Archives for the month of: January, 2013

cmmarketWritten dec 25th, 2012

I’m glad to have this holiday break, not only to get out of the kitchen, but to have some time to reflect on the past and plan for the coming year.

Man, oh man! To my estimates, I sold about 2,000 jars last year. I probably sampled from, gave away & traded another 1,000. That. Is. A lot. Of. Jam!
It is amazing to contemplate those numbers even though I made every single jar!

My goal last year was to try selling at one of the local farmer’s markets. I was accepted into the Cedar Mill Farmer’s Market at the end of May.

Oh, it was cold and rainy those first couple of weeks! My sales increased along with the weather all summer long. I knew this would be a good place to put down some roots, even if only for the season.

As the weather warmed, so did the customer’s appreciation for my handmade jams. I started to look forward to the good natured banter and new opportunities to be shared with the other vendors. It wasn’t long before I felt quite at home among the other artisan vendors and farmers.

Advertisements
Red Fleshed Apple

456915_451714281556959_1070572486_o Red Fleshed Apple Jelly

Ah, the red-fleshed apple.  When I saw these beauties at the Montavilla Winter Farmer’s Market, I knew I had to have them!  No, I don’t remember who I bought them from or what their proper name is.  When the gal cut one open, I saw gorgeous red tinged jelly in my future!

I guess they are pretty much like any other apple, except for their flesh color.  I looked it up online and it is the product of careful cross breeding that brings out the color of the flesh.  The article also mentions that said apples aren’t known for their taste though.  I would disagree.  They are “appley” just fine.

I have many different ways of extracing juice from my fruit.  I didn’t want to cook these to do that though– I figured any cooking water would dilute the color and taste.  Instead, I pulled out my trusty $5 garage sale juicer and went to town.

Every apple had varying degrees of pinkness, from a marbled look to a medium dark red.  The juice though was what I think the juice of a Red Delicious apple would look like–if it was red all the way through!  It was beautiful.

The first batch of jellies was destined for Evi’s preschool class.  Yes, I’m on Pinterest and I see what “all” of the other mothers can do with their “spare” time.  Really, if you see me walk through the door with individually wrapped and meticulously decorated reindeer cookies, I have either hit one of the other mothers over the head in the parking lot and taken them from her, or hit the jack pot and Martha Stewart is my kitchen helper.

Anyway, I wanted something to give to the kids and what better to do than what I do all of the time?  Plus, apple jelly is pretty mainstream.  What kid wouldn’t like it?  And, it was going to be a luminous, non-red dyed, red.

The picture above is of the little 4 oz jars I made for the kids.  It was as pretty as I expected.  Oh, and the other moms were impressed too!  *Polishing nails on shirt and admiring them*

My recipe:

8 c fresh made apple juice

9 c sugar

Pectin

Another time I will write about my sugar ratio and why it is important to use “that” much.

Kiwis Maximus

Every jam has a story. Pull up a chair kids, here is the kiwi story.

I got a phone call from a guy that saw my jams at Plumper Pumpkin Patch. He wanted to sell me some of his kiwis.

That was unusual because I am usually the one that tracks down the fruit, but this time, the fruit found me. It took a couple weeks to finally complete the transaction. I’m not sure of all the details, but I guess he had some family issues to attend to.

I had heard that these fuzzy little buggers grew around here, but didn’t plan on using them this year.

Another of my many mottos is: “Jam big or go home.” That led me to sample the kiwis in a 25 lb intro shipment. –Yes, there is usually over 100 lbs of fruit in various forms of ripenning in my garage. That usually creates some sort of panic when it is ready to go all at once!

It’s not that I don’t like kiwis, but they have this strange after taste to me. I remember as a kid, someone told me to close my eyes and they would taste like strawberries. I’m not sure what closing my eyes had to do with it, but they were just a little strawberry-like, then a weird taste at the end. I’m not sure if it is like that for everyone, but again, I didn’t think I would be working with a boat-load of kiwis.

These are from a farm in Hillsboro–btw, if you want info on any of my farms, let me know–and they are a little smaller than what is typically at the market. I don’t know, how do you tell if a kiwi is ripe? I just dove in and started cutting them up for a jam.

Even though I have a pretty good idea of my jam recipe before I start, I do like to look at where others have traveled before me. If there is some weird pitfall, I would rather avoid it!

I try to start with a “normal” recipe, then I branch out. I didn’t think I would be thrilled with straight kiwi Jam, but was curious how it would look. My recipe was as follows:

Kiwi Jam
4 cups kiwi
4 1/2 c sugar
1 T of lemon juice
pectin.

***Recipe Snob Alert***
Yes, you heard me correctly. There are literally thousands of kiwi jam recipes online. If you are new to canning & jamming, I recommend, http://www.pickyourown.org. It has step by step instructions, with pictures for all things canning.

You gotta always boil your jars and prepare your fruit, etc–I’m not here to waste my time and yours reiterating that. I am here to speak the truth of my fruit and let you get an itty-bitty peak into my process.

Now where was I? Oh, yes. The jam jelled nicely and has a light flavor to it. It is a pretty, chunky, kiwi green. It is a good jam, and for me, doesn’t have the aftertaste I mentioned before. Will it be one of my favorites? No, not likely, but they all can’t be my favorites.

Next, I did Strawberry-Kiwi Jam.
3 c Strawberries
3 c Kiwis
7 c Sugar
pectin.

I was worried the red and green would make a mud colored jam, but it looks almost like a chunky Strawbery Jam. Next time, I may add more Kiwis to try to have more show up in the final product.

The future? Strawberry-Kiwi Parfait. Yup, I’m going there with Whipped Cream Vodka. I hope it doesn’t suck–the vodka and the jam. It just kind of sounds good? I’ve never had the vodka, but I would love if it imparted a creamy taste to the jam. I will just have to find out. Stay tuned!