Apple Butter

 

Peel, core, and chop as many apples as will fit in a crockpot.

Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to your taste preference (I use a tablespoon of each), and equal parts white and brown sugar to taste (I use 1/2 cup each).

Set the crockpot on low for ten hours. Stir occasionally. Leave as is if you like it a little chunky. Use a hand mixer if you like it smooth.

I prefer Granny Smith. I like the tartness, it keeps the apple flavor without being overpowered by the cinnamon.

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from Amanda, aka SweetTeaBandit

 

 

Watermelon Pickle

 


Watermelon rind pickle isn’t a tradition in my family.  I’d heard of it but didn’t taste it until I was an adult.  To my surprise, they are very much like my Nanny’s sweet cucumber pickles. I have a friend who remembered them fondly from her childhood.  But they were made by her aunt’s friend and she never got to see how they were actually prepared.  We decided to see if we could figure it out.  She collected rind from friends so that we didn’t have to wait for me to get around to eating a watermelon and I started playing in the kitchen.

The internet was only slightly helpful.  Everybody does it differently.  I tried to determine common denominators (they are few) and went from there.  What you see above is what Diane and I decided is our preference.  I am putting the experiments here to share what I tried and know to be tasty or a really, really  bad idea.  Save yourself a couple of failures.

Each experimental batch used about 2 c of watermelon rind with the pink and the skin trimmed off (unless otherwise indicated). This gave me a pint and a half to taste.

1) Brined overnight, 1/4 c salt to 1L water.
Solution:
4 c. sugar
2 c. vinegar
1.5 Tbsp pickling spice

1 hour at medium heat/simmer.

Rind did not get clear and I got tired of waiting for that to happen.  Got incredibly sweet raisins. Threw the whole thing out. Water appears to be necessary.

2) Brined overnight, 1/4 c salt to 1L water.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1.5 Tbsp pickling spice
30 minutes on medium/simmer

These were good but not clear.

3) No brine. Parboiled. After an hour and a half, the strong white was gone and I was tired of messing with it.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.

4) Didn’t take off all the pink. Didn’t parboil. Didn’t brine. (This is the Alton Brown variation.)
Solution:
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c vinegar
1 1/4 c water
2 Tbsp pickling spice

Bring soln to a boil, add rind, bring a second boil, let sit for 30 minutes, jar up.

This is spicier than the others and less sweet.  Diane doesn’t actually like watermelon, just the pickles and thought it was nasty because she could taste the watermelon.

5) All pink removed, parboiled for 45 minutes.
Solution:
2 c sugar
1 c vinegar
1 c water
1/2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil, add rind, bring to a second boil, rest for 30 minutes, jar up.

(Blue)Berry Muffins

Recipe adapted from Food.com’s Sweetest Blueberry Muffins.

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 212 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 

Cream butter, add sugar, then eggs. When fluffy add vanilla, baking powder and salt. Alternate flour and milk. Fold in berries.

Bake in buttered muffin tins at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes.  Makes 24 medium sized muffins.

We think any firm bits would work nicely, raspberries, strawberries, chocolate chips…

Marcia’s Mango Butter

4.5 lbs ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 c. fresh lime juice
1 c. granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

Puree mangoes and lime juice. Strain into large cooking pot (to remove any stray bits of seed.) Add sugar and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and cook 60-75 minutes until very thick. (Holds shape when mounded on a spoon.) Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent scorching. Fill and cap jars. Process in canning kettle for 15 minutes.

My friend found this in Canning for Dummies.

Blueberry Buckle

BLUEBERRY BUCKLE:

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 egg
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. fresh blueberries

STREUSEL TOPPING:

1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. butter, softened

Heat oven to 375ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all buckle ingredients except blueberries. Beat at low speed, scraping the bowl often, until well mixed (1-2 minutes).

Fold blueberries into batter by hand. Spread into greased and floured 9″X9″ pan.

In a small bowl, stir together all streusel ingredients except butter. Cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

THE EVENING POST, CHARLESTON S.C. 7/13/1988

Hali’s Banana Bread

  • 4 – 6 ripe (i.e. over-ripe) bananas
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt

I cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, if you like

Preheat oven to 350°F Grease two loaf pans (approx. 9×5)

Mash the bananas up with the sugar. Add the butter and eggs. Sift (or stir) the dry ingredients together and add to banana mixture.

Divide between loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out fairly clean.

Cool in pans for a few minutes, then turn out on to racks to finish cooling.

This freezes well, if you don’t eat it all right on the spot…

— I use bananas that I would be embarrassed to have anyone see. They should be more black than brown. And not have much structural integrity, either. 🙂

Berry Pie Glace

From Elisabeth Curtis, Beekeeper

Works especially well with raspberries and blueberries. You’ll need about 4 cups of fruit.

Bake one pie shell.

Simmer 1 cup berries with 2/3 cup water for about 3 minutes.

Blend 1 cup sugar (I use less) and 3 T cornstarch and 1/3 cup water. Add to boiling fruit,
boil 1 minute, stirring. Cool this mixture.

Spread 3 oz cream cheese over baked pie shell.

Save out ½ cup choice berries.

Put 2 ½ cup berries in pie shell.

Cover with cooked fruit.

Garnish with reserved berries. Chill until firm (about 2 hours).