Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I (heart) my pressure cooker

Finally, at last, I got the pressure cooker to work with help from P. Don't get me wrong, we were nervous that the thing might explode, but thanks to a little guts and a lot of reading of the instruction manual, the house stayed intact.

However, with this first recipe, we decided to just try it as a boiling water canner. Nope. That pot is way too big to boil water in and I don't get enough heat from the radiant range.

Both of these recipes were chosen as the result of seeing that Sprouts (a local farmers' market) had Bartlett pears and strawberries on sale.

Strawberry-Pineapple Jam

3 cups hulled and crushed ripe strawberries (about 1 1/2 quarts whole berries)
1 c drained and crushed pineapple (you will need two 8 oz cans)
6 1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
3 oz pouch liquid pectin

In a stockpot, combine fruits, sugar and butter. Over medium-low heat, heat the mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add pectin. Return mixture to a full boil. Boil for one minute and remove pot from heat. Allow jam to cool for five minutes and stir every minute to redistribute the fruit. Ladle the hot jam into hot jars and leave 1/4" headspace. Wipe jar rims with clean cloth, cover with hot lids and apply screwcaps. Process half-pints in rolling water bath for ten minutes and pint jars for fifteen minutes. Yields 8 half-pint jars.

What I liked about this recipe: It was easy and strawberries were on sale that day, 2/$4.
What I disliked about this recipe: It did not set as firmly as I would have liked. After 24 hours, I actually labeled the jars "strawberry-pineapple ice cream topping" because I was certain that it had not set correctly. I did eat it over ice cream and it was great. A few days later, I decided to look at it again for jam since I had used all of my old strawberry jam up that I had made in December and tried it on bread. Surprisingly, it was fine and not overly liquidy. I don't know if it's one of those things that just sets a little harder once it's in the fridge or what, but warm, in the jars on the shelf, it's the consistency of ice cream topping.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: None on this other than my lid wand and my funnel that were part of my canning kit. The pressure cooker does NOT work as a water bath canner very well. So I used the inverted method to seal the jars.
Tastiness factor: Oh, it's SO delicious. It has a very very sweet strawberry taste and there's something else in there that just really gives it a beautiful bright red color and a wonderfully tropical taste. Oh, RIGHT, the pineapple! (Dad, I can't wait for you to try it!)

Bartlett Pear Marmalade

3 1/2 cups peeled, cored and finely chopped ripe Bartlett pears (about 3 1/2 lbs)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
2 medium Valencia oranges (I used navel oranges)
1/4 c water
1/2 c water
8 oz can of crushed pineapple in juice, lightly drained
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
6 c sugar
3 oz pouch liquid pectin

Combine chopped pears and lemon juice and stir gently until pears are completely coated with lemon juice. Set aside. Using a zester, remove only the outer colored peel of the oranges. (Alternative is to cut off the peel with a paring knife and then slice into thin strips.) Peel the fruit and remove the white pitch. Separate the orange segments and remove all membrane and seeds. Chop the fruit and set aside. Combine the orange peel and 1/4 c water in a small bowl and let soak for ten minutes. Drain the peel and discard the water. In a stockpot, combine the peel, chopped oranges and 1/2 c water. Overe medium heat, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add pears, pineapple and butter to the mixture and simmer, uncovered, for five minutes. Stir frequently to prevent mixture from sticking to the pot. Gradually add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add pectin. Return mixture to a full boil and stir constantly. Boil for one minute. Remove pan and let jam sit for five minutes. Stir the marmalade every minute to redistribute the fruit. Ladle hot jam into hot jars and leave 1/4" headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean cloth. Cover with hot lids and apply screwtops. Process half-pint jars in water bath canner for ten minutes, pint jars for fifteen minutes, or in a pressure canner (YES!) for ten minutes at 6 lbs. of pressure. Yields 8 half-pint jars.

What I liked about this recipe: It is VERY unusual! Who would ever pair oranges and pears together? And the pears were 99 cents a pound.
What I disliked about this recipe: It took a REALLY long time to prep and a REALLY long time to cook.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: The zester that I don't own. He he he. Okay, seriously, the pressure canner was The Coolest. Thing. Ever. So easy and it did not explode. We followed the directions to a T and it was SO neat hearing the lids ping as they sealed. Very cool. But I do need a zester very badly after this if I'm going to attempt marmalade again. Doing it the way I did it with the paring knife not only was irritating, but time-consuming and a little dangerous for the little fingers.
Tastiness factor: I had only heated eight jars and had so much left over, I was able to fill one of my plastic Ball refrigerator jars completely and that's what I'm working on eating right now. Same as the jam's very liquidy but seems to gel even more once it's in the fridge. I haven't opened any of the sealed jars yet. I did give a jar to my friend J at her son's first birthday party last weekend and she really liked it a lot and said it was yummy. It is very is very much like orange marmalade but not as orangey can distinctly taste the pears and the pineapple. It is very delicious. (Dad, you're going to love that one too.)

Now, my jamming adventures are at a halt for a bit. I have so much jam in the cupboard and while I'm working on giving it to friends and family, I really just can't make any more until I use up more of what I have.

I (heart) jam.

Next up, pickles.


Post a Comment

<< Home