Does harvest time ever exhaust you? There's just so very much to do! At this point, I've stopped putting the canning equipment away. I have a small mountain of jars, pectin, and recipe books stacked on my kitchen floor, so that I can get some quick prep work done whenever I have both a free moment and the energy together. Even pre-measuring the sugar for a recipe one afternoon helps keep the task from feeling too daunting the next.
This weekend's total output was rather low, but that's only because I switched to some low sugar recipes -- hence all the opaque jars you see above. Only the last was made with regular commercial pectin. See how the light shines through? That jar is alllll sugar.
From left to right:
Crabapple Jelly. Made traditionally, this would have been a beautiful, pink, jewel-toned jar. I had the sugar all measured and ready to tip in the pan, but at the last moment I couldn't do it. Nine cups it wanted, for seven cups juice! So I made this with Pomona's Pectin instead. One cup of sugar to four cups of juice. The flavor is true to the juice, but it's really a bit too mild for my taste. Next time, I'm thinking a little jalepeno cooked in the juice and then sieved out at the last minute would really add some flavor interest.
Ginger Pear. No pectin at all. 3# pears to one cup sugar. Cook the ginger slices in the fruit and then fish out before jarring. I wish the ginger flavor was stronger. I have a different book that calls for preserved ginger that stays in the jam, but I haven't been able to figure out exactly what that is or where I can buy it. I don't believe it is simply candied ginger, but I'm not sure. I cooked this batch down quite far and only got 2.5 jelly jars for my effort.
Blackberry Crabapple Cardamom. LOVE IT!! This was really going to be a 'throwaway' batch of sorts, to use up my leftover blackberry pulp and crabapple juice, but then I saw a recipe that called for the same combination, only it used apples instead of crabapples. So I figured I was good to go.
I think I overdid it on the cardamom -- used one tablespoon of lightly crushed caradmom seeds. But I like the strong flavor. This is another one where the seeds get cooked in the juice (in a tea bag or cheesecloth) and then fished out before jarring.
I got this idea (although not the exact recipe) from one of my least favorite jam books--one in which the author provides all sorts of not-so-helpful directions like "use the seeds from three cardamom pods." Yeah, and if I just have the seeds....????
This was also made with Pomona's Pectin and a 4:1 juice to sugar ratio.
Pear & Frangelico. Recipe from Well Preserved, one of my favorite jam books. The flavors go so well together, and the Frangelico really stands out. Six and 3/4 jars from this, thanks to all the sugar.
Now...do I have the energy for grapes and elderberries yet? Or perhaps a better question, do I have enough people on my gift list?