Loquat Jam

When I got a text from a friend last week asking if I wanted Loquats to make jam with I said, “Yes.  I love them. Thank you.”  Then promptly went to Google to find out exactly what a Loquat was.  To a girl who grew up in Kansas it sounded a little exotic.  I had no idea what they looked like, tasted like or if I could use them to make a jam anyone would want to eat.  So after discovering they were a distant relative of the apple, originally from southeastern China and armed with the few recipes I found online I felt prepared for a new culinary adventure.

The tree was full of the small fruit so up the ladder I went.  The air smelled delicious and they were a beautiful orange color.  There was more than enough fruit for me to try several different recipes.  I easily picked 15 lbs of fruit and there was plenty left over for a second trip.

I combined a few recipes that I found and this is my version of Loquat Jam.

Weigh 5 lbs of  Loquats, cut the blossom end off and remove the seeds.
Chop in a blender and add to the pot you want to use to cook your jam.
Add water so that it is just covering the chopped Loquats.
Add Ground Ginger, Ground Cinnamon and Ground Cloves to taste.  (I was heavier with the Ginger and Cinnamon as the Cloves can be very strong)
Bring to a boil.
Once boiling reduce heat to low/simmer.  Cook until fruit is tender.  (It was about an hour for me).
Be sure to stir occasionally.
While the fruit is cooking place one or two small plates in the freezer for testing your jam setting.

After the fruit has cooked and the peel is as tender and soft as you like it add sugar to taste.  The fruit is a little tart so it will depend on if your taste to how much sugar you want to add.
For 5 lbs of fruit I added 1.5 cups of sugar and I thought it was delicious.  Just sweet enough to not lose the natural tartness of the Loquat.

I then cooked the mixture for another hour or so until the setting was reached.
You can test the setting by placing a small spoonful of jam onto a plate you have chilled in the freezer.  If it does not spread it is ready to be preserved in sterilized jars.  Process as you would any jams in a water bath.

One suggestion I saw was to use this jam as a topping over a cheesecake.  I don’t need much of an excuse to eat cheesecake but now that I have discovered this wonderful fruit I will simply have to follow this suggestion.

Enjoy!

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Jalapeno Jelly

I had a special request for some Jalapeno Jelly this week.  It’s so easy to make and so good that I wanted to share it with anyone else who might want to give it a go.  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 Jalapeno peppers
Half of a green bell pepper
Half of a sweet red pepper
1  1/2 cups of vinegar (apple cider or white works well)
5 cups of sugar
1 pouch of liquid pectin, 6 oz  (Powder will not work)

1. Half Jalapeno peppers and remove the seeds of two of the peppers (for hotter jelly leave seeds from two or all three of the peppers).
2. Cut the green and red peppers into small pieces.
3. Place all the peppers into a blender and chop.
4. Place pepper mixture, vinegar and sugar into a 5 quart pan and bring to a boil.
5. Boil rapidly for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Then remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
6. Add pectin and stir until it is well mixed, then allow to cool for 2 minutes.
7. Stir well again for about a minute to ensure that the pectin is well mixed.  Then pour into prepared jars and into the water bath for 10 minutes.
This recipe makes about 5 half pint jars.

 

It is so easy and so good.
One of my favorite ways to eat it is with a little bit of cream cheese on wheat crackers.
My brother loves it on a turkey sandwich.

Try lots of different things and see what you love it with.

Wild Texas Plum Jelly

I can’t begin to say how good this jelly is.  I love plum jelly but I REALLY loved this one.  I was lucky enough to have two plum trees that were ripe and full of plums. I could have all I wanted to come and pick.  And I am very grateful.

 

Wild Texas Plum Jelly

 

Igredients:

5 pds plums
4 cups of water
1 packet of Pectin (1.75 oz)
7 cups of sugar

1. Place plums and water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling reduce heat to simmer.
3. Allow to simmer for 30 mins.
4. Line a strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth.
5. Place plum mixture in strainer for 30 mins or until there is 5 1/2 cups of liquid.
6. Return liquid to pan.
7. Add pectin to liquid and bring to a boil.
8. Add sugar and bring to a rolling boil.
9. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.
10. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
11. Process as you would any jams or jellies.

Yields about 8 half-pints

 

Hope you enjoy!

Pears,Pears and more Pears!

It’s pear season! A friend down the road has a pear tree with an abundant supply and I have gone pear crazy.

I decided to start with Pear Butter.  If it works with apples why not pears.  I found some recipes and adapted them into a Red Wine Pear Butter that is delicious.  If you like pears poached in red wine you will love this.

Ingredients

5 lbs of pears
(cut into 2 in pieces, if using a food mill it is not necessary to core them,
if not using a food mill I suggest coring)
1 cup red wine
2 cups water

4 slices of orange
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean split
1/2 Tsp cardemon
1 & 1/2 cup of sugar
Dash of salt

 

1. Place cut pears, wine and water into a large pot and bring to a boil.

2.  Once boiling reduce heat to medium/low and let cook until pears are soft
(the average for me was about 1 hour.  The softer the pears the easier to put through the mill or sieve)

3.  Once pears are cooked press through the food mill or push through a sieve.
Discard any hard parts left from the pears

4.  Return pear puree to large pot and add remaining ingredients.

5.  Bring to a boil.

6.  Once boiling reduce heat to low/simmer for 1 to 2 hours depending on batch.

7.  You can test your mixture to see if it is done by placing a small amount on a chilled plate.
There should me not liquid on around the edges.

8.  If canning place finished mixture into sterilized jars and place in a water bath.
Leave in water bath 10 mins then remove and let cool completely before storing.

Hope you enjoy!

Pictures from the kitchen below.