Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Preserves & Condiments

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Tart yet sweet, full of spice and bold flavors plus a beautiful tone of Cognac. This is not your ordinary marmalade!

Every year I make my family’s favorite jams and preserves but occasionally I will add something new to the mix. I stumbled across a version of this recipe in one of my many Bon Appétit books and a personal favorite titled The Christmas Season. The beauty of this recipe lies not only in the flavor but also in its simplicity. Store bought marmalade is spiced and spiked with a unique blend of spices and a subtle layer of sweetness comes from the addition of silky honey. Then a big splash of fine Cognac brings a warm, earthy undertone.

Since the base is marmalade use the best. I make a lot of our jams and jellies but I also pick up favorite flavors at the market. Bonne Maman is my go to – they make some of the finest available. And I seem to always have those sweet little tangelos in my refrigerator this time of year. You can use the peel from these little gems or your favorite orange.

Though this spiced marmalade is wonderful as a spread on your morning crumpet, this delicious twist elevates the flavors making it the perfect condiment for a savory roast turkey sandwich…

Or as a luscious dessert topping for a golden pound cake…

If you’re looking for that last minute Christmas gift – this one is easy and sure to please!

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Peel from 1 tangelo or orange

16 whole cloves

4 small cinnamon sticks

4 whole star anise

1 vanilla bean, split open and cut into 4 pieces

½ cup honey

½ cup good Cognac

2 jars quality orange marmalade, 13-ounces each

Before you start you’ll want to have on hand three 8-ounce sterilized jars and lids. A funnel and ladle are also helpful.

Cut the peel from the tangelo, slicing top to bottom into 4 sections. If you’re using an orange, cut the peel into smaller pieces so they will fit into your jars.

With the tip of a sharp knife cut 4 very small holes, spaced evenly along the peel. Insert a whole clove into each hole. Don’t cut the holes too large or the cloves will come out while the marmalade is cooking. You want an opening just large enough to push the clove through.

Combine the cinnamon sticks along with the star anise, the vanilla bean pieces plus the tangelo peel and cloves in a medium saucepan.

Add the honey and the Cognac. Cook over medium heat until the honey and Cognac have cooked down to about ½ cup of liquid, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the marmalade and cook for another 5 minutes to warm through. Stir occasionally while the marmalade cooks.

Place 1 clove-studded tangelo peel along with one cinnamon stick, a star anise and 1 piece of the vanilla bean into each jar.

Ladle the marmalade into the jars, wipe the rims clean and seal with the lids.

Keep the marmalade refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Makes three 8-ounce jars.

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 19, 2018
: Makes three 8-ounce jars

Tart yet sweet, full of spice and bold flavors plus a beautiful tone of Cognac. This is not your ordinary marmalade!

By:

Ingredients
  • Peel from 1 tangelo or orange
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open and cut into 4 pieces
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup good Cognac
  • 2 jars quality orange marmalade, 13-ounces each
Directions
  • Step 1 Before you start you’ll want to have on hand three 8-ounce sterilized jars and lids. A funnel and ladle are also helpful.
  • Step 2 Cut the peel from the tangelo, slicing top to bottom into 4 sections. If you’re using an orange, cut the peel into smaller pieces so they will fit into your jars.
  • Step 3 With the tip of a sharp knife cut 4 very small holes, spaced evenly along the peel. Insert a whole clove into each hole. Don’t cut the holes too large or the cloves will come out while the marmalade is cooking. You want an opening just large enough to push the clove through.
  • Step 4 Combine the cinnamon sticks along with the star anise, the vanilla bean pieces plus the tangelo peel and cloves in a medium saucepan.
  • Step 5 Add the honey and the Cognac. Cook over medium heat until the honey and Cognac have cooked down to about ½ cup of liquid, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Step 6 Add the marmalade and cook for another 5 minutes to warm through. Stir occasionally while the marmalade cooks.
  • Step 7 Place 1 clove-studded tangelo peel along with one cinnamon stick, a star anise and 1 piece of the vanilla bean into each jar.
  • Step 8 Ladle the marmalade into the jars, wipe the rims clean and seal with the lids.
  • Step 9 Keep the marmalade refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Sweet and Saucy Pickles

Sweet and Saucy Pickles

Crisp and sweet with a delightful note of garlic plus a saucy kick of heat in every bite!

This is a classic remake on store-bought dill pickles. There are numerous versions of these pickles but this one is exceptional. When Emily was a baby I received this recipe along with a jar of the pickles from a sweet neighbor. I have long made holiday food gifts and for years these pickles were on the list of goodies. They are really simple to make and the transformation with a small list of added ingredients is quite wonderful.

Start with whole dill pickles, not pre-sliced. Then you can cut the pickles into thick slices.

Use a whole bulb of garlic – not clove – bulb! You can also use the equivalent pre-chopped if you shortcut, about 4 tablespoons. Toss in the whole bottle of Tabasco – more if you want extra heat – followed by 5 pounds of sugar.

That’s it. As the sugar dissolves the pickles will darken in color and turn extra crunchy.

These pickles make a perfect gift or a delicious addition to your holiday relish tray. The Christmas pickle is said to bring extra fortune for the New Year to the lucky one that finds it. Make a batch and spread luck and fortune to your friends and family!

Sweet and Saucy Pickles

1 gallon dill pickles cut into thick slices, about ¼” thick

2 cups of pickle juice

1 whole bulb garlic, finely chopped, about 4 tablespoons

1 small bottle Tabasco, 2 fluid ounces

5 pounds of granulated sugar, 10 cups

Place the sliced pickles in a large container or mixing bowl. Add the full bottle of Tabasco and the chopped garlic.

Pour in the sugar and the reserved pickle juice.

Stir to mix well. Let the pickles sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, about 4 to 6 hours.

Using a slotted spoon place the pickle slices into clean, sterilized jars, reserving the liquid. Wide mouth jars are easiest to fill.

Pour in enough of the reserved liquid to fill the jars leaving about ¼” room at the top.

Keep the pickles refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website. Serve well chilled.

Makes enough to fill  7 pint size jars.

Sweet and Saucy Pickles, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 10, 2018
: Makes enough to fill 7 pint size jars.

Crisp and sweet with a delightful note of garlic plus a saucy kick of heat in every bite!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 gallon dill pickles cut into thick slices, about ¼” thick,
  • 2 cups of pickle juice
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, finely chopped, about 4 tablespoons
  • 1 small bottle Tabasco, 2 fluid ounces
  • 5 pounds of granulated sugar, 10 cups
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the sliced pickles in a large container or mixing bowl. Add the full bottle of Tabasco and the chopped garlic.
  • Step 2 Pour in the sugar and the reserved pickle juice.
  • Step 3 Stir to mix well. Let the pickles sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, about 4 to 6 hours.
  • Step 4 Using a slotted spoon place the pickle slices into clean, sterilized jars. Reserve the liquid. Wide mouth jars are easiest to fill.
  • Step 5 Pour in enough  of the reserved liquid to fill the jars leaving about ¼” room at the top.
  • Step 6 Keep the pickles refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
  • Step 7 Serve well chilled.
Jalapeño Jelly

Jalapeño Jelly

Sweet jelly with a delightful kick of spicy heat and all the spectacular colors of the season.

Jalapeño jelly makes a great glaze when grilling or roasting chicken or pork and even is a bright substitute for mint jelly when serving lamb. But one of the most popular ways to serve jalapeño jelly is alongside cream cheese, smeared on a crisp cracker. It’s a lovely and tantalizing holiday appetizer!

I’ve started the process of making jams and jellies for holiday gift giving. This year I decided to pull out an old recipe for jalapeño jelly. The first time I ever made this unique jelly was the summer, when as a novelty I decided to plant jalapeño peppers in my garden. These little peppers are prolific. I had peppers by the dozens and one can only do so much with them. I gave them away, pickled them but still have dozens of peppers. So I decided to make jelly.

You can make jalapeño jelly using either green or red peppers. The only difference between the two is the age of the peppers. As peppers continue to ripen they will turn red and will sweeten slightly but still have that heat.

A quick tip or two when you’re working with hot peppers of any kind. It’s best to wear food service gloves when handling the peppers. If you don’t have gloves then thoroughly wash your hands after you’ve finished cutting and seeding the jalapeño peppers. The heat from the peppers is tucked away in the inner parts of the peppers primarily in the white part or pith of the pepper. It will be transferred to anything they touch – including your hands. And whatever you do, don’t rub your eyes if you’ve touched the peppers!

A wonderful gift for the holidays!

Jalapeño Jelly

Green jalapeño peppers are the most common but you can on occasion find red peppers. If you want to make a red jelly, use both red jalapeño and red bell peppers.

8 jalapeños peppers

1 large bell pepper

5 cups sugar

1-1/4 white or white wine vinegar

½ cup water

6 ounces liquid pectin, 1 box with two 3-ounce packages

Trim the stem end of the jalapeño pepper, then cut them in half and remove the pith and majority of the seeds, leaving only a small amount for a touch of heat. The seeds can transfer some of the heat from the pith. If you want the appearance of seeds in your jelly but with minimal heat you can add some seeds from the bell pepper.

Process the peppers in a food processor until they are finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You should have ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped jalapeño peppers.

Remove the stem and trim the bell pepper, cut into pieces and process until finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You’ll have about ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped bell peppers.

Transfer the chopped peppers to a large kettle or stockpot.

Add the sugar, the vinegar and the water and stir to combine.

Cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally – about 30 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium and bring the jelly to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then remove the kettle from the heat and let the jelly set for 20 minutes.

Stir in the liquid pectin into the jelly then return to medium heat. Bring the jelly back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Ladle the jelly into sterilized jars.

You can keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Makes about 6 half-pint jars plus 1 quarter-pint jar.

Jalapeño Jelly, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 5, 2018
: Makes 6 half-pint jars plus one quarter-pint jar.

Sweet jelly with a delightful kick of spicy heat. Jalapeño pepper jelly makes a great glaze when grilling or roasting chicken or pork and even is a bright substitute for mint jelly when serving lamb. But one of the most popular ways to serve jalapeño jelly is alongside cream cheese, smeared on a crisp cracker.

By:

Ingredients
  • 8 jalapeños peppers
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 white or white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 ounces liquid pectin, 1 box with two 3-ounce packages
Directions
  • Step 1 Trim the stem end of the jalapeño pepper, then cut them in half and remove the pith and majority of the seeds, leaving only a small amount for a touch of heat. The seeds can transfer some of the heat from the pith. If you want the appearance of seeds in your jelly but with minimal heat you can add some seeds from the bell pepper.
  • Step 2 Process the peppers in a food processor until they are finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You should have ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped jalapeño peppers.
  • Step 3 Remove the stem and trim the bell pepper, cut into pieces and process until finely chopped, about 10 to 15 seconds. You’ll have about ¾ cup to 1 cup of chopped bell peppers.
  • Step 4 Transfer the chopped peppers to a large kettle or stockpot.
  • Step 5 Add the sugar, the vinegar and the water and stir to combine. Cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally – about 30 minutes.
  • Step 6 Raise the heat to medium and bring the jelly to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then remove the kettle from the heat and let the jelly set for 20 minutes.
  • Step 7 Stir in the liquid pectin into the jelly then return to medium heat. Bring the jelly back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
  • Step 8 Ladle the jelly into sterilized jars and keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions.
  • Step 9 Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Spiced Apple Butter

Spiced Apple Butter

My Mom loved apple butter and there’s something about this time of year that makes her memory feel especially close.

My Mom and Dad sitting on the back porch at the house on the Powell Ranch

Making apple butter is a true labor of love. It takes time to cook fresh apples into a thick, silky spread but it is definitely worth the time and effort.

As typically happens when I am in the market surrounded by bins of beautiful produce, I become captivated with the vast selection. Having more than a few apples left from baking my apple tart I decided apple butter should be on the menu.

Apple butter is made from crisp apples and vivid spices of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Then it’s slowly cooked to create that depth of fragrance and flavor.

As I do with baking, I use a variety of apples to heighten the levels of taste on your tongue. This layering of apples captures the essence of the spices and develops into a dark amber spread.

The foundation of this apple butter is from an old recipe. In the original recipe the home cook is directed to press the soft apples through a sieve after the first step of cooking. But instead, take a shortcut and use an immersion blender. The apples turn into a glorious velvety sauce perfect for cooking into the butter.

The final phase of cooking takes at least an hour. You want the consistency to be luscious, almost creamy in texture. And here’s a simple trick to check and see if your apple butter is ready – drop a spoonful on a plate. If liquid separates from the butter, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until it holds together.

The plate on the left shows the consistency of the apple butter after one hour, the center after one hour and ten minutes and the plate on the right is perfectly set at one hour and 15 minutes.

This recipe makes 5 half-pints and can be doubled if you’re ready to get started making holiday gifts. You can refrigerate the apple butter or process the jars in a water bath if you’re looking for a longer shelf life.

Pull up a stool, put on your favorite playlist and soak up the intoxicating aromas – your patience will be rewarded!

Spiced Apple Butter

3 pounds of assorted apples*, about 6 apples

4 cups pure, unsweetened apple juice, such as Simply Apple

1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

* For this batch I used 1 Granny Smith, 2 Gala, 1 McIntosh, 1 Smitten and 1 Jonagold. Mix it up and use your favorite cooking apples.

Peel, core and slice the apples – you should have about 10 cups.

Combine the apples with the apple juice in a large kettle or stockpot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then cover the pot with foil or a lid. Cook for 30 minutes or until the apples are very tender.

Using an immersion blender, puree the apples until you have a very smooth sauce. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium heat and continue cooking uncovered for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The time will vary depending on the juiciness of your apples. Stir the butter frequently. The last 15 to 20 minutes you will need to stir almost constantly to prevent the butter from sticking and scorching.

After an hour, drop a spoonful on a plate. If liquid separates from the butter, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Cook, stirring until the butter holds together when a spoonful is dropped on the plate.

Ladle the butter into clean, sterile jars. Refrigerate or process in a water bath*.

Makes 5 half-pints.

*If you’re canning the preserves in a water bath, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Spiced Apple Butter, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

November 2, 2018
: 5 half pints

Crisp apples are woven with vivid spices of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice and cloves creating a fruit butter that is full of fragrance and flavor.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 pounds of assorted apples*, about 6 apples
  • 4 cups pure, unsweetened apple juice, such as Simply Apple
  • 1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • *I used 1 Granny Smith, 2 Gala, 1 McIntosh, 1 Smitten and 1 Jonagold. Mix it up and use your favorite cooking apples.
Directions
  • Step 1 Peel, core and slice the apples – you should have about 10 cups. Combine the apples with the apple juice in a large kettle or stockpot.
  • Step 2 Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then cover the pot with foil or a lid. Cook for 30 minutes or until the apples are very tender.
  • Step 3 Using an immersion blender, puree the apples until you have a very smooth sauce.
  • Step 4 Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
  • Step 5 Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium heat and continue cooking uncovered for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The time will vary depending on the juiciness of your apples. Stir the butter frequently. The last 15 to 20 minutes you will need to stir almost constantly to prevent the butter from sticking and scorching.
  • Step 6 After an hour, drop a spoonful on a plate. If liquid separates from the butter, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Cook, stirring until the butter holds together when a spoonful is dropped on the plate.
  • Step 7 Ladle the butter into clean, sterile jars. Refrigerate or process in a water bath*.
  • Step 8 Makes 5 half-pints.
  • Step 9 *If you’re canning the preserves in a water bath, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Corn Relish

Corn Relish

The season for summer corn is winding down and I can’t let it go without a batch of corn relish. Tangy and sweet with a kick of heat!

Corn relish is a fun twist in the world of condiments! It’s perfect on hot dogs or burgers and wonderful served alongside roasted fish or pork. Loaded with flavor and crunch, this colorful relish begins with sweet red onion, sautéed with red and green bell peppers then just a subtle touch of heat from poblano peppers.

Toss in both dill seed and mustard seed for those classic relish notes along with a splash of a familiar tang from apple cider vinegar.

The star is of course the corn. Though you can use frozen corn, fresh is always best. Roast the fresh corn in the husk to bring out the sweet summer flavor tucked away in those crisp kernels. Then cut the corn from the cob, scraping any bits remaining with the back of your knife. And a quick and easy plus less messy way to remove the corn from the cob – lay the corn flat on a cutting board then slice the kernels from the cob.

A bit of chopping, a little cooking and you’re all set. This bright and refreshing relish is quick and easy making it perfect for a late summer treat for you-  and enough to share with a friend!

Corn Relish

6 to 7 ears of roasted corn, about 4 cups

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 finely chopped poblano peppers, about 1 large pepper

1 cup chopped green bell pepper, about 1 large pepper

1 cup chopped red bell pepper, about 1 large pepper

1 cup chopped red onion, about 1 small onion

1 tablespoon dill seed

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

¾ cup apple cider vinegar

Place the roasted corn in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt, stirring to mix well.

In a shallow stockpot or deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the poblano peppers along with the red and green bell peppers.

Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes then add the chopped red onion and the dill seed, mustard seed and the black pepper.

Continue cooking until the peppers and onion are just starting to become tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the roasted corn and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Pour in the cider vinegar, bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.

For best flavor, refrigerate for 24 hours before serving, stirring periodically or if in jars, turning them occassionally.

To roast the corn:

Rinse the outside of the cornhusk and trim the silk off the end of the ears of corn. Place the corn directly on the oven rack and roast in at 350-degree for 30 minutes.

Once the roasted corn is cool enough to handle, remove the husks and the silk. Lay the corn flat on a large cutting board and slice the corn from the cob. Then holding the cob upright, scrape any bits using the back of the knife.

Corn Relish, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

September 7, 2018
: 6 to 7 half-pints

Set the pickle relish aside - loaded with flavor and crunch, Corn Relish is a fun twist in the world of condiments!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 to 7 ears of roasted corn, about 4 cups
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 finely chopped poblano peppers, about 1 large pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper, about 1 large pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper, about 1 large pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red onion, about 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the roasted corn in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt, stirring to mix well.
  • Step 2 In a shallow stockpot or deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the poblano peppers along with the red and green bell peppers. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the chopped red onion and the dill seed, mustard seed and the black pepper. Continue cooking until the peppers and onion are just starting to become tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Step 4 Stir in the roasted corn and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour in the cider vinegar, bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 For best flavor, refrigerate for 24 hours before serving, stirring periodically or if in jars, turning them occassionally.
  • Step 7 To roast the corn:
  • Step 8 Rinse the outside of the cornhusk and trim the silk off the end of the ears of corn. Place the corn directly on the oven rack and roast in at 350-degree for 30 minutes.
  • Step 9 Once the roasted corn is cool enough to handle, remove the husks and the silk. Lay the corn flat on a large cutting board and slice the corn from the cob. Then holding the cob upright, scrape any bits using the back of the knife.
Pickled Okra

Pickled Okra

When folks think “pickled” they tend to think of cucumber pickles. But if you’re from anywhere in the South that’s just not necessarily the case –we pickle everything! This is a classic example – slightly spicy, with just the right amount of crisp and a bite of delightful tangy brine – pickled okra is a staple in Southern pantries.

Loaded with spices and seasoning, pickling okra is an easy treat to make. And it’s a simple way to take advantage of this distinctive summer vegetable, preserving it for the cooler fall months ahead. Fresh okra pickled in a vinegar brine flavored with kosher salt, black peppercorns, dill seed, dry mustard and mustard seeds plus a bit of heat from red pepper flakes.

Toss in savory bites of garlic and onion then pour over the okra pods and you’ve got pickled goodness! Even if you’ve never made any type of pickle this is easy enough for a novice. You can refrigerate the pickled okra or process the jars in a water bath to keep in your pantry for later. You can add more heat by tossing in extra red pepper flakes or if you like more garlic – well, add more garlic. Tweak to suit your taste!

Look for fresh okra, with pods about 3” to 4” in length so that they fit perfectly in a pint size jar. Large okra pods also tend to be tough so avoid them for any use. When buying canning jars, pick the wide mouth style – they are easier to work with when packing the okra inside.

Pickled okra is a fun addition to any relish plate or a slightly unconventional cheeseboard served alongside pimento cheese and cheddar biscuits. Even straight up, pickled okra brings the right tang!

Pickled Okra

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed

1 tablespoon dill seed

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon mustard seed

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced – about 1-1/2 cups

4 cups white vinegar

3-1/2 pounds whole fresh okra pods, about 3” to 4” each

Place the kosher salt, the peppercorns, dill seed, dry mustard, mustard seed, red pepper flakes and chopped garlic in a large stockpot.

Add the sliced onions and the white vinegar. Bring the brine to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Pack the okra pods into five clean, sterilized pint sized jars, alternating top to bottom to fit firmly. Ladle the hot brine and spices into the jars, leaving about ¼” headspace (room to the top).

Then top each with some of the sliced onion. Wipe the top of the jars and seal with clean, sterilized lids.

Refrigerate the jars or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Let the okra age in the brine for at least 4 to 5 days before serving.

Pickled Okra, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 22, 2018
: 5 pints

Slightly spicy, with just the right amount of crisp and a bite of delightful tangy brine – pickled okra is a staple in Southern pantries.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced – about 1-1/2 cups
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 3-1/2 pounds whole fresh okra pods, about 3” to 4” each
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the kosher salt, the peppercorns, dill seed, dry mustard, mustard seed, red pepper flakes and chopped garlic in a large stockpot.
  • Step 2 Add the sliced onions and the white vinegar.
  • Step 3 Bring the brine to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4 Pack the okra pods into five clean, sterilized pint sized jars, alternating top to bottom to fit firmly.
  • Step 5 Ladle the hot brine and spices into the jars, leaving about ¼” headspace (room to the top).
  • Step 6 Then top each with some of the sliced onion. Wipe the top of the jars and seal with clean, sterilized lids.
  • Step 7 Refrigerate the jars or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
  • Step 8 Let the okra age in the brine for at least 4 to 5 days before serving.
Cherry Preserves

Cherry Preserves

Plump red cherries floating in a thick, sweet ruby syrup – what a wonderful way to preserve this last bit of the season!

There are so many methods for making jams and preserves. This recipe is similar to the one I use for strawberry preserves, capturing the whole beautiful cherry.

It’s perfect for breakfast and excellent as a dessert sauce or topping for cheese as an appetizer.

The added bonus with this recipe – it gives you some control over the thickness of the syrup. After cooking the cherries, remove them from the kettle and cook the syrup 10 minutes or a bit more if you like a thicker syrup. Just keep in mind the syrup will thicken after it is chilled. And don’t cook past 220-degrees or the preserves will be sticky.

The hardest part in making preserves is patience. As with the strawberry preserves I make, there are several stages including an overnight rest. Take the time to let the sugar fully dissolve. But this recipe is a bit forgiving.

If the sugar didn’t fully dissolve while cooking it will settle on the bottom of the dish overnight. Simply pour the cherry preserves back into a kettle and heat until the sugar has melted before ladling the preserves into your jars.

If you don’t own a cherry pitter go grab one. I use Oxo’s pitter – it is a single-purpose tool worth having on hand. It’s the quickest way to get the pits out of this lovely stone fruit.

Cherry season is short but really sweet – go and capture the goodness!

Cherry Preserves

2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted – about 7 cups

4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon butter

Place the cherries in a large kettle or stockpot. Add the sugar and stir to blend together. Let the cherries and sugar set at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours.

Heat the cherries and sugar over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 45 minutes. Stir frequently to keep the sugar from scorching while it melts.

Once the sugar has dissolved add the butter and turn the heat up to medium. The addition of butter helps to minimize any foam from forming. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Let the cherries boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using a slotted spoon remove the cherries from the syrup and transfer to a heat proof shallow dish. (A 9” x 9” baking dish works well for this.)

Bring the syrup back to a boil and continue to boil for an additional 10 minutes to thicken slightly. If you want a thicker syrup boil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the temperature reaches 220-degrees, but not over or the syrup will be sticky. Keep in mind the syrup will also thicken as it chills.

Pour the syrup over the cherries, and allow the mixture to cool. Once cool, loosely cover and let the cherries stand at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Swirl the pan occasionally but do not stir.

If the sugar didn’t fully dissolve while cooking it will settle on the bottom of the dish, as it stands overnight. Simply pour the cherry preserves and any sugar back into a kettle and cook over medium until the sugar has melted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Ladle the cooked preserves into four sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover.

Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Cherry Preserves, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 15, 2018
: 4 half pint jars

Plump red cherries floating in a thick, sweet ruby syrup – what a wonderful to preserve the last bit of the season!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted – about 7 cups
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the cherries in a large kettle or stockpot. Add the sugar and stir to blend together. Let the cherries and sugar set at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours.
  • Step 2 Heat the cherries and sugar over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 45 minutes. Stir frequently to keep the sugar from scorching while it melts.
  • Step 3 Once the sugar has dissolved add the butter and turn the heat up to medium.The addition of butter helps to minimize any foam from forming. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Step 4 Let the cherries boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Step 5 Using a slotted spoon remove the cherries from the syrup and transfer to a heat proof shallow dish. (A 9” x 9” baking dish works well for this.)
  • Step 6 Bring the syrup back to a boil and continue to boil for an additional 10 minutes to thicken slightly. If you want a thicker syrup boil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the temperature reaches 220-degrees, but not over or the syrup will be sticky. Keep in mind the syrup will thicken as it chills.
  • Step 7 Pour the syrup over the cherries, and allow the mixture to cool. Once cool, loosely cover and let the cherries stand at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Swirl the pan occasionally but do not stir.
  • Step 8 If the sugar didn’t fully dissolve while cooking it will settle on the bottom of the dish, as it stands overnight. Simply pour the cherry preserves and any sugar back into a kettle and cook over medium until the sugar has melted, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 9 Ladle the cooked preserves into four sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover.
  • Step 10 Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Blueberry Lemon Jam

Blueberry Lemon Jam

Fresh, plump blueberries floating in a heavenly thick syrup with the essence of lemon. A taste of the season in every bite!

Blueberries are currently in abundance and it just so happens that one of the engineer’s favorite things is blueberry jam.

Yes, I know you can buy jam at the grocery store and yes, I know there are decent options – but it really is hard to beat homemade jams and preserves. Plus, it is somewhat therapeutic to detach from the current climate and descend into the world of making jam. And this blueberry jam is worth your time and effort. Blueberries are brightened with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice turning up the flavor on this delightfully simple jam.

Buy the freshest blueberries you can find. Turn the carton over and check the bottom of the package. If there are crushed berries and any sign of mold continue the search. You can refrigerate blueberries for up to a week if they are really fresh. Rinse them just before you’re ready to use them – this goes for any fresh berry.

If you’re not planning on using them right away you can also rinse and flash freeze. Simply rinse, lay the berries out on a towel or paper towels and allow them to dry. Then spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for about an hour. Once frozen transfer the blueberries to a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to a year.

This recipe doesn’t use added pectin but instead the jam is cooked to 220-degrees to thicken it, so have a reliable thermometer on hand before you start. It’s a small batch recipe and will yield enough jam to easily fill three 8-ounce jars. If you’re making this for gift-giving consider using 4-ounce jars, perfect for a friend!

Nestle this sweet jam inside a hot buttered biscuit – nothing quite like it!

Blueberry Lemon Jam

4-1/2 cups fresh blueberries

3 cups of sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 lemon

½ teaspoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon

1 teaspoon butter (The addition of butter eliminates any foam from forming while cooking.)

Combine the fresh blueberries, along with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and the butter in a large kettle or heavy stockpot. Stir gently to combine the sugar with the berries.

Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and raise the heat to medium. Cook stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 220-degrees and the temperature cannot be “stirred down”, about 45 minutes. If you stir the jam and the temperature drops well below the 220-degrees, cook for a bit longer. You want the jam to thicken slightly. Once chilled the jam will be thicker.

Ladle the cooked jam into three sterilized 8-ounce or six 4-ounce jars. Keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball Canning makes wonderful canning products and they have  great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Blueberry Lemon Jam is a spectacular addition to any breakfast or brunch!

Blueberry Lemon Jam, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 25, 2018
: 3 half-pint jars (8-ounces) or 6 quarter-pint jars (4-ounces)

Fresh, plump blueberries floating in a heavenly thick syrup with the essence of lemon. A taste of the season in every bite!

By:

Ingredients
  • 4-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon butter (The addition of butter eliminates any foam from forming while cooking.)
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine the fresh blueberries, along with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and the butter in a large kettle or heavy stockpot.Stir gently to combine the sugar with the berries.
  • Step 2 Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Step 3 Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and raise the heat to medium.
  • Step 4 Cook stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 220-degrees and the temperature cannot be “stirred down”, about 45 minutes. If you stir the jam and the temperature drops well below the 220-degrees, cook for a bit longer. You want the jam to thicken slightly. Once chilled the jam will be thicker.
  • Step 5 Ladle the cooked jam into three sterilized 8-ounce or six 4-ounce jars.
  • Step 6 Keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball Canning makes wonderful canning products and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Peach Preserves – Two Ways!

Peach Preserves – Two Ways!

There is nothing quite like fresh peach preserves – the sweet, floral scent of peaches encased in a thick nectar.

My Grandparents had beautiful peach trees on their farm. As kids we would climb up into the trees and pluck these luscious pieces of fruit, warm from the Texas sun. One bite and their juice would be dripping down our chins.

I have two family recipes that I most commonly use when making peach preserves. The first version is the same basic recipe I use for strawberry preserves, which dates back to the 1930s. The preserve is considered “soft” with a loose syrup and doubles as a marvelous dessert sauce.

The second recipe is a thicker, more traditional preserve. Neither recipe has any added pectin leaving you with a softer preserve with large chunks of peaches.

Even if you’ve never made jam or preserves these are both fairly simple recipes, so don’t be afraid to give them a try. Each has only four ingredients – peaches, sugar, balsamic vinegar and a touch of butter. The butter may seem like an odd addition but it keeps any foam from building up in the preserves.

Some tips on handy tools for making preserves. Start with a heavy-duty kettle or stockpot plus a sturdy wooden spoon. Kilner makes a fabulous kettle specifically designed for making jams and preserves. My “go to” for wooden utensils – Little Deer – they are strong, sturdy and easy on the hands. A funnel comes in handy along with a ladle for pouring the preserves into your jars.

For jars, Ball Canning is a known staple in the world of canning and preserving. My Mother and Grandmothers used Ball jars. I’ve personally poured preserves, jams and jellies into hundreds of Ball jars – and had more than a few come back from friends for refills!

And a quick tip for peeling the peaches – blanch them for 45-seconds in boiling water. The skin loosens and almost slips right off the fruit.

If you’re planning to keep extra jars of preserves in your pantry you’ll need to process them to properly seal the jars. A water bath is the most common method. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball has great step-by-step guidelines for canning safely on their website.

Peaches are at their peak, so head to your local Farmer’s Market and enjoy the best of peach season!

Soft Peach Preserves

4 packed cups peeled and sliced peaches – about 4 to 5 large peaches

4 cups sugar

2-1/4 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon butter

Combine the peaches and the sugar in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely melted, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring 3 to 4 times.

Raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue cooking at a boil for 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and butter and continue boiling for an additional 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the peaches from sticking to the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the preserves cool completely. Transfer to a container and let them set at room temperature overnight.

Pour the peach preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars and refrigerate or process in a water bath. You will have a bit extra leftover.

If you’re planning to can the preserves in a water bath, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Classic Peach Preserves

5 packed cups peeled, sliced peaches, about 5 large peaches

5 cups sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon butter

Combine the peaches, sugar, vinegar and butter in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium and cook stirring frequently until the temperature reaches 220-degrees on a candy thermometer and cannot be stirred down. The temperature will reach 220-degrees periodically while cooking, but if stirred will drop back down to a lower temperature. You’re looking for the temperature to be a constant 220-degree when stirred. The preserves will be thickened slightly and be a dark amber color.

Ladle the cooked preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover. Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Peach Preserves - Two Ways, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 9, 2018
: Each batch make five 8-ounce jars

These are two great recipes for peach preserves. The first version is a basic recipe for Soft Peach Preserves, dating back to the 1930s. The preserve is considered “soft” with its loose syrup and doubles as a marvelous dessert sauce. The second recipe is a thicker, more traditional preserve. Neither recipe has any added pectin leaving you with a softer preserve - both with large chunks of fresh peaches.

By:

Ingredients
  • For Soft Peach Preserves:
  • 4 packed cups peeled and sliced peaches – about 4 to 5 large peaches
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • For Classic Peach Preserves:
  • 5 packed cups peeled, sliced peaches, about 5 large peaches
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
Directions
  • Step 1 For Soft Peach Preserves:
  • Step 2 Combine the peaches and the sugar in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely melted, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring 3 to 4 times.
  • Step 3 Raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue cooking at a boil for 3 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the vinegar and butter and continue boiling for an additional 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the peaches from sticking to the pan.
  • Step 5 Remove the pan from the heat and let the preserves cool completely. Transfer to a container and let them set at room temperature overnight.
  • Step 6 Pour the peach preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars and refrigerate or process in a water bath. You will have a bit extra leftover.
  • Step 7 For Classic Peach Preserves:
  • Step 8 Combine the peaches, sugar, vinegar and butter in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Step 9 Raise the heat to medium and cook stirring frequently until the temperature reaches 220-degrees on a candy thermometer and cannot be stirred down, about 45 minutes. The temperature will reach 220-degrees periodically while cooking, but if stirred will drop back down to a lower temperature. You’re looking for the temperature to be a constant 220-degree when stirred. The preserves will be thickened slightly and be a dark amber color.
  • Step 10 Ladle the cooked preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover. Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions.
  • Step 11 If you’re canning the preserves in a water bath, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Slow-Roasted Fresh Strawberries

Slow-Roasted Fresh Strawberries

One of my favorite things as a kid had to be fresh strawberries. It was a fruit that neither of my Grandparents had in their gardens, as the climate in the Texas Panhandle wasn’t ideal for growing them. In the small rural town where I was raised, strawberries only appeared in the food markets in the spring and summer months. Mom would clean and slice those plump red berries before tossing them a generous handful of sugar. The juices would release from the strawberries creating a syrup that she would spoon along with the sweetened berries over her ice cream or shortcakes.

I discovered roasted strawberries a number of years ago. I can’t take credit for this idea but the least I can do is share it. There are a number of versions for this technique. They range from roasting in a very hot oven to roasting with a cooler temperature plus adding extra flavoring or nothing but berries and sugar. This is a version I use – it’s somewhere in the middle.

The strawberries slow roast as the sugar melts. They slowly collapse into a juice that is enhanced with a touch of pure vanilla and almond extracts leaving their beautiful notes in the roasted fruit. The process is easy and the only skill you need is patience.

Slow-roasted strawberries are fabulous over yogurt for brunch or served as a dessert topping. The depth of flavor is hard to describe – an almost a sweet, earthiness surrounded with a luscious nectar!

Slow-Roasted Strawberries

2 quarts fresh strawberries, about 8 cups

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Rinse, remove the stem, hull the strawberries and slice them in half. Place the berries in a large bowl then add the sugar, the vanilla extract and the almond extract.

Stir well to combine. Let the berries sit for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the sugar to dissolve slightly. If you like a thicker juice, cut the sugar to 1/2 -2/3 cup depending on the sweetness of the strawberries.

Pour the strawberries in a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. Roast at 300-degrees for 1-1/2 hours stirring the berries 2 to 3 times while they cook.

Serve warm or chilled.

Refrigerate the strawberries until ready to serve.

Slow-Roasted Strawberries

May 14, 2018
: Serves 6-8

Slow-Roasted Strawberries have a depth of flavor that is hard to describe – an almost a sweet, earthiness surrounded with a luscious nectar! The process is easy and the only skill you need is a little patience!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts fresh strawberries, about 8 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
Directions
  • Step 1 Rinse, remove the stem, hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Place the berries in a large bowl then add the sugar, the vanilla extract and the almond extract.
  • Step 2 Stir well to combine. Let the berries sit for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the sugar to dissolve slightly. If you like a thicker juice, cut the sugar to 1/2 -2/3 cup depending on the sweetness of the strawberries.
  • Step 3 Pour the strawberries in a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. Roast at 300-degrees for 1-1/2 hours stirring the berries 2 to 3 times while they cook.
  • Step 4 Serve warm or chilled.