Friday, October 22, 2010

Habanero Gold Jelly

Can Jam Challenge #10

You guys, it’s been crazy around here. You KNOW I must be committed to this Can Jam challenge when I can barely find my shoes and definitely not my iron, but will not let you down without a recipe! We moved to this house a little less than a week ago and I did manage to keep a sharp eye out for my canners, jars, and canning paraphernalia. It was all rounded up somewhere between the garage, basement, and kitchen. Pictures will have to come later because I am just too darn exhausted to photograph any jam/jelly food porn for you today.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed in this month’s canning feature. Chili peppers? Really? I wanted apples, darn it! What is fall without apples! Apple Jelly, Apple Butter, Apple Pie Jam, Apple Chutney, Apple Sauce. APPLES, APPLES, APPLES! Wahhh!

Someone needs a nap, ya’ think?

But in the scope of things chili peppers do work. I’m now living somewhere that is actually cold during the month of October, so maybe a little capsaicin to heat things up is a good thing.

For this month’s challenge, there’s gold in them thar hills! Habanero Gold Jelly. I have literally sold cases of this jelly to friends, family, and admirers near and far. I’m pretty sure it’s a Ball recipe, and it’s a definite star on the Harvest Forum for sure. A few years ago, a few of my canning Jedi Masters put their beautiful heads together and scaled this recipe up to make more half pints. I think the original recipe only made 2 or 4 half pints, but this makes 6.

Big Batch Habanero Gold Jelly
Makes 6 half pints

1 cup minced dried apricots (1/8" dice)
Note: Could use dried peaches or pears instead.
1 1/4 total cups minced red sweet pepper and minced red onion (1/8" dice), approximately half-and-half.
1/4 cup Habanero peppers
Note: For extra-hot, increase Habaneros to 1/2 cup and reduce red sweet pepper/red onion combination to 1 cup total.
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 3-oz. pouch liquid pectin (I used Ball, which I've decided I like better than Certo.)

Prep apricots, peppers and onion. Place in a large, stainless or other non-reactive pot. Add sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook 5 minutes. Pull off the burner; allow to cool, cover and let sit overnight. Stir occasionally if convenient.

Note: 4-6 hours would be plenty, so the time doesn't need to be any greater than the soaking time for apricots in the original recipe.

Next day, bring the mixture back to the boil. Stir in liquid pectin. Boil hard 1 minute. Pull off the heat. If necessary, skim foam. (I did need to skim a bit.) Let cool 2 minutes, stirring to distribute solids. Pour into jars. Stir to distribute and remove air bubbles. Process in a BWB 10 minutes.

When jars are sealed, "agitate" to distribute solids throughout the jelly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leaf Peeping

This is my first time experiencing fall. I mean really living it instead of visiting it from far away. And I am loving every drizzly, frosty, fallen amber-leafed moment of it. I can’t get enough. No more acting like it’s fall in the middle of July.

This past weekend, hubby and I took a self-indulgent, entire day away from unpacking boxes, climbing stairs, and wondering where the drinking glasses are to drive out to the Shenandoah National Park. It wasn’t quite the peak for leaf-peeping opportunities, but entirely breathless and beautiful all the same.

Several years ago, I wrote a Ray Bradbury inspired poem about fall. I hope it inspires you to enjoy this wonderful season, wherever you are.

The month of burning leaves.
People bustled into dim houses carrying pumpkins and corn stalks.
Skeletons dancing, bats flying, candles flamed,
Apples swinging in empty doorways.
The acme of Horror.
The month of shadows and ghosts.
Triangle-eyed faces peer into empty October nights.
Masks leering in black attics and damp cellars.
Children giggling and vanishing off among a street of moaning trees.
I can almost see it, even in the scorch of July.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How To Lose 10 Pounds In 10 Days While Eating Anything You Want!

It’s so simple! You’ll see the pounds melt away right before your eyes! All you have to do is follow these simple rules:

Rule 1: For the first 6 days of the diet, find a house 4 states away from your current residence, paint 3 rooms, and sealcoat the garage floor. Return home via a 14 hour train ride.

Rule 2: For the remaining 4 days of the diet, pack-up your entire household for relocation in 4 days or less. Return to new residence via a 14 hour train ride.

Rule 3: During this 10 day period, you may eat anything you want, as much as you want; however, limit yourself to eating once a day, preferably at a time in the evening when you are too exhausted to care.

Rule 4: Climb and descend the 2nd story and basement stairs no less than 1,492 times.

Rule 5: Limit yourself to no more than 5 hours of sleep per night.

Rule 6: Arrange for emergency carpet cleaning, air conditioning repair, and backup moving companies at a moment’s notice. Burn extra calories by keeping your adrenaline revved!

Disclaimer: Due to higher-than-average weather temperatures, residents of Southern California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama will experience the best results from this diet.

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