Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pepper Pomegranate can you last gift...

Well, alright, so a last minute invitation to a Christmas party won out over canning last night…but the good news is I was able to get things together tonight and as my husband prepared some vegetables for our dinner I canned up some Pepper Pomegranate Preserves!  I did prepare the pomegranate seeds during my lunch break today, but otherwise this is a seriously quick and easy recipe.  A definite crowd pleaser with it’s smoky (Santa Fe Chiles) and sweet (pomegranate and sugar) flavors.  It’s great with toast, duh, or cheese and crackers, or with pork or chicken and it’s very pretty to boot.  At the very least it’s a nice stocking stuffer…

Pepper Pomegranate Preserves
Make aprox. 4 - ½ pint jars

1 C Pomegranate Juice
3 C Pomegranate seeds (about 2 good sized Pomegranates)
2 ½ C Sugar
2 Medium  - Tart Cooking Apples, cored and chopped
2 tsp. crushed dried Santa Fe Chiles

Get your canning pot boiling and put in 4 - ½ pint jars to heat.  Warm lids in a second pot.

In a saucepan heat Pomegranate Juice to boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until reduced to ½ C.  Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid portion is the consistency of honey.

Remove jars from pot and fill leaving ¼” head space, remove air bubbles, wipe rims, put lids on jars and return to canning pot.  Process for 15 minutes.  Remove and cool.

There you have it…ready for giving…little jars of Pomegranate goodness…

Hopefully some of you have enjoyed a bit of canning for the holidays…May you all be well, safe and enjoying the company of loved ones this holiday season - whatever your are celebrating!  Here’s to 2012 and all the canning opportunities that lay before us!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gifts Day Two - Meyer Lemon Marmalade

Okay, are you ready for another quick, last minute gift idea?  Meyer Lemon Marmalade.  Oh, I feel the eye rolling, lip curling, snickers out there…marmalade?’ Like I’m going to whip that up while I’m desperately trying to get all the billion other things together for Christmas…really?! ‘  But wait, don’t be so sure of yourself, it really IS quick…I did mine while I was fixing supper…I’m not kidding…

Well , it’s sort of a two day process, but the two pieces are really quick, so that counts as quick…

Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Makes aprox. 6 - ½ pint jars

6 Meyer Lemons (1 ½ LBS)

4 C Water

4 C Sugar

Day One:  Halve lemons crosswise and remove seeds.  Tie seeds in a cheesecloth bag.  Quarter each lemon half and thinly slice.  Combine with bag of seeds and water in a 5 quart stainless steel pot and let mixture stand, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours.

See that’s all there is for the first night!

Day two:  Bring lemon mixture to a boil over moderate heat.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, about 45 minutes…(here’s where you start making dinner)

Stir in sugar and boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and skimming off any foam, until a teaspoon of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels, about 15-20 minutes.

Ladle hot marmalade into jars, filling to within ¼ “ of the top.  Wipe rims with dampened cloth and seal jars with lids.

Put jars in a water bath canner filled with boiling water and boil jars for 5 minutes.  Remove jars and cool.

There you have it, add a lovely label, and you have six more gifts ready for giving!

Tomorrow…Pepper Pomegranate Jam…

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Minute Gift Ideas...Quick from the Kitchen

So here we are at the Christmas count down.  The last week before the big day.  I know, there are those of you who have been organized since Halloween, Christmas gifts wrapped by Thanksgiving, now just sitting back enjoying the decorations, but I am not one of those.  I do moderately well getting things together by the first part of December, but this last week is used for finishing things up, thinking up a few last minute goodies for loved ones.  So for the next couple days I am going to do some little posts, with last minute gift ideas from the kitchen.  They are all fairly quick and will put a smile on even the biggest ‘bah humbug-ger’ on your list.

The first one is Pears with Star Anise.  Pears are abundant at the farmers market or your local supermarket right now and this one will take you only a couple hours to produce.

Canned Pears with Star Anise

5 LBS pears

4 C Syrup - I make a syrup of one part sugar to three parts water

Juice of one lemon

4 Star Anise

Start a boiling water bath for 4 pint jars. 

Dissolve the sugar in water and bring the syrup to a boil

Add the lemon juice.

While you are waiting peel the pears, cut them in half or quarters and remove the core.

Fit as many pears as possible into each jar, along with a Star Anise. 

Cover the pears with the syrup

Run a chop stick along the inside of the jar to remove any air bubbles and add more syrup if necessary

Clean the neck of the jar and secure the lid to the jar

Process the pint jars for 20 minutes in boiling water.


Lovely gifts for the hard to satisfy…

These guys are really yummy…

Tomorrow…Meyer Lemon Marmalade.