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Comment by Patricia on August 31, 2018 at 10:00pm

I always used only half the called for sugar, but I can't remember which pectin I used as its been so many years. We're not big jam or jelly eaters. 

Comment by Loam Gnome on August 31, 2018 at 9:48pm

Who can advise me on Freezer jam, especially with not so much sugar added?  A few years ago, I made several batches, and they worked great.  They are not intended to last more than a year, but I am still using some plum jam and fig jam from 2015.  The appearance, texture, and flavor are great.  But I've forgotten how I made it!

Maybe it's because this year I used liquid pectin for the first time.  I'm using 1/2 the recommended amount of sugar.  That's also what I did before, and it gelled fine.  I made 3 batches this week.

#1:  Seedless grapes.  I pureed them, added the pectin and sugar, let them sit, and froze.

#2.  Seeded grapes.  I squeezed the grapes out of their skins, cooked the innards for 5 minutes, ran through a food mill to remove the seeds.  Then added back the skins, pureed them in food processor, added pectin and sugar, portioned into jars, let sit overnight and froze.

#3.  Blackberries.  This time I just pureed them, added the pectin and sugar, plus a tablespoon of lemon juice.  The berries were so syrupy before adding the pectin, I wondered if it was needed.

Since I just made the blackberry, maybe it will gel overnight.  The 2 grape batches have wonderful flavor, but are more of a syrup than a jam.  That's OK - the main thing I use it for is adding to home made yogurt, which I eat every day.  But I would like a BPJ sandwich, and the syrupy consistency doesn't seem appropriate.  Should I use a different pectin?  I don't want to up the sugar - it's already very sweet.


Skinned grapes and grape skins

Final product


Blackberry jam

Comment by Idaho Spud on August 31, 2018 at 7:17am

I remember eating puffball mushrooms when I was a kid.

Is there any poisonous mushrooms that can easily be mistaken for puffballs, Randy?

Comment by Randall Smith on August 31, 2018 at 6:59am

I found two softball size puffball mushrooms on the golf course the other day. Sliced one up, dipped it in egg, then flour and cheese, and cooked it in a cast iron skillet (two batches). Yum yum! I'll freeze most of it. I'm not sure what I want to do with the other one. Probably eat it raw in salads.

Comment by Randall Smith on August 29, 2018 at 7:53am

I concur with Joan! Wish I could taste some of your products, Daniel. I made another 2 quarts of dill pickles yesterday, making 8 altogether. Should last me. My red cabbage sauerkraut turned out alright, although it started to mold on top where the liquid didn't reach.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 29, 2018 at 4:45am
Daniel, they look wonderful! The flavors and aromas must be outstanding in your home at this time. Do you use the Thi peppers in your recipes? WoW! Bon Appetit!
Comment by Loam Gnome on August 28, 2018 at 7:15pm

Joan, than you for reminding me that gazpacho is delicious!  I must buy some cucumbers and make some.

This week I made Gerkinsalat - a salad consisting of thinly sliced cucumbers, onions, sour cream...   My greataunts used to make it, a half century ago.  I don't like added sugar, so instead of adding sugar, I added a handful of dried cranberries.  I liked that effect.

Your cucumber looks delicious.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Here's the progress report on the fermentations.  The sauerkraut came out delicious!  I keep snacking on it.  I've also been using the juice to jump start some other fermentations.

The red sauerkraut came out OK.  The top had a little mold.  This one made the most juice and overflow, but afterwards seems more dry.  It's in the fridge to age a little, to see if I like it better as it ages.

The kimchee also came out delicious.  I keep snacking on that too.  Initially I thought it was too salty, but now it's more pungent and spicy.  I love the stuff. 

Since i use hot sauce every day, on multiple foods, I decided to try making that by fermentations too.  The first is Jalapeno garlic

The second is Thai peppers and garlic

And the third has both, plus some onion.  After these ferment (days)  these get blended then strained, and stored in fridge in bottles.  I'm interested in seeing how they turn out - never did this before.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 27, 2018 at 10:37pm

I will make my next batch with unpeeled tomatoes and see if we notice any difference. I suspect there are nutrients or something of value in the skin.

I have only two scrawny cucumbers left, and I doubt they will amount to anything before frost. The tomatoes ripen nicely. 

Here you see the delicious, not bitter, crisp large cucumber and the fate of 99% of the forming cucumbers. They have blossom end rot and I tossed some Epsom salts on the soil and that made a big difference. If I had done it earlier I would have had a better cucumber yield.  

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 27, 2018 at 10:26pm

Daniel, how did your kimchee and salsa turn out? They look absolutely delicious!

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 27, 2018 at 10:15pm


2 cups tomatoes, quartered & peeled

1 cup cucumber, quartered & partially peeled

1/2 red onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Place all in a blender until very small pieces remain.

For a Smoothie, add a handful of ice cubes & blend. 

I used huge tomatoes, cucumbers, & garlic from my garden. They provided refreshing beverages during the heat of the summer. 


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