gifts

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #4 This is My Jam! Jam

Folks would have you believe that making jam is super-hard. It’s not, but you do need the right materials & equipment & good instructions. I whipped up this jam that’s perfect for gifting while my kids were at martial arts class one evening. I even had most of the items on hand. Here’s how:

This is My Jam! Jam

makes 5 12oz jars

Ingredients:

  • about 1 1/2 C mixed berries (I used a mix of frozen blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries I had in my fridge from my smoothie-enthusiast days.)
  • 1 bottle of wine (I used a Missouri Chardonel)
  • 5 C granulated sugar
  • 2 packets pectin (I have had best results with Certo brand)

Instructions:

  1. Wash your jars with soapy water & set them out on the counter on a clean towel with lids and rings. For gifts, I like 12 oz or smaller quilted jelly jars.
  2. In a pot larger than you think you will need (gotta leave room for that rolling boil) combine berries with 1 C of the wine.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower to medium-high and simmer for about 15 mins.
  4. After 15 mins, pour entire mixture into blender and puree until the berries are pulverized. Add a little extra wine to facilitate blending if needed.
  5. Pour puréed berries & wine back into same saucepan. Add the rest of the wine, and all of the sugar. Stir to combine.
  6. At this point, I recommend clipping a candy thermometer into the side of your pan, to monitor the temperature of your mixture.
  7. Bring mixture to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
  8. Add all the pectin & stir to combine. Continue that rolling boil for 1 minute, or until your mixture reaches about 220F. (Sometimes it will take longer than 1 minute to get there.)
  9. At this point you will start pouring your jam into the jars. I like to pour the mixture into my large, glass measuring cup and pour from there into the jars, but you could use a ladle as well.
  10. Fill your jars to the fill-line and immediately cover tightly. If your jam still looks loose at this point, do not despair, as the jam cools it will firm up for you.
  11. Putting the hot jam into the jars will often pop the seals, but you can also process the jam using a canner for about 5 minutes, if desired.
  12. Allow jars, processed or not, to cool for 6-8 hrs, or overnight.

ICYMI:

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #1: Wine Salt

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #2: Porcini Salt

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #3: Seaweed Salt

 

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #3 Seaweed Salt

More of my experiments with finishing salts… I think I may be obsessed. Ask me if I have made any holiday cookies yet. On second thought, don’t. I was very happy with how this came out. After I did the Porcini Salt, I started thinking about other things I could rehydrate & infuse with salt. Seaweed! My weird kid likes to snack on sheets of seaweed like you would roll sushi in- anyone else have a kid who does this? I was pretty sure if I steeped them in water they would rehydrate, which they did, but I was surprised that the water didn’t turn green. Now I get why food manufacturers use artificial colors; this is seaweed, I feel like it should be green. Not green, but definitely captured the essence of the seaweed flavor.

This recipe has been approved by Finnick Odair and the folks in District 4.


Sea-Weed Infused Finishing Salt

Ingredients:

  • 4 sheets of dried seaweed (nori)
  • 1-1/2 C Kosher salt
  • 4 C water

Instructions:

  1. Fold your seaweed and place it into a large (1 qt) glass measuring cup.
  2. Boil about 4 C of water (I like to use my electric kettle.)
  3. Steep seaweed sheets in water for about 30 mins.
  4. Remove the seaweed (it will look like cooked spinach at this point) and pour water into a medium saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil, and simmer and reduce over medium-high heat. There will be about 1/4 C of concentrated seaweed-juice.
  6. When reduced, add 1 C of salt and stir until it absorbs all the liquid. If you still have puddles, you can add up to another 1 C of salt.
  7. Spread salt onto baking sheet and dry in a warm oven for about 2 hours, checking the progress & moving salt around every 30 mins or so.
  8. This salt would make a great compliment to any seafood dish; I think it would also be amazing sprinkled over popcorn.

ICYMI:

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #1: Wine Salt

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #2: Porcini Mushroom Salt

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #2 Porcini Mushroom Finishing Salt

I promise these won’t all be salts, but I’ve been experimenting with infusing salts with different flavors & I’m mostly pleased with the results. The wine salt posed a bit of a challenge, it didn’t dry as well as the others I have done since.

I regularly purchase dried mushrooms to use in various applications: soups, sauces, etc. They are easy to use and keep almost indefinitely since they’re dried. To use them, all you have to do is put them in hot water and soak for about 15 mins. Typically, I will save the soaking water & use it for a greater depth of mushroomy flavor, kind of a stock of sorts.

You can use any type of dried mushroom here. Porcinis, Chanterelles, and Shittakes are all available dried.

Porcini Mushroom Infused Finishing Salt

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg dried mushrooms
  • 1 C kosher salt
  • 4 C water

Instructions:

  1. Remove mushrooms from package and soak in 4C hot water (I use almost-boiling water from my electric kettle). Use a wooden spoon to push the mushroom down into the water as they float to the top. Soak for about 30 mins.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the water & set aside.
  3. Pour the mushroom water into a small saucepan.
  4. Bring to a boil & reduce heat to medium-high.
  5. Summer mushroom water at medium-high heat for about 45 mins. Liquid will reduce to around 1/4 C.
  6. Remove from heat & stir in salt. If there is still liquid that has not been absorbed by the salt, add more salt. You may need 1 1/2-2C.
  7. When liquid has been absorbed by the salt spread salt mixture on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  8. Place in a warm oven for about 2 hrs or until dry, moving the salt around occasionally for even drying.
  9. Place finished salt in an airtight container & use within 6 months.

ICYMI:

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends #1: Wine Salt

Holiday Gifts for Foodie Friends: #1 Wine Salt

What can you do with leftover wine? Leftover wine? What’s that? I kid, I kid… if you’ve got some leftover red wine hanging around there’s a few things you can do with it, but since it’s the most wonderful time of the year, I would suggest making a red wine finishing salt.

Disclaimer: Please, never, ever cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. When you cook with wine, the flavors get concentrated, that’s the reason you’re cooking with wine in the first place, so bad flavors will definitely not get any better…

This is a finishing salt, it has big flavor, and a little bit goes a long way. Your friends can think of you all year long as they sprinkle salt on their steaks and roasts…

DIY Red Wine Finishing Salt

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine (I used a Shiraz for a deeper flavor)
  • about 2 C Kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Pour entire bottle of wine into a medium saucepan. I used 2/3 of one bottle, and 1/3 of another. Both were leftover from my wine club.
  2. Bring wine to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-high & simmer for about 45 mins. After the first half-hour the wine will reduce by half, watch carefully for the last 10-15 mins as the wine thickens to a syrup.
  3. Pour 1C of salt into the pot. Stir salt until it absorbs the wine-syrup. If there’s still excess wine in the pot, add another 1 C of salt.
  4. Spread the wine salt onto a plate or sheet pan & allow to air dry, tossing occasionally to expedite drying. This may take several hours to a day. I ended up putting it in a warm oven for several hours to speed things along. 
  5. Store in a covered jar, use within 1 year.

For more ideas on adding wine to your recipes, check out my Pinterest board Cooking with Wine.