Usually I pen my columns in the late evening. This past weekend I’ve been so busy doing cooking, I had to wait until early morning! As I sit at my office window I’m praying we survive the next 7-10 days here in the Ozark Mountains. Every day is a triple digit. When extreme weather or other threatening circumstances creep into our lives I tend to retreat into what I’ll call the ‘farm’ mode. I revert back to my beginnings and think about all the additional things a homesteader should be doing during times like these.
My first thought was power. So, I spent an entire day doing nothing but cooking in the kitchen. Prepping foods so when the excessive heat hits I’m not overtaxing the electrical pulls. Same thing with laundry and cleaning, you get things done so you’re not using any more energy than necessary. Now that’s definitely ‘old-school’ talking! Just in case you’re wondering what I prepared? Macaroni salad,
prep for potato salad, baked beans and fresh sliced ham for cold sandwiches.
I’m also teaching a canning class this week, so I’m heavily into all the prep for canning spaghetti Bolognese sauce. We’re also serving a hot dog luncheon in the middle of the canning, plus I’ve got information ‘galore’ ready to go with attendees. Then…to add fuel to the furnace I have 50 pounds of peaches arriving from Georgia on Tuesday! Yep, the plate is full. One thing I did do is to enlist the assistance of a friend, for when I can some of the peaches. This year I’m experimenting making vanilla peaches. My dad has hinted at a couple of peach pies and I may freeze a few to make jam with, at a later time.
I originally thought there would be a brand new recipe for you today for peach, pecan & amaretto jam. The recipe needs to sit a bit longer before I can share as the flavors need to develop out; then I’ll give you an update. I know one thing, the recipe is certainly a ‘specialty’ item. So far, it tastes great, I’m just waiting on some flavor changes to occur with time. It’s going to be a canning item used for things like specialty desserts and charteuterie boards.
It’s fun to put fun things like this blueberry syrup on the table for company, instead of the standard maple syrup. As the norm you will find multiple use for homemade berry sauces. If you want to make this really special, watch for the sales at Hobby Lobby and pick up the specialty bottles for canned syrups.
In the meantime my friends, eat at home, it’s much more economical. Most importantly, lay meal plans ahead of time. This will stop the impulse stops at restaurants and fast foods. Yesterday in the midst of all my cooking and canning I got sandwiches for our lunch. Cost: $23.00, crazy, think about what I could have purchased at the store with that!
Wish I didn’t have to get to work, I could certainly discuss foods a great deal longer! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com.
Blueberry Pancake Syrup
2 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon of dry pectin*
24 ounces fresh blueberries
16 ounces cold water
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Yield, 3 pints blueberry syrup
After you have purchased the pectin you will need to measure the contents and then use only 1/2 of the pectin. With Sure-Jell this was the amount listed above.
Consult the recipe, in the sure-jell box, before making the syrup. Because this is a syrup and not a jam you can use fewer berries, as indicated above. You will need 16 oz. of cold water and it is not listed on the jam recipes. I have implemented only 1 cup of sugar. The amount is 1/4 of what is ‘usually’ called for with regular pectin for jam.
After the fruit is washed I like to use a potato masher and crush about 1/2-2/3rds. of the berries.
Follow the instructions for making jam except you will use my changes.
Immediately fill sterilized jars with syrup. Boil flats in a saucepan for five minutes & lightly dry. Clean rims of jars removing any wet product and begin sealing. Place jars on grates in the bottom of a deep stockpot. Pour warm water over the tops of the jars until there is at least one inch covering the tops. Adding 2-4 tablespoons of vinegar will assist with sediment forming on the jars. Bring to a boil and time for ten minutes. Turn off heat and remove jars from stockpot. Allow to cool completely, moving jars without too much jostling.
Syrup will thicken a bit as it cools. Keep in mind this is a syrup, not a thick jam.
*Dry (1.75 oz.) Sure-Jell was used in this recipe