4/25/17

0 Ball FreshTech Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker: Strawberry Jam Recipe



I love making homemade jam and jellies with fresh fruit from our garden. All takes is some ripe fruit, sugar and pectin.

My friend posted her Vanilla Bean Raspberry jam on Facebook in something that looked like an angel food cake pan. When I asked her what it was, she told me that her Ball Jam & Jelly maker was her favorite kitchen appliance, next to her Instant Pot pressure cooker. "Put your stuff in, it stirs it for the exact time, exact temp, and then turns off. I haven't screwed up jam since...which was something I did on a regular basis."


Ooooooh.... fool proof jam, huh?

I just HAD to get one and see how simple or complicated it would be.

One of the keys to making a successful jam or jelly is to make it in small batches. Avoid the impulse to double the recipe, as it may not set well, as the pectin can overcook easily with a larger batch. (True story - I have overcooked my jelly to a lollipop/sucker stage...)


Let's see if this passes the test! Welcome to my first attempt at making strawberry jam!

1.  Wash the ripe strawberries in cool water and rinse. Allow to strain in a mesh strainer or salad spinner.  You can use frozen and thawed strawberries for this recipe.


2. Hull, or core out the green stem off the strawberries. 


3. Mash the strawberries. Resist the urge to use a blender, food processor or immersion blender. It will break down the pectin (natural fruit thickener) and your jam will be more runny. I used my food processor for one batch, and it was noticeably thinner.

A large fork, small dinner plate, or a potato masher is perfect for the job. I find it easier to mash the strawberries a handful at a time, on a large baking sheet.

Measure the strawberries according to the recipe and set aside.


4. Sprinkle the classic powdered pectin over the bottom of the Ball Jam & Jelly maker.

5. Pour the crushed and measured strawberries on top.


6. Put 1 teaspoon of butter on top of the strawberries. This will help control the foaming.  I promise, this works! I forgot the butter in one batch and the foaming nearly went over the bowl...

7. Add lemon juice, if the recipe calls for it. The acid from the juice will help your pectin set your jam.


8. Press the JAM button, then ENTER. The jam setting will default to 21 minutes.
The center arm will start rotating, stirring your jam. The pot will begin to heat.

9. After 4 minutes have passed, the Ball Jam & Jelly maker will beep, signaling you to gradually add your granulated sugar.


10. After you have added your sugar, put the lid on and you are done!

Now it's time for the jam/jelly maker to do its job.  This is the part that takes the drudgery out of jam & jelly making.... the constant stirring over the stove, and trying to maintain the correct temperature. If it gets too hot, a bubble of jam or jelly can jump out of the pot and burn your hand.

This jam/jelly maker has a special lid with vented holes in the rim to allow excess steam to escape and allow the jam to thicken.



While the jam is cooking is a great time to get my canning or freezer jars ready. Freezing is the easiest and fastest method, while water bath canning will give you up to a 2 year shelf life. You can see an example of water bath canning here.

The jam/jelly maker will beep when cooking is complete. Press CANCEL, unplug the machine, and remove the lid.

Use a hot pad to remove the stirrer. Scrape off any jam with a silicone spatula.


Skim off any foam if necessary. (If you put 1 teaspoon of butter in your recipe, there should be no foaming.)

Ladle the jam into your clean and prepared jars. I like to use 8 oz glass or freezer jars.
If you are water bath canning, you will want to put the HOT jam into HOT jars to prevent any breakage. Putting hot jam into a cold/cool jar can cause it to break.

If freezing, ladle the jam into the clean jar, allowing for a 1/2" headspace between the rim and the top of the jam to allow for expansion of the jam during freezing. Allow jars to cool for 30 minutes, put the lids on, and freeze.


Enjoy your jam, knowing that you made it fresh, from scratch and so easily with the help from the Ball Jam & Jelly maker!

I know I will get a lot of use from this - especially when our grapes are ready this fall for Grape Jelly.

I made 36 half pints of Strawberry Jam in the following flavors: Vanilla, Balsamic, Kiwi, Low Sugar, & Rhubarb. This cool kitchen tool has saved me HOURS of stirring over a hot stove and has made each batch of jam perfect. Win/Win!

You can find the various Strawberry Jam recipes in this book: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

English Muffin Recipe

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Strawberry Jam - Ball Jam/Jelly maker & stovetop
From the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving - Makes 4-5 half pint jars

1 quart of strawberries (heaping 4 cups) = 3 1/4 cups mashed
3 Tablespoons classic powdered pectin - 1/2  of a (1.75 oz) package
1/2 Tablespoon of butter (to reduce foaming)
2 T. lemon juice, optional - but it does help the pectin set your jam
2-3 cups granulated sugar (you choose the amount, based on preferred sweetness)

1. Prepare the Strawberries:
Wash the strawberries in cool running water and drain with a mesh strainer. Remove stems and hulls. (optional) Slice the strawberries with an egg slicer onto a baking sheet with sides.
Crush/Mash the berries with a potato masher, a cupful at a time. Measure your mashed berries and set aside.

Stove Top Method:
Combine strawberries, powdered pectin, butter, and lemon juice in a large sauce pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Return to a rolling boil.
Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skip to step 9. 
2. Sprinkle your pectin evenly over the bottom of the pot with the stirrer.
3. Pour crushed berries over the top of the pectin.
4. Put butter on top of berries.
5. Press the JAM button, then ENTER. It will automatically set for 21 minutes.
Wait 4 minutes for the jam/jelly maker to beep.
6. Add the granulated sugar gradually, while the stirrer is moving.
7. Place the glass lid on top of the pot.
The jam/jelly maker will beep when cooking is complete. Press CANCEL, UNPLUG the machine, and remove the lid.
8. Use a hot pad to remove the stirrer and scrape of any jam.
9. Skim off any foam, if necessary.
10. Ladle your jam into clean jars, following your preferred method below.

Enjoy your strawberry jam 3 different ways:

1. Refrigerator: Let jarred jam cool at room temp for 30 minutes. Place lids and label the jars. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

2. Freezer: Use freezer-safe containers, ladle jam into jars, making sure there is 1/2" head space from the rim to allow for expansion. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, put the lid on, and store in the freezer for up to one year.

3. Canning: Water bath canning is recommended. Ladle HOT jam into HOT 8 oz canning jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Follow the instructions provided for water bath canning and process for the time according to your altitude listed below. When canned and stored properly, the jam will keep on the shelf for 18-24 months.

       0 - 3,000 feet   10 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet   20 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet   25 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet 30 minutes




4/19/17

0 Instant Pot Orange Dreamsicle Yogurt Whips!



This is our newest favorite yogurt - Orange Dreamsicle Whips! A light, airy, mousse-like texture yogurt with the sweetness of orange - reminds me of the Orange Creamsicle bars that taste so good in the summertime! This easy pressure cooker (and stove top) Orange Curd was the inspiration for this oh-so-yummy treat.

This recipe uses a no-strain yogurt, so you keep all the great benefits of whey: loads of calcium and B vitamins. You use four cups of milk, but can get up to 7 cups of yogurt when it is whipped, as it can almost double in volume!

Let's get started!

1.  Put some ice cubes in your Instant Pot, if using as your yogurt maker. This keeps the milk from sticking to your pot.


2. Put 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly opened plain yogurt (with live/active cultures) into a small dish or cup to bring to room temperature. Bringing it to room temp will help dissolve the yogurt more easily. Set it aside.

3. Mix 1/3 cup of instant milk powder into 3 1/2 cups milk. Using an immersion blender will ensure there are no lumps. Instant milk powder dissolves much better and easier than dry milk powder, which mixes better with hot milk and using a blender or immersion blender to prevent clumping. If all you can find is dry milk powder, add it after your milk has heated.

Put this mixture into the Instant Pot liner. Cover, set pressure valve to sealing. Push Yogurt, then quickly push Adjust. The display will say BOIL.

4. While your milk is heating, take the reserved 1/2 cup of milk and sprinkle your 1 tablespoon (one pkg of Knox) of unflavored gelatin and let it sit. This is called "blooming" or softening the gelatin.


5. At the end of the boil cycle, the Instant Pot will beep. Take the temperature with an accurate thermometer. It should easily read 180°F or higher. If it is not that hot, no worries! If using dry milk powder (instead of instant), add it at this time.



6.  Remove any skin that may have formed on top of the milk during the heating process.


7. Whisk your bloomed gelatin in the hot milk. The heat will help dissolve the gelatin.


8. Cool your milk to 100° - 110°F by setting the pot in a bowl of ice water or sink with cold water. Whisk while taking the temp - it will only take 2-3 min, which is FAST!



9. When your milk has cooled, take a cup of cooled milk and pour it over your yogurt starter. Whisk it smooth. Pour the mixture back into your cooled milk and whisk well.


10. Dry off the outside of the Instant Pot liner and put into the Instant Pot.

Cover, put vent to sealing (if using the IP lid), push Yogurt and quickly push Adjust a couple of times till you see the NORMAL and YOGURT buttons lit. (You do not want the LESS setting!)



You can set the timer to incubate as little as 4-5 hours for a very mild yogurt, or as long as 8-10 hours for more tang. Use the +/- buttons to increase/decrease the time.

11. At the end of the yogurt cycle, take the pot liner of yogurt, cover and put into the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.

In the morning, for a "whipped" yogurt, use a hand or stand mixer or put the yogurt with whisk attachment and start on a low setting. Gradually increase to the highest setting and let it whip for at least 10 minutes, till the yogurt has almost doubled.

You can skip this step if you want a creamy yogurt, instead of a whipped yogurt.



12. Gently fold in the Orange Curd, a large scoopful at a time, till it is completely mixed in. You can use a hand held whisk or a spatula.

Pour the yogurt into your desired serving containers. It will look thin and bubbly, but will set up beautifully in the fridge, when chilled in 4-6 hours.



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Orange Dreamsicle Yogurt Whips!

4 cups whole milk (lower fat milk is fine, but not as creamy)
1/3 cup instant milk powder
1 Tablespoon unflavored gelatin (I used Knox)
1 1/2 teaspoons of plain yogurt with live/active cultures at room temperature
2 cups of prepared Orange Curd

*Put some ice cubes into your Instant Pot liner. Wait a few minutes to melt, then dump out the ice/water. Do not towel the inside of the pot dry.

1. Take out 1/2 cup of milk from the 4 cups of milk. Set aside. This is for your gelatin.
2. Add the instant milk powder* to the 3 1/2 cups of milk and mix till smooth. Pour milk mixture into the chilled IP liner. *If using dry milk powder, add it with the gelatin in step 6.
3. Cover IP, set vent to sealing, push Yogurt, then quickly push Adjust for the BOIL setting.
4. While the milk is heating, sprinkle 1 T. gelatin over the 1/2 cup reserved milk. Let it sit to soften, or 'bloom.'
5. At end of boil cycle, test the temp of the milk. It should be 180°F or higher. Remove the milk skin on top, if any.
6. Stir the softened gelatin and whisk it into the hot milk.
7. Cool the yogurt to 100°-110°F at room temp or over an ice water bath, whisking while taking the temp. It will only take 2-3 minutes to cool.
8. Take a cupful of cooled milk and pour it over your yogurt starter. Whisk till smooth; whisk tempered starter back into cooled milk.
9. Cover the Instant Pot, set vent to sealing, push Yogurt, then quickly push Adjust a couple of times till you see 8:00 on your display and the Normal button lit. You can push the (-) button to decrease the time to 4 or 5 hours for a mild yogurt; or choose 8-10 hours for more tang.
10. When the yogurt cycle ends, put the pot of yogurt, covered, into the fridge, for at least 8 hours or overnight.
11. Once chilled, stir Orange Curd** into the yogurt, put into storage containers to re-chill in the fridge, -or-
for a 'whipped yogurt,' whisk your yogurt with stand mixer and whisk attachment for at least 10 minutes, or until yogurt has almost doubled in volume.
Fold or whisk in the Orange Curd in large spoonfuls with a spatula or gently by hand with a handheld whisk. The yogurt will look thin and bubbly. Pour into serving containers, cover, place in fridge for another 4-6 hours to re-set the gelatin.

**Experiment with other citrus curds, or by adding powdered Jello pudding flavors for a variety of whipped yogurt flavors!

Enjoy!


4/13/17

0 Orange Curd - Pressure Cooker & Stove Top




What is Orange Curd?

Orange, or any fruit curd is a creamy spread or topping made with butter, eggs, sugar, citrus juice and zest.

It's not a jam or preserve. It looks like a pudding, but it doesn't taste like one. Curd has more juice and zest, for a more intense flavor. Other than dipping a spoon into a large jar of citrusy curd and savoring it by the spoonful, where else would you use curd?

Use it on bread or scones, as an alternative for jams. You can find curd in cake fillings, pastries and small tarts. Spread it on top of a cheesecake. Try it with toast, waffles, biscuits, pancakes, or muffins.

You can even mix curd with whipping cream for a mousse-like filling for cream puffs.

The first thing I used my curd with was my homemade yogurt. A couple of spoonfuls is all you need to transform plain, ordinary yogurt into something out of this world...

Oh .... my ....

Hurry, make this right now!!

You can make this on the stove top (directions at the bottom of this post) or use your pressure cooker. Using a pressure cooker will allow you to walk away from it, instead of stirring it constantly on the stove.


1.  Roll a clean, washed orange on a flat surface, pushing it as you roll it. This breaks the membranes inside the orange and helps release more juice.

2.  Using a citrus zester, grate the skin of the orange, being careful not to scrape off the bitter white pith under the orange skin.



3.  Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl or large measuring cup. Cut the orange in half and using a citrus reamer, squeeze and rotate the orange, releasing the pulp and juice. Push the pulp through the sieve with a large spoon or silicone spatula.



4.  In a medium 1.5 quart oven safe bowl,  or large 4 cup measure, whisk the eggs and yolks till smooth. Whisk in sugar, orange peel, and melted butter. You can use an immersion blender for this step.


5.  Divide between 2 wide mouth pint canning jars.

If you use canning jars, place the lid and ring onto the jar, and turn the lid finger tip tight.  This means to screw the lid on just till you start to feel resistance when you tighten.

if you are using the bowl to mix/pressure cook your curd, cover the bowl with aluminum foil, crimp it at the rim, and set it on an 18"-20" long piece of aluminum foil that is folded into a 3" wide strip to use as a lifter to place it in/out of the pressure cooker. I really like this method, as it saves me another dish to clean and the risk of it overflowing into your pressure cooker is very low. I save and re-use the foil strip.





6. Put 2 cups of water into the pressure cooker liner, include the wire trivet, and place the 2 jars of curd (or aluminum covered bowl of curd) on top of the trivet.

Close/lock the pressure cooker, set the valve to sealing/closed, and select HIGH pressure for 9 minutes.

When the pressure cooker beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes.

At the end of 10 minutes, open the pressure valve to release the rest of the pressure.


7. Using a canning jar lifter, carefully remove the hot jars and set on a wire cooling rack.



8. Using hot pads, carefully remove the ring and lid.  Stir the curd well. If you want, you can push the curd through a fine mesh strainer. Doing this will help create a very smooth texture and remove most of the orange zest.


9. Allow the curd to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Put the cooled curd in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours to set. Finished curd will keep in the fridge for up to one month.

Smooth, creamy, irresistible...



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Pressure Cook Orange Curd
3/4 cup fresh orange juice - about 3 large oranges
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 to 1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar or 1/3 cup honey
3 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1/4 cup melted, salted butter (1/2 stick)

2 pint sized jars with lids & rings
-or- oven safe Pyrex dish 8 cup/2quart size, aluminum foil to cover

Roll the oranges on a flat surface to release more juice.
Using a grater, grate the orange skin, being careful not to remove the bitter, white pith.
Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, to catch the pulp and seeds.
Cut oranges in half, and using a reamer, juice the oranges over the strainer.
Using a spoon, push juice from the pulp through the sieve.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks, till smooth.
Whisk in sugar, 3 teaspoons of orange peel, and melted butter.
Pour curd into an oven safe bowl or into 2 pint canning jars, making sure they are not more than half full. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or place lids on jars, with the rings 'finger-tip tight.'

Put 2 cups of water into the pressure cooker.
Place trivet in the cooker. Put covered bowl or filled jars onto trivet.
Close the lid, lock and set the pressure valve closed or to sealing.
Use high pressure or manual for 9 minutes.
When pressure cooker beeps, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes.
At the end of 10 minutes, open the pressure valve.

Using hot pads or a canning jar lifter, carefully lift the bowl/jars from the cooker and place on a cooling rack. Using hot pads, carefully open the jars or remove the aluminum foil.

Stir the curd well. Place foil/lids/rings back on and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
If you wish, you can push the hot curd through a fine mesh strainer to create a smooth textured curd.

Place cooled curd in the fridge to set for at least 4-6 hours.

Makes 2 cups and will keep well in the fridge for up to a month.
Freeze your curd in freezer safe containers and it will keep well up to one year.

Stove Top Method: (use cold butter, cut into tablespoons)
Zest the oranges, cut in half and use a reamer to extract the juice over a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl or measuring cup. Push the juice through the pulp in the strainer.
In a saucepan, whisk in eggs and egg yolks with the sugar.
Add zest, orange juice to the sugar mixture and whisk till combined well.
Set saucepan over medium heat, cooking slowly till the curd it thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the pan from heat and whisk in your cold butter, one tablespoon at a time, till you end up with a thick and smooth curd.
Leave the curd to cool in the pot, pour into a clean jar and store in the fridge up to a month.

Enjoy!







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