Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bumbleberry Jam

We quite enjoy throwing several kinds of berries together to make a pie or a crisp.  Why not combine a few varieties of berries to make bumbleberry jam?  I used blackberries, blueberries and raspberries...equal amounts of each...and we quite enjoyed the combo.
  • 6 cups berries, crushed with a potato masher or pulsed in the food processor or blender
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 box Certo Light pectin crystals  (If you prefer a runnier jam, use only half the package of pectin.)
  • 1 teaspoon butter, optional  (prevents jam from foaming)
  1. Place crushed berries and water in a large pot.  (Add water to berries when processing in blender.)
  2. Combine pectin crystals with 1/4 cup of the measured sugar.  Add to prepared fruit.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring with a long wooden spoon.
  4. Add remaining sugar and 1 teaspoon butter.
  5. Return to a hard boil; boil while stirring for one minute.
  6. Remove from  heat.  Stir for several minutes to prevent fruit from floating.
  7. Pour into warm sterilized jars* to 1/4" from top.
  8. Cover with lids and screw rings on tightly.
*Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse well. Sterilize jars, lids and rings by placing in a large baking pan and placing in oven at 225ºF for 10 minutes. Keep warm until filling time.  By using warm jars and hot lids, the jam jars will seal without processing in a hot water bath. (According to the Kraft Certo guidelines.)  Cooked jams and jellies can be stored on the shelf unopened for 6 to 8 months.

Triple berry preserves on a thick slice of fresh bread is a delightful combo!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

How to Cube a Watermelon

Who knew there could be so many ways to cut up a watermelon?  We figured out early on that we each had our own method...and both us of thought that ours was the better way.  But that was all about serving slices on a platter...with the rind on.

Today I am going to share a few tips for cutting a whole watermelon into bite-sized pieces.

Place washed watermelon on a cutting board and lop off both ends.

Stand the watermelon up on one of the flat ends.  With a large knife, follow the curve of the watermelon and cut the rind off one slice at a time. 

 Be sure to remove all the white rind...since it is not at all sweet.

Cut the watermelon in half horizontally.  Working with one half at a time...slice vertically as if you are slicing a loaf of bread.  (If your watermelon has black seeds...this would be when you remove the slice at a time.)  Rotate your half-watermelon and slice vertically in the opposite direction.

Lay pieces on their side and complete the process by cutting into bite-sized chunks.  It works well!

Cubed watermelon should be stored in a covered container in the fridge...and will keep for about 5 days.  It makes the best summertime snack!

And did you know that watermelon cubes make great ice-cubes? That makes perfect sense...since watermelon is over 90% water.  Instead of watering down your drinks with regular ice...try watermelon ice-cubes.

Places the cubes onto a parchment lined tray.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze the watermelon cubes until completely frozen (several hours).  Place the frozen cubes into a resealable plastic bag for easier storage.  Add to your next cold glass of water or punch to enjoy on the patio!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Freezies ~ Zipsicles


I discovered Zipzicle ice-pop pouches last year...wee zip lock pouches that make it easy to create custom-made freezies.  They can be ordered on-line or purchased at specified stores in the USA...and filled with fruits or juices of your choice.  The three varieties featured here are the ones my grands are enjoying this summer. They think the gummy worm ice-pops are #1.   My pick is the strawberry pina colada version...which reminds me of my favorite breakfast parfait (strawberries, bananas and oranges with pina colada yogurt).  And...for old-times sake...I made up some root beer float Zipzicles.  We're going camping with the grands soon...and the Zipsicles fit nicely in the freezer of the RV.  Who doesn't like a cold treat on a hot day?

Strawberry Pina Colada Zipzicle
  • 1 cup pina colada yogurt
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup orange juice
  1. Place all ingredients in blender.
  2. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Fill Zipsicle bags using a funnel or kitchen baster..
  4. Freeze in an upright position.

 Lemonade Gummy Worm Zipzicles (Swamp Monster Popsicles):
  • Gummy worms
  • 4 cups lemonade 
  1. Prepare lemonade. 
  2. Pinch top of bag open and pour juice until bag is 2/3 full. 
  3. Drop in gummy worms and top up with juice to fill line. 
  4. Zip closed and place on a paper-towel lined cookie sheet. 
  5. Lightly poke worms to distribute evenly in bag. 
  6. Place cookie sheet in freezer until Zipzicles are solid. 

 Rootbeer Float Zipzicles:
  • 2 cups vanilla ice-cream
  • 1 can rootbeer
Process rootbeer and ice-cream in blender until smooth.
Fill Zipsicle bags using a funnel or kitchen baster.
Freeze upright until solid.