Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer's Bounty!

Peach Salsa!
This is my second year having a garden so I am still new to many how busy you are starting mid July canning everything for the winter!  On top of that, we have several peach and apple trees.  The peaches have all come into season in the last two weeks so I have spent a ton of time canning!  I also know several locations for kudzu flowers, wild blackberries and crab apples which are now in season.  Here are a few pictures and a couple of amazing recipes!

Blackberry Chipotle Glaze

Spicy Blackberry Chipotle Glaze
Based on the original recipe at Driscoll's Berries

This is sooooo good! I wanted something other than a jelly for the abundant wild blackberries that proliferate much like weeds in my area. While jelly is great, there is only so much that you can use or give away! This glaze is excellent on meat or as a dipping sauce. It is spicy, but that is how we like it! 

2 t olive oil
2 c diced onion
6 cloves garlic
4 T chipotle chilies in adobe, chopped
3 quarts blackberries (12 cups)
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1 lime
1 c sugar
2 t salt


Cook onion in oil for 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add chilies and cook for 1 minute more.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Purée in food processor or blender. Strain in fine mesh to remove seeds. This will reduce mixture significantly but do not be concerned, the end product is worth it!

Return to heat and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Ladle into 6 half pints. Boil in water bath for 15 minutes.

Peach Barbecue Sauce

Peach Barbecue Sauce
Recipe is adapted from the Ball Canning and Recipes website.

This stuff is fantastic! I plan on making this every year!


12 c. (about 6 lbs.) peaches, peeled, pits removed and chopped
2 c. (2 large) red bell peppers, chopped
2 c. (2 large) onions, chopped
6 TBS. (about 9 large cloves) garlic, chopped or pressed
2 ½ c. honey
1 ½ c. apple cider vinegar
2 TBS. Worcestershire
4 tsp. crushed red pepper
4 tsp. dry mustard
4 tsp. salt


Put all ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil.  After ingredients have softened,  use an immersion blender to puree. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 25 minutes, longer if you prefer a thicker sauce.

Water bath for 15 minutes.  This recipe makes about 12 half pints.

Kudzu Flower Jelly

This recipe starts with a base of crab apples.  The great thing about crab apples (usually found free) or tart green apples (which you can purchase at the store) is the incredible amount of pectin found in them.  You can use these as a blank slate for any flavor you want to add.  It is a very versatile fruit.  If you go the route of the crab apple, you want to pick them before they are ripe and while they are still green (usually starting in mid-July). Kudzu flowers smell like grapes and add a wonderful flavor and color to this jelly!

Kudzu Flower Jelly


Plastic grocery bag of crab apples
Half grocery bag of Kudzu flowers (more for darker color)
2 T lemon juice


Clean the crab apples by removing the stem and the flower at the other end. If you let them sit on your counter for at least a day, the stems dry out and are easier to just pull off. If you get a stubborn one, when you cut the apple in half and it comes right out. You can also scrape the end flower bud off easily with your finger nail. (Just fyi, this can be done while hanging out with the kids watching television!)

Remove any blemishes on the apples and cut in half. As you cut in half, put the halves into a bowl of water to prevent turning brown.

Wash thoroughly the Kudzu blooms and remove the colored blooms from the stem. They come right off easily.

Drain your bowl of crab apples and put in a large pot. Add the blooms. Fill pot with water to just above the apples and blooms.

Bring to a boil and reduce temperature to simmer. Cook until apples a mushy (about 30 to 45 minutes). Using a potato masher or spoon, lightly mash the apples to help release the pectin.

Start your canner and water to boil. Mine takes about an hour to get to a boil so now is a good time to turn it on.

At this point, you can drain your mixture using a jelly bag over night, however, I am too impatient for that. Start with a spaghetti strainer and strain the large part parts out of your mixture. Add the leftover apple mush to your compost. Then move to a fine mesh strainer and strain juice twice. Finally, put coffee filters into your spaghetti strainer and then strain the juice. This takes about 10 minutes which is much easier than waiting overnight and works just as well.

Measure your juice. For every cup of juice, add a cup of sugar (or 3/4 cup if you prefer less sweet). Add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stir often.  Boil until the mixture reaches 210°F on a candy thermometer, or until a small amount placed on a plate that has chilled in the freezer turns to gel. It should wrinkle on the surface and leave a trail if you run your finger through it. This should take about 20 minutes.
Fill your jars with the hot liquid and boil in a water bath for 10 minutes.

With this recipe, I produced about seven half pints.

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