New Food Journeys
Sep. 22, 2013 9:04 am
Updated: Oct. 1, 2013 5:28 pm
I resolved to spend more time in my kitchen this year. I have done that, somewhat. But, for a few months now I've been pondering where I could go now in my kitchen. I know my way around it pretty well and I wanted to go on a new journey. Have a new
adventure. I needed some spice in my life!
Finally, after one of my "gab" sessions with best friend, Tawnia, it hit me. I needed to attempt canning! Tawnia cans. She makes jellies. She makes pickles, salsa, and tomato sauce. It all sounds so exotic to me. Years and years ago I made strawberry preserves
and grape jelly. I sealed them using paraffin wax. Canning sounds like fun to me, but also scary.
I recently have become a "Pinner" on Pinterest. It's fun to just sit at the computer and while away spare time I don't have clicking "Pin It!" on all sorts of cool decorating ideas, recipes, places, animals, and yes... even canning ideas. I found a recipe
for Sangria Wine Jelly. Well.... I like sangria. I like wine. And... bonus... I even like jelly! I pinned that recipe to my new Board I had created "Canning". How creative of a name is that??
On a whim last week I stopped at a local store and there on the end-cap sat a canning kit. It came with all you needed to embark on the "Water Bath Canning Journey". I had a little extra cash on me, so into my cart that kit went. I found canning jars for
jelly. They were cute - decorative 8 oz. size jelly jars. I came home with my new prize and printed out my recently pinned recipe for Sangria Wine Jelly. I read that recipe. I re-read that recipe. I wanted to make it and make it right. Then I got to
thinking. If I'm going to give this stuff as gifts then maybe I should find those really cute little jelly jars. The ones that are 4 ounces and perfect for gift-giving! Did any of my local stores have those jars? Nope! I spent an entire afternoon after
work stopping at every store in our town and one town over. I knew the hardware store in Hartville (about a half hour, 45 minute jaunt away) would have them. They have EVERYTHING. I love that store. Whenever Jon says he has to make a trip there to buy some
special tool for work, or take a tool in for repair I go along. More often than not I end up with a "tool" for my kitchen. Also - on the way home there's always the winery/farm market and chocolate store to stop at.
Yesterday I made my first attempt at canning jelly. I decided to use the first set of jars I had bought. If it turned out, then I would make a batch for gift giving. I had already spent numerous hours researching canning online. I read all the do's and
don'ts. I read tips and suggestions from all sorts of sites. I felt confident I could go in my kitchen and can a few jars of jelly. Jon was working at a side job so I knew he wouldn't be hovering around, getting in my way.
Just as I whisked the sugar into my concoction - my phone rang. Kristal and Jake were heading out to one of our favorite wineries to enter their dog's name in the Wine Naming Contest. This winery (called Lil Paws, and is dog-themed) is releasing a new wine
this winter and is having a contest amongst their customers. You enter your dog's name and describe your dog and they will choose the dog that seems to best describe their new wine. The deadline for entering is approaching and we wanted to get Suzy and Maggie
entered. I really hope Maggie wins. They already have a wine named Missy - which was our chocolate lab's name. I said I could go along if they could wait just a while longer while I process my jelly. They arrived just as the water bath time was almost
As I lifted each jar from the boiling water, we began to hear the "pop" of each jar sealing. Success! That was what had me most worried; would I really make this jelly and actually have it seal like it was supposed to?? YES!
We left my jars to cool (I got 7 jars!) and headed to the winery. Kristal and I are both participants in Ohio Wines VIP program. VIP stands for Visitor's Incentive Program. As you visit various wineries in Ohio, you collect tickets which are worth points.
The first visit to each winery gives you 500 points. The second visit through the tenth is worth 100 points. After that you only earn 10 points. Once you've earned enough points you can then trade them in for neat gifts. Anyways, we entered Suzy and Maggie
into the contest, collected our points, bought a bottle or two of wine to bring home and left the winery. As Kristal started up the car - she turned to me and grinned. "Since we're out and about and there are a couple other wineries nearby - do you have
time to go collect points?" Ha! Did I have time?! Of course I did. I collected two more 500 point tickets and on to home we went. Thoughts of the jelly went through my head. I was really proud of how it had looked sitting on my counter cooling.
I still was worried, though. What if the lids "popped" and then exploded red jelly everywhere!! Jake said if we opened the door and were met by Suzy licking jelly off her chops -then we should just gently close the door, pull up a chair on the deck and enjoy
a bottle of the wine we had just bought. I'd need the calming effects of wine to deal with any mess!
Suzy did meet us at the door, but she was not licking jelly off her chops. One look on the counter in the kitchen and I could see my seven jars of jelly still cooling. Whew!
Last night Jon and I ate out at one of our favorite restaurants. I had received a $20 Birthday coupon from them and it expires this month and last night they had clambakes. We had a great dinner and even splurged for dessert; the creme' brulee duo which last
night featured vanilla bean and white chocolate macadamia nut.
This morning Jon had to go finish up the side job, but said he had to open a jar of that jelly and taste it. So I let him. One taste. Two tastes. The third taste he finally commented. "This is good enough to eat!" I could taste the raspberries and the
citrus fruits in it. It sort of reminded me of a marmalade. I tried some on a piece of toast. I'm not a toast person, but I can be one now. I also think it will go great over cream cheese on crackers or a baquette with wine.
We are going stove shopping this afternoon. On our way home we have to stop and get more fruit. I want to make another batch of Sangria Wine Jelly. But this time I'm making it in my cute little gift jars.
First attempt at canning