Winter Recipes Feed

Oh boy that's good soup... Easy Posole, or Chicken and Hominy Soup

 

 

Easy Posole, or Chicken and Hominy Soup
Easy Posole, or Chicken and Hominy Soup

 

We have a cold spell coming through our area. The weather is perfect for this easier version of a classic Mexican dish. This soup is quick, easy, and good for you.

I try to keep hominy in my pantry and ham hocks in my freezer for this favorite soup.  If the mood strikes me for Posole, and I am out of ham hacks I let nothing stand in my way, I substitute sliced ham.  I cook the soup about 30 minutes less time if I am not using bone-in chicken and ham hacks.

Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

1 1/2  to 2 hrs

Total Time

2 to 2 1/2 hrs

 

Recipe adapted from: Ortega Authentic Family-Style Mexican Cooking

 

Ingredients

  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 Tablespoons chicken bullion
  • 2 1/2 - 3 pounds chicken parts with bone, or 3 - 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 pounds ham hocks, or 12 ounces sliced sandwich ham (diced)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 1/4 cups (2 -15 oz. cans) white hominy, drained
  • 1/2 cup to 1 3/4 cups (16 ounce jar) salsa
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Shredded cabbage (optional)
  • Tortillas strips (optional)

 

Directions

  1. PLACE water, bullion, chicken, pork and diced onion in large stockpot; cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, for about 1 hour for boneless chicken, or 1 1/2 hours for bone-in chicken and ham hacks.
  2. ADD hominy, 1/2 cup salsa, oregano and cumin to broth; stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until flavors are blended. Taste and adjust the spicy heat level, if needed, by adding more salsa.
  3. If using bone-in chicken and ham hacks cook until meat begins to come off bones. Remove any meat from bones. Discard skin, bones and fat. Return chicken and ham to pot.
  4. If using boneless chicken and sliced ham, remove chicken from broth; shred or chop meat. Remove any skin and discard. Return chicken to pot.
  5. SERVE in soup bowls topped with shredded cabbage, and tortilla strips. May top with an extra dollop of salsa.

 

The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave it 4 stars, saying "that's got some good heat to it.". This is one of his favorites recipes. He likes it hot with the upper level of salsa added.

 

For information about why hominy is so good for you, follow link to  the Jam Jam scientist's notebook coloredScientist's Notebook about Corn and Cornmeal Demystified

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

Corning, or Pickling, a Beef Brisket All By Myself - Really, It's Not Hard!

 Flat cut beef brisket before corning
Flat cut beef brisket before corning

 

This year I am actually corning, or pickling, my own beef before Saint Patrick's Day. It takes 6 to 10 days for a normal sized cut. I opted for flat cut corned beef brisket from Costco at $6.99 a pound. The flat cut is a much leaner cut than the point cut. However it still has a thin layer of fat on the bottom. This cut is often available in supermarkets and has a nice square shape.

Like most people I like to save money. I could have bought point cut at a local butcher shop for about $4.00 per pound, but that cut has more fat than I prefer. If I wanted to pickle several pieces at once to share with others, or freeze, I could have bought a whole beef brisket. Untrimmed briskets weigh 8-20 pounds and I would end up with both a flat cut and a point cut for about $3.50 a pound. Untrimmed briskets are more reasonably priced, but you would need a lot of room in your refrigerator, and there will be about 4 pounds of wasted fat to trim away. If you find a deal on a good sized beef top or bottom round, those cuts make a nice lean "corned" beef and may be more reasonably priced before Saint Patrick's Day.

Corning beef is like making pickles, you get to choose what ingredients you like. I looked at several recipes and subtracted what I did not like. Feel free to adjust my recipe to your liking.

 

Ingredients

 

Corned Beef Spices
Corned Beef Spices

 

  • 3/4 cup table salt or pickling salt
    Curing salt - Julia Child did not use this
    Curing salt - Julia Child did not use
  • 2 teaspoons curing salt (6.25% Sodium nitrite) optional, purchase from sausage shop or online. Do not add additional curing salt. Note: Julia Child did not use this ingredient.
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, mix of yellow and black
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1  tablespoon whole juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 5 slices fresh ginger
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 pounds ice (1 qt frozen)
  • 1 (4 to 6 pound) beef brisket, trimmed

 

Directions

 

Add salts to 1 quatr water
Add salts to 1 quart water

Place 1 quart water into a stockpot along with salts. Warm over high heat until the salts have dissolved. Remove brine from the heat and add the ice. Add your chosen spices and 2 additional quarts cold water.

Brine, Spices, and Ice
Brine, Spices, and Ice

Stir until the ice has melted. Brine should be less than 45 degrees F before adding beef. Once brine has cooled, place the brisket in a food safe plastic bag and add the brine with spices. I used a turkey roasting bag placed in a large bowl (like brining a turkey). Seal bag and make sure the brine is surrounding the brisket on all sides.

Brisket in a food safe plastic bag with brine
Brisket in a food safe plastic bag with brine

Place in the refrigerator for 6 to 10 days (6 days is plenty for a normal flat cut, an extra thick cut of beef round may take 10 days). Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine a little.

After 6 to 10 days rinse beef in cool water and cook brisket as desired.

 

Cooking corned beef brisket

For traditional corned beef brisket, one may make a spice bag from a square of muslin and tie with cooking string. To the spice bag add one bay leaf, ten peppercorns, a teaspoon yellow mustard seeds, a heaping teaspoon allspice berries, two or three whole cloves, and some caraway seeds. Cover beef with water by 1-inch. Add your spice bag.  Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Add onion, carrot, potatoes, and celery, cook about 15 minutes and add cabbage wedges. Cook all until fork tender.  Remove from the pot and thinly slice beef across the grain.

 

Best Little Jam House logo

 

Serving Suggestions

You may like to serve with a grainy mustard with your brisket. Click on this link to find my directions for making a fine New Yorke style mustard to complement your beef.

 

More Information

The Test Kitchen has a program on making your own corned beef from scratch that you might also find helpful.

 

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

Healthy Whole Grain Southern Style Skillet Cornbread

Whole Grain Skillet Cornbread
Whole Grain Skillet Cornbread - Cornbread this good does not last long

Now is the time for a nice pot of soup with a piece of warm cornbread. I used to avoid cornbread, but now I allow myself to have a portion. My assumptions about what makes a healthy diet have been challenged lately. First I read about the need to eat beans daily (Blue Zone Diet). I just read an older research article in American Society for Nutrition that describes the healthiest Mexican adults as the ones that eat a traditional diet with ~47% of their energy intake from maize and maize foods, and 4% from Beans.  Did they say 47% Maize?  That's a lot of corn! How can that much corn be good for you? Then I remembered that cornmeal can be a whole grain food (if it has the germ included), and in fact my favorite cornbread recipe from Ruth Reichl's The Gourmet Cookbook uses 100% whole grain stone ground cornmeal, and a hot skillet. I thought I would share my favorite delectably healthy recipe that goes so well with a pot of beans or soup. I will also share some variations, and recipes for different sized skillets.

 

Skillet Cornbread Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

 

Best Little Jam House logo

 

If you would like to download the Whole Grain Skillet Cornbread recipe without pictures click Download Cornbread Recipe

 

Special Equipment needed: a well-seasoned 9 to 9 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet, or 10 to 10 3/4-inch cast-iron skillet.

 

Ingredients for 9- to 9 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet (serves 8):

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, medium-grind

2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk

1/2 stick to 3/4 (4 to 6 tablespoons) butter, softened



Ingredients for 10 to 10 3/4-inch skillet (serves 12):

2 cups yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, medium-grind

3 tablespoons sugar (optional)

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

2 cups well-shaken buttermilk

3/4  to 1 stick (6 to 8 tablespoons) butter, softened

 

Variations:

  • For Southern White Cornbread (the way my Grandmother Low made it) substitute white cornmeal. In the heat of summer my grandmother would cook her cornbread on a griddle (like pancakes) and this way would not heat the kitchen so much.

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat with the skillet on the oven's center rack for 30 minutes (If you are pressed for time you can heat skillet in the oven for 10 minutes and finish by heating the pan on the top of the range until the added butter is browned).
  1. Stir together dry ingredients: cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  1. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl until blended.
  1. Add the butter to the hot skillet in oven. You want the butter to sizzle and brown around the edges and begin to foam (brown butter). If you used less butter, try to leave a slight coating of butter on the bottom and sides of the skillet so that the cornbread won't stick. If you used more butter, try to leave about 1/4 cup butter in bottom of skillet.
  1. Pour the brown butter into a heat safe measuring cup or small bowl, and return the skillet to the oven (alternately keep it hot on the range). Whisk the warm butter into the egg and buttermilk mixture.
  1. Stir cornmeal into the buttermilk mixture, combining until just evenly moistened.
  1. Remove hot skillet from oven and scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden - 17 to 25 minutes. Serve in skillet for a more rustic presentation and to keep bread warm, or alternately cool bread slightly and turn cornbread onto a serving plate.

 

I like the cornbread you make
"I like the cornbread you make."

 

The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave this 4 stars, saying "I like the cornbread you make. It tastes sweet." (I did not add any sugar) Fresh cornmeal with fresh butter naturally tastes sweet without added sugar.

 

 Corn and Cornmeal Demystified

 

Jam scientist's notebook What is the difference between maize and corn? Maize and corn are one in the same.

Is Cornmeal good for you? In whole grain form (with the germ), corn is healthy and full of nutrients. Corn is high in fiber and is good for digestion, has B vitamins, and has 10 times more Vitamin A than other grains. Corn contains antioxidants. Corn flour is a naturally gluten-free food.

What are the different types of corn?

Dent Corn - field corn is also called dent corn can be yellow or white (Zea mays indentata). Tortilla chips, snack foods, and masa can come from yellow dent corn or white dent corn. This corn is dry-milled for human consumption when dry and has a dent on the end of each kernel. Dent corn has higher starch content and lower sugar content than sweet corn, so is not good to eat fresh. Yellow cornmeal generally had a sweeter and more pronounced flavor, whereas white cornmeal is generally smother textured and subtler in flavor.

Flint Corn - Indian corn or calico corn, with multi-colored kernels. Flint corn (Zea mays indurata) is named after its hardness (like flint rock). It has less soft starch, more protean, and a lower glycemic index than yellow or white dent corn varieties. Recently heirloom varieties are starting to be grown and milled for use in cornmeal, hominy, tortillas, chips, masa, and so on. Different heirloom corns have distinct flavor profiles. Blue corn is part of this group and is said to have a nuttier taste than dent corn.

Sweet Corn - Sweet Corn grouped into three categories: standard corn (normal sugary), sugary enhanced, and supersweet corn. Standard corn has an especially short shelf life. My grandmother would say to pick it and run to cook it in boiling water to save its sweetness. Sugary enhanced corn is known for having a sweet flavor and somewhat longer shelf life. Supersweet corn is the sweetest of the sweet corns, and also has an extended shelf life.

Popcorn - To pop corn one needs a special kind of flint corn with extra hard hull (Zea mays everta), which has been dried to around 14% moisture. There are many varieties of popcorn, but there are two main shapes. One type looks more like a Mushroom, and is used for caramel corn, and other type looks like a snowflake shape is what the general used with buttery popcorn. Popcorn comes in a different sizes, and colors.

Nixtamalized corn -Long ago cooks in Guatemala found that boiling dried corn in alkali water removed the kernels' skins and produced softer and stickier dough that will hold together better when cooked. Food scientists now call this process nixtamalization. Whole corn that has been nixtamalized is called hominy or posole. Nixtamalized, ground, and dried corn is called masa or corn flour. Masa is sold at most Latin American groceries.

This nixtamalization process increases the availability of natural protein and niacin found in the corn, and so helps prevent pellagra.  The process also drastically reduces the toxins that can be found on moldy corn. Mesa is used to make corn tortillas, chips, tamales and other specialty and ethnic corn foods. Likewise, Southern corn grits are made from ground hominy

Regular cornmeal vs. Stone ground

Regular cornmeal, is ground rather finely between metal rollers and is

Regular degerminated cornmeal
Regular Degerminated Cornmeal

degerminated, so is not a whole grain. Regular cornmeal will be all one color without flecks of lighter germ. Regular cornmeal will last about a year if tightly sealed.

Stone-ground Cornmeal
Stone-ground Cornmeal

Stone-ground cornmeal, often has a coarser texture and normally has its germ intact, so it is whole grain, and usually retains more nutrients. Stone ground cornmeal can be identified by its lighter colored germ flecks interspersed throughout the meal. Stone-ground cornmeal will last about three months. For longer storage one can tightly seal and freeze the meal to last about a year.

What kind of corn would healthiest Hispanics eat with a traditional diet?

A traditional diet would include nixtamalized corn, in the form of posole or mesa made from flint or dent type corn. Of course, originally it would be made from flint (Indian) corn.

Northern vs. Southern Cornbread

Southern Cornbread - Southern cornbread is what we have made today. It is thinner, crustier, and more savory than northern cornbread. It is traditionally made with white cornmeal with no flour or sugar. Yellow cornmeal may be used for more "corn-like" flavor if desired. Baking the cornbread in a greased, preheated cast-iron skillet produces a crunchy, golden crust. It may also be cooked like a pancake if preferred. If sugar is added it is added in spoonfuls, not cups. If flour is added, very little is used. This cornbread normally accompanies soup, beans, stew, or greens.

 White Cornmeal
White Cornmeal

Northern CornbreadNorthern cornbread is sweeter, and tends to add comparatively large amounts of sugar using cup measurements. Northern cornbread rises higher and is more cake-like, and generally uses yellow cornmeal. White all-purpose flour is often added in equal amounts to the cornmeal. It is normally baked in a baking pan, or in muffins tins. It is sweet enough to be eaten alone, or to double as a dessert. Most cornbread boxed mixes are of northern type.

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

Gingerbread Spice Quick Drop Cookies - all the rich spices of gingerbread without all the work!

Cookie jar full of Gingerbread Spice Quick Drop Cookies
Cookie jar full of Gingerbread Spice Quick Drop Cookies

All the delicious taste and fragrance of gingerbread without all the work. I made 5 dozen of these soft, chewy, quick drop cookies, loaded with ginger and cinnamon, during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Grandpa, The Professor, and the whole family love them; by the end of the weekend, they were all gone!

I love the flavor of gingerbread, but I don't want to spend all day making it. I adapted Better Homes and Gardens' Ginger Cookies recipe to include all the rich spices of gingerbread, and included an option for a smaller sized batch at the end of this post, but honestly, these cookies will go so fast I would suggest baking the full batch size to avoid disappointment. When I checked for similar recipes online I was happy to find my recipe was comparable to the Test Kitchen's Molasses Spice Cookies, so you know it has got to be good!

  Best Little Jam House

 

Ingredients

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

4 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt (omit all added salt if using salted butter)

1-1/2 cups, 3 sticks, unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup light or dark molasses

3/4 cup sugar for dipping (Turbinado sugar or coarse sugar is preferable)

 

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack(s) to middle position(s) and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and salt; set aside.
  2. If using standing mixer fit with paddle attachment, or use electric mixer, in a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium-low speed until butter is whipped, about 30 seconds. Add the 2 cups sugar a little at a time on medium-high speed. Beat until combined and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Reduce speed to medium-low; beat in eggs, vanilla, and molasses until combined.
  3. For Standing mixer: Reduce standing mixer speed to low setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl. Give dough a stir by hand to ensure that no flour remains at bottom of the bowl. Dough will be soft.
    • If not using a stand mixer: beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture by hand.
  4. Scoop dough using a size #70 cookie scoop (1.25 inch diameter) rounding the top to approximate a ball, or shape dough into generous 1-1/4 inch balls. Roll the top of ball in the 3/4 cup sugar.
    #70 scoop delivers uniform cookies
    #70 scoop delivers uniform cookies
  5. Place 1-1/2 inches apart on a parchment lined or ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. If baking two sheets at a time: start cookies on the top rack and half way through baking move to the bottom rack, while reversing position of baking sheet from front to back during the move. Add the second sheet half way through the first bake onto top rack. Otherwise, cookies baked only on the hotter bottom rack may not develop the attractive cracks.
    • If baking the cookies one sheet at a time: Bake on the middle rack only, but reverse position from front to back half way through the bake. Cookies should develop attractive cracks on top.
  7. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are puffed. Cookies should look somewhat under baked (do not over-bake). Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies (60 cookies) if using#70 scoop, or hand rolling a 1-1/4 inch ball.

 

5 dozen cookies are just too much? Here is a smaller batch size:

Makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on ball size, just follow the directions above.

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1-1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt (omit all added salt if using salted butter)

3/4 cup (1-1⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup light or dark molasses

1/2 cup sugar for dipping (Turbinado sugar or coarse sugar is preferable)

IMGP9179

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

Kitchen Hack: Super easy five minute tactic to turn any pancake or waffle recipe into gingerbread

Kitchen Hack: Super easy five minute tactic to turn any pancake or waffle recipe into gingerbread
Kitchen Hack: Super easy five minute tactic to turn any pancake or waffle recipe into gingerbread.

Why settle for ordinary? Use this simple and quick tactic that works with any pancake or waffle recipe, be it homemade, mix from a box, or gluten-free to taste just like gingerbread. Have them every week, or save them for Christmas, however you like.

Ingredients:

2-3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and/or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup molasses (unsulfured)  

 

Instructions:

turn any pancake or waffle recipe into gingerbreadAdd the above ingredients to any single batch of pancakes or waffles that uses about two cups of flour per batch. Just add these spices to the dry ingredients. Note that no sugar is added. Any sweetness will come from the syrup, but some people do eat them plain.

Taking pancakes and waffles up to an even higher plane:

  • To take your pancakes or waffles to an even higher level, add whipped cream. take your pancakes or waffles to an even higher level
  • To really hit breakfast out of the ball park, lace the whipped cream with finely minced candied ginger.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

The flavor of freshly baked gingerbread in a jar - Easy Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly

Gingerbread Spice Jelly made with rich spices and molasses - the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread.
Gingerbread Spice Jelly made with rich spices and molasses - the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread.

It is easy to make, can be done in less than an hour, and has the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread! This recipe turned out sooo good I thought twice about releasing it on the internet. Maybe I should keep this recipe for myself. In the end I decided to share. I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as my family does.

Gingerbread is a wonderful seasonal treat; even Starbucks releases a limited edition Gingerbread Latte.  Most gingerbread flavored products are, like gingerbread, delicious.  But some are.... well...sad. 

I ran into a jelly made with gingerbread flavored tisane. It sounded intriguing, but I was a little shocked by the thought of making a jelly with just sugared and flavored water. I thought I could do better. After all, the ingredients and spices in gingerbread are no secret, and using the full gallery of gingerbread spices and molasses in an apple jelly foundation should give a nice rich taste. I thought the only trick would be getting the spice amounts correct.

There was another problem though. I also needed to tackle how to use apples juice as the fruit base. Buying apple juice by the jug is notoriously difficult to work with because pectin destroying enzymes are added during the juice manufacturing process, and those enzymes would also inactivate the boxed pectin I would add to make the jelly. I needed this process to be easy enough for beginners. Extracting clear juice from fresh apples is difficult. Unprocessed apple juice is not available in many areas, so that wouldn't work. I wondered if using apple juice from frozen concentrate might work.  I was absolutely thrilled to find that juice made from frozen concentrate jells easily!!! After some experimentation I believe I got this new recipe spot-on. It is easy to make, can be done in less than an hour, and has the full fledged flavor of gingerbread!

First, I will be sharing just the recipe for making the jelly.  If you need information about the basic canning process please click here for Canning Instructions from Virginia Tech.

If you would like to print this recipe without all the pictures please click Download Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly Recipe

 

Golden acorn logo TM 

Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly

 Author: A Best Little Jam House Exclusive

Recipe type:

Jelly

 

Serves:

10, 8-oz jars or half- pints

Prep time: 

10 minutes

 

Headspace:

1/4 inch

Cook time: 

20 minutes

 

Processing:

10 minutes

Total time: 

40 minutes

     

 

 

made with rich spices and molasses

 

Ingredients:

16 ounce frozen concentrated apple juice (the type that calls for addition of 3 cans water)

1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 Tablespoons molasses (unsulfured)  

2 Tablespoons lemon juice (1 small lemon)

 2 packages (1 3/4 ounces each pack) fruit pectin

8 cups sugar 

 

Instructions:

  1. Sterilize jars and prepare lids per manufacture's instruction.
  2. Add apple juice and 2 1/2 cans (not 3 cans) water into a wide-bottomed pan, or a preserving kettle. Add spices, molasses, lemon juice, and dry pectin. Stir frequently while bring contents to a boil.
  3. Add sugar all at once and stir well.
    Add sugar all at once
    Add sugar all at once
    Bring contents to a full rolling boil.
    Boil for one minute
    Boil for one minute
    Boil for one minute and check the set. When jelly mixture sheets from a spoon. Remove from heat; skim off foam after cooling one minute.
  4. Ladle hot jelly mixture immediately into hot,
    1/4 inch headspace
    ¼ inch headspace
    sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; add two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  5. Jelly will last at least one year.

Note: Processing time given is for 1000 foot elevation and below. If you are working at a higher elevation click here for information about needed time adjustments.

I suggest you label your jam jars. One may simply write on the lid, or you may download my personal Christmas labels by clicking Download Gingerbread Spice Jelly Christmas Label. My labels have a larger label for the lid and a smaller label for the front of jar. One just needs to write in the canning date, cut out, and glue the label on the jar.

 

gingerbread Spice Jelly Label

 

The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave it 5 stars. " This makes my mouth happy.... This is good! We could sell this!... Are you sure you want to put this recipe on the web? I don't know if I remember what gingerbread tastes like... This is as good as the blueberry grape jelly" (one of his favorites).

 

Gingerbread spice jelly on hot biscuits
Gingerbread spice jelly on hot biscuits

 

Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly Demystified

How do I know this recipe is safe? pH and Heat

pH  - To be safe from botulism bacteria growth and its food poisoning toxins, the pH of canned goods must be below 4.6 (one wants to stay below pH 4.4. to be on the safe side). The pH of apple juice ranges from 3.35 to 4.0. We also added Lime juice with pH of 2.0 - 2.35. Testing the pH of this jelly it was pH 3.1 - well within the safety zone. However, low pH does not affect yeasts and molds.

Heat - Processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes is enough heat to kill actively growing bacteria and prevent yeast and mold growth under normal sanitary circumstances. This is how we control the yeasts and molds that were not affected by the lower pH.

Why did the recipe call for frozen apple juice?

Enzymes -When consumers buy apple juice in a jug they do not want the juice to turn into apple jelly in the container; they want a nice clear, thin juice instead of a viscous, cloudy liquid. To accomplish this one of the things manufacturers do is add enzymes that destroy the pectin. Most enzymes can be inactivated by heat. Therefore, we used concentrated apple juice that was heated in order to evaporate water, and thus the pectin destroying enzymes were inactivated by the heating process. If you live in an area where truly fresh pressed apple juice (that has had no enzymes added) is available one could use 7 cups of fresh pressed cider instead if you prefer.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

Alternatives to Canned Cranberry Relish

Kick the cranberry sauce in the tin can to the side. I never like it anyway. Here are few of my favorite alternatives...

To see the second post about alternatives to tin can cranberry sauce, click Apricot-Almond Chutney.

 

Author: Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish from Ocean Spray®

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

Ingredients:

1 unpeeled orange, cut into eighths and seeded
1 12-ounce package cranberries, rinsed and drained
3/4-1 cup sugar

Directions:

Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.

NOTE: May also be prepared in a food grinder.

 

I think I will go a little English this year and also add a conserve to the table:

Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve (click for recipe)

Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays
Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays


Cranberries have a rather strong flavor for children's sensitive tastes. This one is kid friendly, but does introduce a sophisticated combination:

Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce (click for recipe)

http://www.bestlittlejamhouse.com/.a/6a01b8d2238f49970c01b8d2346b20970c-pi
Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays

Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays
Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays

But wait... What is a conserve?

The French would call it a jam with nuts.  However we are speaking English, and the English call jam with nuts a "conserve". It is traditionally made in the fall or winter, so it may contain some tried fruit too.  Our tart little conserve would work well as a condiment for meat or cheese; it could also be an alternative to cranberry sauce, (think Thanksgiving) or work as jelly (good as a topping for muffins).

First, I will be sharing just the recipe for making jam.  If you need information about the basic canning process please click here for Canning Instructions from Virginia Tech.

If you would like to print this recipe without all the pictures please click   Download Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry Conserve

 

Golden acorn logo!!! copy

 

Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve

Author: Adapted from Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry Conserve Recipe from Little Jars, Big Flavors by Southern Living

Recipe type:

Conserve (jam with nuts)

 

Serves:

6, 8-oz jars or half- pints

Prep time: 

1 hour

 

Headspace:

1/4 inch

Cook time: 

1 hour

 

Processing:

5 minutes

Total time: 

2 hours

     

Ingredients:

3 cups apple juice (fresh pressed is best) 

3 cups cored and finely chopped Honeycrisp apples (unpeeled, about 3 large apples)

1/2 cup (lightly pressed) dried cranberries

1/2 cup (lightly pressed) dried cherries (tart)

2 sticks cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Chop pecans
Chop pecans

2 packages (1 3/4 ounces each pack) fruit pectin (If you live in an area where truly fresh pressed apple juice is available, and are using that type, just use one box of pectin).

5 cups sugar                                   

Mix pectin with sugar and add sugar and pectin all at once
Mix pectin with sugar and add sugar and pectin all at once
Core and chop apples
Core and chop apples

 

Instructions:

  1. Sterilize jars and prepare lids per manufacture's instruction. 
    Ingredients ready to cook
    Ingredients ready to cook
  2. Measure apple juice and add to kettle. Add chopped apple, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and cinnamon sticks. Stirring constantly bring to a full rolling boil.
  3. Mix pectin with sugar. Add sugar and pectin all at once and stir well. Add nuts. Return mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute and check the set. (Do not skip this checking step - you may need to boil a second minute). When jelly mixture sheets from a spoon. Remove from heat; remove cinnamon sticks, skim off foam after cooling five minutes (cooling time prevents the berries from floating in the jar).
  4. Full boil - just smell the apples cooking
    Full boil - just smell the apples cooking
    4.  Ladle hot conserve mixture immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; add two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner for 5 minutes.
    Into the water bath for 5 minuts
    Into the water bath for 5 minutes

Note: Processing time given is for 1000 foot elevation and below. If you are working at a higher elevation click here for information about needed time adjustments.

Jam will last at least one year at peak quality.

I suggest you label your jam jars. One may simply write on the lid, or you may download my personal labels by clicking Download Honeycrisp Apple Conserve label My labels have a larger round label for the lid and a smaller oval label for the front of jar. One just needs to write in the canning date, cut out, and glue the label on the jar. If the jam will be used as Christmas gifts, The Graphics Fairy has some nice ideas for holiday labels  http://thegraphicsfairy.com/homemade-gifts-jelly-holiday-labels-reader-feature/.

Hors d'oeuvres of Canadian bacon, our conserve, and feta cheese on top of crackers
Hors d'oeuvres of Canadian bacon, our conserve, and feta cheese on top of crackers

The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave it 3 stars. It has a nice tart flavor that could take the place of cranberry sauce. Wonderful hors d'oeuvres (pictured above). FYI, The Professor is more of a fan of sweets rather than tart/sweet.

 

 Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve Demystified

 

Jam scientist's notebook coloredHow do I know this recipe is safe? pH and Heat

pH  - To be safe from botulism bacteria growth and its food poisoning toxins, the pH of canned goods must be below 4.6 (one wants to stay below pH 4.4. to be on the safe side). The pH of apple juice ranges from 3.35 to 4.0. The pH of dried cranberries has a pH of 2.8-3.0. The pH of sweet cherries is 3.8-4, but I used tart cherries, that should be on the low end, or a little lower. The end product should be between 2.8 and 3.4 - well within the safety zone. Low pH does not affect yeasts and molds.

Heat - Processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes is enough heat to kill actively growing bacteria and prevent yeast and mold growth under normal sanitary circumstances. This is how we control the yeasts and molds that were not affected by the low pH.

 

Why did I mix the pectin with the sugar? or Why apple juice from store is hard to set into apple jelly:

Enzymes -When consumers buy apple juice they do not want the juice to turn into apple jelly in the container; they want a nice clear, thin juice instead of a viscous, cloudy liquid. To  accomplish this one of the things manufacturers do is add enzymes that destroy the pectin. Most enzymes can be inactivated by heat. Therefore, we attempted to inactivate the pectin destroying enzymes by bring our mixture to a boil before adding our boxed pectin, and we added two boxes of pectin to be on the safe side. If you live in an area where truly fresh pressed apple juice is available, and are using that type, just use one box of pectin because pectin destroying enzymes were not added to your juice.

pH and Gelling

pH is an important factor in the gelling of pectin. I had difficulty getting the original conserve recipe to gel.  I checked the pH of the conserve and found it to be 2.7. On the edge of being too low to gel. A pH range of 2.8 to 3.3 is needed to set the gel depending on the type of pectin. The most common cause of gel failure is not enough acid, but it is important to remember that too much acid also causes gel failure. The original recipe called for the addition of lemon juice, I have removed the lemon juice in the current recipe to moderate the pH. Cranberries are similar to citrus fruits in their tartness due to the natural fruit acids they contain, so we have enough acid from the cranberries without the addition of lemon juice.

Conditions for Gelling

pH of mixture

3.6 – no gel (pH too high)

3.4 – weak gel

3.2 - good gel

3.0 – good firm gel

2.8 - good gel

2.6 – weak gel –syneresis (liquid separated from the gel) may occur

2.4 – no gel (pH too low)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist