I decided to make some jarred antipasto and two types of jam.
The jarring process was a bit daunting to say the least -- I'd never sterilized anything before and didn't intend to send my god-parents jam with a side of botulism for Christmas! So I did my homework. But this only confused me more -- was I supposed to boil the lids as well as the jars? Was boiling the sealed jars a necessary step or would they explode?? I decided to follow the instructions that came with the pectin I purchased for the jam. This informed me that all I needed to do was boil the lids and put the washed and clean jars in a 275 F oven for 10 minutes to sterilize.
I had intended to make Saskatoonberry jam but was too lazy to trek to the Healthy Butcher (the only store in Toronto where I have successfully located the berries). Instead I headed to Fiesta Farms and grabbed a few frozen packages of organic specialty fruit I recently made a crumble with for a holiday potluck (it was devoured instantly from an otherwise full desert table so I took that as a good sign). I made two variations of jam -- boysenberry-blueberry, AND boysenberry-black raspberry-blueberry. Both jams are packed with dark fruit rich in antioxidants and I used a smaller than usual amount of sugar so they're not even that bad for you! All the fruit used was frozen with the exception of the blueberries I used which I threw in fresh for a textural contrast.
So I never made jam before so this was a bit of a "by feel" recipe.
Boysenberry Blueberry Jam
2 packages organic frozen boysenberries
1 1/2 C water
1/2 package blueberries
1C organic brown sugar
1/2 meyer lemon juice and zest
1/2 sachet liquid natural pectin
Put the frozen fruit and water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add sugar lemon zest and juice, stir and bring to a boil. Lower temperature to medium heat and let rapidly simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the fresh blueberries, boil 5 more minutes. Add pectin, boil and then simmer until jam reduces to your desired consistency, mine was quite syrupy. Turn off heat.
Using clean tongs, remove a jar from the oven and place it on a wooden cutting board. Pour the jam carefully into the jar without dirtying the outer edge (you may want to use a funnel for this). Using the tongs, remove the lid from the boiling water and place on top of the jar of jam. Seal. Store at room temperature for 24 hours before opening and/or refrigerating.
The antipasto I prepared was pretty simple. I decided to roast some colorful bell peppers and jar them in oil with some red wine vinegar, lemon, herbs and hot chillies. I also roasted some cippolline onions and preserved them in oil.
Red Hot Peppers
1 1/2 giant red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
5 dried whole red chillies
1 tbsp capers
1/8 cup dried parsley
1/8 cup dried basil
1 roasted cippolline onion
juice of 1/3 lemon
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp ground cayenne
1/8 cup aged red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover
I started by cutting the peppers in half, removing stem and seeds. I placed these outside-up on a tin-foil lined baking sheet. I rubbed the segments with a little olive oil.I placed the sheet of peppers on the top shelf of the oven on broil until the skins blackened. I removed them from the oven and let them rest a minute before emptying them into a large ziplock bag. I sealed them in and let them steam in the bag. During this time I prepared the jar in the oven. After they were in the bag a few minutes I removed them one by one and peeled off their blistered skins. I put the peeled peppers on a plate and sliced them. In a glass I mixed together my spices and lemon juice. I poured this into my prepared jar. I then poured my red wine vinegar on top. Then added my dried chillies. After this I took a small set of tongs and began to add my pepper strips. After half the jar was filled I carefully added the capers. Then I added the rest of the peppers. Once the jar was filled with peppers I slowly drizzled in my olive oil, allowing a few moments here and there for it to distribute through the jar evenly. I stopped once the peppers were covered. I then sealed it with the boiled lid.
Roasted Cippolline Onions
2 small sacks cippolline onions
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 lemon juiced
1tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
I started by trimming the onions and removing their husk. I placed these on a tin-foil lined baking sheet. I rubbed them with a little olive oil. I placed the sheet of onions on the top shelf of the oven on broil until the onions became golden in places. I removed them from the oven and let them rest a minute. During this time I prepared the jar in the oven. In a glass I mixed together my spices and lemon juice. I poured this into my prepared jar. I then poured my red wine vinegar on top. After this I took a small set of tongs and added my onions to my prepared jar. Once the jar was filled with onions, I slowly drizzled in my olive oil, allowing a few moments here and there for it to distribute through the jar evenly. I stopped once the onions were covered. I then sealed it with the boiled lid.
I MADE VARIATIONS OF EVERYTHING, HERE ARE SOME PICS: