Kitchen Bitch

Cooking in the Kitchen with Sass & Class

Canning Favorites: Homemade Spiced Apple Butter November 29, 2012

As usual, life is racing by this holiday season. I made it through the first round of my newest project, A Delish Dish Homemade Holiday, with more than 150 jars of jam, jellies, and preserves sold by Thanksgiving! Pictured above is an Instagram photo of my full line of homemade goodies from Thanksgiving (follow me @KitchenBitch), and I’ll be swapping in some new favorites for Christmas, like Christmas Plum Conserve, Apple-Jalapeno Jelly, Blueberry Maple Butter (hello, pancakes!), Fig Strawberry Jam with Balsamic Vinegar, and my first-ever low-sugar preserve for those with diabetes, Mixed Berry Apple Spread. I make everything myself in small batches, and the 4 and 8 oz. sizes are perfect for gift giving! Click here to download the new order form! (more…)

 

Fall 2012 Menu + A Delish Dish Homemade Holiday November 8, 2012

Holiday prep is already in full swing here for The Kitchen Bitch aka The Delish Dish, and I’d like to share with you my new Fall Menu, as well as tell you about the launch of A Delish Dish Homemade Holiday! You can check out the new menu on my website or you can download a PDF of my new Fall Menu here.

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Easy DIY Chive Blossom Vinegar May 14, 2012

As my career progresses, I’m really beginning to understand the power of vinegar in cooking. It adds much needed acid to stews, sauces, soups and dressings, and it comes in wild variety of flavor profiles. For the most part I always stuck with white distilled vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar, but I’m realizing there’s a whole world of vinegar flavors out there—many of which I can make at home!

I’ve always been a huge fan Marisa McClellen’s blog Food in Jars, and she recently re-posted one of her old recipes for Chive Blossom Vinegar. I immediately thought of my mom’s herb garden and the three giant chive plants that protect its borders. I forwarded the post to my mom, and low and behold she had a ton of chive blossoms for me to make this vinegar. Thanks Ma!

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Summer in a Jar: Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade September 13, 2010

Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade spread on English muffins is a great start to the day.

Summer’s officially over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy its bright delicious flavors in the coming months. With the beginning of fall, farmers often sell the bounty of their bumper crops at amazingly low prices. For example, I got an entire CASE (i.e., 6 pints) of strawberries for $5 at my local fruit market, and red raspberries were selling for just 53 cents per box the week before. Now that’s a deal if I ever saw one.

“What in the world are you going to do with all those strawberries?” my boyfriend Doug asked me. “Make jam, Doug. Duh!” I replied. And I wasn’t going to make just any old jelly. I wanted to make something really fantastic. This recipe for Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade caught my eye, and it was love at first sight. The delicate sweetness of strawberries paired with the bright fresh flavor of lemon seemed unbeatable and, boy, was I right.

I received a canning set for Christmas last year (thanks Ma!) and had yet to use it.  I finally began my foray into canning a few weeks ago after my friend Jodie mentioned that she had made peach preserves. I made Red Raspberry Jam using the above-mentioned raspberries. While it was good, it didn’t have that wow factor I was looking for to sustain me all winter long. This Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade takes the cake, or so the proverbial saying goes.

You can pick up your own canning kit at most hardware stores, and you can purchase canning jars and pectin at many supermarkets as well as at the hardware store and online. Pectin is a thickening agent that naturally occurs in fruit, but you need to add some to your jam or jelly to get that thick consistency. There are two kinds of powdered pectin—one made from natural fruit pectin and one made with artificial thickeners. I only went with the natural fruit pectin because it was the only option available, but it worked just fine. If you’re looking for a cooking adventure, or just a way to make summer last all year long—at least in your pantry—than canning could be just what you’re looking for. Happy canning!

Powdered Pectin

Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade
This recipe, adapted from Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving, yields about 7 half-pint jars. When you open your jars for consumption, you might want to give them a good stir if all the fruit has settled at the top. Click here for a print copy of this recipe.

¼ c. thinly sliced lemon peel from about 2 lemons (directions below)
4 c. crushed strawberries (about 3 quarts)*
1 package powdered pectin
1 Tbs. lemon juice
6 c. sugar

*Crush strawberries with a potato masher or fork instead of a food processor to avoid over-processing.

Crush strawberries with a potato masher

Prepare jars. Visually examine jars and caps for nicks, cracks, uneven rims, or sharp edges that may prevent sealing or cause breakage. Thoroughly wash jars and two-piece caps with hot soapy water. Fill a boiling-water canner three-quarters full with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer clean jars and lids in water bath for 10 minutes. Jars can be left in simmering water until ready to use.

Peeled Lemons

Peel and boil lemons. Using a vegetable peeler, peel lemons. Cut lemon peel into long, thin strips, called julienne. Halve the julienned lemon peel if smaller pieces are desired. Cover lemon peel with water; boil 5 minutes. Drain.

Julienned Lemon Peel

Make marmalade. Combine lemon peel, strawberries, powdered pectin, and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary.

Slowly bring strawberries, lemon peel, pectin and lemon juice to a boil.

Can and process marmalade. Removing the jars from the boiling water canner one at a time, ladle the hot marmalade into the hot jars, leaving ¼-in. headspace. Wipe rim with a clean, damp rag and adjust two-piece caps. Repeat with remaining jars. Return filled jars to boiling-water canner, making sure water covers jars by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil and process for 10 minutes. When processing time is complete, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Let canner cool 5 minutes before removing jars. Remove jars from canner and set them upright, 1 to 2 inches apart, on a dry towel or wire rack to cool. Do not retighten bands. Let jars cool 12 to 24 hours before checking for a seal.

Jars of My Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade

Test the seals. Press down on the center of the lid to determine if it is concave; the remove the band and gently try to lift the lid off with your fingers. If the center does not flex up and down and you cannot life the lid off, the lid has a good vacuum seal.

*If a lid does not seal within 24 hours, you can immediately reprocess by reheating the product and packing it into a clean hot jars. OR you can simply refrigerate the product instead of reprocessing. I do this for half-filled jars that are leftover when I can jam and jellies.