I really miss grape jelly and jam. But I found a very easy recipe for a jam that is fresh with a great taste.
2 lbs. fresh dark purple grapes
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice or orange juice
1/2 teaspoon butter (the butter will stop foam from forming on your jam)
Wash and drain the grapes. Mash them a bit with your hands or a potato masher. Add sugar, lemon juice and butter. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes stirring often. Drain using a fine mesh strainer and using a pestle or back of a large spoon squeeze all the juice out of the seeds and skin. Discard seeds and pour the juice back into the saucepan to cook for another 20-25 minutes. Take a small dish and place in the freezer. After 20 minutes of cooking take a small amount of the jam and place on the frozen dish, if it spreads out you need to cook longer. If it sets up you can jar immediately. Make sure your jars and lids have been serialized. This recipe should make two – eight ounce jars, refrigerate.
Tuesday while shopping in Mi Comisariato I found fresh green jalapeño peppers. That may not sound like a big deal to you but they are not often available so I picked up a big bag and yesterday I pickle some of those beauties as well as made my special Hot Pepper Jelly.
What I ended up with was two jars of pickled peppers, five jars of Hot Pepper Jelly (one has already been given to a friend) and one container of Jalapeño Pepper Sauce especially for Joe. I have kept some seeds for planting and have some drying for hot pepper flake.
Hot Pepper Jelly
6 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeños seeded
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper seeded
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I used 1 cup white vinegar & 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar)
1 t butter (this stops the foam from forming on the top of your jelly)
1 box Sure-Jell (thanks to Susan & Jimmy for bringing this from the states for me) or 1 bottle of Certo
green or red food coloring (optional – the peppers turn an unappealing color when heated so this brightens it up)
Clean and sterilize your jars first. Set aside on a clean dish towel. Clean and seed your peppers and chop very fine (I use a food processor for this step), then add to a large pot with the sugar, vinegar and butter. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil for one minute, lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes.
If using Sure-Jell: In a small saucepan add 3/4 cup of water and the box of Sure-Jell using a whisk mix well and simmer gently until dissolved.
If using Certo: It is already a liquid, just add the bottle to the mixture.
Add to the pepper mixture along with several drops of food coloring. Stir for a minute or two and turn off heat. Pour into sterilized jars, clean rim of jar of any drips, cap and allow to cool before refrigerating.
At least once a week Gonzolo, my veggie guy, has several selections of fruit besides oranges, melons and pineapples. He will have strawberries (frutilla), red grapes (uva), blackberries (mora) as well as the fruits for juice like tree tomato (tomato de arbor), passion fruit (maracuya) and naranjilla (not sure of the English name).
This past week he had mora berries so I bought several cartons and decided to make jam…
…well it actually turned out as Mora Syrup…First I just hate using a great deal of sugar in my recipes so normally for making jam you would use one cup sugar to one cup juice/pulp…I just think that is way too much so I use half the amount of sugar. Four cups of juice/pulp and two cups sugar…it has a nice tart flavor with just enough sweetness. But after bringing it to a boil (also, a little trick I learned – add a dab of butter and it will not foam) lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. When I looked at it after it had cooled a bit it was a too runny for jam (Joe does not think so but I think it would flow off the bread) so it became Mora Syrup…and I am sticking to that story.
I made pancakes yesterday morning and we used the new syrup – excellent, fresh, no preservatives just fruit and sugar. And very easy to make. I will say that straining the seeds from the fruit is time-consuming but I did see a food mill while shopping in Guayaquil and that would make the job so much faster…so that is added to my wish list from the states…
The guava tree in our yard has dropped several pieces of fruit each day for the past several weeks. I wanted to make jelly and talked to my friend Eva about what I need to do. First you need a great deal of fruit for jelly, I must have had 30 guavas and Eva gave me 5 more from their farm. So I washed them, cut them into quarters and added several cups of water to the pot and brought them to a boil. First the most unusual thing is the fruit from our tree is cream-colored inside while Eva’s fruit was the most beautiful shade of pink. I am jealous for sure!!!
Now I want you all to know that I cheated, yes, Nancy Levin cheated when I added 5 drops of red food coloring to the jelly recipe and 20 drops of red food coloring to the marmalada recipe, Oh I feel so much better after that confession, you know us Catholic Girls it is all about the confession! So back to the recipe.
Guava Jelly and Jam
35 Guava, washed and cut into quarters
2-3 cups of water
Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes until the fruit is tender and falling apart. Let cool for a few minutes and then pour the fruit mixture into a clean pillow case over a colander with a large bowl underneath. Hang the pillowcase to allow the juice to drip out into a container for about 5 hours.
use one part juice to one part sugar
I had three cups of juice and added about 2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
bring to boil and allow to reach 220 degrees f. Put in sterilized jars, clean the rim and put on the lid and set aside.
remove the fruit from the pillow case and place in blender
add some water
blend until smooth
push through a sieve
discard the seeds
add about 1 cup sugar to 1 cup fruit purée (I used less sugar)
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
you can add cinnamon and cloves (I completely forgot)
Heat until it comes to a very thick consistency, CAUTION this mixture bubbles and shoots hot fruit into the air…I needed to clean the walls and the floors after I was finished
Place in sterilized jars, clean the rim and seal with lid
Put both the jelly and the jam jars into a water bath allowing the water to boil for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on counter.
Our vegetable and fruit vendor came by one day last week with fresh mora berries. He is not inexpensive on these items for a small bag it cost $1.50 and I bought two. I processed the berries in the blender and put them through a sieve to come up with several cups of beautiful pulpy juice. As I found out from fellow expat Libby, mora berries have a naturally occurring pectin and pectin is the stuff that allows jelly or jam to thicken to a nice consistency.
I added white sugar, honestly I do not remember the amount as I continued to taste for the right sweetness and then put it on the stove to come to a soft boil and reach a temperature of 220 degrees f which is the jelly stage.
You need to remove any foam that forms and then jar the remaining in clean sterilized jars.
Once in jars clean any spillage off the rims, secure the lids and put them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. I am reusing jars so even after doing all this I have put them in the refrigerator instead of on the shelf not wanting to have them spoil and we will use them within the next several months.
The flavor is very strong with a hint of tartness that makes for an awesome taste. If you have the opportunity to buy some mora berries try this for yourself it is not hard and the reward is having fresh homemade jam in the house. What a treat!