I was never excited about making cherry jam or jelly because it took so long to cut the cherries in half and remove the pit. This all changed when I purchased a cherry pitter. Now I wash the cherries, pit them and am ready to can in no time. They cost about $13 at your local Walmart or Target and will save you hours of work.
Someone gave me some raspberries and I couldn’t decided what I wanted to do with them so I made small batches of several things. I have come across several recipes for chocolate jellies recently and decided the make a batch of chocolate raspberry jam. It was so good and it tastes just like raspberry Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pops !
For the most part, I stick to the recipes that come with my pectin. The recipes below come straight from the Kraft site so if you would like to look up more recipes, you can check them out here. I’m still iffy about adding butter or margarine to my jams and jellies. I opened one jar and it had an oily film at the top and it also had a slight smell but I stuck to the recipes exactly except for altering the overall amount. I’ll let you decided if you want to add the butter or margarine. Most of the recipes were quartered or halved depending on how much fruit I had but the proportions remained the same.
Keep reading for the recipes:
Our cruise ship docked in the port of Palermo. We were met by our guide at the port and drove along the coast for an hour to the fishing village of Cefalu. Out of the many places we traveled, I would have to say that this was one of my favorites. Not only was the guide entertaining and knowledgeable, but the scenery was beautiful.
One of the things that struck me about the landscape was that it looked more like what I pictured Tuscany to be than Tuscany actually was.
I loved this place so much that I actually dedicated an entire post to it. I called in my Under the Tuscan Sun moment when I had the urge to follow Diane Lane’s character in Under the Tuscan Sun and get off the tour bus and follow my dream of owning a villa in Italy.
My Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding was such a hit that I decided to try Donut Bread Pudding when I came across a box of day-old donuts. I made it basically the same way as my Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding making minor changes and using a different icing recipe.
As with most of my dessert recipes, liquid coffee creamer came into the picture. I used vanilla with this batch though I used caramel with the last batch. Picture a carmely (spell check says that’s not a word) bread pudding with a caramel sauce ~ Yummy !
Like most ports we visited in Italy, Palermo, Sicily was beautiful. We arrived on March 10 which was my daughters 25th birthday. She is so lucky, who wouldn’t love spending their birthday in Italy?
We began our excurions with a drive through Palermo. Palermo is Sicily’s cultural, economic, and touristic capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art and food. Many tourists are attracted ot the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned restaurants, and its Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque churches, palaces, and buildings, and its nightlife and music.
When I was growing up, you couldn’t walk but a few feet down a country road and you could fill your bucket with wild blackberries. Now, I have to hunt for them down country roads, wearing high rubber boots (you know, in case I step on a snake or need to fend off chiggers) while my arms are scratched and little trickles of blood are running down my arm. Doesn’t sound like fun? Well, I don’t’ guess I would call it a fun way to spend an afternoon but the end result is so worth it.
Here is one of the better roads I traveled looking for blackberries.
See the little red and black berries in the middle of the tall grass and yellow flowers? Yep, I’m going in to get some berries.
I ended up making blackberry jam, jelly, blackberry /jalapeno jam, and blackberry simple syrup for lemonade. I have been canning for 36 years (let’s just say I started really, really young) and though I know how to can, I forget the amount of fruit to sugar ratio from year to year. I’m just going to give you three recipes, one using pectin, one that doesn’t, and one that uses pectin and butter. This is the first year I have used the butter trick (it’s supposed to help decrease the foaming) and I have found that for most fruits, it has worked great.
I’m going to stop and make a note here about adding butter. I researched it have found some sites that say it is perfectly safe and others that say it is not. I’ll let you be the judge of how you want to make your own jelly. I mainly stuck to government web sites for my sources such as University of Missouri Extension Office which states “You may add 1/2 teaspoon of butter or margarine to the juice and pectin to reduce foaming; however, this may cause off-flavors during long-term storage.”
I usually go to one of two sources for basic canning instructions. One is the Ball Blue Book and the other is to go to the recipes including in my pectin box. I didn’t use pectin with my blackberry jam but have used it with other jams. I have found it to be much quicker using the pectin since you make it the same way you make jelly, by just boiling it 1 minute and you’re ready to go.
If you are new to canning there are several great sites with step by step instructions with photos. One of them is Pick Your Own. You can check them out here. Another good source is the USDA Guide to Home Canning online book. You can see it here.
BLACKBERRY JAM WITHOUT PECTIN
- 9 cups of crushed berries
- 6 cups of sugar
Combine berries and sugar in a large pot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to gelling point. (Mine took about 5 minutes but I was told by a friend recently that hers took about 40 minutes) As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. Yield: about 3 pints.
Every place we went to on our vacation, Heather found a cat to pet. I’m going to have to do a whole post on cats of Europe :).
When I think of Africa, I think of tigers, lions, elephants, and giraffe walking across vast areas of arid plains. Maybe throw in a jungle or two but for the most part I’m thinking safari.
What I wasn’t thinking was beautiful tropical beaches but that is what I found. We docked in La Goulette, Tunisia under this beautiful rainbow. We had decided to take an excursion through the cruise ship since we had heard of many safety concerns in Tunisia. We had no problems at all but I have heard of people having issues since then and found out that 2 days after we left Tunisia, there was in incident with some tourist from the cruise ship and that the cruise ship no longer stops in Africa.
I am glad we had the opportunity to go the highlight of this port for me was meeting all of the young students at the Bardo National Museum.
Carthage is a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, situated at the site of the ancient capital of the Carthaginian empire. It was little more than an agricultural village for nine hundred years until the middle of the 20th century; since then it has grown rapidly as an upscale coastal suburb.
I snapped this pictures as we drove by. I loved the wooly coats on the sheep and the thick coat on the person holding the sheep. It wasn’t that cold outside (around 60) but hey, I’m from Arkansas and 60 degrees the first of March is considered warm.
Sidi Bou Said, Africa was one of the places I was the most excited to see. Having looked at numerous photos and read many articles, I wanted to see this quaint white washed town with accents of blue. We only had the chance to see a very small portion of the town because we were forced to go to a store that sold perfume and that is the only place we were allowed to go. I took these photos on the walk from the bus to the shop and through the tour bus windows.
Like most of the countries we visited around the Mediterranean, there were orange trees lining the sidewalks.