Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 1 of Exile- Oyster Crackers, Raspberry Peach Melba and Halloween

HA! I crack myself up! Exile. teeheehhee

So today was my first full day of FB Hiatus. I did not have a problem with it. Mostly. A couple of times I  thought, 'hey, I'll hop on FB and see if....' and then my brain kicked in and I told myself no.

Then a friends daughter came over and we spent the rest of the day doing craft things. Currently we are making Styrofoam tombstones for Halloween. Super easy, but waiting for paint to dry takes time.

Oh, and we made Ranch Oyster Crackers (I've posted the cracker recipe before, just not the Oyster cracker version) and Raspberry Peach Jam. OMG! That jam is fabulous!

Of course, I had to make adjustments to the original recipe (found here) but that is nothing new for me. Usually I make adjustments because I like more of one thing than another.  But in this case it was because I didn't have enough to make a full batch. I had to make a half batch, and even then I added more raspberries than what a half recipe would call for....just call me daring. But I didn't decrease the sugar because I increased the raspberries. Raspberries are tart little things!

What exactly did I do to the recipe you ask? Well, first let me tell you-- I find it difficult to use the 7 jars of any given jelly or jam recipe in a reasonable amount of time. Say, like five years. I'm just not a jelly/jam eater. I like the stuff, but I don't eat breakfast enough, or make a PB&J as often as most people. So any jelly or jam I make will sit on the shelf for a LONG time before I get around to using it.

I can't tell you how many jars of jelly are in my fridge right now. I want to say at least four of various flavors. And I'm sure I will end up throwing them out before we can eat it all.

So I needed a way to make jams and jelly without the end result being gobs of stuff I won't use.

Enter the miracle of The Complete Book of Small-Batch Canning. I do not own this book yet. YET. But I will, and soon. And because of this book, I realized I can make smaller batches of the stuff I love and they will still taste great. So when a friend posted (before my FB Hiatus) the Peach Melba Jam, I thought, 'I can make a small batch!'

And I did.
And it's fabulous!

Small Batch Peach Melba Jam with a Heavy Raspberry Twist
Makes 3  1/2 pints (jam jars)

3 ripe peaches
1 cup blended raspberries
1/2 vanilla bean
1 pkt (.4 ozs) Classic Fruit Pectin
1/4 c sugar
3 1/4 c sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Peel, pit and chop peaches. Place in blender and blend until small (I just blended until the pieces were small enough to fit on a cracker and not be a huge blob)
When it comes to the raspberries, put one small container of raspberries into the blender and blended until smooth, then measured 1 cup (hence the 1 cup blended raspberries and not 1 cup raspberries, blended)

Add the peaches and raspberries to a heavy pot over medium heat.
Add the lemon juice.
Slice vanilla bean lengthwise, remove seeds and add seeds and bean to pot.
Add 1/4 cup sugar to pectin and stir, then add to pot.
Bring to a boil, then add remaining sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute.
Skim foam with metal spoon.
Remove vanilla bean (I rinsed mine and put it in a jar of sugar).

Pour mixture into three 1/2 pint sterilized hot jars (with sterilized bands and lids).
Put lids on and bands to finger tight. Place in BWB, covered, and boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Remove from BWB and let cool on towel or rack overnight.

That's it. Easy and fabulous. Of course, I had just a tad over 3 half pints, so I put the leftover bit into a plastic container and put it in the fridge. The pints went onto the canning shelf in the basement.

Like I said, this is heavy on the raspberries. So maybe another day I might actually make the peach Peach Melba jam? Who knows. I have the time now. LOL

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