Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cherries and plums and cukes, oh my.

I realized today that if I was a good blogger, I'd of taken photos along the way. I'm not and I didn't. By and large, this is just so I don't forget what I did, without having to find the scrawled post-it notes ever again.

Spiced Golden Plum Jam (adapted out of Bernadin Complete Book of Home preserving)

1.5 litres of little yellow plums. halved and pitted
4 small cinnamon sticks
8 cardamom pods
healthy chunk of ginger
5 c sugar
1/2 c lime juice
1 packet liquid pectin
1/4 cup dark rum

Sensible people would take the time to make a spice bag (note to self, investigate making reusable spice bags), but I am not sensible people. I tossed them in, fished out the sticks and ginger at the end and didn't fuss too hard about the cardamom pods being left in the jam when I put it in jars. Life will go on.

Plums and spices into a pot to boil a while, until the plums are good and goopy. Add sugar, let that get back to boiling. Add pectin and and rum and boil hard for a good minute. Put in jars, process for 10 mins. Today's yield 14 125 ml jars, 1 250 ml jar.

The cherry recipes are hard to measure how many cherries I started with, as I picked up a 5kg bucket o'  sour cherries and then had a moment of 'omg, what do I /do/ with 5 kg of sour cherries!' 

So the cherries were pre-pitted, and arrived with 10% by weight sugar, which left lovely nice juice at the bottom of the bucket. 

Pickled Sour Cherries (taken straight from We Sure Can!)

Take 6 250 ml jars.

Into each one put:
3 allspice berries
1 or 2 sticks of cinnamon
1 small bay leaf
3 or 4 whole cloves

Fill with sour cherries from the bucket.

Prepare brine of 2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar. Boil. Pour over cherries. 1/2" headspace.

Seal and process for 20 mins.

Vanilla Boozed Cherries (taken straight from We Sure Can!)

I used 6 250 ml jars, and 2 500 ml jars for this one. They spit out their liquid /everywhere/ in processing, and 3 didn't seal. Very disappointing on that front. I probably overfilled. Still tasty.

Fill each jar with cherries from the bucket.

Into each jar (doubled for the 500 ml jars): 1 tablespoon of kirsch and 1/4 tsp of vanilla.

Prepare syrup of 4 cups water, 1 3/4 cups sugar. Pour over cherries. 1/2" headspace.

Seal and process for 20 mins. Whine about lack of sealing and loss of liquid and wonder at the long process time in recipe.

At this point, have a little moment of wondering if it's a never ending bucket of cherries.

Cherry Apricot Spread (Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving, 3rd ed)

2 1/2 cups cherries
1 cup chopped apricots
1/2 cup cherry juice from the bottom of the bucket
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pkg no sugar needed pectin
1 1/2 cups sugar

Fruit and juices in pot. Boil. Add pectin. Boil. Add sugar. Boil hard 5 minutes. Seal and process 10 mins. Marvel at how it's setting up solid as a rock /on the funnel/ in the time it takes to blink.

Set the rest of the cherry juice aside to be used as flavouring later. Set the rest of the cherries aside before you never ever want to see cherries again. 

Lazy Cucumber Relish (adapted from the big ass preserving book)

3 litre basket of cucumbers (a little past their prime, whoops), food processed all to hell
1 kg bag of frozen omelette mix (red and green peppers, onion, all pre chopped)
2 cups (ish) of chopped frozen celery

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of kosher salt, let stand to thaw and drip. Squeeze out all the extra moisture after 4 or 5 hours.

In a pot combine: 3 cups white vinegar, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 3 tbsp mustard seeds, 3 tbsp celery seeds. Boil. Add veggies. Cook until things are nicely combined and cooked through.

Put in jars, 1/2" headspace. Seal and process 10 mins.

Collapse in a heap with a long island iced tea and swear you are never doing that much canning in one day again. 

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