Jam – For More Than Toast!

Let me begin by saying thank you to all my new followers! I hope you enjoy.

This is just a quick post to talk about some fun alternative ideas for jams and preserves. When I am at Farmer’s MarketsI often get the comment “I don’t eat bread (or toast) so I have no need for jam” or something to that effect…

So here are eight alternative uses for jam and preserves:

1. Use them as an accompaniment on a cheese board.

2. Stir them into plain yogurt. No need to spend extra money on yogurt with added fruit! It also helps control the sugar amount since you put in as much or as little as you like.

3. Use them as an alternative to syrup to top your waffles, pancakes, or crepes.

4. Serve them with scones, croissants, or other decadent pastries.

5. Scoop them over ice cream!

6. Use them to make a pan sauce for grilled meat and vegetables.

7. Use them as the base of a vinaigrette.

8. Use as a cake filling. Spread between layers or mix with buttercream.

What is your favorite way to use jam or preserves? And what other ideas do you have?

Stay tuned – my next post will be looking at what to do with an assortment of berries from last season I found in the freezer!

Cheers!

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The Time Has Come!

After close to 10 months of filling out forms, taking classes, spending money, not getting answers, and bouts of major doubt and disappointment, I am thrilled to announce that Mauka Girl Creations is back in business!

I have slowly started production, which will ramp up as the season progresses and gives me more beautiful fresh produce to work with. As soon as labels arrive I will be adding items to my Etsy shop.

An artisan is defined as “a person or company that produces something in limited quantities, often using traditional methods, using high quality ingredients”. These are the qualities that define my business and why I love doing what I do. I am a producer of high quality, artisanal preserves, jams, and jellies. I am a one woman operation. As such, the items I make take time, effort, and no shortage of financial investment. Please keep this in mind if you find yourself thinking I charge too much for my products.

I will initially be making Balsamic Fig Preserves, Spiced Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Black Currant Preserves, and Apricot Rosemary Jam. Stay tuned for where to be able to find me in person starting this summer so you can sample some of this deliciousness!

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The beginning stage of Balsamic Fig Preserves

Cheers!

Black Currant Jam with Cassis

Another recent fun find for me at the Farmer’s Market were black currants. I have never had the opportunity to work with them or enjoy them fresh. They are a slightly coveted berry that evokes warm and leisurely summer days so I have plans to make multiple small batches to enjoy during the grey winter months with Greek yogurt or homemade bread and to gift to loved ones.

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Although I have not previously had the chance to work with black currants, I have enjoyed Crème de Cassis for years in Kir royal and other cocktails. So I figures why not blend the best of both worlds and add Crème de Cassis to my jam? It turned out beautifully! Black currants are another fruit with a lot of natural pectin, so I was able to cook them to 220 degrees without added pectin to get a beautiful set. This jam actually sets up a lot as it cools, so to get a looser jam I may cook my next batch for a bit shorter time. The jam is sweet, slightly tart, and you can taste the Crème de Cassis on the finish. It is really delightful and is just as simple as the Gooseberry, requiring you to do nothing more than put all of the ingredients in the pot and cook away.

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BLACK CURRANT JAM with CASSIS

Yield: 2.5 cups

  • 14 oz. (by weight) fresh black currants (2.5 cups), washed and de-stemmed. (There is no need to remove the little brown top)
  • 12 oz. (by weight) organic cane sugar (1.5 cups)
  • 3/4 cup Crème de Cassis
  • 1 T. lemon juice

Prepare a boiling water bath canner and your jars (I used (5) 4 oz. jars for this recipe).

Add all ingredients to a wide bottom pot and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce to a hard simmer and cook the mixture, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning, until desired consistency or 220 degrees is reached.

Ladle jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims with damp paper towel. Place lids on jars and tighten rings finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to one year.

NOTE: If you do not want to use Cassis, you can substitute 3/4 cup water or orange juice.


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Cheers!

Small Batch Gooseberry Jam

I was so excited to see beautiful gooseberries at the Farmer’s Market! When I was a kid we had gooseberry bushes in our yard and it was always a race to harvest them before the birds got them. Gooseberries were the plant that introduced me to that black netting that is supposed to keep the birds out but never really does…

When we did harvest them I remember delicious slightly tart gooseberry jam and gooseberry pie. This is probably one of the things I had growing up that started my love of all things tart and sour. So it seemed that a delicious, nostalgic batch of gooseberry jam was in order. And it is so simple.

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Wash the gooseberries and pinch off both the top and the tail. They then go in a wide bottomed pot with sugar, water, and a touch of lemon juice and are cooked to the desired thickness or 220 degrees.

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Gooseberries have natural pectin so no added pectin is needed. One tip: be sure to taste your gooseberries. This batch was a bit sweeter so I was able to use slightly less sugar. For a tarter batch of gooseberries I would recommend doing a 1:1 ratio of gooseberries to sugar by weight. I am looking forward to procuring some more gooseberries to stock up on jam and maybe even make a pie.


GOOSEBERRY JAM

Yield: 12 ounces (I did (3) 4 ounce jars with the intention of gifting some of these, but you can use (1) 12 ounce jar if you just want to save it for yourself!)

  • 12 oz. (by weight) prepped gooseberries (2 cups)
  • 8 oz. (by weight) organic cane sugar (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T. lemon juice

Prepare a boiling water bath canner and your jars.

Add all ingredients to a wide bottom pot and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce to a hard simmer and cook the mixture, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning, until desired consistency or 220 degrees is reached.

Ladle jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims with damp paper towel. Place lids on jars and tighten rings finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to one year.


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Cheers!

Update

Hello all and Happy Monday! Just wanted to give a quick update on how the business transitioning to Oregon is progressing. I should be set up in a local community kitchen by the end of June! Just a couple more steps until I will be making delicious small batches of jams, jellies, and other preserved goods that will be available for you! The wonderful thing about working out of a commercial community kitchen is that I will be able to sell online (so keep an eye out for that Etsy store) and I can even wholesale if the opportunity arises. I may not be able to get into any Farmer’s Markets this summer, so I am setting my sights on Holiday fairs this Fall and Winter.

Thank you for all of your support! Have an amazing day!

Quick Pickles – Ginger and Carrots Oh My!

The month of April has been great so far and that includes the latest Food In Jars Challenge – Quick Pickles. This was a fun one for me since I really had to pause and think about how I would proceed with this challenge. For the last two years my canning has predominantly been focused on making sure items were shelf stable (so nothing was quick, they all needed to be canned in a water bath) in order to be able to transport and sell them. I got very excited because I really do love all sorts of pickles and all of a sudden the idea of being able to enjoy them within days of making them (instead of weeks) was making me a tad giddy!

I then found a container of organic fresh ginger at Costco and it hit me – Quick Pickled Ginger! And then, at the local Farmer’s Market one of the farm vendors was selling fresh carrots that he had had in the root cellar since November. They were quite large so I was hesitant to eat them fresh, but they would be perfect for Quick Pickled Asian Carrots! And since I was able to find a lot that were straight they would be an ideal way to test out my (somewhat) new Spiralizer. Let the creating begin!

What should I eat these with you ask? Sushi, of course or served alongside pan seared fish or teriyaki chicken. The carrots are fantastic tucked into sandwiches or put onto salads. I also love the ginger on a bowl of rice with a sprinkle of furikake. My favorite application is to use a bit of both on top of poke rice bowls. It adds a nice vinegar punch and a bit of very flavorful heat.

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Some tips for Pickled Ginger:

  1. Ideally, use fresh, young ginger. It is easier to peel and not fibrous like mature ginger. However, young ginger is not as readily available so when using fresh, mature ginger (which I did for this recipe) make sure to cut it super thin against the grain (into coins, essentially) to avoid it getting tough and fibrous.
  2. The pink color of commercial ginger is mostly dyed. Ginger does contain pigments that will cause it to obtain a pink hue over time, just not as intense. Young ginger will turn more pink than mature.
  3. Peeling and slicing ginger, especially mature ginger, is quite time consuming. So stick to small batches – I know I will!

 


PICKLED GINGER – America’s Test Kitchen, Foolproof Preserving

Yield: (2) 1-cup jars

  • 14 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 6 T. cane sugar
  • 1 T. pickling salt, 1.5 T. Morton’s Kosher Salt, or 2 T. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

Wash (2) 1-cup jars and keep warm by placing in a bowl of hot water.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add sliced ginger to the pot and boil until slightly darkened and softened, about 40 seconds. Drain ginger in colander, then spread out over paper towels.

Bring vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil (empty the water from the pot in the previous step and use it for this step). Stir occasionally to dissolve sugar.

Shake jars dry and pack ginger tightly into warm jars. Pour hot brine over the ginger to cover, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Let jars cool to room temperature, then wipe rims and cover with lids.

Refrigerate for at least 4 days. Ginger can be refrigerated for at least 6 months and the ginger flavor/heat will mellow over time.

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Some tips for Pickled Asian Carrots:

  1. Cut the carrots into julienne strips, use a spiralizer (like I did) or just peel strips with your vegetable peeler. You want thin pieces like this in order for the quick pickling process to work effectively. These options are also the best sizes for serving the carrots on salads or poke bowls or tucking into sandwiches.
  2. This recipe is equally delicious using beet stems or swiss chard stems!

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PICKLED ASIAN CARROTS – Foodie with Family

Yield: (3) 1-pint jars

  • 1.5# carrots, julienned or spiraled
  • 1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 T. red pepper flakes
  • 3 T. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Wash (3) 1-pint jars, keep warm in a bowl of hot water.

Bring all ingredients (except carrots) to a boil, stirring often until sugar dissolves. After the brine boils, remove star anise and set aside.

Add carrots to the brine, bring to a boil for 2 minutes.

Shake the jars dry, add one star anise to each jar. Pack the carrots into each jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle in brine to cover carrots. Use a chopstick to release bubbles, add more brine if needed.

Let jars come to room temperature. Wipe rims and cover with lids. Refrigerate for at least 4 days. Carrots will last for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

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ENJOY!!

Jelly Challenge – Pomegranate

Okay, that title may be a bit misleading. Jelly making is typically not a challenge for me. After years of making it and getting great insights and tips, I feel like I have it pretty dialed in. For this month’s #fijchallenge what I did not have dialed in was navigating canning projects in a new house! Well, no time like the present to jump in and search for everything. The ingredients were easy, I only needed three. It was tracking down all of the equipment that resulted in 3 separate trips to the pantry (which is downstairs…) In the end, this helped me figure out the best places for everything to ultimately get stored. In searching for canning items I even found my missing mixer parts! Yay! The beginning of the project was a bit confusing, yet it all worked out in the end. And now there is some lovely pomegranate jelly gracing my pantry shelves!

There is not much in the way of fresh local fruit available right now and, besides, I was not in the mood to pull out the juicer, so I went the easy route and used a jar of 100% juice. I would recommend using juice that is not from concentrate for a brighter fruit flavor, but I used what I had, which did have some water added. It still worked out beautifully! Just remember to not use a juice with any added sugar.IMG_3359

A big bonus of small batch canning is not having to use the massive canning pot and rack to sanitize, keep hot, and process the jars. I can use 4 or 8 ounce Kerr/Ball jars with my tall stockpot and have enough room to cover the jars with water when processing. I also use a blossom trivet so the jars don’t touch the bottom. This recipe ended up making 5 1/2 cups of jelly, so I now have (3) 1/2 pints and (5) 4 oz. to enjoy and share!

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Pomegranate Jelly


4 Cups 100% Pomegranate Juice

4 Cups Organic Cane Sugar

2 Boxes (or 3.5 ounces by weight) regular, powdered pectin

1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and your jars, whatever combination you will want for 5 1/2 cups of jelly.

2. In LARGE pot (larger than you think you need, this jelly foams a lot at a rolling boil!) bring the juice to a boil.

3. Once boiling, sprinkle in the pectin with one hand and use a whisk to quickly mix it into the juice with your other hand. Do not dump all the pectin in at once, it will clump. By sprinkling and whisking at the same time it gets thoroughly mixed in. Bring the mixture back to a boil.

4. Once the juice/pectin mixture boils again, slowly whisk or stir in the sugar. Do not add the sugar all at once, if you do the temperature will drop too quickly and you run the risk of  the sugar not thoroughly dissolving, resulting in a grainy finished product.

5. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down) and let it boil for 1 minute. This is where the large pot is a requirement! The photo on the left is the mixture just starting to boil, the one on the right is at a full rolling boil – almost to the top of the pot!

6. After 1 minute, turn off the heat, let the jelly settle, and test for jell. I prefer the chilled plate method. I keep 3-4 small plates in my freezer at all times so when I make jam and jelly I can just pull one out, spoon a small amount of my mixture on it, and quickly know if the set is where I want it.

7. Skim off any foam. Remove hot jars from canning pot and fill with jelly, leaving 1/4″ headspace.

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8. Wipe rims with damp paper towel. Place lids on jars and tighten rings finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

9. When 10 minutes are up, remove the jars from the water bath canner and set them on a folded dish cloth or a wooden cutting board and let them cool. Check the seals and store accordingly. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. If any jars did not seal, pop them into the refrigerator for immediate enjoyment!

NOTES:

*By adding the pectin before the sugar and re-boiling, you allow the pectin to absorb the liquid and fully dissolve.

*With jelly recipes I prefer to use a whisk to insure full incorporation of all ingredients.

*A personal note on pectin – I often see jelly recipes calling for liquid pectin, which I do not care for. I have consistently had issues with my set when using liquid pectin and I feel it leaves a funny taste. I get very consistent, high quality results using powdered pectin so you will not see liquid pectin called for in any of my recipes. The is just how I feel and what I have experienced, but if you like using liquid pectin, by all means, do what you are comfortable with and enjoy! If a recipe calls for liquid pectin and you would like to use powdered pectin, substitute 2T. powdered pectin for 1 pouch liquid pectin. It will give you a nice loose set perfect for all kinds of toasted goodies, or spooning into yogurt or over ice cream!