Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sunday AND Canning Projects #3, 4, and 5

Sweet Melissa Sunday is here and I snuck in the baking event just today! I feel so relieved. The group is closed to new members and I feel terrible not showing support...even when the season is as crazy busy as this one seems to be. Robin of Lady Craddock's Bakery chose this weeks baking event: Orange Scented Scones...YUM! The scones are absolutely delicious. I did not have any oranges on hand because I am still knee deep in canning but I did use lemon peel and the scones are soooo tasty! Yellow sugar sprinkles were added to the top to coordinate with the lemon flavoring. This is a recipe that will be baked over and over in our kitchen and I can see why Melissa initially did not want to share the recipe.Oat flour is used right along with all-purpose flour. The silipat always comes in handy instead of parchment paper.
The recipe goes together lickety-split and before you know it, the scones are cooling on the counter.
My only problem was not enough flour. The dough was just a smidgen too wet and the scones spread out a little instead of up.
There may be 2 scones left for lunch tomorrow, I am not sure yet. Thank you Robin for such a great choice! To get the recipe, you can go to Robin's blog here and to see how everyone else did in the Sweet Melissa group just click here for the list of bakers.
Canning has been all consuming this weekend! The good news? I am down to about 15 pears and 1 box of Granny Smith apples! That is it and I could do the happy dance if I wasn't so exhausted. I have jars of peach, pear, and tomato everything...everywhere. Here are the last of the peaches done this morning:

What a great feeling to know that I so wanted to play outside in the sunshine but forced myself to stay inside and finish 3 more boxes of fruit.
Above photo is the peach jalapeno spread, salsa, Italian stewed tomatoes, and spiced pear butter. The pear butter has a dreamy, Christmas aroma and you can just imagine homemade gingerbread smothered with the spicy pear butter. Labels!!!!! Labels are essential for the canning process. I found an awesome outlet for labels found at: and the selection is HUGE!
I sat down for just a moment this afternoon, you know, to take a little breathier, and Rocky ~who knows he is not allowed up on ANY furniture ~ was feeling left out and jealous of the cat, Shadow. He jumped up and tried to climb on my lap, the big GooF!
Before I jump in to what all I did today, I thought sharing how the day went yesterday would be nice. The recipes need to be in unison. My sister Rachel came up from Raymond, about a 2 hour drive usually. I say usually because she has a gorgeous newer sports car, an RX7 I think, so I am sure it took her less time ...all of us girls know how to speed. She picked out 3 recipes ahead of time and as soon as she got here (8 in the morning) we jumped in and started.
Saturday Canning: Salsa, Peach Rum Jam, Spiced Pear Jam, and I finished up with Jalapeno Peach Spread.
The peaches needed to soak in Jamaican Rum, brown sugar, and lemon juice for 5 hours, so the peaches were started on first.
Next, the Spiced Pear Butter needed to simmer so we brought up a single, separate burner that could be plugged into an outlet and made a double recipe. This meant peeling and cutting up 16 cups of pears. Actually, Rachel peeled and we used the hand wand blender to crush the pears before adding ingredients.
I ended up making another double batch of the Spiced Pear Butter today, Sunday, and filled half-pint jars so I can use these for Christmas presents.

The recipe for a single batch of Spiced Pear Butter:
8 cups pears, peeled and sliced
1 t. cloves
1 cup of sugar
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 T. cinnamon
1/4 cup red cinnamon candies

Place pears in blender or use a hand wand blender with pears already in pot to pulse till a little chunky.
Put all ingredients together in a heavy bottomed pot.
Cook on medium to low heat for about 3 hours, the thicker you want it the longer you cook it.
This can now be processed in a water bath for 5 minutes. This means that you set your jars in the canner and lower the jars into the water, bring the water back to a boil and then time the jars for 5 minutes.
The amount you end up with is determined by how much you cook the pear butter down.

Now the peaches were marinating, the pear butter was simmering, and we decided to do a double batch of salsa so we could share.

Rachel got the lovely task of peeling all the Roma tomatoes by dipping them into boiling water, then into ice water, and then peeling and chopping for salsa.
I chopped up the peppers and onions and we used a miniature food processor to chop up the garlic and fresh oregano.

The salsa recipe went like this:
10 cups peeled, cored (unless you are using Roma tomatoes), and chopped tomatoes

3 cups chopped onions (used food processor)

1 cup vinegar

3 cups seeded, chopped chiles (used food processor)

1 T. salt

1/2 t. pepper

Combine ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner; 15 minutes.
**There will be lots of liquid at the bottom.
The picture is a little jiggled but I believe we had 10 pints. We canned so much, the numbers are all running together.
After canning the salsa, we started on the Peach Rum Jam:

6 c. coarsely chopped peeled peaches. Slightly mash after you have marinated and put them into the saucepan.
2 c. packed light brown sugar
6 T. strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 c. dark rum, preferably Jamaican
2 c. granulated sugar

In a large bowl, combine peaches with the brown sugar, lemon juice and about half of the rum, stirring to mix.

Cover and let stand at room temperature six hours or overnight.

Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water. The jars should be sterilized in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, then leave in hot water till ready to fill.

Pour the fruit mixture into a large saucepan or Dutch oven and mash slightly.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low heat and cook the mixture until the peach chunks begin to look translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

If the jam becomes to thick and threatens to scorch before the fruit is done, add 2 or 3 T. water.

Add the granulated sugar and increase heat to medium-high. Cook rapidly, stirring almost constantly, until a spoonful placed on a saucer and refrigerated for a few minutes wrinkles instead of rums when the saucer is tilted. You will have to stir for a while with the jam boiling, about 20 minutes.

Add remaining rum and stir the jam. It will boil up when you add the rum. Stir for 2 minutes over the medium-high heat.

Ladle boiling-hot jam into hot, prepared jars, leaving 1/2- inch head space.
Top with lids and process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
**Each batch makes about 3 pints.

After we canned the Spiced Pear Butter, Rachel had to get ready to go home and I needed to finish making my Jalapeno Peach Preserves:
8 cups of peaches, peeling and chopped into large chunks
1/4 cup seeded and chopped red jalapeno peppers (I used green)
1 cup sugar
1/4 t. allspice

Place peaches and jalapenos in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Pour this mixture into a Dutch oven or large saucepan.
Add sugar and allspice and combine well.
Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to medium-low and stir once in a while to prevent scorching.
Cook for 1 hour over medium-low or until the thickened consistency desired.
Ladle preserves into hot, prepared jars, leaving 1/2- inch head space.
Top with lids and process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

While the Jalapeno Peach Preserves were in the canner, I brought up the chicken stock in the downstairs refrigerator and decided this was as good a time as any to measure out, put into Ziploc bags and freeze.
You know you are getting tired when you start labeling bags for 4 cups of chicken stock and you are only putting in 2 cups of chicken stock. I had to re-do several bags and I am very grateful only half the bags needed to be fixed.

I finished cleaning my office and as you can see above, I have ALLOT of cookbooks. I had several hundred printed out recipes all over the couch but I refuse to share that picture =).

Sunday, today, I finished up 1 box each of pears, Roma tomatoes, and peaches. I made a double batch of the Spiced Pear Butter, another batch of Stewed Italian Tomatoes, canned 6 quarts of peaches, and froze and Food Saved the rest of the peaches.

Here is the finished products of today's adventure with the Spiced Pear Butter.
Well, the evening is here and I am going to make dinner. I wish everyone a wonderful evening and thank you again Robin for a great SMS recipe choice!

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