In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Playing in the Kitchen: My 1st Beer Jelly

So I’ve recently taken an interest in canning.  And when you 1st start out, Jams and Jellies are the way to go.  So far I’ve been able to can a Triple Berry Jam and a Peach Jam… so Beer Jelly is the next logical step.  Well, at least for me it is!

I decided to use one of my favorite Seasonal Beers, Saint Arnold Oktoberfest, for the experiment.  After scouring the Internet, I couldn’t really find an “official recipe.”  Beer Jelly is not too traditional.  But I did come across a lot of helpful tips.  Like “Use flat beer” and “Use a BIG pot.”  I was also reminded to add some acid so the jelly would set and not just make a thick syrup.  I decided to use apple cider vinegar (because apples remind me of Fall).


Beer Jelly ingredients

I poured 2 bottles of beer in a pitcher and left it in the fridge over night.  This seemingly flat beer still boiled up like CRAZY… something that I am sure home brewers are accustomed to.  But after the hard boil and some stirring, I was able to reduce almost all of the foam away.  The remaining jelly-foam was skimmed off and put in a tupperware for me to enjoy later!

Sadly, in my haste to get the jars in the canner pot (aka the stock pot usually just used for spaghetti),  I don’t think I screwed all of the rings on tight enough.  I should have burnt my hands just a little to make sure the were all on tight.  Oh dear.  The waterbath looks a little like one may have leaked a bit.  But looking at the jars, I cannot tell which one did.

Also, even after the jars came out of the waterbath, a couple still looked like they were releasing carbonation bubbles.  Is that right?  I don’t know.  There are no hard and fast Beer Jelly rules.  I need to wait 24 hrs to see if the jars will stay sealed properly.  At any rate, I don’t know if I’d give a jar to anyone as a gift… unless they are prepared for it to be a prototype/beta version of what I think could be something really great.

LUCKILY there was enough extra jelly at the bottom of the pot to taste test!  Paula Deen used to say “The profits are in the corners.”  Taking a heatproof spatula and scraping the sides of the pot (and the ladle) actually turned up quite a bit of jelly.   Not enough for a whole jar, but enough to save in the fridge for later!  I had several samples.


Oktoberfest Beer Jelly

Verdict:  The jelly is sweet, and still tastes like beer.  Totally edible!  I bet it would go great with pretzels, or as a glaze for chicken wings.

And I am fairly certain all of the alcohol didn’t burn off.  An adults only snack?

Be warned, making Jam and Jelly makes a stick mess all over your kitchen.  But, I think it’s all worth it.

Beer Jelly UPDATE here

Cheers!

My Beer Jelly Proportions:
2 12oz Bottles of Beer (flat)
1 Tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
1 box Pectin
3 1/2 Cups Sugar
Follow traditional jelly making instructions, process in waterbath for 10 minutes.

These are the webpages I found helpful/convinced me to try a beer jelly:
http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/beer-jelly.21972/ (basic Recipe)
http://modernmealmaker.com/2012/04/beer-jam-correction-for-the-preservation-kitchen/
http://rowhouseliving.blogspot.com/2012/08/canning-fail-beer-jelly.html (advice for using a flat beer and a WARNING that making jam from a carbonated beverage may be tricky)
http://growitcookitcanit.com/2011/03/17/stout-beer-jelly/ (advice for adding lemon juice or cider vinegar)
Darcie gave me some good Beer Jelly Advice via Facebook.
http://inajamcolorado.blogspot.com/2012/03/toast-to-spiced-beer-jelly.html
http://www.sbcanning.com/2011/09/canning-loss-of-liquid-should-we-call.html (answer to the bubble & loss of liquid question
http://missvickie.com/canning/jars.html#Loss (another answer to the loss of liquid question)

Etsy pulled a Facebook


ETSY pulled a Facebook and made a significant change that wasn’t needed, without warning, and has left many shop owners confused and upset.

Having run and ETSY shop for over 3 years, I have seen a lot of “improvements.” Most have been quite helpful. But today I find myself miffed/borderline angry. <center>

<a href=”//www.etsy.com/shop/InMyLife?ref=offsite_badges&utm_source=sellers&utm_medium=badges&utm_campaign=en_isell_1”><img width=”200” height=”200” src=”//img0.etsystatic.com/site-assets/badges/en/en_isell_1.png”></a></center>



Without notice, ETSY took away all of the feedback and appreciation photos I’ve left for my customers. Shop owners can no longer review customers. And customers can only review shops by rating their purchase & writing a comment/explanation. A simple click of “positive/neutral/negative” is no longer an option.

Anyone who has every tried to have someone fill out a survey knows it is basically like pulling teeth. Yes, we want people to rate their experiences, but it is such a small % of people that are actually willing to take the time to do so. The more you ask/require of them, the LESS they want to participate.

For the first time in at least a year, I went to the ETSY Forums to talk with other sellers. I wanted to make sure that I was not the only person who was confused and disgruntled.  MANY sellers have brought up another huge point… a lot of power is shifting solely to the CUSTOMER, leaving shop owners with out a way to reciprocate and essentially out to dry.   When ETSY was new, they made a point of saying we are independent sellers who “control our own business” and Etsy “does not have the say so over our business.”  This most recent “update” has made a lot of sellers feel like they are losing the control and power they should have as a small business owner.

Sellers are threatening to shut their doors.  I am not going to go that far.  Yet.  But the longer I am on ETSY, the more I see it changing into something I don’t think it was originally intended to be.  When I started, YOU (the craftsman) were the sole owner of your (single) shop.  You sold YOUR handmade items.  It was a very personal thing.  ETSY is a lot more popular now… the demand is up… so the supply is going up, as in a lot more mass produced type items as opposed to “one of a kind” items.  Shops can be run by groups of people.  Maybe shoppers do not care that they aren’t dealing directly with the designer/creator/crafter.  But I’d like to think the shoppers are paying a premium for “handmade” because of that personal touch they wouldn’t get by shopping at conventional retail outlets.

I’ve been told I’m “too nostalgic” and that progress is necessary for business to succeed.  I can accept change, and I can also move on, if need be.  The changes to ETSY feedback did at least make me wake up and take notice to what is going on with the site.  I just hope that, as ETSY continues to grow and grow, the small independent crafters do not get left behind.

 

If you are interested in learning more about ETSYs latest Product Announcement, here is the blog post that went out after the changes to feedback already went into affect.

But I Wasn’t Finished Reading That…

This little trick has saved me on several occasions…


Open Last Closed Tab

I know it at least works in Firefox.
You’re welcome, Internet.
:D


It’s National Can-It-Forward Day! (Schedule of LIVE webcast)

Happy National Can-It-Forward Day!
When I made and canned some Jam this last week, I had no idea National Can-It-Forward Day was right around a corner… honestly I didn’t know there was such a day. But it is the perfect time of year to celebrate caning. Summer is coming to a close, and we want to save/preserve all of season’s berries and vegetables. My Great-Grandma lived in Oregon and canned Blackberry Jam. I can remember bring home mason jars by the case full when we went to visit…and I love the thought of carrying on family traditions.

Triple Berry JamBall says celebrate by hosting a Canning Party! I’m too late to throw one together… but the suggested recipe to use their Mixed Berry Jam recipe. That, coincidently, is the recipe I used for my Jam! It is also the 1st time I’ve ever made jam and canned anything by myself. So I know I “know what to do” when making this jam for a Canning Party… or what NOT to do. Oh dear.

Even more exciting is the Event this morning in Union Square Green Market (Manhattan). It’s an event to share the joy of preserving food, with special guest Ted Allen!! If I still lived in the NYC area, I would definitely be there.


Luckily, there is a live Broadcast of the event available via the Ball® caning website!
Here is the schedule of events to watch… starting at 10am Eastern.

10:00am-10:45am: Jam making and water bath canning demo by Jessica Piper
10:45am-11:00am: Craft Corner with Jordan DeFrank
11:00am-11:45am: Pickles Demo by Rick Fields
11:45am-12:00pm: Craft Corner with Jordan DeFrank
12:00pm-1:00pm: Special Guest Host Ted Allen canning and cooking demo
1:00pm-1:15pm: Cocktails in Ball Jars hosted by Mason Jar NYC Restaurant
1:15pm-2:00pm: Jam making and water bath canning demo by Jessica Piper (repeated)

I work odd hours and am usually asleep during this time… but maybe I’ll just lie in bed and watch on my little Tablet :D I hope they record the broadcast… just in case I fall asleep. And I’m sure that there are many more canners/food preservers that would love to see the re-runs too.

If you are going to a canning party today, I hope you have loads of fun! Or try making a simple recipe at home… once you start canning, you may never want to stop.

Playing in the Kitchen: Sage & Rosemary QUICK Pickles

It’s Left-Handers Day! Who knew?
In honor of Left-Handers everywhere, I though it more than appropriate to share my Quick Pickle recipe. Namely because when I photographed them, I didn’t realize me recent left-handedness was glaringly obvious. Can’t you tell?

house pickles
Holding a Pyrex measuring cup with your left hand means reading the metric measurements. Such is the plight of left-handers.

Luckily I was not using the Pyrex measuring cup to measure anything… just to hold my cucumbers and herbs to make yummuy pickles!

I had always thought that pickles were something that HAD sit in a brine in a jar for a long time in order to “pickle”. But after watching episodes of Chopped, and hearing many constant chefs make “a quick pickle” out of the veggies in their basket, I realized there is another way!

So, these pickles came out of a need to use up a cucumber while it was still edible. I had also recently rescued a little sage plant from the clearance table at the grocery store. And we have a monster of a rosemary plant growing in the backyard.

The original recipe I found at Mother Earth Living called for a thinly sliced onion. I did not have an onion. I persevered.

The results were pretty tasty as a snack on their own. I also diced a handful and used the resulting “relish” on a burger. THAT was very good.

Thanks Chopped! You’ve made a Quick Pickle believer out of me. :D

Sage and Rosemary Quick Pickles

2 cups cucumber, sliced
2 to 4 sprigs rosemary
4 to 8 sage leaves
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup cold water

Slice cucumber into ¼-inch rounds. Stack cucumbers and herbs in a container of your choice.

Combine vinegar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and gently stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

Add cold water to this mixture and let cool. Pour cooled liquid in jar to cover cucumbers and herbs. Add more cold water if necessary. Leave room at the top. Refrigerate for about an hour until chilled.


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