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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wedding Shower Jam Favors

One of my lovely market customers is getting married up in Pennsylvania!  I am so excited to be a part of her shower.  Her Mom placed an order with me to create her favors using a Pear theme.   I took a photo of the finshed product for you to see above.  I made two batches of organic spiced pear butter and custom-labeled each jar with Jessica's Bridal Shower and the Date. 


This is a photo of the first wedding favors that I created for my fellow foodie and blogger Kasey Fleisher!  I was so honored to be a part of her special wedding in the Napa Valley.  Her blog is called Eating / SF.  She picked some wonderful flavors, the one pictured above is Black Forest Jam a mixture of fresh blackberries, callebaut chocolate and chambord.

Balsamic Fig Jam

This recipe is inspired by Christine Ferber.  When Figs are in season in Florida, I rush to can this beautiful jam for the winter months ahead.  The preparation is simple as this jam is macerated overnight to allow the figs to absorb the sugar and lemon and turn the most amazing and beautiful purple color in your bowl.


2.5 lbs fresh figs (I love mission or turkey)
1.75 lbs granulated sugar
Juice of one medium lemon (1/8 cup)
1 Vanilla Bean (split)

Added the following day:  2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
                                           1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper


Rinse the figs, slice them into smallish bite size pieces.   Place the figs in a non-reactive bowl or container and mix with sugar and lemon and vanilla bean.  Place this container in the fridge overnight or at least for 6 hours. When you take it out, you will have a beautiful purpleish mixture.

Pour this mixture into your preserving pan.  At this time you can also prepare your jars in the water bath canner.  This fruit should yield about 5 eight oz jars.  Add the balsamic vinegar and pepper to the mixture.  Bring the mixture up to the boil and cook for at least 5 minutes, probably no longer than 10 depending on the width of your preserving pan.  The mixture will get beautifully thick on your spatula and that is how you know it is ready for your jars.  If you do not feel confident, place a plate in the freezer, take a teaspoon of the jam from the preserving pot and place on the cold plate.  Put back in freezer for a moment, take the plate out and "push" the jam with your finger, if it wrinkles,  it is ready!  Remove the vanilla bean from the mixture and ladle into your sterlized jars.   Place in your waterbath and boil for 12 minutes to be on the safe side.

This jam is fabulous with sharp cheeses.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sand Pear Chutney

I was so excited to find out that my friend Kristi's Grandfather has two huge Sand Pear Trees in his yard in Lake Mary which is the next little town over from Longwood.   This is the only variety that grows in Central Florida and is similar to an Asian Pear, but has a lovely grain to it and is bursting with pear flavor.  She has brought me about 50 pounds of them so far, and I developed this recipe to make a delightful chutney that pairs beautifully with cheese, pork, fish or chicken.  This recipe was inspired by one that I found in one of my favorite books called Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp & Margaret Howard. The prep time on this is about 45 minutes and the cooking time is about 60 to 75  minutes.


6 lbs Peeled and Chopped Pears (1/4 inch cubes)
2 lbs Chopped Tomatoes (I used Plum, grape would be nice too)
2 lbs Chopped Peaches
1 cup Thompson Raisins
2 lbs Brown Sugar
5  cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Chili Flakes
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves
2 oz Crystallized Ginger Chopped Fine


I have a 13 qt  Le Creuset Dutch Oven that I use for this recipe.  The mixture cooks down quite a bit, but if you use a smaller pot, you will have splatters everywhere.   Chutney is so simple in that you can bung all the ingredients in the pot at one time, give it a few huge stirs and set the fire going.  Bring this up to a boil and then turn the heat down a bit for a hard simmer.  Let this cook down until nice and thick.  This should take anywhere from 60 to 75 minutes depending on how hard you let this boil.  Stir at least every 10 minutes to ensure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.   You will be left with a gorgeous, sweet chutney that takes so much of its color from the tomatoes.  The yield on this is about fourteen 8 oz jars.  Plenty for your winter larder! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roasted Pepper Tagaliarelle & Tuna

The sun is just starting to peek out into the screenroom, the sprinklers are humming, it is going to be another beautiful, productive day in my kitchen.  I wanted to share a quick and simple recipe with you here that is perfect for these warm summer nights.  The recipe makes use of several items you will already have in your pantry.  I like to use a Tagliarelle Pasta and I have found this brand from Cipriani to be consistently delicious and it cooks in 3 minutes which is even nicer!  This recipe was inspired from a recipe in an old Willams and Sonoma catalog.


2 Tbsp Canola Oil (or Olive Oil if you prefer)
2 Shallots, peeled and chopped finely
4 Fresh Basil Leaves, folded and cut finely
1/4 cup Pickled Peppers chopped finely (see recipe further back in blog)
Zest and Juice of one large lemon
1 can high-quality solid pack tuna, broken into bite size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper to suit your taste (sea salt is gorgeous with this)
1 8.82 oz Box of Tagliarelle (or pasta of your choice)

Get your stock pot out and begin to boil salted water for your Tagliarelle, wait until the very end to place the pasta in to boil.
In a large saute pan, add the canola oil, bring up to temperature and add the shallots, cook until they are translucent.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped basil, tuna and your pickled peppers.  Heat this until warm and then cover and hold.  As long as the water is boiling, you can add your tagliarelle pasta, stirring gently to avoid sticking.  Cook this for 3 minutes and drain off.  Add the pasta to the saute pan and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste at this time.
This will make 3 servings or 4 smaller servings if you are going to add a fabulous dessert!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Southern Pickled Peaches

Stone fruits are the theme for this week's SummerFest 2010!  I have 12 lbs of strawberries to slice and macerate, two flats of raspberries to process, and 4 lbs of watermelon rind brining, but what could be better than contributing a little bit of heaven to the world wide web.....This recipe has been adapted from Linda Ziedrich's, "The Joy of Pickling".

These peaches are bestsellers at my Farmer's Market stand.  I hope you will enjoy making and eating them too.  These make a wonderful side dish, perfect for your holiday ham and condiment.  You can even use for dessert.

                                                            Pickled Peaches

6 lbs Pitted and Sliced Peaches
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 tsp Allspice Berries
1/2 Tsp whole cloves
2 oz of fresh ginger sliced thinly
3 cups sugar
4 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp citric acid (optional, but helps retain color)

Sterilize nine 16 oz jars your water bath canner per your canning book directions (you might jars left over depending on how tight you pack the peaches).  In a large non-reactive dutch oven, combine the sugar, water, vinegar and all of the spices above, reserving the ginger to place inside your jars.  Bring this mixture up to the boil and then turn down the fire and simmer for 10 minutes or so.   Take out your sterlized jars and layer the sliced peaches with the fresh ginger alternately, press down to get all that you can into the jars as the fruit will shrink up after processing.  Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into each jar, working hard to evenly distribute the spices between the jars.  Process these in the water bath canner for 12 minutes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Farm Fresh Egg Omelet, the perfect summer dinner!

The summer in central Florida is pretty toasty and humid, and after a long day at the kitchen canning and prepping, sometimes I just can't face making dinner.   Omelets just hit the spot for me.  Their ease, their lightness and pure deliciousness are so comforting.  You can combine different staple pantry items to make unique combinations that are healthy and provide the balance you need after a hard day's work.  Here is a simple idea for mid-week supper.  I have used pickled peppers to dress up this omelet and give it some zip.

Pickled Pepper Omelet

6 Farm Fresh Eggs
1 Tsp Water
Pinch Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1/2 cup Pickled Peppers

Heat a 10 inch skillet, adding 1 tsp canola oil and 1 tsp fresh butter.  Beat the eggs in a bowl adding 1 tsp water and salt and pepper.  Beat until fluffy.   Add the 1/2 cup of pickled peppers (recipe provided previously!).  Pour this into a prepared hot skillet, moving peppers around to distribute evenly.  Cook gently until the sides pull away and flip over in your skillet.  You can get two or three servings out of this recipe, depending on how hungry you are!  Serve with fresh tomato and wheat toast on the side. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ah....Pickled Peppers....

I love pickled peppers, I didn't even know how much I loved pickled peppers until I started to make them for the market.  Here they are pictured on my backyard table, all ready to be labeled and subsequently sold and eaten....YUM.    I've had a really amazing week in terms of new accounts, new business, new relationships and wonderful customers.  I am working so hard to trust in the process and my products.  I am giving you my general recipe to work with here, each time I have made this I seem to have tons of brine left over (to pickle other things with!).  I hope you will enjoy this recipe.  If you don't have anything else you want to pickle, feel free to cut the brine in half.

4 Cups Cider Vinegar
2 cups Water
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
20 Large Peppers, I mix Red and Green
3 medium cloves of garlic (chopped fine)

The first thing you must do is roast the peppers.  I use a silpat and a 1/2 sheet pan.  Turn the oven on to 400, roast the peppers for 20 minutes and then turn them over and roast for an additional 20 minutes.    As soon as you take them from the oven, place them in a large bowl (or 2) and cover with foil.  Let them steam for at least 30 minutes.  Now you can go back and remove the skins easily.  After you remove the skins, open them and de-seed them.  Continue on to slice the peppers, I do them about 1/4 wide and 1 inch long.  Place these in a bowl and prepare your hot water bath canner.  You can make 8 oz or 16 oz jars--the yield is about 6 16 oz jars for this amount of peppers.  Sterlize the jars by boiling in the canner for at least 12 minutes. In the meantime, in a dutch oven, pour the vinegar, salt and sugar in and bring them up to simmer, then you can shut the flame.   Peel the garlic cloves and chop them finely.  Remove the jars from the water bath and fill with peppers and bits of garlic.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers and seal each jar.  Process the jars in the canner for 15 minutes.  Take them out and listen for the lids to seal.  These taste amazing!  You should try to wait at least a day before sampling.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thoughts about setting up your table at the Famer's Market

This is an older photo of me at my market table.  I will be taking new photos this week and will post my new "set-up" a bit later.   I met a lovely gal on twitter the other day and we began a dialog as she is starting her own jam company and wanted to know about my experience with Farmer's Markets.  Her questions came at the most perfect time.   I only have experience of doing Farmer's Markets in Florida so that will be my knowledge base.  This write up is by no means all inclusive, here are just a few main points to begin your planning.  Visit a few different markets first to see how they feel and how busy they are, then place your application and find out their specific requirements.  The markets here are much busier in the Winter months probably the opposite of Farmer's Markets in the Northeast and West.  Novemember and December are my busiest months. I expect to be selling upwards of 225 jars at my main market which is open from 7:00 AM till 1:00 PM.  If you are just starting out, my advice to you is to bring at least 50 to 80 jars to the market to “test” the waters. Your table will look beautiful and full. If/when you run out of something, you are creating a demand for your product. I price my products all the same (ridiculous I know)—I just want it to be easy both for myself and the customer. Some products I make money on, others break even, that will be a personal choice for you.  I calculated all of my costs on each product, I took the “middle” cost and tripled it. I am very interested in how other small companies do this.  I noticed most of the other vendors have different prices on all of their products,  and I feel pretty sure they base it on the direct cost of ingredients.  With the flow and ebb of the seasons, sometimes I make a lovely profit and sometimes a just make a small profit on the same product.  In calculating your pricing, you have to be sure you will still make money when you wholesale your jams in the future--if that is part of your plan. I also sell pickled vegetables and I offfer my customers a mix and match any three for $3 less than purchasing individually.  People seem to love the chance to purchase three for a discount.

Pay to have a beautiful banner and use beautiful tablecloths. Make the display interesting and use different heights to display the products—it gives people a place to rest their eyes and makes the shopping more enjoyable for them. Offer samples of all of your products, be generous and passionate. Some resources that are current right now, you can purchase taster spoons here:   You get 3,000 of them in each box so you never have to think about giving 10 samples away to one customer. Pay a little extra to get the cub shopping bags—I use Nashville Wraps. For those that don’t carry their own recyc bags, it makes your product stand out and they can reuse the bag for gift.

Offer recipe cards so give folks ideas on how to use your products. A lot of people don’t realize how versatile the jams are and how many things you can do with them. So…for me even as my wholesale business grows,  I want to always continue the Farmers’ Markets.  There are my my test market, I get live feedback and I get to charge retail which I love!
Make sure you have all of your licensing—I display mine to give customers utter confidence and to comply with the law (more importantly).  Make sure that your labels have all of your business/contact information, expiration dates and ingredients listings.

I am a certified kitchen manager, I have a state license from Dept of Agriculture and a County license. Each State has their own requirements.  The health inspector twice a year to inspect our kitchen.

More on this later and I hope you will find this helpful.

Summerfest Recipe for Zucchini Pancakes

Across the bloggersphere zucchini is ripening in our gardens.  Summerfest has themes each week and this week was cukes and zucchini.   I know I have been posting lots of recipes lately, but couldn't resist adding this one to the pile....I used to make these for my Dad and brother for Sunday brunch when we lived in New Jersey.  It was an excuse to get together after my Mom passed away and we would always, always eat way too many.  I started to make them for my own family here in Florida and they always go over well, but I miss eating these with my Dad.  Here is the recipe for you:

Wendy's Vegetable Pancakes

1 1/2 cups Grated Potato
1/2 cup Grated Carrot
1 cup Grated Zucchini (peeled first)
1 medium onion, grated
1 cup of Bisquick or your favorite Pancake Mix
2 tsp Mild Curry Powder
2 tsp Kosher Salt (more if you don't have high blood pressure)
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
4 Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Rice Milk (or regular milk if you are not lactose intolerate, vegan, or want to have a non-dairy meal)
Canola Oil for Frying

In an extra-large bowl, beat the eggs and add the pancake mix.  Add the grated vegetables to this same bowl and mix thoroughly.  Add the spices and 1/4 cup of milk to this batter and mix again.  The milk will sink to the bottom, you have to keep stirring the batter again as you continue to fry these.  Heat a large skillet and add canola oil (about 1/4 inch).  Using a large serving spoon or ladle, spoon the batter into the skillet into about 3 inch patties.  Brown on both sides and drain on paper towels.  They can be served with Applesauce, Sour Cream, Chutney, Cranberry Sauce even my own Raspberry Pepper Jam!  This recipe makes about 15 to 20 pancakes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spiced Pear Butter Bread Pudding

This is an old standbye, easy-peasy recipe that uses up that stale bread you just might have left in the pantry.  My family loves this bread pudding and when I make it for my farmer's market customers, I usually sell out of my Spiced Pear Butter.  It tastes like the fall and reminds me of the days when the chill would fill the air and the leaves would begin to change.  Now that I am living in Florida, the fall signals a time that the humidity dissapates and the cooler days of winter are fast approaching.   This recipe would work equally as well with Apple Butter if you have that on hand.  You can substitute fresh apples for the pears, substitute cranberries for the raisins, all of it works deliciously.

Ingredients:   1 lb cubed bread
                    1 cup milk
                    1 8 oz jar Sunchowder's Spiced Pear Butter
                    1/2 cup raisins
                    2 Fresh Pears chopped fine
                    3 eggs
                    1/2 cup milk
                    1 tsp Cinnamon
                    Pinch kosher salt
                    4 Tbsp Butter Chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   I use a deep 8 X 8 baking dish.  Cube the bread, lay into your casserole and pour 1 cup milk over, let this soak for 20 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, pour 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk and beat, then add the balance of the ingredients except butter. Pour this milk, egg and fruit mixture over the bread cubes. Dot casserole with the 4 Tbsp butter chopped.  Bake 45 minutes until set.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fresh Plum Sauce

I set about to create a new Plum Sauce recipe on Friday to usesome of  my gorgeous lot of fresh plums.  I am creating a new line of products for my Farmer's Market booth in Winter Park, FL.   I make a gorgeous Plum, Apricot and Ginger Preserve which is delightful and I believe I might have a flavor hit with this new sauce too.  It is only my first blush, so I am sure I will be modifying this recipe to get it closer to perfection.  It has a texture much like applesauce.  So far we have tasted it alongside Crab Rangoons, as a dip for pretzels and I will be using this as a stuffing layer in a boneless pork roast next week.   So here goes!  If you try this, I would love to know your thoughts.

Plum Sauce

Ingredients:  5.5 lbs Plums (after skinning and pitting)
1.5 lbs chopped onion
1 Guajillo Pepper (Ground - 1 med dried)
1/4 cup Mirin
1 Cup White Vinegar
2 cups Brown Sugar
3/4 oz Grated Ginger
Scant Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Teriaki Sauce
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh Garlic
1 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Method:  Pulse chopped, skinned plums and onions in the food processor until fine.  Take your guajillo pepper and grind in vita-mix or simlar spice ginder.  In large dutch oven, place plums, onions, and all other ingredients  and stir to combine.  Bring up to a boil and then turn heat back to simmer.  I simmered mine for about 45 minutes until it was the consistency of applesauce.   I canned the sauce. I sterlized (4) 16 oz jars and 1 8 oz jar for sampling to my customers.  We ate what was left in the pot that night with our crab rangoons...YUM.  Take the jars and boil them in your water bath for 12 minutes to sterlize.  Fill the jars with the Plum Sauce and place back in water bath canner for 15 minutes depending on your elevation.  I am as close to sea level as you can get!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Recipe Development

One of my favorite parts of my business are the recipe creation. I get to sit and do a bit of research on recipes that are already working out in the world and have been created by those who have come long before me. I really enjoy doing the research and love the quietness of being at the computer and then pouring through my cookbook collection. I usually use about four different recipes to create my "base" recipe. I then have to sit and crunch the math to work the proportions and ensure the recipe maintains the correct acid proportions. For me, then comes the best part. I kind of go into this zone and rely on my intuition to add or layer new spices and flavors into the mixture. I guess this is where Wendy the Witch comes in....bubbling and brewing! It is the most creative and exciting part for me, when I just get to totally relax, have fun and trust myself, it is what I call divine. More on this later :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Today I received a call that an old co-worker of mine passed away. We had worked together on an off for about 9 years. I met Linda 15 years ago when I had come back from my Materinity Leave. She had this amazing howling laugh and a fabulous gap tooth smile.... I had to go and lay down after I received the news. I feel such a loss. As I get older, it is more often that I receive this news, but it doesn't get easier. I had a special connection with Linda. The two of us were together in a conference room when another of our co-workers passed away right in front of us. She handled it with such grace and compassion. I will miss you Linda.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Emily Olsen of Foodzie fame has been so instrumental in helping me grow my company. I had reached out to Foodzie with product samples in January of 2009, just two months after I started my business. After a wonderful tasting, they accepted my products and got them online immediately. Emily had connections to Food Editors and Bloggers across the county which have helped to grow my business exponentially. This past May my Exotic Jam Trio appeared in Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine which is pictured here. It is so exciting to see your products in a magazine! I was so honored and excited at the same time.

During the ins and outs of running the business and the daily demands and decisions, it is so tough sometimes to be grateful for how far you have come and to stop and savor the successes. I know that I am only as good as my lastest press, or my last customer sale. is so important for me to have the faith that another wonderful opportunity is just around the corner and not to let my worries and my fear put a damper on my creativity and willingness to share what I do with others.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Watermelon Rind Pickles

This was my first blush recipe for Watermelon Rind Pickles. I still might make some adjustments to it, but I made these and sold out at the Farmer's Market, so I might have just hit the mark. Try these out and see what you think! This recipe yielded 6, 16 oz jars with a few rinds left over for tasting.


6.5 lbs Watermelon Rind

3 Tbsp Salt

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Cup Cider Vinegar

3 Cups White Vinegar

3 Cups Water

1.5 Cups Granulated Sugar

1 Large Lemon sliced into very thin slices

1 oz Fresh Ginger sliced thin

2 Tsp Allspice Whole

2 Cinnamon Sticks

1 Tsp Clove Whole


Prepare the rind by cutting the red flesh away, leaving just a bit on for color and peeling the green outside skin away. Cut the rind into 2 inch chunks (a bit like pickles). Place into a large non-reactive bowl and add 3 Tbsp salt to the rinds and cover with ice cubes. Let this sit for at least 2 hours adding more ice as it melts. Drain this mixture very well and rinse several times. Using a large dutch oven, place the rind in the pot and add water to cover--this water is not mentioned in the ingredients above. Simmer the rinds for about 15 minutes, then drain by pouring through strainer. Bring the empty Dutch Oven back to the stove and add all of the ingredients above, bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, then add the watermelon rind and continue to simmer until the rind becomes a bit translucent. For me this took an additional 20 minutes--keep checking and stirring as it might take you less time depending on how think/large your pieces of rind. The liquid should turn into a very thin syrup. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Prepare your 16 oz canning jars, pack the jars, splitting up the ginger and spices evenly as you can between them. Process these in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. I think I might like to add some mustard seeds for interest and depth of flavor next time.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Budda Pickles

Yes, they are pronounced Budda pickles, Budda with a New York accent (Butter....). The original recipe is found in a fabulous book called the Art of Preserving. This is one from Rick of Rick Picks ( These are perfect for backyard BBQs...just a touch of sweetness. I tweeked this a bit for making my own pickles, so here goes:
6 lb Kirby Pickling Cucumbers
1 Large Sweet Onion
4 TBSP Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Tsp Tumeric
2 Tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp Black Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tsp Dill Seed
1 1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Guajillo Pepper
3/4 Cup Dried Pitted Cherries (sweet)
5 Cups Cider Vinegar
1 Cup White Vinegar
3 Cups Water
Prepare cucumbers, cutting in round slices about 1/4 inch thick. Cut onions the same. Put aside in a large bowl while you are making the brine. Pour vinegar, all of the spices, water and the cherries into your non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil. Turn the fan on so that you don't cough to death. Shut the fire after about 10 minutes. Carefully take the cherries out using a slotted spoon (now that they have come back to life) and add them to the bowl of cucumber and onion slices--stir to combine. Have your jars ready in boiling water bath. I find this recipe makes about 10 16 oz jars. Take your jars out of the bath and fill with cucumber mixture, packed tightly. Seal your lids. Immerse in water bath, boil them for 10 minutes. I have eaten these a few days later, but it is best to leave them two weeks if you can wait that long.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lychee Rosewater Jam

This morning I made Lychee Jam with Rosewater for the first time. The Lychees take some time to peel and pit, but the result is amazing. The Lychees taste like perfume on their own and then when you add that bit of rosewater, it just takes them even higher. I have just ordered more Lychees from the Oriental Farmer's Market, I can't wait to try this out with a few different recipes. I will be bringing some to the Rapsodic Bakery in Downtown Orlando and I am sure they will be making some fabulous vegan cupcakes and fillings in the weeks to come.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sweet Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam

What a fabulous summer bounty of cherries in the markets this year! I wanted to post my recipe for Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam. This recipe must be made in two stages, but it is oh so worth it! You must make Apple Jelly separately and this jelly can be used for many other recipes for fruit jams that need extra pectin to come together. Here is it for you, I have also posted this on and entered it into the weekly contest. I developed this recipe based on one by Christine Ferber, my idol.

Basic Granny Smith Apple Jelly Recipe
4 Pounds Granny Smith Apples (whole)
5 cups sugar
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 Juice of large Lemon

Method: Scrub the apples and cut the fruit into quarters leaving the skin intact. Place them into a large dutch oven and cover with the 6 1/2 cups of water. Bring this up to a slow boil and simmer on low for about 35 minutes (the apples should just be starting to fall apart). Get out a container and rest your chinois inside. Pour the apple mixture into the chiniois and use your wooden tool or the back of a spatula to press all the juice out of the mixture. You will then take this juice and strain it again. I use a smaller strainer and I take a wet piece of cheesecloth and pour the mixture through again--this ensures that the jelly will be clear. Now take 4 1/2 cups of this mixture and place it it your preserving pan--add the sugar and lemon. Bring this mixture up to a boil and continue to hold thre until your thermometer reaches 221. You can skim the mixture as you go. Once you reach 221, shut the fire and let it rest for 5 minutes. Go back now, turn the fire back up to reach 221 degrees. In my experience, this little rest ensures a good gel. Pour this mixture into 8 oz sterlized jars, seal and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. You should have six jars and you will be using one for the Cherry Pinot Grigio Recipe!

Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam
3 pounds Cherries, pitted and split in half
2 1/2 pounds sugar
1 lemon, both juice and zest
3/4 cups Pinot Grigio
Method: Place the 3 pounds of cherries into a non-reactive container, add sugar and lemon and cover and let this macerate overnight. The next day, pour out this mixture into your preserving pan and add 1/2 cup of the Pinot Grigio (you will use the last 1/4 cup at the end). Bring this mixture up to 219, stir all along the way to avoid sticking and burning. Once the mixture has reached 219, add the 8 oz jar of granny smith apple jelly to the pan. Stir and bring this mixture up to 221. Once the mixture is holding at 221/222, add the balance of the 1/4 cup of Pinot Grigio, this will naturally cut the foam and give the jam a fresh "winey" taste. Shut the fire, skim the balance of the foam off the top. Pour this into your sterlized jars and process in a hot water bath canner for 11 minutes. This jam is fabulous as a dessert topping, scone topping or bunged into a quick bread mix. You can also use it to top cheeses, as a glaze for pork--so many uses!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nize's Farm in Deland

Nize's Farm...the search for native species begins...

Yesterday I drove to Deland to visit Nize's farm. I love the idea of supporting a local farmer and I had an amazing time taking a tour of her land. She had so many interesting and native species of bushes and trees, I got completely re-inspired all over again. I came away with fresh picked Elderberries, squash blossoms, and lemon verbena. I quickly went to work with the Elderberries and solicited the help of my daughter and her boyfriend after the first 30! The berries were tiny and very labor intensive to get them off the little branches. I selected a recipe from Mes Confitures to make some Elderberry Jelly. I followed the directions...and ....I was so sure of myself (even though it was the first time I had worked with Elderberries), I didn't even do a gel test. And I have fabulous Elderberry Sauce--alas....I was hoping it would gel overnight, but it did not. It will be destined for several of my wonderful customers...I am sure we will see it in a fabulous cupcake icing at the Rapsodic Bakery in the weeks to come.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today we labeled jars for Winter Park Farmer's Market

I sat this fine morning and printed and labeled Jalapeno and Banana Peppers for sale at the market. I enjoyed it just a small amount...really I liked it. The bug man came around today and told me a story about how he gets drunk every November and kills deer in Georgia, it was special. After I tore myself away, I took some photos for the blog and the web. Regional Best wants to sell the pickled vegetable line on their site so I have to print up the ingredients list and come up with some enticing descriptions for them.

First Blush

I have sat for three days messing with the options for creating the blog, not being happy with it, asking why the hell I never know what I am doing and then worrying about what my first post was going to say. I thought about whether I was always going to be positive and upbeat, if I would bore everyone to death, if I was going to honest..... Oh my God. Then I realized that my approach to this blog is very much like my approach to life. I mean when I gave birth to my daughter, I just wanted to be able to practice first so that I would be "good" at it before I had to do it in the hospital. Mastery just feels so good. I always want to be the master. Why can't I just love being akward? Now I worry about if this blog will be original, is anyone else doing the same thing, will I win an award--is my writing just crap. Any distraction that could possibly come into my mind to take my away from the computer is very attractive right now. The whole point for me is to document what I am going though as Wendy Sunchowder, start up company. Documenting my life after being downsized out of Corporate America. My fears, my exhuastion, my search. My vision for this blog is to create a network of sorts, give lots of laughs and create a neighborhood for small companies looking for inspiration, networking, and to know if they are "normal'.