Saturday, August 20, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam - sugar free!

I don't do a lot of canning and preserving, but I really enjoy it. After canning the tomatoes, I was excited to make some jam!

Things were really busy during strawberry season here, so I didn't get out this year to pick any. And I was really disappointed. I love to go strawberry picking! BUT God is a faithful provider! A lady, whose brother works on a strawberry farm, gave us a bucket of strawberries! I hulled them and put them in the freezer with plans to make jam when I got the chance. Another one of our neighbors tells me every year to help myself to her rhubarb. So I also cleaned, chopped and froze that. It's been a couple of months, and my strawberries and rhubarb have been waiting patiently for me to make them into yummy jam, and I finally got the chance this week!

I LOVE using honey to make jam! It really lets the sweetness of the fruit come through. This strawberry-rhubarb jam has a wonderful sweet-tart flavor. It tastes like pie!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
4 cups slightly crushed strawberries
2 cups chopped rhubarb
3 Tbsp. low or no sugar needed powdered pectin (1 box) I use Ball.
1 cup honey
1/2 teas butter (optional - helps reduce foaming)

  1. In large saucepan combine strawberries and rhubarb, gradually stir in pectin powder.
  2. Over high heat, bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
  3. Add honey, and bring to a rolling boil again, skimming foam as necessary. (Add 1/2 teas butter to reduce foaming, if desired.) Boil for 3 minutes..
  4. Remove from heat, and ladle into hot canning jars.
  5. Place lids on jars.
  6. Put jars in a hot water bath. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn off heat. 
  8. Remove jars from hot water. Let them sit on the countertop until cooled down.
  9. Check that lids are sealed.
I got 6 8 oz jars, plus 1/2 cup with this batch.

I have enough strawberries to make another batch of regular strawberry jam, and while I've got the pectin and jars out, I'll be making some grape jelly as well! I haven't yet made blueberry jam, but that's next on my list if I don't get tired of making jam! yum!

Friday, August 19, 2011

String Beans and Tomatoes - but mostly tomatoes...

Well, the air is finally getting cooler. And I am so thankful that summer is just about over. Fall and spring are my favorite seasons, I love the crisp air and the feeling that change is coming. With the cool air comes the harvest, and not that I have a garden to harvest, but God is always good and always provides.

Someone had given our church a huge box of tomatoes and two very large bags of string beans. After the people of the church had taken what they wanted, we got the rest. Since our congregation is on the small side, there was still a TON left.

This is only half of the green beans, an entire sinkful!

My 15.5 qt stockpot overfloweth with tomatoes!

So I sauced the tomatoes and canned them, and froze the green beans. It was my first time making and canning a large batch of tomato sauce. Attempting new things always makes me nervous at first, but it was super simple, and now I have confidence in my tomato canning abilities. :) I followed these directions from Heavenly Homemakers. If you need to know anything about canning and preserving Laura has provided a lot of great information and instructions on her site for more than just tomatoes!

These will probably mostly be used for making yummy homemade tomato soup! (recipe on my recipe page!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

26 weeks - Third Tri!

I have officially begun the third trimester! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by. Only 14ish weeks to go! I am very much looking forward to meeting this little one! It has been an easy pregnancy, but these past 3 weeks have been more of a challenge. Growing a baby can really tire one out!

The whole family came to my appointment this week. The girls were really excited to hear the heartbeat. Julianna kept asking if we were going to take the baby out. :)

My insides are being smushed all around (sounds pleasant, doesn't it?...) And I have to be careful with what I eat, like in the first tri. Starches don't do me any favors, so I've been eating high protein and naturally gluten free foods. ie: fruits and veggies, and peanut butter....  :)

Oh, and we did settle on a name that we both really like! But we are not planning to share that little tidbit of info just yet - even with the kids. It's fun to have a secret.. :)