Monday, December 5, 2011

I am jammin' again!

It has been a while since I posted about making jam. I posted here and here of my previous marathon. Well, it has been a while since I made any. Our stash was low. We were down to a case and a half in the stockpile and Christmas is coming. Since I started giving jam for Christmas gifts, it has come to be expected and what we had left was not going to do it.

I have been preparing since summer, stocking up on fruit when it was in season. The bottom two shelves of our large freezer were crammed full of frozen fruit. Not so much today.

My marathon started on Saturday. I made 22 jars of assorted sizes of peach jam. Yummy!
I set the fruit out to thaw on Friday night an on Saturday it was ready to process. After making 4 batches of peach, I set out peach juice and cherries to thaw overnight.

When I peeled and cut up my peaches for freezing in the summer, I took all the peels, dumped them in a pot, covered with water and boiled for a while to extract all the peachy goodness. I got 8 cups of juice and stuck that in the freezer. When it thaw, the top of the containers were pretty clear, so I poured off the top and just used the dense peach juice on the bottom for my jelly.

Yesterday, I made peach jelly and Bing Cherry jam.

I think the jelly turned out beautiful! It is not perfectly clear like some jelly, since when I drained the peels some particulates were left and I didn't want to strain them out. Too much peachy goodness to waste!

The cherry turned out excellent as well! I made two batches of just cherry jam, then decided to experiment....

I added some of my homemade vanilla to one batch to see how that would work. Some of you may remember that I posted here making vanilla extract back in August. Well, this is what it looks like today.

Yes, it is a deep, dark, delicious looking brown color. It has been "brewing" for more than 3 months now. I was starting to worry about it, since it still smells like booze to me. And I don't smell vanilla at all. Hubby says it smells chocolatey. I smell something other than booze, but it is not the vanilla-y smell I expected. Maybe it is because I used Mexican vanilla for so long and this is made from Madagascar vanilla beans and I just didn't know what to expect.

Anyway, I added some to one batch of cherry and Hubby proclaimed it delicious! He says it tastes like cherry pie with vanilla ice cream. It does tasted good, but I don't taste vanilla. Maybe my taster is broken. But since he proclaimed it delicious, that is good enough for me.

For those of you that make your own vanilla, does it quit smelling boozey at some point, or is that just normal? And have you used different beans? Do they make a different tasting vanilla? Should I get some differerent vanilla beans?

Back to the jam session....I took out blackberries to thaw last night. I will label what I made yesterday and put it away. Today, I plan to go work out with my girlfriend sometime. She is off today, as well, so we will go during the day instead of after work like we normally do. I also need to make a run to the grocery store...maybe. That can wait until tomorrow, since I am also off then.

Hubby and I will be going to get our Christmas tree today, too. So, today I will be making blackberry jam and pulling out our Christmas decorations on my breaks. We will probably put up the tree tomorrow, after letting it sit in a bucket of water overnight to give it a good drink. I will also be making strawberry jam tomorrow.

Hmmm...that sounds like a lot of work! Maybe I will let Hubby do the grocery shopping this week. He doesn't mind and usually spends less money than I do. LOL!

Happy Monday, everyone!


McVal said...

Good for you! You've been productive! Are you giving any of the jam away as Christmas presents?
And the vanilla smelling like booze. Well... in a pinch you can use it... as booze... I guess. I haven't tried that...

slugmama said...

Looking good!
I'll be waiting by my mailbox for my jar.... ;-)

Frances said...

McVal, a LOT of the jam will be given away. I send a big box of it to Tennessee to my parents, sisters and brothers for Christmas. That is all they want from me. That will take 18- 24 jars. Some goes to my other sister in South Dakota. And the rest to family and close friends here. And a few to some people I work with. The stock will dwindle soon.

Frances said...

Sluggy, I will see what I can do. ;-)

Hunie said...

That is one awesome pic of jam!

Frances said...

Thanks, Hunie!

SonyaAnn said...

Oh this just sounds so wonderful!!! I'm with sluggy-how do I get on your mailing address?