Zucchini-bread jam

Zucchini-bread jam is a delicious way to preserve your harvest.

Bernie Mason, for Lee Montana Newspapers

Now is the time to preserve your garden bounty, or the produce you are finding at the Farmer’s Market, for use during the winter months. It is also the time to think of how you could use the products you have prepared as Christmas, birthday or hostess gifts. Jams and jellies are much appreciated when given as a gift, and the jars can be finished off with a decorative topper, making it especially attractive.

Use some of your excess zucchini to make this zucchini jam that tastes similar to zucchini bread. It is great on your morning toast or muffins, but it would also be a good option to serve over a block of cream cheese along with crackers for an appetizer.

Zucchini-Bread Jam

(Makes about 5 (½-pint) jars)

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup apple juice

6 tablespoons Ball Classic Pectin or 1 box regular pectin

¼ cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups sugar

Directions:

Prepare boiling water bath canner. Heat washed jars in simmering water until ready for use and place lids in hot water. Combine all ingredients except sugar in a 6-quart Dutch oven or saucepan. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into a hot jar, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar; apply band and adjust to fingertip-tight (do not overtighten). Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. Process jars for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, and let jars stand for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Source: “The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving”, Time Inc. Books.

Make use of some of your remaining rhubarb to prepare this tasty marmalade. Try it on a toasted bagel with cream cheese or on grilled pork. Using all green rhubarb will produce a golden-color marmalade. Using some red rhubarb will add a rosy tint.

Rhubarb-Orange Marmalade

(Makes about 8 (½-pint) jars)

Ingredients:

2 oranges, halved crosswise and seeded

6 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb (1-inch slices)

6 cups sugar

Directions:

Prepare boiling water canner. Heat washed jars in simmering water until ready for use and place washed lids and rings in hot water. Cut each orange half into quarters. Pulse orange pieces in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Combine chopped oranges, rhubarb, and sugar in a 6-quart stainless steel or enameled Dutch oven or saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or until gelling point is reached. (Gelling point is 8 degrees above the boiling point of water for your region. Example: Boiling point for 3500 ft. elevation is not 212 degrees but rather 206 degrees therefore the gelling point would be about 214 degrees.) (A second test for the gelling point is to place some of the marmalade on a cold saucer, place in the freezer for a few minutes, and see if it wrinkles when pushed with your finger.) Ladle hot marmalade into a hot jar, leaving ¼-inch head space. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar; apply band and adjust to finger-tip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. Process jars 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Source: “The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving”, Time Inc. Books.

Fresh apricots are now available so take advantage of their availability to make a batch of this jam. It makes a wonderful glaze for roast meat or poultry, and if you process it in small quarter-pint jars, it is the exact amount needed for a roast chicken.

Apricot Rosemary Jam

(Makes 3 half pints)

Ingredients:

1 dry quart apricots (1½ lbs.) pitted and mashed

2 cups granulated sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Prepare the boiling water canner. Heat the jars in simmering water until ready for use. Place the lids and rings in hot water. Combine the apricots, sugar, and chopped apricots in a large non-reactive skillet over medium-high heat. Stirring regularly, bring the fruit to a boil and cook until it bubbles and looks quite thick, 12 to 15 minutes. It’s done when you pull a spatula through the jam and it doesn’t immediately rush to fill the space you’ve cleared. When the jam seems thick and spreadable, stir in the lemon juice. Remove the jam from the heat and funnel into the prepared jars, leaving ½-inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting for elevation. Turn off heat, remove lid, and let jars stand for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

Source: “Canning & Preserving”, from the Publishers of Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac, adapted from “Preserving by the Pint”.

Bernie Mason has written the Local Flavor column for the Billings Gazette for three years or so. She was Yellowstone County extension agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.

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