Voting other ~ seeds both flower & herb and watermelon pickles to help warm the cold winter days...
Easy Watermelon Pickles...
3 quarts cubed, peeled rind ( cut into 1 " cubes)
1/2 cup pickling salt
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 lemon ~ sliced and seeded ( optional )
2 ~ 3' sticks of cinnamon
1 teapson each ~ whole allspice and cloves ~ tied in cheesecloth
* In a large bowl, combine rind, 2 quarts cold water and salt.
Stir till salt dissolves. Cover and let stand 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse with cold water.
* In a 5 quart pan, add rind and enough water to cover. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cook rind till fork tender
about 10 minutes.
* In a 6 quart (non aluminum) pan, combine sugar, vinegar, lemon slices, cinnamon and spice. Heat to boiling, stir till sugar dissolves.
Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
* Drain rind, add to sugar mixture. Over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce to medium heat. Simmer rind, stirring occasionally till
transparent for 30-40 minutes.
* Meanwhile, sterilize 3 pint jars and lids, leave in warm water.
* Remove lemon, spices and cinnamon sticks. Pack rind and syrup into drained jars to within1/4" of top. Seal jars.
* Place jars in boiling water in a water bath canner. Add enough boiling water so the level is 1" over jars. Cover and reheat to boiling
over high heat. Start counting the processing time when the water boils. Reduce heat to medium-low so water boils gently. Process
jars for 10 minutes.
* Remove from canner. Let cool to room temperature. After 12 hours, test lids for proper seal. If a jar didn't seal, refrigerate and eat.
Pickles serve best when chilled.
3 ~ 1 pint jars.
While I don't specifically give garden related gifts for the holidays, I give all manner of gifts from my garden to friends, colleagues, neighbors, and even total strangers all throughout the year. I give cuttings, seeds, flowers and bouquets, herbs, vegetables, etc whenever these things are available in my garden. I chose "other".
I chose other as right now I am still getting this new garden going and have nothing from it to make gifts of... but I am real interested to see what other people do. In the past I have given culinary herbs -- actually did that this year too but it was a purchased herb blend so does not count! I have also given books about gardening to people I thought would appreciate them, but again, not this year. The two books I recall giving are "Gardens Make Me Laugh" -- essays by some famous landscape designer whose name I don't remember, and "Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin Of The Earth " by William Bryant Logan, more essays this time about, well, dirt. ;-) Wonderful book.
Dahlianut: nutty as always!
Podster: thanks for the memories!! Watermelon pickles from childhood. I'm printing the recipe.
jomoncon: sorry you can't post your recipe here; your link just leads to a blank page when I try it!
Hillbilly_Gran: any chance you will share YOUR recipes?
1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, seeded, finely chopped or ground
3/4 cup green bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped or ground
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 ounces Certo liquid fruit pectin
2 or 3 drops green food coloring
Mix ground peppers and juices with sugar and vinegar in a 5-quart casserole. Cover and bring to a boil on HIGH in the microwave (100 percent power). Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once. Let stand 5 minutes.
Add liquid fruit pectin and 2 or 3 drops of green food coloring. Stir well. Pour into 6 hot sterilized 8-ounce jars. Seal with lids and store in refrigerator.
I put "other" because it is pretty much all of the above. Not all every year, though. This year we have currant jelly and some plum jelly made from wild plums from a friend's house in Colorado. Last year I made lavender salves and lavender sachets for everybody. I have lavender this year for just the ones who really like it. Last year it was too much!
Jim, that question sent me a-googling. Pectin is a fruit-based thickener, usually from apples, used most often in jellies and jams that do not have enough sugar in the recipe to thicken without it... or so I gathered. The only substitutes I found mentioned anywhere were gelatin and carageenan -- or adding apples to a recipe, or extra sugar.
So, I guess you do have microwaves, in Europe? ;-)
We're getting close. MAYBE.
Underripe apple juice? All I get is pasteurized.
Could I just boil a bone or 2?
I think such things as 'Bramley Seedlings' have been outlawed for EU trade.
I also think that home production of pectin sounds too "Middle Ages" for this old man.
I may be "old", but I'm not so "ancient" that I'm gonna start making pectin!!!
WELL google guy says gelatin is available in France so I wondered if you'd ACTUALLY sallied forth to have a boo! Besides I ate stuff that was gelatined in Paris so plbplbplbplb (I'm blowing a raspberry in typese BTW)
edit: AND how do you explain the gelatin on pate??? hmmm? magic????
I don't have much time these days to make goodies. I give the gift of the fresh produce from the yard----usually vegetables and this year it was softball sized meyer lemons :). I'd meant to give them away free and the receiver we replied to my ad says he has an orange tree he'll share his bounty from. The LARGE bag of lemons I'd given him he said would be divided up amongst 4 families.
I just love when you can share what you have with your "neighbors" and then in turn they have something to share back.
D.H. says make your own with apples; but it's kind of a pain in the neck and no quality control. He can't believe no one makes jelly in France. We think there is some sort of pectin available there but we don't know what it would be called. Perhaps "escargot"?
Gelatin on pate? Duh? Cook any bone long enough and you get gelatin.
Are you saying I should cook bones to make jelly?
Blow all the raspberries you wish, dahlia. That is SO North American!
It still won't make us the same as you!
I (and all of my neighbours) make jellies and jams the same way my Gramma did (in the US of A):
we cook an apple in the mix.
But, sorry, I can't easily make an equivalent between "6 ounces Certo liquid fruit pectin" and "apples".
As I said earlier: [quote]t is just amazing how North Americans refuse to
acknowledge that things you take for granted are NOT
part of everyday life for the rest of us.[/quote]
Why is it so hard for you to see that?
I've created Zazzle calendars with photos of my garden for the last couple of years and ordered stacks of them to give out to people as gifts. They're a good nonperishable item to keep by the front door, ready to hand out to those people who always show up with gifts when you least expect them.
My presents include catnip toys i make for cats who own people.
I make small cloth fish shaped bags and stuff with my dried catnip from my garden. Also share teas from lemon mint, peppermint,and catnip leaves.
Potagere, my very french grandmother boiled apple peels in water for pectin and just added the juice to the fruit she made jelly from.
I make jam and jellys from strawberries, rhubarb, plums, red berries, blackberries and raspberries,
I make liquor of strawberries, plums and all kind of berries.
I make pickles with mustardseed, dill, pepper and garlic.
I used to make apricot jam and was going to make mint jelly for DH this year but got side tracked. I have the Ball Canning Book which is pretty much the canning bible. It gives a recipe for making apple jelly then mixing mint in -- using no pectin. Actually lots of fruits have pectin in them and will eventually jell. In Mississippi, they make pear preserves without pectin and I think you can make plum jam without pectin. Just get a book on preserve making and you will find recipes for preserves that do not require pectin. They are nicer that way, and in fact there are several French brands on sale here in New Mexico that contain no pectin. If you use pre-made pectin you have to add more sugar than if you just use fruit and sugar. And jams and jellies taste better without so much other stuff in them. It does require longer cooking times though.
I don't know but knowing how the French feel about food, they may think it is better to make your jams, jellies and preserves without pectin and as a result don't buy it, hence the grocery stores don't carry it. Maybe.
Anyhow making jam without pectin is the old fashioned way.
I make tons of jams every year (grape, blackberry, strawberry, strawberry rhubarb) and give jars away to everyone who comes near my door. We still have about a 40 year supply in the basement. I TRIED to restrain myself and not make so much this year, but it seems to be compulsion, and I just can't stop myself! LOL And I do appreciate when people return the jars for the next refill. It's really not an expensive endeavor, other than the jars, and I get really torqued to hear that people throw away the pretty decorative jars. The very LEAST they can do if they have no further use for them is to recycle them! LOL
I have made peach and apricots jams. Last year I had so many pomegranetes that I decided to juice them and make jelly. It never set up properly and I didn't want to give it. So we used it on ice cream. My SIL came over and wanted it to add to margaritas! She said it was wonderful! So I gave her the rest of my stash. I had made it with added Sure Jell and lime juice. I don't know if there is some reason the poms didn't jell?
I hope to get back to making jams and jellies soon. I have an apricot and a peach which bare fruit and pears just starting to bear and young apple trees, still to young to bear and a couple of first class crabapples. I do like to eat some of the fruit fresh, but I would like to have tons of jars of jam and jelly around and for Christmas gifts. It is just that this house has been quite difficult to landscape due to lack of soil and I am still working on landscaping.
cando, this is the first time I have had any not set up properly so I wondered if it was something to do with the fruit itself. But yep, if it does that again I will label it "ice cream topping" and send it on. LOL!
I seem to recall that with certain fruits, the pectin level drops as the fruit matures. For example, if you are doing grape jelly without added pectin, you are supposed to include a certain percentage of underripe grapes to help it set up. Overripe blackberries are prone to low pectin, too.
LOL Cando, I once gave everyone pretty jars of "Blackberry Pancake Syrup" for Christmas, along with a quart jar of homemade pancake mix, for that very reason! I won't tell if you won't. ;oP
I made mountain ash berry jelly this year. It goes really well with wild meat so it's perfect for this area - lots of people eating moose, goose, duck, caribou . . . It goes well with beef and turkey too.
I make and give lots of herbal stuff with things from my garden: Rose petal jelly, elderberry jelly, sage/cider jelly, elderberry syrup, rosehip syrup, various teas, lavender truffles; salve made with comfrey and calendula, salve made of lavender, arnica oil, St. John's wort oil, calendula oil, a mixture to open sinuses when inhaled, room sprays, powders, eye pillows, seeds, etc.
Being a little frugal this year. Made jams and jellies. Packed a jar of jelly with a container of Bisquick, and a biscuit cutter or spreader for my family members. Put recipe for biscuits, waffles, scones, and pancakes on the container. Wrapped all in a Christmas bag! The spreaders were 2 for $1.00 at the Dollar Store and the biscuit cutters were picked up a various thrift stores and such. Hope they enjoy it! love, julie
Didn't give anything out of the garden this year, but last year my husband made jelly from our jelly palm (Butia capitata) fruit. Tastes like apricot. Yum yum.
I will say, when you make this, be sure to keep out as much of the fiberous part of the fruit. it can be a bit stringy if you don't.
I dry herbs from my garden and then put them in little guaze bags everyone can use for different things. I dry lavender, mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, rosemary, oregano, etc. I just bought some other varieties of mints to add to my collection and dry next year. The sachets even give off a wonderful scent just sitting in a sunny window!
I have a few lavender plants so am able to make a few sachets each year... love giving them to friends. It smells so wonderful and lasts such a loooong time! I am constantly amazed at how much scent comes from those tiny little buds.. rub one betwen your fingers and they smell heavenly.
We make fudge too but none of it gets very far because everyone can`t keep their hands off it. LOL!
I remember putting some cookies I baked in a tin to give for a gift one year but my husband found them. It is a good thing I checked them before giving because it was cookie crumbs. He thought the cookies were given to us. I guess so. :)
We don't have enough yield from our gardens to make gifts. We did have a ton of sage, though, and put some in our stuffing for the turkey this past Thanksgiving.
We buy lots of local products and assemble gift baskets for relatives - there is a "Holiday Farmers Market" which we went to two weeks ago and bought locally made jellies, soy candles, things like that. We also bought an organic roast for our own Christmas dinner! Then we drove to the Amanas, a very neat old colony with lots of products that follow old world traditions. In the Amanas we purchased summer sausages, smoked meats, cheeses, wine, etc. Final stop, Pier 1, to buy neat wrapping supplies. The perishibles stay in the fridge and will go into separate festive bags. We've done baskets in the past but those are a real pain and it is hard to fit everything in.
I sent a gift basket from the Amana meat shop to my parents in New York City this year. It arrived today and they LOVE IT, my mom is from the Czech Republic and my dad from Germany and there are lots of goodies in there they didn't think were even made in the United States.
I don't just give jams and jellies, but also pickles and relishes. I like the way red cherry jelly looks in a box next to green pickles, green tomato chow chow, or relish. I've also given canned hot peppers and pear honey. People's choice: apple butter, bread & butter pickles, & green tomato chow chow. Folks like hearing that it's organic & home grown. I don't just give these items at Christmas time either. Folks enjoy receiving these gifts year round. Just yesterday I had a prior recipient of my apple butter ask me if I had some to sell her because she wanted to give it to her friends and family for Christmas. I offered her the recipe instead. She accepted. Merry Christmas to all.
Everyone will be getting Meyer Lemon Marmalade this year as we had a bumper crop of lemons. We also have several dozen yummy tangelos, some of which will go to the neighbors who have been droolng over them for weeks.
Barb, I am so jealous that you were smart enough to collect the jelly palm fruit. Every year I try and remember to do that and every year I forget.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade does sound wonderful! One of the things we're adding to the gift bag for my father-in-law this year is organic Tangerine Marmalade that we bought at the Holiday Farmers Market. We also bought one for ourselves, he had only two left from a large batch he made, and we had it with roast duck two weekends ago - it is amazing!!! It was made by a guy who runs an apple orchard (we buy organic cider from him) about an hour from our house.
I make plum jelly, dried apricot preserves, tangerine marmalade with Grand Marnier, meyer lemon/bitter orange marmalade with Grand Marnier and Limoncello, peach salsa, seedless blackberry jam with creme de cassis, peach sauce with cognac, peach-raspberry jam, and to go with them, I make chocolate truffles, gluten-free/sugar free biscotti, regular biscotti, Kentucky Bourbon Cake, Alton Brown's free-range fruitcake, sugar-free pumpkin bread, apricot-macadamia bread, cranberry walnut bread, lemon tea bread, and chocolate-cherry-Amaretto brownies or raspberry-chambord-hazelnut brownies.
ic_conifers, I envy your proximity to the Amana Colonies. DH and I loved visiting there. I had rhubarb custard pie with a crumb crust there that angels floated down and placed on the table. I would also love to go back and order something from their furniture shop.
Gave out my photos to folks at work today and they are all swooning. It's the one with the magical rays in my garden (month of May in the calendar). Seems my garden photo was a universal big hit! I am very proud and glad I thought of it!
OMG Bonnie, can I come and live with you? That all sounds wonderful. I did just come across a recipe for Limoncello and I might try to make that but only after the holidays. Too much going on this week.
I like to eat my chow chow with beans. I also like it on hot dogs. Since this chow chow contains cabbage, it's like a "sweet" kraut. Makes hamburgers tastes like cabbage rolls. The texture is more like that of pickle relish. It's a recipe that you can adapt to your own liking. I sometimes substitute hot peppers for sweet.
I made "teddy bears" large and soft enough to
bury your face in, and put lavender in them.
Not just for ladies! The preacher, a young man,
came by and couldn't keep his hands off of them,
so he got one, too.
The fabric combos were fun and meaningful, too.
The granddaughter who most resembles her dad
got one made from the shirt that was her dad's
favorite shirt when he was her age!
I have given garlic braids decorated with lavender and dried flowers. This is a gift you have to check out the tastes of the recipient to give with confidence. I discovered this one year when I was visiting my aunt and brought her one. Luckily I found out her dislike of garlic before I actually presented it to her, and there was time to quickly come up with another gift idea. I was cooking dinner one evening and used some garlic I had brought with me. She came in sniffing the air when I was sauteing the garlic and asked, "What is that funny smell?"
So many people dislike garlic! Much of my husband's side of the family are not big fans of garlic. I love it and luckily so does hubby! Tastes really can change depending upon who you are around and what they cook. I was not a fan of any Indian or Mexican food before I met my hubby, now I love the stuff.
Luckily, everybody else in my extended family loves garlic and I send it around the country. My aunt, being very protective of her kitchen, was somewhat reluctant to let me cook dinner without her close supervision, so I think she was hovering near, and the unusual (for her) aroma got her worried. She liked the soup alright when it was done, but I was alerted to her concerns and put in half the garlic I normally would have.