I don’t know about you but this year has gone by too fast for me. It must be all the fun I have had with new students and new recipes. What a wonderful year! Thank you for all the support and love you have shown All In A Jar. I will be taking a short break from teaching to work on my upcoming cookbook as well as some new recipes for next year. Our classes will be closed from Dec. 22 to Jan. 22 which will be the date of our first class of the year. Please check the class calendar which is scheduled until April 2014. If you have questions about canning during this time please feel free to contact me. I will do my best to help. All In A Jar still has a few classes available in October, November and December. Reminder: my gift to my students in December is three recipes in each class.
Some fruits contain a natural pectin, some posses a great deal of acid and a few have both. Here is a list of fruit that contain pectin and acid (both of which are necessary to make the product gel):
Cranberries, quinces, green apples, blackberries, concord grapes, plums, gooseberries, orange and lemon rind all contain pectin and acid. Peaches, pear, cherries, strawberries, pineapples, and rhubarb contain practically no pectin when ripe, so pectin or some other gel substance must be added. Pears and sweet apples, although high in pectin, contain practically no acid and so require the addition of bottle lemon juice in place of an acid. Some fruit like pear have more pectin in them when not ripe. So when I make pear jam I always use a few pears that are not yet ripe and one granny smith apple. This ensures I do not need extra pectin.
A jelly bag is a convenient tool to use when straining juice to make jelly. If one is not available, a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth works well. When using a jelly bag or cheesecloth, it is important to dampen the cloth with warm water and wring it out before squeezing fruit through it. This helps to avoid absorption of juice by the cloth. Squeezing the jelly bag or pushing the fruit through will yield more juice but yields a cloudy product. If you choose to squeeze or push, you might try filtering the juice a second time for a more clear product. After each use, scrupulously clean the jelly bag before storing; any remaining juice or pulp will sour and ruin your jelly bag. Remember to wipe the jar rim with a clean, damp cloth to remove any spilled food which could prevent the jar from sealing.
I like to think of curd as if it were pudding in a jar.Since Citrus season is here, it’s time to make curd. Fruit curd makes a delicious dessert spread.
The basic ingredients are eggs, sugar, butter, fruit juice and zest – which are gently cooked together until thick. The toughest part is trying not to make scramble eggs as you temper the ingredients. If done right, you will have a soft, smooth, intensely flavored spread. Some recipes use only the yolk and others use the whole egg. In the 19th and early 20th century, in England, homemade lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea as an alternative to jam and as a filling for cakes, small pastries and tarts. Homemade lemon curd was usually made in small amounts as it did not keep as well as jam. In more modern times larger quantities are feasible because of modern canning methods and the use of refrigeration. Commercially manufactured curds often contain additional preservatives and thickening agents. Curds are different from pie filling or custards in that they contain a higher proportion of juice and zest, which gives them a brighter, more intense flavor. Also, curds containing butter have a smoother and creamier texture than both pie fillings and custards which contain little or no butter and use cornstarch or flour for thickening. Additionally, unlike custards, curds are not usually eaten on their own. All In A Jar uses only the freshest ingredients, no preservatives, no cornstarch or flour. If you or someone you know has a lemon, lime or orange tree with a lot of juicy fruit waiting to be picked then book a private canning class and go home with all the jars you make.
My favorite way to eat curd is spread on a tart with some fresh fruit placed around the out side.