Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Oldie but Goodie...Making Peach Jelly!

This is an 'encore' presentation of this post.  I hope you find this very popular post helpful!  Give it a try!  The Little Red Hen

It's a matter of ....making Peach Jelly

When I was little, I recall going into our "fruitroom" as I was looking for my mother. I found her in the fruitroom standing and gazing at all the bottled food she had prepared. After I called to her, she said, "aren't they pretty?" (referring to all the jars of food). I thought that was rather funny at the time, but as an adult I have come to understand what she was doing.

I have been on a "Jam" kick this summer, trying and making many different kinds. However, after making Peach Jam (which is really yummy!), I chose to make Peach Jelly. I like this recipe as it uses the skins and pits of the peaches which many of us normally discard. I got this recipe from my mother, who unfortunately cannot recall where she obtained it. I thought I would share the process and the recipe with you.

    Peach Jelly Recipe

  • 5.5 Cups Peach Juice (Peels and pits in a pan, cover with water, cook 30 minutes, strain with cheese cloth. Put i enough water to cover by 3-4")

  • 1 package of Dry Pectin (I found that you need to use new pectin that you purchase the year you make the jelly)

  • 7.5 Cups of Sugar.

  • Instructions: Combine the juice and pectin in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stir in sugar and return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat, let it sit for a few minutes. Skim the foam. Ladle into hot sterile jars leaving 1/4" head room. Process 10 minutes in a Hot Water Bath.
Here is the process in "photos":

Boil the pits and the skins until the water turns red.

Place a couple of layers of Cheesecloth in your strainer. Make sure the strainer is inside a larger bowl to catch the Peach juice once it is strained through the Cheesecloth.

This is the juice after it has been strained. The juice is now ready to be put into the recipe noted above. (One thing that I learned is that you need to use new Pectin. I made 2 batches. The first batch was made with Pectin I have left over from last year and the other with Pectin I just purchased recently. The first batch partially set up, but the second batch had no issues.)

Pour the jelly mixture into jars, wipe the jar rim, place a sterilized lid on and seal with a jar ring. Notice how clear the jelly is. You can see the peach jam I processed in the background. The jam is the color of peaches, but the jelly has the red hue to it that was achieved while boiling. Process the jars in your hot water bath canner.

Again, notice how translucent it is after it is processed. Jelly is wonderful on breads, rolls, and even on pork chops when you cook them in the oven. This is glorious food that is made from items that are traditionally discarded. It's easy to make, and tastes great! It is a great companion to some freshly baked bread as a gift for someone who is needs some special attention. I found myself standing and admiring my jam and jelly in the jars. I particularly enjoyed how beautiful the jelly looked visually. I found the bottles to be "beautiful" just as my mother did years ago.
This is an easy recipe...give it a try!

Monday, August 24, 2015

It's a Matter of Safely Transporting Food to Feed a Crowd

I have had many opportunities to prepare and transport food to feed our beloved Young Single Adults for various meals and snacks.  We live about 30 minutes from these good young people, so I have had to prepare and plan to arrive with delicious piping hot food.  I have used the Haybox method most of the time. 

Transporting Hot Food Safely in a Crockpot

After doing a bit of research, I purchased this 6-quart Crockpot that has a great indicator of the temperature that operates whether the device has power or not.  

 See the indicator with the yellow-to-red dial?  I decided to try it out!

As usual, I decided to prepare my meal from my food storage staples.  Today's offering....a creamy Lemon Chicken dish.

 In a separate sauce pan, I melt the butter.

 Next I add the Cream of Mushroom soup.

Stir the butter and soups together.

I prefer to use Crockpot liners to avoid baked on messes. Here I am using Chicken Fingers that are frozen.  I drop them right in.

Pour the combination of butter, spices, and soup over the chicken.  Cook as directed.

Here is the creamy result.  The chicken and sauce were served over rice.

Let's just say there was nothing left...

Take Home Points:

  • I was pleased with this device.  It has clips to keep the lid on tight and a gasket that avoids spills. It also holds in the heat and the indicator let me know how the temperature was holding.  The food was very hot after a 30 minute drive.
  • I will be using this Crockpot in the future particularly when I need to transport large amounts of hot foods.  It really lived up to the hype that I read.
  • Here is the recipe if you wish to bless the next crowd that you feed:
Creamy Lemon Pepper Chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (either frozen or thawed out is fine)
1 recipe cream of chicken soup (equivalent to 1 can*)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp.+ lemon pepper seasoning*
4 oz. chopped mushrooms
Place chicken breasts on the bottom of your slow cooker. I don’t even grease mine, but you might if you are afraid of things sticking. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper.
Mix soup, milk and 2 Tbsp. lemon pepper.
Add mushrooms to soup mix.
Pour soup mixture over chicken in the crock pot. Add chicken broth.
Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Try it! 

                        Friday, August 7, 2015

                        It's a Matter of Easily Releasing Frozen Concentrate From the Can!

                        I love to have a family gathering for special occasions, don't you?  I often rely on my Pantry and Food Storage for many of my meals, including special occasions. This applies to food of course, but also to the drinks I offer.  I have drinks that come in many forms, including frozen in concentrate from my Freezer.

                        How to easily get Frozen Concentrate out of a Can!

                        I used to ate trying to get the concentrate out of the can, particularly without making a mess!  Digging, sploshing, etc....I used to hate using Frozen Concentrate. That is, until I learned this great little trick!

                        Certainly we all know that you take off the lid of the Frozen Concentrate and attempt to empty the contents into your pitcher or decanter.  Usually, the Concentrate sits there as a frozen colorful ice cube and does not budge.

                        Not to worry!  Here is a slick trick that I learned from my very smart Mother. Use your can opener and cut a slit in the opposite end.

                        Voila! Almost instantaneously the frozen goodness is released from the can!

                        With very little fuss, you can have a refreshing drink ready for any special occasion....even if it is just for you morning breakfast!

                        Take Home Points:

                        • Having Frozen Concentrate in your Freezer is a great way to have juices and flavorful drinks in your Food Storage.
                        • Using your can opener, you can easily empty the contents when preparing your juice.

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