August 12, 2017
Busy as a bee as they say, its August and that means to get in a hurry to get prepared for Winter. School already started back and the first crops have gone. Time to take a count of what you have already harvested and put up by home canning, drying or freezing and what you will need or want in January.
Each year it seems to be about the same month by month of what to put up and that is because that is that fruit or vegetables season, but one fruit we do not grow local is bananas but they are enjoyed here at this homestead and as always some get ripe faster than they are eaten so I looked up a few recipes to make a jam, a way to preserve and not waste the bananas. I did the test in my own kitchen and I have a nice flavored jam home canned, however I did alter the recipe because for one it was way to sweet, with bananas naturally sweet I had to reduce the amount of sugar.
Banana Jam - Makes 4 half pints
3 1/2 cups of mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups of Sugar
6 tablespoons of Lemon juice
1 cup water
A dash of Cloves - Nutmeg - Cinnamon.
In a large cooking pot combine water and sugar and boil for around 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Reduce heat to medium low and cook till thick, 45 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
Spoon into prepared Jars and seal with new lids.
Precess in a water bath for 5 minutes.
Now you have this wonderful banana jam to enjoy.
Serving suggestion : Peanut butter and banana jam sandwich.
NOTE : This is not a pretty jam, but the taste makes up for the beauty.
I usually always make a few jars to a case of dill pickled but I always bought the mix because mine always turned out way to sour for my taste but the mix is way to salty so I looked around, listened to a few shows on t.v. and I gave the old fashion down home recipe a chance. I cut back on the salt just a bit and I think this one will be used in the future, a plus is that you can grow everything it calls for.
Dill pickles - Makes 7 pints : How I make them
Cucumbers - One Medium per Jar - See " Note"
2 3/4 cups of Vinegar
3 cups Water
Whole Cloves of Garlic
Fresh Dill Weed
1/4 cup of Canning Salt
Peel and wash the garlic, slice each clove in half. Put 4 halves in each pint jar.
Add 2 sprigs of dill weed to each jar.
Wash the cucumbers in cold water. Slice the cucumbers into spears. Fill each jar with the cucumbers tightly and just below the one inch head space ( the rim)
In a large cooking pot combine water, vinegar and canning salt and heat to a boil.
Fill each jar to the one inch head space and apply a new lid.
Process for 7 minutes in a water bath.
Allow 2 weeks for the pickles to be ready to eat.
NOTE : Sometimes I don`t measure out how many as some recipes ask because the cucumbers are not large or small, so this is what I do, I prepare my jars and slice or chop how I want the cucumber to be and place them in the jars, that way I do not cut up to many or not enough.. I did spears this time, To make spears cut the ends off, cut in half, next cut the half in half and if its still to big cut that in half.
Figs! Its time for figs and if you are lucky you will harvest more than the birds eat and the ants finish up. Last year I was given a whole crop of figs so I still had plenty of preserves, so I wondered what to do with this years figs, I dehydrated a couple screens and that became a pint bag, I made some with light syrup and I made fig spread, like what is in the middle of the cookie fig newtons. I thought that would be an awesome treat around Christmastime.
Fig Spread - Makes 2 half pints
2 quarts of fresh ripe Figs
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
Chop figs into small pieces.
In a large cooking pot combine figs and the water and bring to a hard boil, add sugar and lemon juice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Stirring often so not to stick to the bottom and burn.
When the figs get thick and dark remove from heat and fill jars. Apply a new lid and process in a water bath for 5 minutes.
NOTE : Figs are naturally sweet and they have a good amount of water naturally, so this will take some time to make, it will cook slow and on a low setting. I put it on the back eye of the stove and made dinner while it was condensing, once it gets super thick keep an eye on it so not to let it burn.
So that is what has been happening around the homestead. Putting what I grow into jars to enjoy for the cold months coming. And not letting a banana go bad and being wasteful.
Have you home canned or froze any of this seasons fruits or vegetables?
By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry