Farmhouse Pear Butter

img_4226 img_2244Well, this past summer had our pear trees really outdoing themselves!

On our property we have three, two of a bartlett variety and one of a d’anjou variety.
And boy, were they covered! Pretty sure, if there was a branch it was most certainly covered in pears! The Pileated Woodpeckers loved the extra ripe pears on the top of the trees we were unable to reach.

We do also have an asian pear tree, these I do not use for our pear butter, though they were tiny enough I would’ve been able to can them whole in syrup. Unfortunately, I did not have the available time to experiment with them so perhaps this year I will try doing that if it crops out well enough again!

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As for our other pears, I use a mixture of underripe and overripe fruit. From fresh fallen fruit, I clean and core them and remove any of the ugly bits that we don’t want…Those bits I gave to our chickens (which loved them!)
I suppose its close to 1/4 underripe to 1/2 underripe pears to overripe.

 

 

Farmhouse Pear Butter

5.84 kg Pears, cored.
1 kg brown sugar
1.9 kg white sugar
2 tsp. sea salt
Approx. 3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2-3 Cinnamon Sticks

In a large pot, cook out the cleaned pears with about 4-6 cups water. You just want enough water to help cook the pears out and prevent burning.
Once the pears are softened and falling apart, remove from the stovetop and cool slightly.
Process through a food mill and return the puree to the pot.

Combine the pear puree with the other ingredients. I like to grate my ginger frozen as I find it easier to do, you can vary the amount you use as well depending on your taste.

Stir well over medium-high heat until the sugars dissolve. Then, stir every so often to ensure the bottom is not burning and it is cooking evenly. As the puree thickens, you will want to be stirring more regularly / constantly to avoid bubbling spit up. It’s hot, and it will burn, so please be careful!

If it is spitting despite my stirring, often I will call it done or put on a pair of old oven mitts for protection.

Cook out until desired consistency, fill sanitized clean jars, top with seals and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Let cool, removing excess water from the top, label and store after 12 hours.

Enjoy!

 

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Farmhouse Blueberry Jam

Blueberry season is upon us, and one of my favourite past times is going blueberry picking every year with my mom. This year is a bit different, as Tim and I now have a little baby boy so we’ll see. I’m not sure how simple it’ll be with a 4 month old strapped in the carrier while I attempt to wrestle blueberries from huge bushes in the sun. Not ideal for him I don’t think. So unless a day is wonderfully cloudy and the blueberry farm is open (and I have the time) were gonna have to wait and see if it actually happens or not.

Anyway, on another note, one of my favourite jams to eat is (you guessed it)  blueberry! So, today I am sharing my recipe for making it. Really it’s almost more of a blueberry citrus but no one needs to know that little secret. They’ll just taste the jam and say “Mmmm, how wonderful!” 😉

I had found some local blueberries (pre-picked) at an affordable price, so I decided to get some for jam in case I never made it out blueberry picking. This way, no matter what I will get my jam!

Farmhouse Blueberry Jam

4lbs. 4oz Fresh Blueberries
2lbs. 3oz. White or Organic Sugar
2 Lemons, Zest and Juice
Good Pinch of Salt

In a Large Saucepan (8t. pot at least) heat all ingredients to a boil, boiling for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

Return to heat and bring to a boil, boiling and stirring frequently until jelling occurs. Ladle into hot jars, seal, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Let sit 12 hours undisturbed.

Enjoy!

 

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Raspberry Jam

Well, this year unfortunately was not a great strawberry year for the farmers, so unless the u-picks are good and we get a chance to get to them, alas another year goes by without my strawberry jam and strawberry rhubarb preserves.
To combat this sadness, I’ve bought a good dozen or so of strawberry plants to hopefully provide myself with enough over the years to supply my own strawberries for those endeavours.

On a whole other note though, the raspberries were once again good for the farmer we get our fruits from, so I was able to purchase a flat (about 8 pounds) of raspberries that were picked a few days before for jam at a very reasonable price.

So at least were not deprived of strawberry and raspberry jam this year! Still though, it’s been so long since we’ve last had strawberry, I’m finding that the raspberry isn’t quite as exciting as it once was…

Here’s the recipe that I have found to be my favourite for raspberry, I’ve added some of my own twists to the original recipe that I find helps boost the flavour profile of the raspberries and makes it a bit more of a fresher taste than a heavier sugar taste that can often result with homemade jams.

Gone Wild Farmhouse, Raspberry Jam

8 lbs. / 3.629 kg. fresh raspberries
5 lbs. 7oz. / 2.471 kg. white sugar
3, zest and juice of fresh lemons

In a very large pot (I use our stock pot) place the raspberries in with the sugar, stir together to coat the berries and leave no sugar lumps. Let this sit for 1-2 hours to render out some of the juices.

Place the pot on the stovetop and start to bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add in the lemon zest and juice and stir around. Boil the mixture, stirring frequently, until jelling occurs. I prefer doing the spoon test where you watch it drip but if your not comfortable determining the thickness of your jam that way, you can check using a chilled dish and dropping some in; Let that chill and check the thickness that way, you want it to mound or if you run your finger through for it to remain fairly cleared.

Remove the pot from the stovetop and ladle the jam into pint or half-pint jars. I prefer half-pints myself, which I get about 21 jars out of this recipe. Clean the jar edges from jam debris, and then place the pre-heated lids (let them sit staggered in hot water for 5-10 minutes) and rings (fingertip tight, no tighter!) and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes at sea level.

Remove your jars from the bath and let sit for 12 hours on a towel upright, with the water on the lids gently removed.

Voila! Delicious homemade jams to enjoy and gift out.

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Cherry Preserves

This year was a wonderful harvest for our two cherry trees on our property. They both need a pretty good pruning this year, so we’ll have to be sure to remember to do such this late fall.

My Father and Sister were graciously wonderful to offer their help picking, as Tim was tied up in the construction of our lovely new chicken coop and working longer hours at work to boot. I on the other side, had my hands full with Nathan our little 9 week old baby!

We had close to 9 pounds picked for these preserves, let alone all the ones we ate fresh and some I used to make cherry turnovers; Those didn’t last long in our house at all!
The cherry preserves I made are pretty heavy in the sugar category, I’m thinking next year I will try a lower sugar option and see how that goes. For now though, it was pretty successful I think for what we wanted, I will be using these mostly to make more cherry turnovers over the year as those were quite the hit. Perhaps I’ll share those in another post…

Gone Wild Farmhouse Cherry Preserves

8 lbs. 13oz. / 3.997 kg. fresh pitted and halved sweet cherries
7 lbs. 4 oz. / 3.289 kg. white sugar
2 large oranges, zest and juice
3 fresh lemons, juice and zest

Place the cherries in a large stock / preserving pot and add the white sugar to them, stir well to coat the cherries and make sure there are no sugar lumps. Let sit for 1 hour to render out some of the juices.

Heat the cherry / sugar mixture on the stovetop on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover with a cloth. Let stand at room temperature for 12 hours.

Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, add in the orange and lemon juices and zests. Stir often, and skim off any foam that results until the syrup thickens, test using the spoon test (judging by the dripping) or a chilled dish – if your draw your finger through and the path remains clear the syrup is ready.

Remove pan from the heat, portion the cherries to the jars and cover with the syrup in pint or half-pint jars, I prefer half-pint and got approx. 7 jars of cherry syrup and 12 jars of cherry preserves. Add the rings after heating for 5-10 minutes in hot water and the rings to fingertip tightness. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes at sea level.

Remove jars from boiling water bath and let sit on a towel upright, gently remove the excess water from on top and let sit for 12 hours.

Voila! Delicious cherry preserves and syrup.

Plum Jam

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First up on the list, one of my favourite hobbies which brings tasty and satisfying rewards for hard work – Canning!

On today’s agenda was Plum Jam.
Having recently moved into our now home with a 1-acre parcel of land, we were fortunate enough to inherit some wonderful fruit trees with it; Apples, Pears, Cherries, and last but not least, Plum!

Their the cutest little red plums, impossible to pit, and impossible to resist turning into some delicious plum jam.
Smeared on some fresh baked bread with lovely butter. Mmm-mmm!

Plum Jam

Plums (enough to fill a 8Qt. pot)
4 cups water

1 cup sugar per cup of plum pulp and juice
1 orange
1 lemon
frozen ginger root

Directions:

Fill the 8Qt. pot with the plums and water, bring to a boil and simmer gently over medium heat until plums begin to fall apart. Remove from heat and process through a food mill, removing the pits and other bits as you go.

Measure out plum pulp and juice, I had an equivalence of 11 cups, so I used 11 cups sugar. Transfer into a large stock pot or canning pot, adding in the zest of both the lemon and orange as well as the juice. Grate the frozen ginger finely into the plum mixture to taste, the ginger adds a really great background note i find, not too noticeable but just enough to add a little something.

Bring the contents to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until jelling to you’re liking occurs. I like to test through the spoon test (sheeting off the spoon) as well as using a chilled dish from the freezer; Putting a dollop in and replacing it back into the freezer for a minute. Following this I check with my finger the consistency by dragging my finger through and seeing how quickly it fills/doesn’t fill back in.

Remove from heat when satisfied and fill your sterilized hot jars with the jam, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Lightly clean rims with a warm moist towel, place seals and screw rings to finger-tip tightness.
Place in the boiling water bath for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Remove when timer goes, gently soaking excess liquid off the tops.
Then, wait for the anticipated ‘PoP’ that the seal makes when the sealing is completed.
Let sit, untouched, for 12 hours.

plum jamThere you have it, my Plum Jam recipe.
A pretty tasty treat, if I do say so myself.

Enjoy and Adieu.