Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jelly and relish.. still canning!

Did my first batch of jelly the other day. Used the wild grapes I've found in the neighborhood as well as a few lbs I've found out and about in other parts of the world (top secret locations!). This is 4.8lbs of wild grapes..

 It was actually pretty stinkin' easy. In order to do it, I had to buy a new (had to? Well.. that's debatable..) kitchen gadget. But I've found this thing to be pretty useful in the jelly making role. It's a thing called a Food Mill, and it's a hand cranked thing that just sorta squeezes the heck out of whatever soft food that you put into it, and leaves the skins and seeds behind, neatly separating them. It supposedly makes the most awesome mashed potatoes, too. Here's a pic of it in action:

After this, you simmer the grapes for 10 mintes, strain out the solids from the liquids and then add a truckload of sugar and the pectin, bring to a boil and then start ladling into the cans. Process for a super short 5 minute time span and then leave 'em be. This batch made six, eight ounce jars and one small kitchen glass that I put some of the leftover stuff into. It's got a very strong grape flavor that's *way* better than I anticipated. It's actually quite, quite good, and now I'm on the hunt for some more grapes out in the wild do do up some more. Here's some more pics of the rest of the process:
Simmering on the skins...

Separating from the skins after simmering

The aftermath!

Finished product.

Additionally, I just whipped up and caned this 4.5 pints of hot pepper relish. It's made of a combo of my Portugese Hot's, Jalapenos, and Hot Cherry peppers.. I did not expect it to be very hot, and actually picked a few Habaneros to spice it up a bit after I got it all mixed together, but after it simmered for a bit a taste test showed it was quite spicy indeed. The Portugese Hots aren't all that hot, raw, so I'm not sure where all that heat came from. These are gonna be for sandwiches and hotdogs and stuff.. take a look:
4.2lbs of hot peppers!

These Portuguese Hots are huge!

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