First – I was successful in moving my blog over (after 3 hours with tech support), but some of my formatting was lost in cyber-space. I am slowly learning the new back-end and hopefully soon will have my page looking like I want it and have figured out all the features that I am having such difficulty with. So, I ask that you bear with me (and yes I am searching for how to get the email option back on).
The blueberries are done. All said and done – I picked a little over 36 pounds, costing me
$100.65. I have about 26 pounds frozen for use during the year, which will be used in smoothies, my daughter has one every morning, pancakes, baked goods and to pop into our mouths on those hot days. I have 7 – half pints, 2 – 4oz and 1- pint size jars of jam and I dehydrated 7 1/2 cups which yielded, drum roll please, 1 – half pint and 1 – pint size jar.
I started dehydrating the apricots yesterday and some still are not done, maybe because I put those on the dehydrator about 10:30 last night! Apricots are probably one of the easiest fruits to dehydrate. Wash, cut them, de-pitt them, flatten some and they are ready to go. If you are one that is concerned with the color of your dehydrated fruit then you can place the fruit is a mixture of water and either lemon juice or pineapple juice – the acidity of the juice helps with discoloration – before placing on the dehydrator tray.
Making Apricot Mango Madness Jam (this is my own creation, I love apricot-mango combination, but could not find a recipe last year – so here it is!)
NOTE: this jam takes more time than most, realistically put aside 2 hours.
6 – 6 1/2 cups of prepared apricots and mangos
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
Package of Pectin
2 1/4 cups sugar
1. First you want to wash and sterilize the jars. You can use a dishwasher, which I do not have – so I wash the jars and then put them in boiling water, the same water I use for the water bath.
2. Put a spoon in the freezer.
3. Wash and cut away and blemishes on the apricots.
4. Finely cut up 1 cup of apricots (about 7) and 1 cup of mangos (about 1 medium size).
5. Cut up more mango (about 3) and apricots (lost count) and place in either a food processor or blender and puree the fruit – these can be much larger pieces. I do this in batches, so that I do not process too much fruit – you will need about 4 to 4 1/2 cups.
6. Pour all of the fruit into a very large pot (once it starts to boil you will get blops of brightly orange juice all around if user a smaller pot).
7. Mix a box of pectin with 1/4 cup sugar, then pour that along with the lemon juice and water into the pot and turn on high. Stirring occasionally to prevent burning. You want the mixture to come to a boil – this takes about 5 – 10 minutes.
8. Since my kitchen is very small and I really only have one counter top to use – I am pretty anal about cleaning up as I go. While the mixture is coming to a boil I wash all the items used so far and then set the jars out on an old dish cloth, so they are ready to be filled.
9. Place the lids into a pan of water and set to boil. Once the water has boiled turn the burner off and let the lids sit in the hot water. Keep the cover of the pot on.
10. Once the mixture is a rolling boil, where stirring it will not get rid of the bubbles, add the remaining sugar. I use no sugar pectin, which still calls for 3 cups of sugar, which I do not do – but it is what your preference is for sweetness.
11. It will start to thicken. Take the spoon out of the freezer and fill it about 1/2 way. Let it cool to room temperature – taste and if the thickness you want – it is done. This is when I turn the burner on to heat the water bath pot.
12. Using tongs or a magnetic top taker outer and take the tops out of the hot water and place on the dish cloth next to the empty jars.
13. Place a funnel over a jar and using a ladle, ladle in the jam mixture into the jar to about 1/4 inch from the top. Continue this until all jars are full. Place the tops on and then put the ring on and tighten. I also used reusable tops this times, which are plastic. If using these, place the tops on and then screw the ring on tight and then loosen 1/4 turn.
14. Place the jars into the boiling water. After about 7 minutes you can start taking them out – using a jar grip. Place them on the dish towel and then listen for the popping – this is the jars sealing. If one does not seal turn it upside down and let it stand there for about 5 minutes turn over and it should have sealed. If one does not seal that is the one you will place in the refrigerator after it has cooled and use it tomorrow morning on your toast. I let this water cool and then pour into the water can for the garden – why waste it?
The jars should keep for about 12 months.