Archives for posts with tag: Preserving

ImageRead this while you can.  I will likely pull it once I get a good night’s sleep and get back on my meds.  Anyway, pull up and chair and enjoy the ride through largely uncharted territory–my head. 

**Disclaimer**If you know me with any depth at all, you know how sensitive I am and how defensively snarky I am about it.  I usually to keep it on the down low in regards to my biz handlings.

 

“I’m pretty much a genius,” I flippantly replied to my husband when he complimented the pic above. 

“I can gel bathwater.”  Meanings:  (I’m a pectin Whiz) also (My pectin is better than your pectin.)

“I need a clone because I have too many good ideas to make!  (Stop cloning sheep and stuff–let’s get to the important stuff, Me!)

It’s hard to make social status updates with those types of statements.  It is how I feel–but likely it would lead to some misunderstandings.  There should be a sarcasm type  font…(another brilliant idea!)

 

But really, in the realm of cooking, jarring & gelling, I get crazy good ideas.  It seems I can gel anything.  The pic above is of pear halves poached in a spiced Zinfandel liquid.  Then I reduced the Z and gelled it around the half pear in the jar. 

To serve, I shook the hardened gel out of the jar and sliced it to place on the cheesecake.  Why don’t we have slice & serve jams dessert gels?  I’m already (mentally)at a pineapple and coconut cream slicer!  Is my over-educated (Master’s Degree) homemaker (the bane of my feminist studies) brain able to just keep rolling out hits like this?  Bam! Bam! Bam!

Bacon Jam, Jalapeno Bacon Jam, Habenero Bacon Jam, Peanut Butter Bacon Jam & a Dark Choc/mole Bacon Jam (soon, I promise)!  French onion onion jam (made this), bloody mary jam w/ bacon vodka (conceptualized this).  Been there, done Queen Anne’s Lace, how about Dandelion?  I do love a good ahn-velope pushing! 

Layered Green (kiwi) & Yellow (pineapple) spread-Go Ducks!- hardly an effort.   Cheesecakes, brownies & quick breads sealed in jars?  Cut my teeth on this a few years ago.  Hey!!  Why would you buy a pre-fab brownie in a plastic bag, but curl up your lip at a homemade brownie sealed in a glass jar??  I tell ya!

Champagne, Rum, Bourbon, Limoncello, yawn and on!  This was/is such a no brainer!  Yummy stuff mixed to be spread liberally!  What’s next?  Is Absinthe still illegal?  Oh, never mind then…

Pickles?  Snerk–I got yo’ pickles!  Dills, sweets, gherkins, beans, carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, beets, okra, peppers–oh and a lil number some of you might remember from last summer– Curried Zucchini Pickles.  No joke, I totally made up that recipe. 

I had a dream about adding Red Hot Candies to my apple jelly.  Yes, the recipe does exist, but I had never heard of it and was probably single-digit-years-old the last time I ate one of those candies.  Enter my Candy Apple Jelly.  It IS really good. 

My favorite Jam?  Uhhh, the one I had most recently?  I LOVE all of them, or I wouldn’t sell them!!  The ones I keep back for just me?  Blood orange marmalade & until recently, Strawberry Basil Balsamic.  Big whole strawberries gelled in a darkened spread with flecks of green basil.  The super secret recipe?  About 15 grains of salt–yes, salt.  It was a happy discovery too (never heard of it), but it makes the savory elements “pop” in the sweet jam.  Even better, two pieces of buttered toast and 3 fat slices of crispy bacon.  Nom, Nom (insert Homer Simpson drooling and eating sounds here). 

Well, the yogurt parlor I’m camped at is noisily clanging dishes together as a passive-aggressive way of saying that the couch I’ve worn an a$$ groove in needs to get some air. 

Oh, and please understand that in this post particularly, I have taken “alot” of literary license with grammar and punctuation–don’t bother to email and tell me about it.  YES, someone has done that already about my newsletter!!!  I’m not just some dumb jam-slinger–I have massive student loan debt to prove it!  I am/was a Certified Nursing Assistant, Hair Dresser, Elementary School Teacher, Personal Trainer & newly Commercial and Low Acid Certified Food Preserver.  (Imagine me rocking on my heals smuggly–yes, I’m still on the couch though).  Also a card carrying member of the Chicken Police (ask me about it sometime), a part time “Grammarian” and all around know-it-all. 

Ok, they just clicked the open sign off.  I will hit the post button, then likely drive home and delete it.  Just have fun with this!

 

 

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My first jam sale!

My first jam sale!

I grew up in a canning and preserving family on the Southern Oregon Coast.  I loved my mom’s canned peaches the best- no matter how much she made each year; they never lasted through the winter! 

               In 2002, I graduated from University of Oregon and left Oregon for Los Angeles.  I taught elementary school in South Central LA through the Teach for America program.  While there, I met my husband, Tom.  I persuaded him to move back to Oregon with me to pursue the “simple life.”

               During the summers, Tom and I would make weekly excursions to Sauvie Island to hike and kayak.  No trip was complete without a stop at the farm stores.  I always ended up buying more produce than I could use fresh, so I went back to my roots—canning.  The preserving fit in nicely with the nesting I was doing in preparation for the birth of our daughter.  I went crazy canning anything I could stuff in a jar!

Our daughter, Evi, was born in early 2010.  By then, I had amassed hundreds of jars of jams, pickles and more.  We ate them and gave them as gifts.  Soon though, while giving out my new creation of Raspberry Lemon jam, friends and family consistently told me, “You should sell this!”

               It is with that sentiment that I started MeeMee’s Goodies.  BTW, “MeeMee” is the first way that Evi called for me.  (Tom was DeeDee and Evi, to us, was WeeWee.  No teasing!)

               I started small by making a couple of batches of jam every now in my home kitchen.  It was easy to work around the baby’s schedule in that way.  From there, I started doing small craft fairs in the Beaverton area.  I loved introducing people to my jams and becoming a delicious and nutritious part of their meals.  I loved talking about and sampling out the “fruits” of my labor!

               Now, I am challenged with growing my business, yet maintaining my founding ideals of using simple ingredients to make a simply delicious product.   Even though I can make 200+ jars at a time in a huge steam kettle, an am looking for retail opportunities outside of the farmer’s markets, I want to keep the business personal and personable. 

              

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.