Monday, August 29, 2011

Apple Pie Jam

I made several batches of Apple Pie Jam.  I first saw the recipe rubyrogue posted on BYC I am always looking for different recipes and this one fit the bill.

As usual I adapted the recipe slightly.  This recipe made 8 1/2 pints.

14 c apples – peeled and cored
½ c lemon juice
2 c homemade pectin
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
3 tsp cinnamon
8 c sugar

Peel and core apples.  I place them in a bowl of water with some lemon juice added to keep them from turning brown.

Chop apples - I use pulse on my food processor so there are some larger chunks left.

If you chop it too fine, it turns our more like spiced applesauce instead of jam.

Place apples in a large heavy pot.  Stir in spices, sugar, lemon juice and pectin.

Heat to a rolling boil stirring so as not to stick or burn.  You can see that it becomes more liquid at the start of the heating process.

Keep boiling the mixture until it thickens.  Do jam test for doneness.  Have a saucer in the freezer and add a bit of jam and let it cool.  Jam is done when the sample wrinkles when pushed with your finger instead of oozing around.

Fill sterilized jars leaving some space at the top.  Wipe off rim and seal jars.  Process for 10 minutes in hot water bath.

Remove from canner and let cool.  Make sure lids have sealed before labelling and putting away for the winter.

The jam has a nice taste and texture.  I prefer it to apple butter because I like the bits of apple.  Very yummy!  Enjoy!  ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fresh Raspberry Pie

My family loves fresh raspberry pie.  Unfortunately you only have the short raspberry season to enjoy it.  I've made this recipe for over 20 years. 

It starts with a baked pie shell.  You can you a frozen shell if you wish or make your own.  I use the same pie crust recipe I've used since the beginning of time. 

Pie Crust Ingredients
2 c flour
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 c Crisco or lard
6 to 8 Tbsp ice water

This makes 1 9" pie.  I used 1/2 for the raspberry pie and saved the rest for another project.

Glaze Ingredients
1 c raspberries
1 c water
1 c sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch

Sort raspberries so firmer, nicer looking ones are for the pie.  The softer ones can be used for the glaze.  Rinse berries quickly so they don't get to wet or the crust will get soggy.  It takes about 4 cups of raspberries for the pie depending on how high you pile them.


Combine 1 cup raspberries with 1 cup water in a small saucepan.  Mash berries and bring to a boil to bring out all the juice.  

Simmer several minutes until all the berries are mushy.

Strain the liquid and return to the saucepan.  As you can see below, some of the seeds went through the strainer (I am missing my finer strainer) but that is not a big problem since you will be pouring the liquid on raspberries with seeds anyway.

Add sugar to juice and stir well.  Mix cornstarch with a bit of cold water to dissolve and add to the hot juice, stirring constantly so lumps don't form.

Stir the glaze until it thickens.  You can see below how the liquid clears up as it thickens.

Pour or spoon the glaze over the raspberries.

Continue adding the glaze covering all the berries.

Refrigerate for several hours to set the glaze.

We didn't wait long enough for the pie to completely set so the first pieces were a little messy.  Very tasty, just messy looking.

The next pieces looked better when the glaze had a bit more time to set.  But sometimes you just have to jump the gun and cut into it before the glaze is set.

After having this pie, we prefer it to fresh strawberry pie.  The tartness of the raspberries offset the sweetness of the glaze.  Enjoy!  ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birds on the Wire

I heard a racket out the front window and looked out to see what it was.

I snapped the pics from my front step not wanting to move too much and scare the birds away.

They were stretched along the wire chattering away.


I couldn't tell what kind of birds they were as they were not close enough for me to see them clearly.

One would hop off and another would take their place.

A bunch of birds were also in the tree under the wire.

Here is a close-up of the tree with the birds gathered.

From what I could see, some of the birds had lighter coloured heads while others had dark heads.  They were in different shades of brown.

Seeing all those birds reminded me of a short cartoon by Pixar called For the Birds.  I hope you get a chuckle out of it like I did.  Enjoy!    ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I love Borscht.  I make both beet borscht and cabbage borscht but my favorite is beet.  I can never make a small pot of soup, I add and add until the pot is full.  But that's okay because I freeze it for later use. 

My recipe does not have amounts as it depends on how much you want to make and what you want to add.  Below is my guideline or suggestion and you can take it from there.

I usually start with a couple of soup bones for extra flavor but you can omit this step if you want it to be totally vegetarian.  I throw the bones into the pot and add water.  You do not want to fill the pot with water because the soup grows as you add to it.  I keep the soup at a slow boil as I keep adding ingredients.  I add the ingredients in the order below.

Chop an onion or two.  I'm doing it the lazy way with my food processor.

Chop several stalks of celery and a bunch of the celery leaves as well.  The celery is the only vegetable that I did not grow myself.

I don't worry about uniform sizes of the veggies.  Add the celery and onions to the pot.

My cabbage did not do well this year - the heads were quite small and loose.  I chopped two small heads to add to the borscht.

Next add tomatoes.  Since mine aren't ready yet, I added a jar of last year's.

I dry my own parsley each year.  Add a handful or a pinch.

For spices I use seasoning salt, pepper, paprika, basil and sometimes a tiny bit of cayenne pepper.

Clean and sort your beet greens keeping the nice crisp greens ones.  Toss the rest in the compost.

I chop the stems as well as the leaves.

It is easier to slice the leaves if you pile them up nicely.  It also keeps the pieces more manageable.

Some of the leaves were too big so I stacked them in a pile and sliced them in half before cutting them as above.

Chop a few carrots.  Again I am using my food processor to slice the carrots.

The push of a button and voila - sliced carrots.

 Wash and peel the beets before cutting them up.  I usually plant the Cylindra beets you see below because I find them easier to handle when pickling - they fit into the jars easier.  I find I can usually slice them right into the jar without having to use the cutting board as I do with the big round Detroit beets.

Slice up the beets into reasonable size pieces. 

I has both yellow and green beans ready so used both.  I also add peas if I have them but mine were awful this year so there were none for the borscht.

Cut the beans into bite-sized pieces.

Peel a few potatoes.

Cut up the potatoes and add to the soup.

Wash your dill carefully and use only the bright green leaves. 

Chop the dill and remove any large stems.  

I add this right at the end.  I taste the borscht several times while add ingredients to check the spices.  You can add more to taste as you go.

When the vegetables are cooked the borscht is ready.  Some people like it just as it is.

I prefer mine with a big dollop of sour cream.  We usually eat it with homemade bread, buns or biscuits.  It is a wonderful meal.  Enjoy!  ;)