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Raspberry Mole’ Jam

Raspberry Mole' Jam made with spice, red chile and a touch of cocoa. mjskitchen.com

 

Have you ever had black molé (aka Molé Negro)?  Molé Negro is a dark, rich, spicy sauce that is one of the seven molés of Oaxaca, Mexico. I made it once with great success, but it was a very time consuming and laborious process, so much so that the next time I wanted to make it, I wimped out and bought some from the local Mexican market. My love of molé is what drove me to make this  Raspberry Molé Jam. I wanted a sweet and spicy jam with a little nuttiness, and the richness of a black molé.  For this jam, raspberries are cooked down with a little sugar (less than normal), minced dates, almonds, red chile, chocolate and spice.  You’ll be hooked on the first bite.
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Mixed Berry Jam – Quick and Easy

Mixed Berry Jam - quick & easy, no pectin. mjskitchen.com

 

When it comes to making jam, the days of torturing my feet with a 12 hour day processing the fruit and making 20 jars of the same jam are over.  Now I make jam one jar at a time and as needed or whenever I have a little excess fruit that needs to use before it becomes compost material.  Because we eat a lot of berries, we almost always have a jar of Mixed Berry Jam in the refrigerator.

This recipe for the perfect jar of Mixed Berry Jam is one I’ve been working on since last spring.  I’ve been looking for the ratio of fruits that yielded the flavor of “mixed berries”.  What I mean by that is one of my earlier batches tasted like blueberry jam with a hint of other berries.  Another batch, with matching amounts of blueberries and raspberries, tasted like raspberry jam.  The recipe I’m sharing with today isn’t dominated by any individual flavor. You’ll be able to taste “hints” of each berry used – a little blueberry, a little raspberry and a little blackberry.  If you don’t have blackberries, you can substitute strawberries with the same mixed berry jam result.  Both versions are delicious!

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Watermelon Rind Candies

Watermelon Rind Preserves or Candies

 

I’m reposting this recipe as a reminder to save the rinds from this summer’s watermelons and turn them into watermelon rind preserves or these wonderful watermelon rind candies! I made some last week before leaving on vacation because I wanted to take them to the woman that inspired this recipe. The smile on her face told me that I did good. :)

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In my watermelon post a while back I mentioned that my mother saved the watermelon rind and made watermelon rind preserves.  After we all finished off the watermelon, she would cut away any remaining pink from the rind, peel the rind, then slice it into spears. All of the rind spears were transferred to a big pot and layered with sugar, then left to sit overnight. The next day she cooked them down “until done”.  :)  After they cooked I helped her pack the spears lengthwise into sterilized mason jars and then seal the jars.  By fall we had enough watermelon rind preserves to last the winter and then some.

Eating her watermelon rind preserves was like eating a crunchy, sweet stick of candy.  It didn’t really have a watermelon flavor, but it had a clean, sweet taste that is very hard to describe.  All I know is those preserves were really, really good, very, very sweet, and hard to stop eating. A couple of years ago I decided to come up with my own way to preserve watermelon rind but in smaller pieces and less sweet, if possible. My efforts paid off!  These little candies turned out exactly like I wanted – small, crispy bites of sweetness with a touch of anise flavor. So good, so addicting!

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Apricot Jam – When One Jar is All You Need

Apricot Jam: a recipe for when you only need a jar or two. @MJsKitchen

 

If you read my About page you know that I use to have lots and lots of fruit trees.  One was a huge apricot tree that, about every 3 to 4 years, yielded an abundance of the biggest and sweetest apricots.  On the years in between, a late freeze would kill the young fruit.  On those good years, we ate LOTS of apricots right off the tree,  but the rest of the apricots ended up in jam or dried.  When we moved, I had enough apricot jam to last us a few more years and still give away a jar here and there.  Well,  many years have passed and we have been out of apricot jam – until now!

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Quick and Easy Strawberry Jam

Jar of strawberry jam made in less than 30 minutes  mjskitchen.com

 

My mother jammed, jellied, preserved or pickled everything from peaches to watermelon rinds, cucumbers to okra.  Fortunately, I paid attention and learned.  Along with learning the techniques of canning, I also developed a love for canning and preserving.  I think preserving your own food is something that you really need to enjoy because it can be time consuming and tedious, depending on what you are canning.  Most times you have to be able to enjoy spending the whole day in a hot kitchen, working over a stovetop that has at least one burner going continuously (keeping the jars hot), peeling, squeezing, cooking, stirring, and canning until all of the fruit or vegetables have been processed.  It’s so much fun!  Really!  Of course a Criminal Minds marathon to keep you company doesn’t hurt.

Well – now that I’m older, gone are these all day jamming sessions. Now when I have a few berries that need to be used or are too under-ripe and bland to go in cereal , I just make a single jar of jam. In this house one jar doesn’t last very long, but then it doesn’t take long to make either.

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