Are you thinking about the Holidays yet? Weeelllll, you should be/ Make your own gifts early and get a head start on the Holiday Season! You will learn about all sorts of things to make for the Holidays: Candies, treats, bath items, artisan gifts and to really put the icing on the cake--great ways to wrap and present your, well, present!
Please Note: This class is a little higher in cost than our regular classes, but this just indicates the higher cost of ingredients as all paid attendees will get samples of everything demonstrated.
So RUN, don't walk to sign up for this class and have fun.
- Author: Dona Jenkins
Oranges: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy!
I was looking for safety cautions for handling, storing, and preserving oranges and came upon this very helpful UC ANR Publication. It is Publication 8199 and is available for download at:
There are many publications related to canning and food preservation at this link. Take a look and you might find some interesting reading and learn more about how safety methods that we as Master Food Preservers should instruct the public.
My goal for becoming a Master Food Preserver is to teach the public about food safety when canning and preserving. I hope to gain more understanding about food safety through resources such as UC ANR.
The Ripe and Ready Class is here, just in time for the height of the growing season!
Our ever active Master Food Preservers will demonstrate all sorts of recipes to use up your ripe and ready garden produce.
Come and visit, and have a taste too.
Years ago, when we moved to our current house, the neighborhood had fruit trees in most of the back yards. A person could walk alleys and see plums, apricots, peaches, figs and other fruit dropping, unused. Back then, I would wait until the evening, or perhaps until the weekend, then knock on a door and ask about getting some fruit. In almost every case where a door was answered, I got free fruit—people were happy to get rid of some. I would always return some of that fruit in the form of jam and it was always well received.
Fortunately for me, today I just arranged a date to go apricot picking this week—Whoo-HOO! This came as a fortunate result of going out to breakfast with my sister and some of her friends. My jam-making was mentioned and one person said she had apricots ripening up and would be glad to share with me. My, my, HOME-Grown apricots, the best kind!
Every flat container I have will be put to use: cookie sheets with rims, square metal baking pans (I love picking up odd and multiple sizes of pans at thrift shops and the like), anything else that is shallow and has a rim of some sort. This way, the 'cots will only be one or two layers deep and will, it is to be hoped, keep for a day or two so that I can jar 'em, process 'em and store 'em as apricot halves and jam.
Most likely I will not get a humongous amount. I will be VERY happy to get enough to make a couple of batches of jam, and if I only get enough to make a pie, that will be good also! Maybe there will be some dropped apricots to be rake for my chickens.
Of course some jam will be returned to my apricot benefactor!
If you have some fruit coming up and wish to share/get rid of it, let me know—I am willing to drive. And my pomegranate trees look to be going crazy with fruit this fall, so maybe we can trade?
NEWSFLASH!! Just got the apricots yesterday. The tree was not totally ripe, which is not unusual. I was able to get enough to make an apricot pie. . . Maybe next week more for some jam?
I leave you now with to solid recipes, one with added pectin and one without:
Apricot Jam. Makes 3-4 jars
This is a recipe based on one from David Liebowitz-his recipes work (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/apricot-jam/). It is a no added pectin recipe:
This recipe as written is on the tart side. Give it a try!
– 2 1/4 pounds (1kg) fresh apricots
(TIP: home grown are best, or get the small apricots that you can sometimes find, if you are fortunate, at a farmer's market. Ask the name of the variety of apricot they are selling. If they are Blenheims or Royal, you are in for classic, tasty jam!)
– 1/4 cup (60ml) water
– 3 cups (600g) sugar
– 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
optional: 1 teaspoon kirsch
Put a small plate in the freezer.
Pit the apricot and cut into chunks. Place the apricots in a stockpot or Dutch oven, and add the water. Cover the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the apricots are tender and cooked through. (TIP: You will want the widest pot you have, with the lowest sides to cook this jam quickly without over cooking. I use a two gallon stainless-steel dutch oven to cook my jam; it is wider than it is deep)
Add the sugar to the apricots and cook, uncovered, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. As the mixture thickens and reduces, stir frequently to make sure the jam isn't burning on the bottom. (TIP: I add ½ tsp butter when starting to cook the fruit to cut down on the foaming. And remember that any foamed jam you may skim is quite tasty...)
When the jam looks thick and is looks slightly-jelled, turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. (TIP: Again, turn off the heat so the jam doesn't burn or overcook!) Put the plate back in the freezer for a few minutes, then do the nudge test: Push the edge of the dab of jam and if it mounds and wrinkles, it's done. If not, put the plate back in the freezer and continue to cook. Then re-test the jam until it reaches that consistency.(You can use a candy thermometer if you wish. The finished jam will be about 220ºF, 104ºC.)
Once done, stir in the lemon juice and ladle jam into clean jars. Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.
For shelf-safe storage you may process in a boiling water bath as in the next recipe, last paragraph, if you wish.
Certo Apricot Jam (added pectin)
3-1/2 cups prepared fruit (buy about 2-1/2 lb. fully ripe apricots)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
5-3/4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain jars well before filling.
Remove and discard apricot pits. Finely chop apricots – no need to peel first. Measure exactly 3-1/2 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-qt. saucepan. Stir in lemon juice.
Stir sugar into prepared fruit in saucepan. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
- Author: Marie Barone and Melinda Gong, registered dietitians at UC Davis Health System
- Contributor: Suggested by Dona Jenkins--Thank you very much!
Tips on grilling meats, keeping foods cool to avoid food poisoning
It's summer, which means the sun is shining and outdoor eating is at its peak. People are spending warm days picnicking in parks, snacking on boats or barbecuing in their backyard. A day or so later, unfortunately, some may also spend time feeling ill.
Classic signs of foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, include stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and flu-like symptoms. While foodborne illness is usually a mere inconvenience for a day or two, for older adults, infants, children and pregnant women, it can be dangerous.
But there's no reason to invite bacteria to your picnic, hike or other outdoor meals. With reasonable care, you can avoid most foodborne illnesses.
Choosing perfect picnic foods:
Keep cold foods like cheese, open condiment containers, and cut fruits and vegetables at a temperature of 40 degrees F or below.
Avoid packing meat, seafood, mayonnaise, eggs, milk and other dairy products, as they have the greatest danger of spoiling. Bring more travel-friendly foods such as bread, crackers, cheese, peanut butter, pretzels, vegetables or chips with salsa.
Consider cookies, cakes, fruit-filled pies, strawberries, watermelon and other summer fruits for dessert instead of cream or custard-filled sweets. Condiments like jam, mustard, ketchup and pickles or relish are fine.
Safe food-preparation techniques:
Avoid keeping foods out of the refrigerator too long before they're cooked, as that's when any germs already on food or introduced during preparation can multiply.
Wash hands frequently and keep work surfaces and utensils clean.
Use a separate cutting board (preferably plastic) and utensils for meats to avoid cross-contamination.
Wash all fruits and vegetables well before preparing or cutting, especially melons which can have bacteria on the skin.
Traveling with food safely:
Pack hot and cold foods separately. Keep cold foods in the fridge until it is time to leave, and then transport in an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs. You'll need about one quarter of the space for the ice, and remember that a block of ice will last longer than ice chips or cubes.
Put the cooler in the air conditioned car rather than in the hot trunk.
Cook foods close to your departure time, then transfer directly from the oven to the car and consume within one hour.
Allow cold dishes such as casseroles or pasta salads cooked in advance to first chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before packing for transport.
Consider using small containers as they chill faster and allow you to set out portions as needed.
Keep the cooler in the shade at your destination, and use a separate cooler for cold drinks to avoid frequent opening and closing of the one containing perishable items. At the beach, partially bury the coolers in the sand, cover them with towels or blankets, and use an umbrella for extra shade.
Grilling meats: temperature matters
Keep meat safe by leaving raw meat packaged in the cooler until it is time to cook, and then always cook until the proper internal temperature is reached.
Never partially cook the meat at home and finish grilling it at your destination. Half-cooked meat is a recipe for bacterial growth.
When marinating meat, remember to dispose of the marinade that was used with the raw meat, and pack along fresh marinade to use for basting while grilling. Then transfer cooked meat to clean plates that have not been contaminated with the raw meat or its marinade.
Throw away perishable food that has been left outside for longer than one hour in hot weather. Food that has been put away promptly should be safe if there is still ice in the cooler when you get home and the food has an internal temperature below 40 degrees F.
If you feel a picnic isn't a picnic without deli chicken and potato salad, consider buying these perishable items at the last moment at a grocery store near the picnic site and be sure to consume within one-to-two hours' time.