Accidentally Delicious Blueberry Mess


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So I tried to make blueberry jam the other day.

I say “tried”, because I totally forgot about it and it ended up cooking down a whole lot more than I originally anticipated.

But it is freaking delicious. So here’s a recipe for you. This is my first recipe I’ve invented myself, SO BE NICE. If it sucks, tell me. If it’s awesome, tell me. If it doesn’t make sense, tell me.

I apologize for the lack of photos. I will remedy this if I ever write another recipe post again. 🙂

Accidentally Delicious Blueberry Jam (Makes about 8 quarter-pints or 4 pints)

  • 2 pounds of blueberries, washed (and check for stems. Stems are gross in jam.)
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon (fresh-grated is nice, but not necessary.)
  • 1/4c lemon juice (I use “Real Lemon” juice….the acidity is high enough to make the jam safe. Fresh lemon juice is too variable in the acid levels. If you’re not canning it and putting it in the fridge, fresh lemon is OK.)
  • 1/2 box pectin (or 3 Tbsp of the stuff in the jar)
1.  Put 3 spoons in the freezer. Rinse your blueberries (if you haven’t already) and discard any mushy berries or under-ripe ones. Make sure you brush up on canning procedures, and set your canning pot to boil with the empty jars. Put the lids in a heatproof bowl.
2. Put the berries in your jam pot (NOT an aluminum one, at least 2x as big as the amount of berries you have) and mash the berries up. (It’s easier if you do this in layers, rather than all at once. You can also do this in a food processor if you really want. Process/mash them less for chunkier jam, more for a smooth jam. I like it chunky.)
3. Mix up the pectin with 1/4 cup of the sugar, then dump that, the berries (if you haven’t already) and the lemon juice in your jam pot.
4. Over high heat & stirring often, cook to a full boil. (scrape the bottom and the sides every once in a while to make sure everything is incorporated and not scorching.)
5. When it’s reached a full boil, stir in the rest of the sugar and turn down the heat to medium.
6. Forget about it for 10 minutes or so. (this is what happened to me. You should probably be responsible and stir. Scrape the sides too.)
7. Panic and throw in some cinnamon. (Or remain calm because you have been forewarned, and add your 1tsp of cinnamon and stir.)
8. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Let it cook for 5-6 more minutes, then test for thickness. (this means “remove a spoon from the freezer, dip it in the jam and then let it run off the spoon NOT BACK INTO THE JAM POT to see if it’s the thickness *YOU* want.” You might like a thinner jam. We like a thicker, more gelled jam.)
9. Prep your jars. Get a folded towel on your counter, and dump the water from the jars in the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. (Jars go on the towel.)
10. Ladle your jam into the jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Run a chopstick around the inside of the jar to release any trapped bubbles.
11. Lids on jars, rings tightened to finger-tight. (this means “just tight”, not “OMG, it’s gonna take the Hulk to get this thing back off.” You want air to escape during canning.)
12. Process your jars in the water bath for 8 minutes. Remove from the canning pot, and set in an out-of-the-way spot so they can sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
Voila. Jam.
(If this is your first canning experience, please please please go read the Ball site I referenced above. I am not a canning expert, but I have been canning for a really long time. This recipe is written, assuming you know how to can.)

My House Smells Like Berries.

06 Jul 2011 1 Comment

My mom used to tell me a story about her friend Katie. Mommy Dearest loved to go over to Katie’s house because there was always something going on. Her dad was a member of a Pipe & Drum Corps (a marching bagpipe band) and would practice his big bass drum, twirling his mallets as they do in parades (and causing large lumps on his head as a result).

MD’s favorite part though, was the culinary aspect of it all. They always had something brewing in the basement, and some pot bubbling on the stove. She told me Katie’s family made their own dandelion wine, mead and something I assume was kombucha. There was always a pantry full of canned goodies and I believe Katie’s mom taught MD to put stuff in jars.

Jars ready for the canning pot

Another childhood memory of mine is “helping” my grandmother make applesauce in her tiny carpeted kitchen. I remember the paisley pattern of the well-loved carpet in that kitchen, and the paisley pattern of my grandma’s apron. I remember the “pock” sound the lids made when the seal engaged on the jars. I remember a well-worn spoon and a big flecked tin canning pot and waiting anxiously to use some rubber-banded tongs to help lift the jars from the pot.

I miss my grandma a lot.

So, I’ve been fighting some personal demons that have kept me away from my blog AND Twitter….(My Klout score dropped 6 points in 2 weeks. Ouch.) Lately, I’ve also been putting a lot of stuff in jars. I hosted a food swap at my house, and Kate Payne came.

I’m happiest when I’m feeding people. Or when I’m storing things for feeding people later. Or reading books about food. I’m good at it. I enjoy it immensely.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Planting a garden with things we enjoy eating. Putting stuff in jars to feed people later. Learning how to make my own butter. Creating a compost system for our house. Being “Suzy Homemaker”.

9 pounds of fresh sun-ripened, hand-picked-by-me WA berries. Nom.

I’ve been amassing books and blog posts and any resources I can find about preserving and pickling and homesteading. We’ve researched chickens, and whether or not Devil Dog will try to eat them. We’re planning on building a vermicompost system. We picked 9 pounds of berries yesterday to make jams and pies.

Feeding my family is necessary for my survival, both as a mother and as a human being. It feeds my soul and therefore makes me a better mom to my kids. Making our own food teaches my kids how things go from dirt to mouth (and sometimes dirt goes in the mouth….thanks Chuck) and gardening is teaching them how to be responsible, how to take care of something other than themselves, and teaching them to be patient as we wait for the fennel to get big enough to harvest, and how sometimes the deer eat all of our gorgeous rainbow chard and we have to problem-solve a way to keep them out of our garden from now on. (The 8′ fence we have isn’t helping.)

So expect some of the regular snarky posts interspersed with posts about what we’re doing this summer, and how our garden is growing.

And maybe even some recipes, like I’ve been promising forever 🙂

And for those of you who have been asking, we are all doing great, and we’re almost back to normal. Or as normal as we choose to be!

CSA love

20 Jun 2011 Leave a comment

So we have been picking up our CSA box at the Bellingham Farmers Market for two weeks now, and the novelty just doesn’t wear off.

This week is still looking a little on the green side, but I’m totally geeked about doing something with all of this green.


A Night in The Kitchen

03 Apr 2011 2 Comments

Was talking with some ladies over on Twitter yesterday after I got home from the farmers’ market (Hi!) and told them I got sunchokes while I was out.

I believe the majority of the responses were “HUH??”

So since I’ve been promising a lot of you some recipes and yesterday promised Sandra I would post the results of the Sunchoke Experiment, here is the very very first Bruises in the Frosting cooking post.

There are TWO recipes, first the sunchoke recipe, and then a pork recipe I

What the finished product looked like...I ate HALF of that pork chop & was full!

messed with from the booklet that came with my p90x kit. Please email me at mia DOT cupcake AT yahoo if you have any questions or concerns; this is my first recipe, so be kind 🙂

SUNCHOKES! They’re also known as Jerusalem Artichokes. (I got most of my info from here and here, and the nice lady who sold me a big bag of them at the market 🙂 Members of the sunflower family (I know, I was pretty stunned too), the roots look a LOT like ginger. They are often recommended to diabetics as a potato substitute (the starch in sunchokes is NOT used by the body for energy like sugar is, and sunchokes actually show indications for ASSISTING in blood sugar control!)…and do have a potato-ish texture to them.

Sunchokes are high in iron, potassium and thiamine, are low-fat and also help feed the lactobacilli in the intestinal tract. (They can make some people sort of…um…FARTY. Just be forewarned.) They apparently also have a ton of Vitamin C. So they’re good for you.

SO! How do you cook sunchokes? There are a ton of good ideas here and a

soup recipe here and I’m sure if I googled more, I could find some other ways, but I wanted to keep it simple and taste them without having to doctor them up.

SO! The lovely lady at Rabbit Fields Farm (without a website sadly, but you can find them at the Bellingham Farmers’ Market…we’re getting a CSA from them!) gave me a flyer on how to cook them and was very helpful with my 9 million questions.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes (or SUNCHOKES)….recipe from Rabbit Fields Farm in Everson, WA)

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Place chopped artichokes into 13×9 pan (I would use a glass pan, if I was you) and toss with other ingredients.
  3. Bake, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned (somewhat like roasted potatoes.) Approximately 30-40 minutes.

Island Pork Chops (adapted from a p90x recipe) SERVES 4

  1. preheat your over to 350 degrees
  2. in a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, cumin, chile powder and cinnamon until combined.
  3. Rub the pork chops with the spice rub you just made. I used about 1/2 teaspoon for each side…had some leftover. If you do have leftovers, store them in a plastic baggie or an airtight container.
  4. Pour just enough oil into a big skillet to lightly coat the bottom. (You want to brown the chops, not fry them!) Heat over medium-high heat.
  5. Brown your pork chops. The colour of the spice rub might fool you, but you want them to get a nice crust. (See “Chef Says” below) Should be ABOUT 2 minutes on each side. (this means don’t answer the phone or wander away from the stove while cooking these!!)
  6. Transfer the chops to a roasting pan or a cookie sheet (either one really is fine…I use the stoneware “bar pan” from Pampered Chef). Put in oven for 3 minutes
  7. While chops are in oven, mix together brown sugar, garlic and sriracha in a small bowl. After your 3 minutes are up, pat this mixture on top of each chop.
  8. Roast the chops until internal temp reaches 145 degrees. (APPROXIMATELY 15 more minutes. Oven temps vary and the only way you can REALLY be sure meat is done is to have a thermometer. You can cut into the chop at the thickest point too.)
  9. Let pork rest approximately 8 minutes after removing from oven…serve with favorite veggie!

Chef Says: you brown the pork chops before cooking them in the oven to create a nice seal, so when you put them in the oven to cook a bit more, the juices don’t run out.

Also, when you let the pork chops OR ANY MEAT rest, it allows the juices to redistribute through the meat after cooking so when you cut it, they don’t all run out.

No video today….just one last plea to vote for me here for Mamavation Mom because only two moms get chosen and there are FORTY votes separating 2nd and 3rd!! (I don’t know where I stand, but if I’m at third, another 41 votes couldn’t hurt 🙂

Also, my giveaway here ends tomorrow at noon…entries are pretty low!

All images, ideas and text here is property of Mia Cupcake/Bruises in the Frosting, unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy without express permission from blog author.