Fall is such a beautiful season full of colors and wonderful smells from the kitchen. The theme for the Canadian Food Project, preserving is full of wonderful memories of a Country Kitchen during the harvest season.
|Harvest time in Saskatchewan|
|Harvest time on my Uncle Fred's Farm|
|Lunch time -Uncle John right side, white hat|
Favorite recipes of preserving were eagerly shared among the rural folk. I have found in my mom’s recipes, pieces of paper with hand written recipes from different friends or relatives.
Jars of jelly and jam also filled her root cellar. Jars of Raspberry Jelly, Crabapple Jelly, Plum Jam and Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam, all from her garden. One of my grandmother favorite recipe for making Rhubarb Jam is found in the Joy Of Cooking CookBook named Spiced Rhubarb Conserve but minus the cinnamon hearts. This recipe is very similar to Chutney with spices but without the onions or garlic.
Experimenting with my mom’s recipe as her bountiful garden supplied fresh vegetables for me and others. I remember making Zucchini Jelly using a jello package, a recipe that was passed around in my circle of friends but had to be kept in a refrigerator as the gelatin in the jello would dry up if not refrigerated. Yes, this did happen to me!
|High Bush Cranberry Jelly, Tequila Sunset Pepper Jelly and Merlot & Apple Jelly|
|High Bush CranberryJelly, Raspberry Jam and Tequila Sunset Pepper Jelly|
This year’s supply of this red berry with a flat pit awaits me in a deep freeze in Northern Manitoba. My brother picked them before the Black Bears on the farm got to them!
|High Bush Cranberry picked this year in Northern Manitoba|
|Over ripen berries|
|A mixture of unripe and ripe berries|
Although my father loved these berries canned whole in Quart Jars, I was surprised to see a blog on using these berries for High Bush Cranberry pie because of the small flat pit in the berry.
My mom made the jelly without using any pectin. It was not uncommon to see bags of cookied berries hanging to strain the juice over night. Take caution not to squeeze the bags to speed the process up as your jelly will not be as clear.
To make jelly without added pectin, cranberries should be picked in the yellow stage when they are just turning red. To prepare juice, place cranberries in a Dutch oven. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until berries are soft. Strain through a jelly bag. Add 1 cup (250 mL) sugar for each 1 cup (250 mL) of juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil and boil rapidly until jelly stage is reached. Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary. Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch (6 mm) headspace. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
The recipe I used and followed is from the package of Certo as was recommended by an elderly woman in my home town. She suggested that I follow the Sour Cherry recipe found in the Certo dry crystal package. I prefer the dry crystals to the liquid as you get more jars of jelly and I find it less messy to work with. However, the two products are not interchangeable and recipes are specific to each product.
CRUSH cherries, one layer at a time (do not pit). Press pulp through a sieve to remove pits. Place pulp in large saucepan; add water. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer 10 min., stirring occasionally. Place three layers of damp cheesecloth or jelly bag in large bowl. Pour prepared fruit into cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth closed; hang and let drip into bowl without squeezing until dripping stops.
MEASURE exactly 3-1/2 cups prepared juice into large saucepan. Add pectin crystals; mix well. Bring to full rolling boil on high heat. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir and skim foam for 5 min.
POUR immediately into warm sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of rims. Seal while hot with sterilized two-piece lids with new centres. Let stand at room temperature until set.
|Improvising and using a large jar to strain the juice.|