“In My Kitchen” February 2020

It’s the first of the month again.  And, it’s FEBRUARY.   Phil the Groundhog did not see his shadow so it looks like an early spring for us.  Honestly, though, it seems like we’ve only had a week or two total of below freezing temps and no snow this season.  I did miss the snow a bit this winter but I am ready for spring.  Thanks, Phil!

I feel like I have spent very little time in the kitchen this past month.   I really had to focus to get my two favorite blogging events in for January—Food ‘n Flix and Cook the Books Club.   I did make it!

We did travel to Houston a couple of weekends ago and my very dear MiL sent us home with a plethora of home-grown citrus.   She had been saving two large bags of grapefruits for us but when I spied a slew of Meyer Lemons still on her tree, I asked if I could harvest these as well.  She agreed but she feared most of them were over ripe.  We persevered and I ended up with a cooler full.   I spent the next few days juicing and making jelly (of course).

Texas Ruby Reds!

These are making great Greyhounds!

I have no idea how many pounds I have juiced.

I created a base recipe and did two different versions of lemon jelly:  a lemon-almond and a lemon vanilla.  I also made some lemon-raspberry syrup.

 

Meyer Lemon Jelly

Debra

Use this as a base recipe and create your own versions.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Meyer lemon juice, strained
  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 T. bottled lemon juice
  • 1 (6 oz.) pkg. liquid pectin
  • Options:  1 t. almond extract OR 1/2 T. pure vanilla

Instructions

  1. Start water bath and sterilize 5 half-pint jars (or 10-ish 4 oz. jars).
  2. In a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot combine sugar, fresh juice, bottled lemon juice and optional flavoring. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a slotted metal spoon.
  3. Ladle hot jelly into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.
  4. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.   Listen for pops as the lids seal.

Yield: 5 half-pint jars

I have at least a quart of juice in the refrigerator.  I really want to try some other optional flavorings like lavender and even basil.   We’ll see if that happens.  I might just end up freezing the rest of the juice.   As mentioned above, I also tried my hand at this syrup.  I think it would be great for pound cake, pancakes and in drinks.

Lemon-Almond Jelly, Lemon-Vanilla Jelly and Lemon-Raspberry Syrup

Raspberry-Lemon Syrup

Debra

Add to drinks like lemonade or cocktails or drizzle on your weekend pancakes.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Meyer lemon juice, strained
  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 T. bottled lemon juice
  • 4 T. raspberry syrup (like Torani)

Instructions

  1. Start water bath and sterilize 5 half-pint jars (or 10-ish 4 oz. jars).
  2. In a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot combine sugar, fresh juice, bottled lemon juice and raspberry syrup.  . Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Heat to the syrup stage of 235° F.
  3. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a slotted metal spoon if needed.
  4. Ladle hot jelly into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.
  5. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.   Listen for pops as the lids seal.

Yield: 5 half-pint jars

Preserved Meyer Lemons

Finally, I made some preserved Meyer Lemons using a recipe from Blue Chair Cooks with Jams & Marmalade by Rachel Saunders.   The recipe is entitled “Kate’s Preserved Meyer Lemons” (236) from Kate Hug, “a force of nature” and founder of Oakland’s Studebaker Pickles.    Her recipe includes chile de arbol, cloves, anise, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick.

I haven’t used these yet but plan on utilizing at least one preserved lemon in another recipe from this book, “Summer Squash with Preserved Lemons & Tomato Jam” (324).

This book has a few preserve recipes in it like the preserved lemons and tomato jam mentioned above, but it also gives one great ideas for using jarred recipes to create inspired dishes.    Other recipes include making the preserve before making the final dish.  Here’s a brief list of recipes that are fabulous:

  • Spring Slaw (126) utilizing red currant jam
  • Roast Chicken (268) with lemon marmalade
  • Apple-Pumpkin Pie (168) with Early Girl Tomato Jam (290)
  • Beet Salad with Walnuts & Kumquat Marmalade (129)

I became a fan of Rachel Saunders (from the old Blue Chair Jam Company) after my best friend gave me The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook.  It’s a great resource for the home preserver but some of the fruit utilized is impossible to find in my part of the country, things like kumquats, greengage, and aprium (whatever that is).   But, there’s enough great recipes that I was able to adapt or use outright.

 

I have made a number of recipes from this book or been inspired to make new varieties of my own.  If you’re interested, you go back in time here and see them.    You’ll find recipes for Spiked Cherry Conserve, Blackberry-Port Jam, Balsamic-Cinnamon Blueberry Jam, Grape Jam with Orange Essence, Peach Marmalade, and Red Nectarine and Candied Ginger Jam.  All are delicious!

Besides linking up with Sherry’s Pickings (the host of the monthly “In My Kitchen” event)…

I am also linking up with Foodies Reads for the Rachel Saunders book reviews.

Postscript:  Ironically enough, as this “In My Kitchen” posted, it is snowing and I think every school in the state is out of school today because of the weather.   We ARE getting significant snow so disregard my opening statement.   🙂

7 comments to “In My Kitchen” February 2020

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