Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Winner of Day 7 jam, Peach Persimmon

Congratulations to Elaura! You have won a 1/2 pint of Peach Persimmon jam. Elaura was also the winner of the jam from Jam Week Day 1, Pineapple Rhubarb! I will be sending both jams this Thursday, Elaura :)

I hope to do this again this fall, now that I am caught up with last year's jam making. I now have 36 pints (less the give aways) of jam for my family to enjoy.

If you missed it, I made 7 types of jam:
Pineapple Rhubarb,
Mango Lime,
Double Strawberry,
Black and Blueberry,
Blackberry Plum,
Strawberry Cherry Rhubarb and
Peach Persimmon.

A delicious result for a week of effort. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jam Week Day 7: Final Jam!

The last batch of jam for the week just came out of the canner. Yes, I skipped day 6 entirely. There was no jam made on Thursday to announce and I didn't make jam on Saturday either. It was great to have a break!  Before I forget, let me announce the winners of the three different jams from Friday.

Winner of jam #1 - Black and Blueberry, was comment #3, Amber!
Winner of jam #2 - Blackberry Plum, was comment #2, AK Midwife, aka Eva!
Winner of jam #3 - Strawberry Cherry Rhubarb, was comment #1, Amber again!

If you would be so kind as to message me your address or, if you like, a time that I can deliver them on Thursday. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the jams.

On Monday I said that I would be giving away 5 jams, but I had so many types of fruit to choose from (and clear out of my freezer) that as of Friday, I had made 6 jams with plans to make 2 more over the weekend. I have to admit, I am plumb tuckered out from adding jam making to my daily chores! I combined the last 2 jams to make....

Peach Persimmon. There we have it: Seven jams for seven days!

I have made peach jam before. It is decent, a bit like cobbler without the crumble. I prefer peaches fresh or cooked in desserts. Persimmon I have not jammed before! This was a bit of an experiment and it turned out rather well, I think. It is a nice peachy color and sweet, but not overly so. I am excited to have this in the pantry and proud of myself for producing anything from the frozen persimmons!

                      Jam making is messy business - don't use your best towels for a mat while filling jars!

To enter to win a jar of Peach Persimmon jam, leave a comment below. Tell me about your favorite peach dessert or perhaps about a persimmon you have enjoyed! Many people have not tried persimmons. They taste a bit like an apricot with the texture of a mango. Fuyu persimmons are the sweet ones and they look like orange tomatoes! Leave a comment before midnight on Monday. The winner will be announced on Tuesday!

That's it for jam week! Thanks for reading and congratulations to all the jam winners. I am happy to share the fruits of my labor! I hope you will check back often to see what is happening at Ireland Manor.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jam Week Day 5, Part 3!

Three post in one day is a lot, but I have to keep the jam entries separate somehow!

The final jam for the day is Strawberry Cherry Rhubarb. I had planned on making Strawberry Rhubarb, but I needed it to have more color. Pale pink jams don't suit me; food should look as good as it tastes. I really didn't have a plan for the cherries that I pitted and froze last summer, so why not add them to a jam? I mashed and stirred and now the jam is a really nice shade of red and tastes great!
This was a good sized batch. I ended up with 6 full pints.

To enter to win a 1/2 pint of Strawberry Cherry Rhubarb jam, leave a comment below telling me your favorite cherry dessert! Did you enter to win the other 2 jams of the day? If you have not, you can click on JAM #1, and JAM #2 to get to those posts and leave a comment. Comments will count as valid entries if made before midnight Saturday (that's tomorrow).

Ah Saturday. This has been a long week. I am looking forward to a break! I do plan to make a batch of jam, so check back to see what it is. Ta ta!

Jam Week Day 5, Part 2!

My second jam of the day is done!

This really was a small batch. Just 4 jars! I had one package of frozen blackberries left and I combined it with the only package of frozen red plums! I'm not getting creative with the name - Blackberry Plum it is.

I think it tastes like summer in a jar :) Sweet, tart and berrylicious. I can see this as a topping for lemon curd in a really fantastic summer tart!

To enter to win a 1/2 pint jar of Blackberry Plum, leave a comment below before midnight Saturday, telling me your favorite kind of plum or plum dessert! Did you know there is more than one kind? I have fond memories of picking plums off the tree at my great grandmothers'. So sweet and juicy!

I have one more jam to post. Don't forget to enter to win all three jams today!

Jam Week, Day 5, Part 1!

Before I tell you about the first of today's jam, let me announce the winner of Wednesday's jam, the Double Strawberry. We opened a jar of it this morning to eat with our scones and it is hands down the best strawberry jam. SO good! Okay, drum roll please.... There were four contestants and again, using our very scientific method of a child rolling a die, the winner was comment number #3, Mary! Mary, I would be so happy to bring this jam to you and visit for a few minutes. How does that sound?

On to the jam making!

The first jam of the day is Black and Blueberry. I can't help grinning when I say that. Why? Because it is so good it will make you want to smack your momma! lol I'm kidding! Hitting other people is no laughing matter.

I usually stick to seedless jams, even going so far as to push all the raspberries through a fine mesh sieve before making my raspberry jam, but I don't have the heart to do it to blackberries. I did, however, crush them with no mercy. After adding some frozen blueberries, I have 9 half pints of Black and Blueberry.

 I thought that this would be a small batch of jam, six 1/2 pints or less. Making small batches of jam is a great way to get in to canning. I love it because you don't need a large canning pot - any large stock pot will do for canning jams, as long as you can fit 4-6 jars side by side and have 1" of water over the top of the jars. A 2 or 4 qt. stock pot will do for making the jam. It makes clean up very easy and that is why I plan to make 3 different jams today. They will all be small batches of unusual combinations!

To enter to win a 1/2 pint jar of Black and Blueberry, leave a comment below and tell me your favorite way to eat blackberries or blueberries! Entries will be accepted through midnight Saturday, May 5th, and the winner will be announced Sunday.

Check back later today for 2 other jams!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jam Week, Day 4!

The winner of Tuesday's jam, Mango Lime, is Sonja a.k.a. "Rusty"! Using the very scientific method of having my 10 year old roll a die, comment #2 was the winner. Sonja, I have your mailing address already and I will send your jam out very soon!

It has been a very long day after another mostly sleepless night. I have been out of the house since this morning, so I have not made jam. I think I am going to cut myself a break and skip it tonight. I have 3 different jams planned for tomorrow, so have no fear. There will be plenty of opportunities to win jam. The jam making will continue through Sunday, with the final winner announced Tuesday.

Don't forget to enter to win Wednesday's jam, Double Strawberry! It set up very well, I am thrilled! Valid comments need to be left before midnight tonight, AK time. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jam Week Day 3!

The winner of Monday's jam, Pineapple Rhubarb, is Elaura Nevares! Since she was the only one that commented, she wins! Elaura, I will contact you via facebook for your mailing address and the jam will be on it's way soon!

I have had a headache for most of the afternoon after a sleepless night. The jam is just now cooling and I have a few minutes before I usher the children to bed, so I will tell you about today's jam.

Double Strawberry Jam!

It's not quite as mysterious as it sounds. I had 4 cups of frozen wild arctic strawberries left and decided to use them for jam combined with domestic strawberries. It is very tasty! I miss the wild strawberries and copious amounts of raspberries that grew at the house we rented before buying Ireland Manor.

The flavor of wild, pink strawberries cannot be beat. However, they don't can well, turning into a mushy, sweet, pale mess. Combining them with the bright red store bought berries resulted in a very dark red. Almost as dark as canned cherries. I can't wait to see if it sets up! I cooked the heck out of it because I am not so great at making strawberry jam. It seems to separate no matter what I do! I even let it sit up in the pot before I put it into the jars. We shall see...

Jam making is usually not this complicated for me! *shrug* Do you lose your jam gift if you don't use it?

To enter to win one 1/2 pint of Double Strawberry jam, leave a comment below and tell me your favorite way to eat strawberries! The deadline for today's giveaway will end at midnight on Thursday (tomorrow) and the winner will be announced Friday. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jam Week Day 2!

Today's jam is Mango Lime.

I LOVE mangos. Seriously. I could eat one every day and never get sick of them. This is a jam I started making 4 or 5 years ago because I needed to have mangos year round. It is absolutely terrific as a cake filling and very easy to dehydrate for fruit leather. I prefer fresh mangos, but I froze so many last year that I couldn't justify buying more until I had used them. I freeze a lot of fruit in season and then use if for jams or desserts later. I do the same with lemons and limes - I dry the zest and then freeze the juice into ice cubes. When I freeze mangos though, I put lime zest and juice in with the fruit. I find mango and lime to go so well together that I can't imagine using mangos in a recipe without lime.

I had about 10 cups of mango puree when I started and finished with 7 1/2 pints. The puree was a nice bright yellow with little flecks of green lime zest, but again, the end result is not the color it should be and I think I know why. Its the sugar. I switched sugar 2 years ago and haven't made mango jam or lemon curd since before that, only berry jams, and I didn't realize that the Organic sugar would change the color so much! I'm not willing to switch back to C&H (nor should you be, read this) , so I will have to sacrifice color or switch to another sweetener.

I use Pomona's for my jams and jellies. I love it because I can use any kind of sweetener that I want and I can use LESS of it. For instance, to make strawberry jam, a box of Sure requires 5 cups of fruit and 7 cups of sugar! That is a 1.4 cups of sugar to every cup of jam! Madness! With Pomona's, the recommended amount is 3/4 to 2 cups sugar (your choice how much) for 4 cups of fruit. A 1/2 cup of sugar or less for every cup. I can use honey, apple or grape juice concentrate, stevia, or nothing at all! I add sugar just because I have a sweet tooth and was raised on sugary jam :)

To enter to win a half pint of today's Mango Lime jam, leave a comment below telling me about the best mango dessert or dish you have ever had! Today's drawing closes at midnight on Wednesday and the winner will be notified Thursday.

Check back tomorrow to see what kind of jam I will make :)