Low Sugar, No Pectin Concord Grape Jam

purple-grapes-vineyard-napa-valley-napa-vineyard-45209

It was one of those last minute things that ended up being both awesome and horrible. I was at work when I saw Petersen Family Farm’s post that they had 25 pound boxes of concord grapes now available in their farm shop. I was distraught, because I was at work late that day and had no way of getting to the farm. I asked my husband if he minded driving out to the farm after work, since I wasn’t going to be home until 7 PM anyways. Of course he went, because he loves Concord grape jam more than I do. What was suppose to take him 30 minutes to drive to the farm, took him 2 hours in the traffic. I got home before he even made it to Petersen’s. He got the absolute last box they had for the day! Victory. So thankful that my hubby got this box, because now we have perfect jars of Concord grape jam. I continued to use my miraculous 1:2 ratio for sugar to fruit and again it didn’t let me down. We now have 6 months worth of grape jam. Welp!

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Low Sugar, No Pectin Plum Jam

Basket full of autumn fruits

I bought a bag of plums this week from Allred Orchards. I wanted to try a small batch recipe of plum jam just to see how it would turn out and taste. It was hard not to just eat all the plums, but I managed to make jam before they were all gone. I’ve been using a 1:4 ratio with stone fruit to make jam. Meaning however much my processed fruit weighs in grams, I divide that by 4 and that’s how much sugar I add. This 1:4 ratio has so far worked perfectly with peaches, apricots, cherries, and now plums. I’ve been using a 1:2 ratio with berries: raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Jam on toast in the morning is about all the added sugar I eat in a day, otherwise fruit it how I get my daily dose of sweetness. I am really careful about how much sugar I consume in a day, so I want my jam as low sugar as possible, but to still taste great and last in my cupboard for the year. As a nerd scientist, I enjoy that my jam recipe is so exact. I hated trying to measure my fruit out in “cups”. That was never accurate enough for me. With this method of weighing your fruit, you can’t go wrong and my jam has gotten much more consistent across batches and across fruits. Predictability is good. Try it out the next time you make jam using stone fruit!

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Tomatoes, Canning Whole

ripe tomatoes in a pot of water

For the past several years, I have been canning whole tomatoes for when winter rolls around and I’m craving tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches or stew. Canning tomatoes is easy, super easy and the tomatoes taste way better than anything you get from the store. We get our Roma tomatoes from Chavez Farms and are able to buy a 20 pound box for $1.00 / pound. Not a bad deal and after looking around at other farms in Utah, this really is a great deal. The 20 pound box yields 10 quart jars of canned tomatoes. This is just enough to get a through a winter. I could probably enjoy tomato soup more often, but I like having it as an occasional treat. Grab your box of tomatoes and get canning…

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Melon Wrapped in Prosciutto

cantaloupe melon with prosciutto. italian appetizer

It is peak melon season now in Utah. Luckily, we’ve been able to grab fresh melons at our local grocery store where the melons are sourced from Hurricane, UT. But there’s also a melon stand at the Downtown Farmer’s Market that we buy from as well. I’ve been eating a melon a day it seems like, but sometimes I want to enjoy more than just melon. Here in Utah we also have some of the best cured meats you could imagine: Creminelli. Between the local melon and local cured meats this is a wonderful salad / snack for ANY hot summer day.

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Grainline Studio Willow Tank

Grainline Studio Willow Tank

For such an easy pattern, I’ve had a dilly of a pickle sewing a version of Grainline Studio’s new Willow Tank pattern that will last. I’ve gone through three versions and two different sizes to finally get a version that looks fabulous. I sewed with rayon for the first time and was completely disappointed with the results, hence all the trials and errors with this pattern. Even though I had fabric issues, the pattern is awesome. I only had to make one small adjustment, otherwise the pattern is nearly perfect! I was worried that the tank would be boring, boxy, and look awful, but I was wrong. Grainline Studio has given us another solid pattern that I will return to over and over again.

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