Applesauce

I make this the old fashioned way. No special equipment. Plain.

I take a big ole pile of apples...assorted types preferably so there are a variety of flavors and textures. About 12 pounds will make 8 pint jars.  I peel and cut them into slices. As I am working, I toss the slices into a bowl/pot of water with a healthy amount of lemon juice in it to prevent browning. After I have the apples all prepped I drain them and put them into a large pot with a very heavy bottom, add some water...this would be a couple to a few cups depending on how many apples...I know, this is supposed to be a recipe but it is how I make applesauce..


I put them on the stove with a lid and heat through until they start to boil, and remove the lid. (this is about when I turn the burner on under my water bath pot to high and the burner under my smaller pots to simmer the lids on very low) I then cook the apples until they are mush. A chunky mush mind you. I use a potato masher and mush them to just the right conisistancy. If they are too thick I add a bit more water...you want them to be applesauce after all. If they are too thin I just cook a few minutes more to thicken a bit. Ladle the HOT Applesauce into sterilized jars. I generally use regular mouth pints because it's the size that seems to suit our needs. With a damp cloth I clean the rims of the jars, put on the lid, put on the ring and lower them into the water bath. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes..remove jars and place on a dish towel and allow to cool overnight.

Pineapple Jam

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

(makes 3 to 4 half pint jars)

4 cups chopped fresh pineapple

2 1/2 cups of sugar

1/2 large lemon sliced thinly

1 cup of water


Combine all ingredients in a very heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 to 25 minutes until thickened...when you stir it the spoon will leave a trail that doesn't flow back into really fast. Ladel the HOT jam into sterilized half pint jars. Wipe rims clean and put the lids and rings on. Hot Water bath for 10 minutes.


Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam

This is a pectin free recipe and the way everyone USED to make berry jams...did I mention I hate using pectin? There isn't anything wrong with it but I do hate using it.

makes about 6 half pints


8 cups of crushed cleaned Strawberries

6 cups of Sugar


Combine sugar and crushed berries in a heavy bottom pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it starts boiling, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Make sure you thoroughly scrape up the bottom of the pot. This is where it can get tricky...the jam can foam up, and if you walk away too long it can burn on the bottom. So stay nearby. Don't sit down with Terry and a glass of wine... It is at this point I will my water bath canner and start getting it hot, count out my lids and rings and put them in a pot to simmer, and finally get my jars prepped for use.

Somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes the mixture will start to gel so at about 20 minutes using a table spoon, I dip in the spoon and let the mixture pour off the back of it. At first you will see it is thin and syrupy. After a while it will start to thicken and not run off the spoon really fast. Start watching the way it drips once it starts dropping off in globs it is ready. I also will drop a few drops onto a cool plate and see if it sets up. YES, this is really the way I make it. 


After it is thick enough, pour hot jam into half pint jelly jars, wipe rims with a wet cloth to remove any residue and put the lids and rings on. Please do this set quickly and thoroughly. You want the jam REALLY hot going into the hot water bath. Carefully load jars into boiling water bath, making sure that there is an inch of water over the top of your jars and process for 10 minutes. Remove carefully and place on a towel to cool thoroughly. The next day, check your seals, label and admire your accomplishment. Jam the old fashioned way.





Ratatouille

I use these proportions when making it. It depends on how much I have to use up at once. Sometimes it is a barrel full.  You can also vary your herbs..make it hot with hot peppers. We pour it over grilled fish, chicken, pasta, in casseroles with cheeses.

¼ cup olive oil

3 cloved crushed chopped garlic

1 ½ teaspoon salt

1 eggplant peeled and cubed 1”

2 smallish zucchini mostly peeled, thickly sliced and then cubed

2 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)

1 bell pepper (or the equivalent in frying peppers) coarsely chopped

1 big onion coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons dry basil

2 teaspoons dry oregano

1 ½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Sauté onions and peppers in 1 Tablespoon oil until barely done and spoon into the pot. Then into the big pot add your tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes to thicken tomatoes. While that is simmering: In large frying pan sauté eggplant in 2 Tablespoon Olive oil until barely cooked. Spoon into big pot. Sauté zucchini in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until just cooked (use a big pan and don’t crowd it. It won’t weep as much.) Spoon into big pot. Ladle into pint jars (it’s the size I use most here because we are a small family) Wipe rims and threads with vinegar soaked cloth. Put the lids on. Pressure can according to your canners directions at 10 lbs. for 35 minutes for pints.