Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Apples and Pumpkins and Jars, oh my!

Fall is my favorite season. I love Halloween and the colors and smells that autumn brings. Not to mention I have an October birthday! But it's always the tastes that really get me. Not gonna lie, I love me some food!

Last week I headed out to my favorite pumpkin farm, Dussell's Farm, on Old Forge Road in Brimfield. I bought the last 5 pie pumpkins in the bin on a chilly Wednesday morning. I baked, pureed, and froze three of them. A winter's worth of pumpkin goodies will be made! Sunday I cleaned, peeled and diced one. Then I added two thinly sliced whole oranges and 4 cups of sugar and put the whole bowl in the fridge to macerate overnight.

The last pumpkin was baked, pureed and became this delicious pumpkin butter!

According to all the books and warnings, anything with pureed pumpkin cannot be safely canned so this will stay good in the freezer for a year or the fridge for 6 months. I plan to make some thumbprint cookies with it soon.

As for delicious bowl of macerating fruit...it became pumpkin marmalade! I'd never heard of such a thing until I found a beautiful picture on InstaGram. I used a recipe from SapphireStitches and it was super easy! Now, I know, marmalade isn't for everyone...but personally I love it! It's the sweet fruit mixed with the tiny bitterness of the orange rind...LOVE!!

Just look at that beautifulness! Is that a word? I adapted this recipe just a bit because I wanted to add a little extra pumpkin-y spice to it. Ground cinnamon and whole cloves did just the trick!

Pumpkin Marmalade (recipe adapted from SapphireStitches)

Clean, peel and dice one pie pumpkin into 1/4" pieces (about 8 cups)
1-2 whole oranges, sliced thinly, remove any seeds
4 cups sugar

If you want to adjust the amounts, here's a hint: Use two parts pumpkin to one part sugar!

Place in large bowl, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day place in a heavy pot, bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, cover and simmer until pumpkin pieces are clear and soft and juices will be thick and sticky.

At this point I stirred in 2 tsp ground cinnamon. I also added 4 whole cloves to each half pint jar as I was filling them.

So...fill your hot prepared jars, wipe rims, seal and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. I got 8 half pint jelly jars and one quarter pint.

Like yesterday's recipe, this is a good one for beginners since the orange rind contains so much natural pectin that it sets up quite easily. As a beginning canner I remember the frustration of runny jams  :-(

I also had a couple bags of apples that had been given to me so I whipped up another batch of applesauce. Easy peasy guys! Apples and water and boiling equals applesauce!

I simply wash and quarter the apples (I'm too lazy to peel and core them) and add some water to the pan so they don't stick. Cover and bring to a low boil until they are soft and falling apart. Then I run them through my handy dandy vintage Presto food mill. Have you ever used one of these things? They're magic! Beautiful pureed food out the bottom and all the seeds and skins stay in the top (to be composted of course). I don't usually add sugar or spices at all since I like to substitute applesauce for oil in much of my baking. I process my jars for 20 minutes but you can refrigerate or freeze your applesauce if you prefer. Try it! I promise you'll love it!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Hug your friends and tell them you love them! I'll be in the attic sewing today.