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Getting to Know Our Native Bees

digger bee on manzanita flower

Encouraging healthy bee populations has long been part of the Master Gardener mission. In our study of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), we learn that chemical pesticides can do harm to entire food chains, from plants to insects, and other wildlife....

Getting to Know our Native Bees
Getting to Know our Native Bees

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 8:48 AM
Focus Area Tags: Environment Yard & Garden

Why We Process and Why We Recommend Processing

Have you ever been asked why a jam or jelly needs to be processed to store on the shelf? Has someone said, "Well, I always invert my jars. What's wrong with tha?" or "My Grandma use to just pour the jelly into jars and slap lids on 'em and that's what I do! Why not?" Were you able to give them good reasons why they need to process their jams or jellies?

This post direct from our recommended resource: the NCHFP (aka the National Center for Home Food Preservation, hosted by the University of Georgia), is a nice explanation on why it is recommended to process jams and jellies.

Also nice to note is that food safety, while a big reason, is not the only reason to process. So take a gander and let me know what you think!

Why do you recommend processing jams and jellies?

 

 

Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 11:48 AM
Tags: canning (6), food (1), jams (2), jams and jellies (1), jellies (2), preserving (3), processing (1)

Lemon Curd--try this with those new-found powers of HOME CANNING!

 

 

Recently I got together with a friend and helped her make the following Lemon Curd.  It was De-LISH! Follow the instructions exactly for a good boiling-water-bath-preserved lemon curd.  Make sure you get lots of lemons, organic or home-grown lemons, for the most excellent zest.

Previously I had ONLY made lemon curd using the "coat the back of a spoon" test for thickness.  This test can be dicey as if you are not familiar with how the curd coating the spoon should look, you will overcook the curd wind up with scrambled bits of egg in your batch.

This recipe has you use a good thermometer--if you don't have one, I highly recommend you get one. That thermometer makes things easy. Our curd was carefully cooked and was pulled off the heat just when if hit 170º F. It was perfect, and perfectly delicious.

Use your new-found hands-on water bath abilities to make Canned Lemon Curd. You can do it! Just read through the instructions and follow them; they look involved but are very easy to follow. And I dare you NOT to eat it out of the jar with a spoon!

 

 

Spoon Candy!

Canned Lemon Curd

  • 2½ cups superfine sugar*
  • ½ cup lemon zest (freshly zested), optional
  • 1 cup bottled lemon juice**
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into approximately ¾" pieces
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 4 large whole eggs

Special Equipment Needed: lemon zester, balloon whisk, 1½ quart double boiler*** (the top double boiler pan should be at least 1½-quart volume), strainer, kitchen thermometer measuring at least up to 180°F, glass or stainless steel medium mixing bowl, silicone spatula or cooking spoon, and equipment for boiling water canning.

Yield: About 3 to 4 half-pint jars 

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure:

   1.   Wash 4 half-pint canning jars with warm, soapy water. Rinse well; keep hot until ready to fill. Prepare canning lids according to manufacturer's directions.
   2. Fill boiling water canner with enough water to cover the filled jars by 1 to 2 inches. Use a thermometer to preheat the water to 180°F by the time filled jars are ready to be added.

Caution: Do not heat the water in the canner to more than 180°F before jars are added. If the water in the canner is too hot when jars are added, the process time will not be long enough. The time it takes for the canner to reach boiling after the jars are added is expected to be 25 to 30 minutes for this product. Process time starts after the water in the canner comes to a full boil over the tops of the jars.
   3. Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, stir to mix, and set aside about 30 minutes. Pre-measure the lemon juice and prepare the chilled butter pieces.
   4. Heat water in the bottom pan of the double boiler until it boils gently. The water should not boil vigorously or touch the bottom of the top double boiler pan or bowl in which the curd is to be cooked. Steam produced will be sufficient for the cooking process to occur.
   5. In the top of the double boiler, on the counter top or table, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs together until thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the sugar and zest, blending until well mixed and smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and then add the butter pieces to the mixture.
   6. Place the top of the double boiler over boiling water in the bottom pan. Stir gently but continuously with a silicone spatula or cooking spoon, to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature.
   7. Remove the double boiler pan from the stove and place on a protected surface, such as a dish cloth or towel on the counter top. Continue to stir gently until the curd thickens (about 5 minutes). Strain curd through a mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl; discard collected zest.
   8. Fill hot strained curd into the clean, hot half-pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.
   9.

Process in the prepared boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1. Let cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

 

Table 1. Recommended process time for Canned Lemon Curd in a boiling-water canner.

     Process Time at Altitudes of:
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Half-pints 15 min 20 25

 

Shelf Life: For best quality, store in a cool, dark place (away from light). Plan to use canned lemon curd within 3 to 4 months. Browning and/or separation may occur with longer storage; discard any time these changes are observed.

Prepared lemon curd can also be frozen instead of canned for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed. Package in freezer containers after straining and cooling to room temperature. To thaw, place container in a refrigerator at 40°F or lower for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, consume within 4 weeks. (See Freezer Lemon Curd, http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/nchfp/factsheets/freezer_lemoncurd.pdf)

Preparation Notes:

* If superfine sugar is not available, run granulated sugar through a grinder or food processor for 1 minute, let settle, and use in place of superfine sugar. Do not use powdered sugar.

** Bottled lemon juice is used to standardize acidity. Fresh lemon juice can vary in acidity and is not recommended.

*** If a double boiler is not available, a substitute can be made with a large bowl or saucepan that can fit partway down into a saucepan of a smaller diameter. If the bottom pan has a larger diameter, the top bowl or pan should have a handle(s) that can rest on the rim of the lower pan.

For more detailed information on boiling water canning, see "Using Boiling Water Canners" at http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/using_bw_canners.html

Variation:

For Lime Curd, use the same recipe but substitute 1 cup bottled lime juice and ¼ cup fresh lime zest for the lemon juice and zest.

Other citrus or fruit curds are not recommended for canning at this time.


Developed at The University of Georgia, Athens, for the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Released by Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences. December 2004.

This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 00-51110-9762.

 

 
 
Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 5:43 PM
Tags: canned (1), curd (1), jam (3), jelly (3), lemon (1), preserved (1)

Get ready for Canning Season--Get a Canning Tune-up

Need a brush-up on canning techniques?  Are you a little fuzzy on the hows and whys of water-bath (WB) canning? Want to make sure you practice safe preserving? Need some hands-on WB practice? 

Attend the Canning Tune-up Class, have fun, and get valuable info and practice!

 
 
 
Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:01 PM

Grow and Preserve Class--I'll Try this again!

Somehow this seems to have been posted much earlier this year--perhaps something is wonky on this website.  But, here is a reminder about--THE WONDERFUL GROW AND PRESERVE CLASS--Don't miss it!

Posted on Sunday, April 1, 2018 at 2:01 PM

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