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Preserving Recipes

Fall/ Preserving Recipes

Sage and Roasted Walnut Pesto

Sage and Roasted Walnut Pesto

Sage and Roasted Walnut Pesto

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sage leaves compressed
  • 2 cups parsley leaves compressed
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts roasted until lightly browned
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Roast walnuts in a 350 degree oven until brown. About 5 to 10 minutes.

2

In a food processor, with the engine running, drop the peeled garlic through the feed-tube until finely chopped. Put sage and parsley into the bowl and whiz it until it is fairly finely chopped. With the engine going drizzle in the olive oil. You may need to adjust the amount to achieve the texture you like.

3

Stir in the parmesan and chopped walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the parmesan is salty so add salt after the cheese has been added.

4

Serve with penne or spirals (pasta that will hold the sauce), regular or gluten free. If you want, add fried sage leaves for a little extra pizzaz. I freeze this pesto in food grade plastic containers.

 

 

Fall/ Preserving Recipes

Foraging in the Neighborhood – Plum and Crab Apple Jam

Crab Apples

While on a recent walk into my village, I spied three grand crab apple trees positively laden with ruby red, blemish-free apples. When I got home, I emailed the owner of the house and asked if they had any excess apples I might pick. They said all the apples were excess since they didn’t do anything with them. Baskets in hand, and a promise to deliver some canned goods, I went down to collect the beauties. There’s nothing like foraging in your own neighborhood!

Crab apples (malus coronaria) are the only indigenous apples to North America. They are abundant, not sprayed, and are mostly free for the picking. Crab apples are high in Vitamin C and minerals. A great option to preserve for winter in many ways.

I made crab apple jelly (of course). The high pectin makes it easy to get a good set without adding commercial pectin. From the pulp I had after extracting the juice, I ran through a food mill which left a smooth rosy coloured puree to which I added a small amount of corn syrup and made crab apple fruit leathers using my dehydrator. Delicious snack. I also tried a pickled crab apple recipe which was a disaster. Despite pricking the apples all over, my apples burst during processing and ended up looking like a rough apple sauce! The taste was good but aesthetically unappealing. I also made a jam with plums which turned out to be quite nice. Tart from the crab apples but balanced from the addition of the plums. This recipe is from Canadians Topp & Howard.

For further information:

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Plum and Crab Apple Jam

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Serves: 6 - 250ml jars

With crab apples still in abundance, try various approaches to preserving this fruit as a jam, jelly, pickle or leather. They can also be fermented and turned into crab apple cider. So flexible, so inexpensive, so good for you!

Instructions

1

3 cups quartered, unpeeled crab apples (washed) in 1.5 cups water plus one 4-inch cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes until soft. Remove the cinnamon stick. Press apples though a food mill or sieve to remove skins and solids.

2

To the puree in a Dutch oven, add 4 cups of sliced blue or purple plums. Add 5 cups of sugar and ¾ cup of red wine or grape juice. Bring to a rapid boil for 20 minutes stirring frequently. Check the gel. Remember both crab apples and plums are high in pectin so look for a loose set. It will firm up as the jam cools.

3

Ladle into hot 250ml jars and process in a water-bath or atmospheric steam canner for 10 minutes adjusting for altitude. Let rest 5 minutes before removing the jars.

 

 

Fall/ Preserving Recipes

Cranberries in Fall – Harvest Moon Jam

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. It seems so meaningful to give thanks to mother-nature’s gifts of the harvest, to those who grow our food and to those who prepare meals. You really can’t think about Thanksgiving without thinking about cranberries. I’m a huge fan of using cranberries not only at Thanksgiving but all year round.

Cranberries (genus vaccinium) is native to North America particularly the East coast. They grow in bogs and swamps relying on bees for pollination since their pollen grains are too heavy for the wind to carry. According to Acadian History, First Nations people were observed eating cranberry sauce with meats in the mid fifteen hundreds. It is likely cranberry sauce was being consumed for hundreds if not thousands of years before that. Cranberries are high in Vit C and are powerful antioxidants. Most available cranberries are commercially grown using extensive pesticides to control pests and quality. Not only is this bad for human health, but it is lethal for the pollinator bees! Efforts are being made to improve capacity for growing cranberries without pesticides which is a huge step in the right direction. If you can, buy organic cranberries. If they aren’t available, prepare a solution of 2 tsp baking soda to 1 litre of water and give the berries a quick dip. The alkaline solution will remove many of the pesticide residues (works for many other fruits and vegetables too).

Cranberry sauce, with or without orange or rum; cranberry mostarda a condiment combining cranberries and mustard which is excellent with ham, pork or cheese; cranberry juice; cranberry relishes, chutneys, conserves; cranberry and orange loaf, and the list of cranberry recipes goes on and on. One of my favorite recipes combines cranberries with pears and several spices for a lovely deep red and very flavourful jam. This jam appears in many preserving cookbooks going by different names like, Holiday Jam or Christmas Jam. I think of it as “Harvest Moon” jam.

For further information:

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Harvest Moon Jam

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Serves: 4 - 250ml jars

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the harvest, celebrate the growers and cooks, and be thankful for nature’s generous gifts.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 pound ripe peeled pears shredded (1.5 cup)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TBSP grated orange zest plus ½ cup of orange juice
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ground cloves and ground ginger

Instructions

1

In a pot, combine cranberries, pears, water, zest and juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until cranberries pop. Stir in sugar and spices. Bring back to a boil stirring until sugar dissolves. Off heat crush fruit with a masher. Return to the boil and cook about 10 minutes until the jam reaches a gel stage (217 – 219 degrees).

2

Put into hot jars and process in a water-bath or atmospheric steam canner for 15 minutes adjusting for altitude. Let rest five minutes before removing the jars.

 

 

Preserving Recipes/ Summer

Get Pickling

It is the wonderful time of year for pickling. The gardens and markets are bursting with fresh vegetables and fruits. And pickling enables us to enjoy local, healthy produce all year round. There are several approaches to pickling such as refrigerator pickles for short-term use, fresh pack quick process pickles for long-term storage, and fermented or brined pickles. What these methods have in common is that they use a brine and pickling solution to control acidity which is necessary for safe preserving. Pickles, relishes, salsas, chutneys and even pickled fruit add tang to any meal.

Fresh Pack Quick Process Pickles

This method is easy to do and involves covering vegetables or fruit with a boiling solution of vinegar, spices, seasoning and sometimes sugar and water. This is called the pickling solution. Many recipes call for the vegetables to be brined in a salt and water bath for several hours before they are pickled. The purpose of the brining is to extract water from the vegetables so that they will later absorb the pickling solution more readily and it also creates a crisper product.

Fermented Pickles

In this method, vegetables are submerged in a salt-water brine for one to several weeks. The brine controls bacteria, preventing the growth of spoilage bacteria while allowing the growth of lactobacillus bacteria which produces lactic acid. Weights are necessary to keep the vegetables submerged under the brine to prevent the growth of molds and yeast.

Pickling requires specific amount of salt and vinegar to create a safe canning environment. Don’t be tempted to cut back on salt. It is a functional element of pickling. The salt bonds with water reducing microbial growth. Only use pickling salt or salt that is free from added iodine or anti-caking products. Because pickling controls acidity, it is important to use vinegar that is at least 5% acetic acid. To maintain the proper level of acidity you can’t just add extra vegetables (which are alkaline) to a recipe as this creates a potentially unsafe canning environment. So, stick to a tested recipe that specifies the correct amount of salt and acid for vegetables or fruit.

I have been expanding my pickling this year. Salsa, relish, chili sauce, dill and bread & butter pickles, mustard pickles, pickled asparagus, carrots, beans, beets, and wonderful mixed pickle blends using cauliflower, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet and hot peppers, carrots and spices to create a beautiful salad in a jar. Coming up? Spiced pickled crab apples!

I know many of you are keen picklers. If you haven’t done much in the way of pickling, give it a shot. There is nothing nicer than opening a jar of vegetable or fruit pickles to accompany lunch or super or just as a snack. Even for breakfast! Scrambled eggs and chili sauce!

For information: preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Preserving Recipes/ Summer

Zucchini Yummies

Zucchini Balls

Zucchini are beginning their summer bounty. Even people with just one plant are always on the lookout for different ways to use this vegetable. Snuck into sweet breads or marmalade; substituted for cucumbers in relish, dills or bread & butter pickles; dehydrated for use in winter soups; or blossoms stuffed with a savoury meat filling. The uses of zucchini are endless.

Here is a super simple, versatile recipe for baked zucchini balls. Great as an appetizer or as a substitute for meatballs in any recipe. They also freeze well. In the photo, I served them with a garlic scape pesto.

For information: preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Zucchini Balls

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups of grated zucchini, seeds removed and well drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten free panko)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 4 TBSP finely chopped herbs (if using dried herbs, 4 tsp)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions

1

Set oven at 400. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

2

Wash zucchini. Remove seeds. Grate zucchini on a box grater.

3

Salt the zucchini and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then squeeze it firmly until all liquid is removed. Roll it in a paper towel to remove final liquid residue.

4

In a medium bowl, stir eggs, herbs and cheese. Add zucchini and breadcrumbs. Mix.

5

Roll into 1.5-inch balls and bake for 20 minutes until brown. Serve hot or at room temperature. Freeze leftovers once cool.

6

Customize the recipe: Go Greek and use feta cheese and oregano and serve with tzatziki; go French and use Gruyere cheese and serve with a tarragon-Dijon mayo; go Italian and use mozzarella and basil and serve with roasted tomato sauce; or go vegan and remove cheese all together.

7

Because of high moisture content zucchini and cousins summer squash don’t freeze or pressure can very well. Think mush! But they are wonderful pickled, barbecued, or used fresh in baked goods, soup or appetizers.

 

 

Preserving Recipes/ Summer

Flavoured Vinegars

Flavoured Vinegar

Add a sparkle to your vinaigrette. Create beautiful, unique gifts. Decorate using bottles filled with colourful flavoured vinegars. Featured here are two vinegars I recently made, one with chive blossoms and the other with tarragon. Herbs, spices, and fruit can be added to any vinegar if it is at least 5% acidity. Knowing how to properly make these vinegars will ensure a safe product without yeast causing cloudiness.

Vinegar is one of the very few foods that has played remarkable roles in cooking, medicine, food preservation and cleaning! Incredibly, its history dates back to 5000 BCE. Today we enjoy many varieties of vinegars which can be elevated to exquisite levels with the addition of fruit, herbs, and spices. Give it a try!

For information: preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Flavoured Vinegar

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Ingredients

  • For each 500 ml of vinegar, use:
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh, washed, and sanitized herbs
  • 3 TBSP dried herbs
  • 1 to 2 cups fruit, frozen is great
  • Rind of one orange or lemon
  • Other additions may include peeled garlic, peppercorns, jalapeno peppers, spices such as cinnamon or star anise.

Instructions

1

Choose Your Combo

2

Select the type of vinegar you want to work with and the herbs, spice, and fruit. Milder vinegars such as wine or champagne are best suited for tender herbs. Cider vinegar goes well with fruit. White vinegar is sharp but is suitable for stronger herbs and spices.

3

Sterilize & Sanitize

4

Sterilize canning jars by boiling them for 10 minutes. Keep them warm until you are ready to pour in vinegar that has been heated to just below boiling point. For fresh herbs, wash carefully. Then sanitize the sprigs in a solution of 1 tsp bleach and 6 cups water. Rinse thoroughly and dry. This step is important to prevent bacteria & yeast formation. Pour vinegar over herbs, spice, or fruit. Put sterilized lids on and move the jars to a cool, dark location.

5

Percolate & Decant

6

Let the infusion rest a minimum of 10 days but full flavourings will happen in about 3 weeks.  After this resting period, strain the vinegar through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Sterilize jars for final bottling. Pour heated vinegar into jars. If desired, add a sprig of clean, sanitized herbs, fruit, or spices. Apply a tightly fitting lid. Date and label the jars.

7

Flavoured vinegars are best used within 3 months. Fruit vinegars can discolour after that time. Refrigeration will extend the quality to up to 8 months according to the University of Georgia.

8

A couple of caveats: Use only commercial vinegars for this purpose. Also note that flavoured vinegars can be safely made at home, but flavoured oils cannot. Flavoured oils pose a botulism risk so stick with flavouring vinegars for home use and for gifts.

 

 

Preserving Recipes/ Summer

All Around the Mulberry Bush

I recently stumbled upon a grand, sprawling and very ancient mulberry tree. Although most mulberries have a short life span, it’s reported that there are specimens 250 years old! White, red, and black mulberry bushes and trees originated in China and India thousands of years ago and were domesticated around the world thereafter. Some cultivation was specifically done to feed silkworms that enjoyed the leaves. Today, wild, and domestic mulberries abound. I think of them as an old-fashioned fruit often made into pies, jams, jellies, juices, wine, and ice cream.

Mulberries are rich in Vitamin C and are therefore considered to be a “power food” with high anti-oxidant capabilities. They have low acidity and are low in pectin, both of which inform food preservation practice. This means that jams and jellies will require acidification and a generous addition of pectin. You can dehydrate, freeze, can whole in water, syrup, or juice, or make jams & jellies. Jelly might be preferred because just like raspberries, mulberries also have a lot of little seeds that aren’t pleasant.

The National Centre for Home Food Preservation provides recipes using both powered and liquid pectin. There are many online stories about failed sets with mulberries, so I suggest you use this recipe if you’re lucky enough to have mulberries in your backyard.

“Round and round the mulberry bush” is an old English nursery rhyme familiar to many of us. Though we would not find many monkeys chasing weasels these days, we are still fortunate to find mulberry trees and bushes providing us with beautiful fruit for preserving.

For information: preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Mulberry Jelly (yield is 8 cups)

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups mulberry juice (extracted from 3 pounds of berries, cleaned, and trimmed)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 2 pouches liquid pectin

Instructions

1

Put cleaned mulberries in a large pan, crush them until juices are released. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Put into a dampened  jelly bag or cheesecloth lined sieve and drain off the juices. Measure 3 cups.

2

Add juice, sugar and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a full rolling boil (the boil cannot be beaten down). Add the full packets of liquid pectin. Bring back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour into clean, hot jars. Clean rims of jars. Affix lids and rings to ‘finger-tip tight’.

3

Place jars in a boiling water bath canner or steam canner and process for 10 minutes adjusting for altitude. Let rest 5 minutes. Remove to a heat-proof surface and let stand for 24 hours. Check seals, label, and store for up to 2 years.

 

 

Preserving Recipes/ Spring

Asparagus

Asparagus is a sure sign of spring. This perennial plant produces flavourful spears that are high in folate, fiber, and Vitamins A, C and K. The spears that are harvested are immature ferns. At the height of the season, spears can grow two inches per day! In addition to its nutritional value, asparagus is one of the “15 Clean List” of fruits and vegetables that are very low in pesticides according to the Environmental Working Group in the US. Numerous international studies have indicated that asparagus has an enzyme that helps breakdown malathion which is pesticide often used to control beetles. Even when pesticides were used on asparagus, when analyzed the vegetable showed only 2% residue. To further reduce pesticide exposure, remove 2 inches from the base of spear. If you grow your own, buy organic or buy locally when in season, asparagus is a healthy and delicious vegetable.

Asparagus can be preserved in several ways. If you are using it within a few days, wrap the vegetable in a damp towel and place in a breathable bag away from meat, poultry and fish. To freeze, blanche the washed and trimmed stalks for 2 to 4 minutes depending on the size of the stalks. Blanching is necessary to preserve colour and texture. Place the drained vegetable in a freezer container or bag and label. Asparagus can also be dehydrated after blanching at 125 until completely dried and crisp. For long-term storage, asparagus may be pressure canned or pickled. I especially like to have pickled asparagus on hand for snacking or to add to a charcuterie board or antipasto plate.

Time to enjoy spring’s gift of asparagus any way you want. Fresh or preserved, asparagus is a healthy addition to the kitchen and pantry.

For further information:

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Pickled Asparagus

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Ingredients

  • 7 lb asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 4-inch lengths to fit into a wide-mouth canning jar. Bernardin recommends placing the asparagus in a pan and covering with ice water for 1 hour to help maintain the crispness of the vegetable. Drain.
  • 12 sprigs fresh dill
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 2 tsp pickling spice
  • 4 tsp crushed dried hot pepper
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 5 cups white vinegar (5%)
  • 1 litre water
  • Note: Ball suggests it is optional to add 1/8 tsp “Pickle Crisp” to each jar if desired.

Instructions

1

Make the brine: Combine vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt, hot pepper and pickling spice in a large pot and bring to a boil stirring to dissolve salt and sugar.

2

Into 6 hot, 500ml mason jars, add 2 dill sprigs and one garlic clove. Tightly pack asparagus into the jars. Ladle brine into jars. Remove air bubbles and adjust brine leaving a ½ headspace. Wipe the rims, place lids on and secure the rings to “finger-tip tight”. Process jars for 10 minutes in a water-bath or steam canner. Let rest for 5 minutes. Remove and let jars cool.

 

 

Preserving Recipes/ Spring

One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

As Easter approaches, it is the time of year when the much beloved hot cross buns appear in good bakeries. While it is true that the cross on the bun is meant to symbolize the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the sweet spice bread has a fascinating history.

Long before Christianity, pagan cultures celebrated spring with sweet buns. It is said that evidence exists of such baked goods dating as far back as 79 AD. The sweet buns were made to honour the goddess Eostra and fertility while the crosses symbolized the four phases of the moon. The word Easter is thought to be derived from Eostra.

The strong Christian heritage of hot cross buns dates to 1361 with the original, now familiar recipe being created by a monk at St. Albans Cathedral. The buns were given to the poor on Good Friday. Even little buns can be controversial! Queen Elizabeth 1, for political reasons,  banned the sale of hot cross buns except for burials, Good Friday and Christmas. During this time, the much beloved buns began to be made in homes.

Hot cross buns were embraced in song and poetry. In 1733, the Poor Robin’s Almanac published the lyrics to the song “Hot Cross Buns”. Mother Goose nursery rhymes included the poem. For generations, enjoyed the literary and culinary delights of hot cross buns.

Many myths surround hot cross buns. They were thought to ward off evil spirits, cement friendship if shared, stay fresh for a year if baked on Good Friday, help the infirmed and provide sustenance to sailors on long voyages. Whatever the myths, the basic truth is these buns are delicious and a significant mark of Easter.

I know this is a little stretch from preserving but remember hot cross buns are chock full of dried fruit, peel and are glazed with apple or apricot jelly and served with last summer’s strawberry jam!

For information: preservingwithmartha@gmail.coms.

For further information:

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Hot Cross Buns (yield 12 buns)

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Ingredients

  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour                             
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1 package rapid-rise yeast (2 ½ tsp)              
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon          
  • ½ tsp nutmeg             
  • ½ tsp. allspice            
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind
  • ½ cup milk                  
  • ¼ cup water               
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of currants and/or raisins or peel rehydrated and drained.

Instructions

1

In a stand mixer with dough hook, blend together all dry ingredients. Heat milk, water and butter to 120 and pour into dry ingredients blending. Mix in eggs and dried fruit. Mix for 5 minutes at low speed for kneading. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

2

Divide the dough into 12 equal rounds and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover and place in warm location to rise for 45 minutes.

3

If you want the traditional cross, blend together ¾ cup flour and about 10 TBSP water. Pipe the crosses on the buns. Alternatively, just cut a cross in the buns. Glaze the buns with melted jelly.

4

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

5

Bake at home or pick up at your local bakery. Either way, enjoy the history, tradition and gustatory satisfaction of Hot Cross Buns.

 

 

Preserving Recipes/ Spring/ Winter

Preserving in Winter

Preserving in Winter

Many people think winter is ‘out-of-season’ as far as preserving goes. Try finding bottles, lids and other canning equipment in the dead of winter! But, there are those of us who just can’t stop preserving. And, why not? There are lots of options in winter if the larder is empty or the canning urge is great!

Winter fruits like apples, Anjou or Bosc pears, kiwi, figs or kumquats are available and ready to be transformed into jam, chutney, sauces or fruit butter. Mind you, there is also something simple and delicious about using the fruit naked. I’m thinking of a brown sugar and walnut stuffed baked apple or poached pears with a reduced port sauce. Fresh or preserved, winter fruit is a luxury we have in Ontario.

Dried fruits are also an option for preserving. For example, apricots or dried figs can be rehydrated and used in jams or preserves. Last winter I shared a recipe for dried apricot preserves which were great. Unfortunately, most dried fruits are treated with sulfites to preserve colour. So, if you are allergic to sulfites or are concerned about the preservative, buy organic and just accept the fact that the fruit will be dark as it naturally oxidizes. Alternatively, dehydrate your own fruit next summer pre-treating them with lemon juice, citric acid or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) before dehydrating to slow down oxidization. Dried fruit can be wholesome and is great cooking and preserving in winter.

Frozen fruit is an excellent option for preserving when the snow flies. Using fruit you froze in summer or buying Canadian frozen fruit works extremely well for jam, conserves, syrups and more. I have used frozen peaches, strawberries, mixed berries, blueberries, cranberries and mango with great success. The advantage of frozen fruit is its availability of course, but also the fact you get perfectly ripe fruit and combinations of fruit that would not normally be out at the same time. Here is a simple recipe from the Canadian Living preserving book using mixed berries.

For further information:

preservingwithmartha@gmail.com

Winter Berry Jam

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Ingredients

  • 2 packages frozen mixed berries (600 gm each) thawed and crushed
  • 2 tsp lemon zest                                                        
  • 1 TBSP bottled lemon juice
  • 1 package light pectin crystals                                   
  • 4.5 cups sugar
  • 2 TBSP Cassis or vodka (optional)

Instructions

1

Combine fruit, lemon zest & juice, ¼ cup sugar and pectin in a large pan. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly. Add sugar and return to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in alcohol if using.

2

Fill 1 cup jars (makes 7 cups) leaving ¼ inch headspace. Put on lids and screwbands. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner placing on a cutting board or dishcloth. Allow jars to rest untouched for 24 hours.

3

As winter takes hold, enjoy the aroma of bubbling preserves filling the house on a wintery day.