A Jarring Experience

You can take the girl out of the South, but you can never take the South out of this girl.  And that is a good thing!!  Yes, we make sweet tea, say yes ma’am and y’all, and never go to a party without bringing a dish.  That Southern twang even allows us to say something a little bit pointed with a smile and a wink.   I have had wonderful Southern women for my examples- my grandmothers, my mother, my aunts, my friend’s moms, my friends, my cousins (and cousin-in laws 😉 ); but putting a Southern girl up her in the North is a little bit like putting a square peg in a round hole.  I’m just not feelin’ it up here.  A lot of my Northern friends- God love ’em- think I am a crazy woman for making sweet tea and canning my own jams and pickles.  Yes, I did- yes, I did.

Yesterday was such a busy day- I turned veggies from my garden into salsa, turned blueberries and black raspberries into their respective jams, and canned all of it!  Canning was one of many things my mother taught me how to do- and it is a lot of work, to be honest.  But the jam made from sunsweet summer blueberries and canned at the peak of freshness goes a loooong way towards warding off my winter blues.  It takes me right back to the golden summer days with just one bite.  And for that, it is truly worth every single minute it takes.

Plus, the salsa up here STINKS.  No one seems to know what a salsa should taste like.  And yes, there most certainly is a difference between pico de gallo and salsa and salsa verde.  AND I have had it with trying brand after brand of this Nothern concoction they call “salsa.”  So, they’ve left me no choice!

Plus, my jams are sugar free, always a plus!  😉

Here are just a few of the veggies from my garden!  Those are Serrano and Jalapeno Peppers, a Better Boy Tomato, and 2 hot banana peppers!

Garden Salsa
(Makes 3 cups)

1 lb. tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 Serrano Peppers, seeded and diced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, halved
1 tsp. Cliantro, diced
1 Tbsp. Caldo de Tomate (it’s tomato bouillon…in the Mexican Aisle at most grocery stores! Optional.)
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Toss all of the above ingredients in a blender & blast until smooth.  In a medium-large saucepan, add all contents of blender, and bring to a boil.  Simmer about 10- 15 minutes, until deeper red.  Allow to cool before serving.

There it is, the red jars in the middle.  My salsa!  Cannot wait for salsa chicken!  Oh, and those are my dill pickles on the right, canned about a month ago, and my Strawberry Balsamic Jam on the left, canned earlier this spring!  I need some cute labels- I’m thinking round ones to put on the lids so I can toss ’em with the lids when done, rather than peeling them off the glass.  Haven’t found any yet, but I haven’t really shopped much, either!

Mr. Handsome likes salsa on his eggs for breakfast.  He also likes the Black Raspberry Jam, but I prefer the Blueberry Jam, which is also my secret ingredient in my blueberry muffins to make them extra-blueberry-ish!  Here in our corner of this state, we’re surrounded by farm lands and Amish.  Every so often, we’ll go out to a farm to pick berries- we’ve recently picked blue and black raspberries, and we picked enough to make our jam yesterday!  Boy, I tell ya- nothing like fresh jam on fresh bread (even if it came from the bread machine!).  Heavenly.

My recipe for berry jams is the same no matter what berry; it’s sugar free, and it comes out with good results every time.  At least, so far it has.  For me, anyway!

Berry Jam
makes one ton (8 pints)

3 qts of berries, washed and stemmed
1/2 c. no-sugar added juice (I used lime juice)
1-2 Tbsp. white vinegar
3 Tbsp. no-sugar added fruit pectin

In a large saucepan, add berries, juice, and vinegar; heat over medium-low heat.  After berries boil, add the pectin and blend them by either throwing them in a blender, by hand with a pastry cutter (not fun), or with an immersion blender (my pick!) until smooth.  Boil 1-2 minutes, then turn heat off.  Jam should theoretically fall off the spoon in “sheets,” but it’s gonna thicken as it sits.  Ladle into jars immediately & process for 8-10 minutes.

By the way, I love that “pop” the lids make after they are processed and are cooling.  Sounds like success!!!  On the left is my blueberry jam, and on the right are the first few of the first batch of jars!  And if you’ve never had blueberry jam- it’s one of those things that has a cult following.

That’s my story for today.  Lol, when Chris and Morgan and I went to pick blueberries last weekend, the lady asked how we knew to pick blueberries.  She said she never get young people picking blueberries!  Ok, maybe I am an old Southern lady trapped in an 27 year old’s body.  Sounds good to me!  😉

3 thoughts on “A Jarring Experience”

  1. Girl, that Southern girl is bred into you and can't really be learned. I guess it could, but like you said it takes a lo-o-o-ng line of Southern ladies in your lineage to teach you. Glad you had a good time with Morgan. Vicki

  2. Yay for southern girls! It is just he opposite here, many, many ladies are canning! Only, I'm not! lol. Only in Georgia….

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