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Growing and canning your own food is a lot of work, but more than rewarding, especially when you can create a surprise recipe for someone special.
Our garden (located in the Salt Lake valley, click here to link to Gradi’s Organic Garden) provided us when plenty of great herbs this season, with Rosemary getting huge as a featured centerpiece. Everything in our garden has been grown from seed and this particular herb was incredibly easy to grow from seed. We planted our rosemary in a very large terra-cotta bowl (which also happened to be free thanks to asking our neighbors and watching local ads), added plenty of mulch and a few earthworms and watered it every morning until damp. It grew into an extremely fragrant herb, and according to WebMD, the uses and healthy benefits of Rosemary include:
For digestion problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas (flatulence),liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite. It is also used for gout, cough, headache, high blood pressure, and reducing age-related memory loss. Rosemary is used topically (applied to the skin) for preventing and treating baldness; and treating circulation problems, toothache, a skin condition called eczema, and joint or muscle pain such as myalgia, sciatica, and intercostal neuralgia. It is also used for wound healing, in bath therapy (balneotherapy), and as an insect repellent. In foods, rosemary is used as a spice. The leaf and oil are used in foods, and the oil is used in beverages.
In preparing for the colder months, we chose to create some jams and focused on local, seasonal produce. We were fortunate enough to secure about 2 pounds of beautiful Utah peaches, which were cleaned, halved and the pitted. I chose to left the skin on for additional nutrition.
The following ingredients are necessary for this jam:
- 3 pounds peaches, cleaned and halved
- 5 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 4 large sprigs of fresh Rosemary
- 3 tablespoons powdered pectin (or 1 envelope).
These jams are easy and can be tailor made to fit any palate. For Fall, we enjoy spices such as clove and nutmeg, which were incorporated in addition to the Rosemary (cleaned and chopped).
Add peaches, sugar, lemon juice, pectin and rosemary to large pot on stove top, melt slowly on lowest temperature. Keep a close eye to prevent the sugar from burning, stirring often.
We decided to compare the traditional method of cooking the jam low and slow, on the stovetop as compared to the breadmaking machine we were gifted. One obvious drawback with the machine was the volume. Only about 1 ½ cups of finished jam was produced, however it was very easy and relatively quick, only taking about an hour from start to finish.
From the breadmaker we received 2 small jars and a larger one, about ¾ full, which will be consumed immediately. The traditional method took ten hours, which required close supervision and frequent stirring. By allowing the sugar and other spices and herbs to meld (this recipe could easily be modified to include cannabis infused oils as well) slowly and not allowing the mixture to burn, the jam will come together in a divine combination. Diabetics – take heart as all jams can be adjusted for sugar content as well as flavor. The final product can be strained, through cheesecloth, if a smoother texture is desired, however we leave ours whole.
As with any canning project, always prepare bottles, lids, rings and any fruits, pectin (we use a powdered type, simple to measure) sugars, herbs, equipment, tongs, etc. ahead of time. A tip – adding lemon to any type of sweet fruit will enhance the flavor as well as help to retain the original color.
Once the jam is at the appropriate consistently, it can cool and be added carefully to sterilized jars with a funnel. Wipe the lip of the jar with a clean paper towel, place the lid on firmly and screw the ring on tightly. When each jar has been filled, they will need to “process” in a hot water bath.
This can be accomplished with either a canning set, or as we use, a large soup pot. As long as the jars can be covered with water and process, for at least 20 minutes, the should seal safely and can be saved in your pantry for up to a year. Any lids that don’t make a “pop” sound may not have sealed completely, but fear not! They can be used for up to 2 months with refrigeration. Be careful when handling jars and lids, watch kids (even my 2o something can still get burned and explore what your community has to offer. Many ads can be found (in Utah via the classified ads on KSL or Craigslist) for free fruit, especially if you can pick it yourself. Happy Canning!
Hungry for more? Check out previous recipes on Ladybud by clicking here.
Photo Credit: By Sage Ross (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, Gradi Jordan