ahhh my Friend.  The Chinois Sieve.  I ladle apple mixture through it and all of the seeds, and other things I don't want in my butter stay in there.  Its a great way to take out aggressions.  Beating up on Apple's always makes my day a bit brighter.  " Oh I'm sorry...I didn't hear you....SQUISH...can you hear me now" ?  " Oh my spreadsheets aren't good enough even though YOU ASKED FOR THEM THAT WAY " SQUISH!  Oh my day got better and better the longer I got to squish stuff.  All of that is behind now it is on to Apple Butter. 

I add the Juice and zest of one lemon, Allspice, Salt, Sugar, Cinnamon, and cloves.  Now for the secret...

Yes...the microwave.  Most recipes call for cooking it down in a pot, constantly stirring.  Forget that noise, I do not have time for that.  30 minutes in the microwave takes off 4 hours of cook time.

Ahhh the finished product out of the canner.  I get about 8-10 jars out of each batch.  Its all relative.

After doing that for hours and hours and hours, I then switched off to Orange Marmalade

Yeah I don't like Marmalade too much so that is the only picture you get.

Day one count of 47 jars of goodness.

A good night sleep, and extra strong coffee Tuesday morning helped me get back into the swing of things.

I started off with another batch of orange marmalade....yeah....still not my favorite.

I then moved on to White Wine Jelly.  Now that's some good stuff, and only like 4 ingredients.  Wine, Sugar, Lemon Juice, and pectin.  LOVE IT!

I got the recipe for this from my friend at work...its been a keeper since the first time I made it. 

This one didn't want to I cheated and put it in the window....then I got bored and went out into the Man Cave

Not to bad if I say so myself

Next we did Pomegranate Jelly.  This is a close second to Apple Butter.  This Jelly is important to me because my Grandmother Pauline made this for years.  She lived down on the " Ranch " in Modesto.  She had access to Persimmon Tree's, Pomegranate Tree's, Fig Trees, an Orange tree or two, and Walnut Tree's.  Actually, alot of people in my family have made this, but the memory always goes to her. 

I only did 2 batches of this as I ran out of pectin, and I was slowly running out of energy.

I finished off the day with Sugar Free Strawberry Jam.  I thought it was a failure, but Mrs. JellyMan ate it today, and she didn't die.  So I figure it is okay.

I still have a couple of batches left in me before Christmas.  The gifting of Jam and Jelly may be slim, but its the thought that counts.  Getting something for Christmas that is handmade is a wonderful feeling.  The fact that someone took the time to MAKE you a gift always warms the heart.

The end result of day 2.  In both days, I canned a total of 97 jars, and had 3 failures.  One Wine, one Apple Butter failed to get a good seal.  I also had an explosion in the canner of the strawberry Jam type.  Ehh Not to bad for a couple of days work.  My kitchen is in shambles, I don't want to see another grain of granulated sugar, and for the next day or two I HATE mason Jars.