Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

I saw this recipe for a blackberry jam that does not require pectin, and it made me wonder if I could do something similar with honey.  I wonder how that would affect the safety when canning?


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It is no longer strawberry season here but blueberries are available locally.  We needed a snack this afternoon and I decided to try these shortcakes, subbing blueberries for the strawberries (no extra sweetener with the blueberries,though…I just added them plain).  I made the recipe as written but cooked them in the Sun Oven since it was such a warm day.  Then it clouded over about halfway through the baking process and I ended up leaving them in to cook for about 2 hours.  I’ll have to try them in the gas oven sometime for a true test, but I thought these turned out well.

We used a Tovolo Mini Whip Cream Whipper to whip the cream.  It was our first time to use the whipper and we were in a rush to eat our shortcakes before my piano students showed up so we ended up stopping our attempt before we made it to true whipped cream status.  I poured the honey-sweetened cream over the shortcake and blueberries and we chowed down.

Verdict: a keeper!  Warm, straight from the solar oven, with fresh cream on top and fresh berries – I thought as I ate it, “I am totally not missing anything on this diet.”  Yum.

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We picked 5 gallons of blueberries this morning.  There has been such a rush for local berries that they have been selling out within hours of opening time – and apparently, today was no exception.  The bushes at our chosen location were so picked over that it took us 3.5 hours to come back with those 5 gallons.  We can normally pick that much in just over an hour!!  We are zonked.

My dad called and asked if we wanted to go pick at another location tomorrow morning.  When I asked the kids, they both said, “NO!”  heeheehee

I like to get at least 10 gallons to hold us for the year.   I think I have at least 2 gallons still in the freezer, and with the addition of today’s 5 gallons I’m going to call it quits for 2012.  I sure hope we have a good year next year – we’ll be in trouble if there is a crop failure and I don’t have any reserves.  :/

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I picked another 3 pints of cherries this morning and decided to try out a revised version of a cherry tart.  I wanted to end up with a crisp topping and a juicy filling instead of the soupy mess I had previously made, so I flipped the ingredients for a cherry upside-down tart.  Genius, right?  heehee :)  Then, because it was rather warm here today and I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen, I decided to mess it all up by trying to cook in the Sun Oven on my first try.

I don’t like to post recipes that may or may not turn out the way I like them, but I don’t think I’ll have enough cherries to try again in the oven before the season is over.  I’ll post what I did and then fiddle with it when I have enough cherries in the future.

Cherry Filling:

  • 3 pints pitted sour cherries
  • 1/4-1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • dash nutmeg

Mix together in a 2-quart baking dish and bring to room temperature before topping with the cobbler.  (Since I seem to have so much trouble with the cobbler overbrowning, I might actually bake the cherries for a while before topping next time.)


I used this shortbread recipe, adding an extra 1/4 cup almond flour and about 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Then I patted the dough into a thin disc and set on top of the cherries.

Next I put the pan into my solar cooker and waited.  The Sun Oven didn’t get above 250 degrees for the first 2 hours, and the cherries weren’t bubbly yet so I repositioned the cooker and went inside to practice for tonight’s rehearsal.  Then I forgot about the Sun Oven for about 45 minutes, which was a bad idea because the temp rose to about 325 degrees during that time.  And the topping was overbrowned.  Again.  sigh…

My solar cooker provides a fairly moist cooking environment, as the steam cannot escape the cooker.  As a result, achieving a crispy texture is not common.  This cobbler, cooked in my Sun Oven, did not have a crispy topping.  We all really liked it, though!  And I feel confident that in a regular oven the top would crisp up nicely during baking.

I poured some fresh cream over each serving and we chowed down.  Both kids gave it a thumbs-up but I didn’t care because I was too busy falling in love.  I think an oven-baked topping and dollop of homemade ice cream would knock this one out of the park.

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I just made this one up on the fly, so I don’t think it counts.  However, I want to prevent potential disasters and this cherry tart definitely qualified as a disaster.

You’d never have known it by looking at it pre-baking:

Beautiful, no?  Look at those cherries!  More than 3 pints, picked and pitted by yours truly.  I love having our own cherry tree, especially after seeing cherries selling for $5/pint at the farmer’s market last weekend.

You’ll notice there is no post-baking photo.  That is because I was too embarrassed to take one.

I started out by pressing this shortbread recipe into an 8″ x 8″ pan.  Now, I’ve had trouble with this recipe overbrowning before, but did I let that stop me from using it as a base that would require an extra baking time?  No, I did not…because I am a trailblazer, and trailblazers just blaze trails.  They don’t think about the fact that pressing that shortbread up the sides of the pan means the shortbread is even thinner and even more prone to overbrowning; and trailblazers most certainly don’t stop to think that since the cherries had been refrigerated, the center of the tart might bake more slowly than the edges, making it likely that the edges would end up black as that proverbial kettle before the middle was cooked through.  No, sir: this trailblazer was busy thinking that if I hurried and got this into the oven before 8am, I could also make the cheese crisps for lunch and whip up a loaf of that new sandwich bread I wanted to try.  Then we could build a campfire and see if those lemon marshmallows I made yesterday would roast like I thought they would.  (BTW, that part of the trailblazing worked perfectly.  And I recommend sandwiching the marshmallow between two fresh cherries when you thread your stick.)

Let’s just say this tart was a disaster.  I don’t need to give you all the gory details.  But…since I am a trailblazer, I have already figured out a better route to take to satisfy my craving for cherry cheer (really, were you surprised?).  And I’ll review that once I’ve got another 3 pints of cherries picked!

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I pinned this recipe a few weeks ago and decided to try it out today – tweaked to make it GAPS-friendly.

  • 2 oranges, juiced (yield: a little more than 1/3 cup juice)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (yield: 2 to 3 Tblsp juice)
  • 3 tsp orange zest (which was the amount those 2 oranges yielded)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (see above)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 egg yolks, chalazae removed
  • 8 Tblsp butter, more or less (my 16 oz block of butter did not cut as nicely as I had hoped)

I let the zest, honey, and juice sit in a saucepan for about an hour before I heated the mixture to a simmer.  After a few minutes, I removed from heat and strained out the zest.  Next, I slowly poured the hot mixture into the egg yolks and whisked the yolks like crazy while pouring to prevent the eggs from cooking too quickly.  Then I returned the whole mixture to the saucepan and cooked until it thickened (about 5 minutes).  After the curd thickened, I added the butter a tablespoon at a time.  I did not turn the heat off because my butter was partially frozen and I thought it would cool the curd too quickly.  Once the butter was melted and mixed in, I removed from heat and poured into a pint jar*.

Verdict:  Deeeeeeeeelicious.  Yummy.  Mmmmmmm. Ok, you get the idea.  I can taste it now between layers of Cheeseslave’s birthday cake (review here) with some sort of buttercream frosting.  Or maybe drizzled on some homemade ice cream.  I’ll get on that right away.

I think it would be very easy to replace the butter with coconut oil if dairy is not an option for you.

*The original recipe claims to make about a pint.  I got a little more than a half-pint, and I promise I didn’t eat more than 1/4 cup while I was, um, ensuring that the process was going smoothly.

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My daughter found a copy of Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook today at a used bookstore and BEGGED me to allow her to make one of the recipes tonight.  I spent a moment flipping through the dessert section and thought we could modify her Lemon-Orange Sherbet without too much trouble.  Here’s what we did:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed citrus juice (I used 4 small oranges and 2 1/2 lemons)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup fresh raw cream
  • 3/4 cup kefir

We mixed until the honey was blended in, then poured the mixture into our 1.5 qt. ice cream maker and froze as directed.  I spooned about 1 cup into each of our bowls, then put the remaining half of the sherbet into the freezer for another day.

The texture of the sherbet was very good.  About halfway through my bowl, I thought that I could probably stop there and be satisfied (but of course I ate the entire bowl anyway).  The kids both liked the sherbet as well.

Verdict: a keeper!  Next time I would like to try a higher orange:lemon ratio and I might add a touch of vanilla.  This sherbet was incredibly easy to mix up (just ask my 8-year-old) and I think that you could easily substitute a can of coconut milk for the cream and kefir in this recipe to make it dairy-free.


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