Monday, August 3, 2015

Jammin' Up the Peaches......A Recipe of Sorts

Since a few readers have asked for my peach jam recipe, here it is.

Let me put a disclaimer that this is the first time I've ever made peach jam(I've made other kinds though through the years).
There was a grocery deal on local peaches last week here before we left for our trip to move the Eldest son to his new digs so I had Hubs pick me up about 6 lbs.
Totally forgot to process them and make the jam before we left on Thursday so I threw the bag into the fridge and left them.
When we got back I needed to get on the jam making so Sunday morning before company arrived later that day for dinner I made the jam and canned it.

I sort of used the recipe on the back of the Sure-Jell package.  Sure-Jell is a pectin used for making jellies/jams/conserves/marmalades.  It is what makes your jams/jellies set up, "jell" as it were.
You can also take your peels and boil them down to get the natural pectin in the fruit and use that, put it's an added step and using a packaged product is easier.  ;-)

So I pit, peel and slices my peaches up until I have 8 cups.  Put the slices, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice(any kind) and a package of pectin in a pot and turn on the heat to get it boiling.  As there is little liquid at this point you'll need to stir often.
When it starts boiling, add 6 cups of sugar.

Now if you want to do a low or no sugar version jam you'll have to use a special pectin for that or a different proportion of pectin to fruit.
This is a regular old jam with sugar in it. 8-)

So add the sugar and stir until it all liquefies.
Then continue to cook at a low boil for 20 minutes.
Turn off the pot and put your jam into containers of your choice.......plastic for the freezer or glass canning jars if you are preserving it that way(shelf stable).
If canning wash and sterilize your jars, rings and lids.  Put jam into jars, place lids and rings on and tighten the rings.  Process jars in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.  Make sure the water covers the jars completely 2 inches above the tallest jar.
Remove jars from canner and place on a towel to cool.
A few hours later check all your lids to make sure they sealed(when pressing on the lids there is no give or spring).  If any haven't sealed either reprocess them in the water bath canner or keep in the fridge.

This batch made 10-4 oz. jars, 1-8 oz. jar and 1 pint 64 oz. total.
This is the odd assortment of jars I had that were smaller than quarts.  Ideally I'd use the 8 or 12 oz. jars instead but these tiny 4 oz. jars are good for giving as gifts or if you don't consume a lot of jams(which we don't)and you don't want it to go bad after you open one.
I don't know what I'll do with that pint jar of jam! lolz

1 jar is missing as it left with our company last night. 8-)

Next time, if there is a next time, I'm going to try a lower sugar version.  Since it was my first time making peach I wanted to do it the regular way once.

If you are reticent or unsure in your jam making skills there is an excellent fruit to sugar to pectin calculator on the Ball site HERE.

You can select full sugar, low sugar or no sugar versions and it gives you the proportions to use for each.



This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Boy Did I Have Some Energy!" Edition--

Usually when I get home from traveling I am a slug and don't want to do anything besides the basics.
Not this time!
We picked up  fresh farm produce and reduced meats on the way home and I marinated veggies and steak and put up 3 bags of green beans that evening.  Then I made peach jam the next morning.  Today I have to blanch and freeze the rest of the corn on the cob I bought too.  This week may also find me getting more green beans to prep and put up for winter too as the beans are cheap and nice looking right about now around here.

By the end of this week between harvesting/putting up veggies and getting College Boy packed up to go back to school I may collapse.  Stay tuned to see how it all turns out.... ;-)
Onward to the meal planning!
Here's what was planned last week.......

1. Sunday--Kielbasa(from the freezer), rolls, onions, pickles
2. Monday--crab cakes and fish, leftover cole slaw, leftover stir-fry veggies
3. Tuesday--leftover roast chicken made into something TBD, grilled yellow squash
4. Wednesday--maybe Chinese take-out or "breakfast for dinner"
5. Thursday--eating out
6, Friday--eating out
7. Saturday--leftovers(risotto?)and veggies
And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Kielbasa(from the freezer), rolls, onions, pickles
2. Monday--crab cakes and shrimp, leftover cole slaw, leftover stir-fry veggies
3. Tuesday--leftover roast chicken, grilled yellow squash & onions
4. Wednesday--Chinese take-out
5. Thursday--Eating Out--Lunch-fish Sandwich/Fried Dinner-Steak Sandwich and Soup
6, Friday--Eating Out--Lunch-bbq Sandwich Dinner-Steak, Salad and Mac and Cheez
7. Saturday--Eating Out--Lunch-Chicken Salad Sandwich and Fruit Dinner-leftovers(I had hot and sour soup from my Chinese take-out)

We had a big dinner on Monday as College Boy was off from work and home for the meal. I also tried to use up some leftovers before and after we got home from Virginia last week.

Hubs was off on Wednesday(we didn't leave for VA until Thursday)so we pan fried slabs of the cheese grits, eggs and ham casserole thing I made for breakfast.  It tasted better but nobody is enamored of that dish so we'll probably toss the rest and I'll never do THAT experiment again. lolz

As for my grocery spending last week.....

I didn't even go into a grocery store last week until Saturday(Aug. 1st)on our way home from VA.
So there was no grocery spending last week of July and I've already posted my July Food Totals last Thursday.

Leftovers going into this week--risotto. The grits casserole gets pitched and everything else was eaten.  I'll probably throw the rest of the risotto into the freezer since no one seems eager to eat it this week.
Here is this week's food plan--

1. Sunday--Marinated Steak and Grilled Veggies, Corn on Cob
2. Monday--Chicken Parm, Green Bean Saute
3. Tuesday--Crusted Tilapia, Yellow Squash and Onions
4. Wednesday--Pizza and/or Wings at local place(I have a freebie Q)
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad, Garlic Bread
7. Saturday--Leftovers or Hot Dogs and assorted leftover fresh veggies

What I need to buy for this menu?.....I don't need a thing. 
The garden is giving up goodly amounts of squash now and I stopped at a produce stand on the way home near Bealeton VA and got fresh beans, corn, zuke, tomatoes(REAL TOMATOES!), cantaloupes and farm I've already done my produce buying for this week. Plus I got some meat deals at a grocery store down in VA too on the way out of Fredericksburg so I've already spent this week.  I'll make a pot of sauce today to slather on the chicken parm and save the bulk to use for my spaghetti on Friday.

I haven't even looked at the grocery ads yet this week but if there are some loss leaders we can use I'll pick them up. Between the grocery meat deals and the produce stand I am already at $61.72 spent on food in August.  $288.28 left of the food budget to spend this month.
What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?    

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week? 


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Happy August!

No rest for the wicked this first weekend in August!

We got home about 5pm yesterday from Virginia and there was work to be done.
Food bought to put away.......

And beans to snap, blanch and freeze.....

Then it was meat and veggies to marinate for the grill on Sunday before bedtime.

Today I've already made breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, cut up cantaloupe, stocked the fridge with drinks, and cut up peaches..........

And now if you'll excuse me I have peach jam to make and put up, then a deck to sweep and a bathroom to clean.  ;-)

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.