Simple, Easy, Strawberry Jam

Simple, Easy, Strawberry Jam

Nothing quite signals the start of canning season like strawberry jam.  Many may argue that rhubarb is the start, but I typically just freeze it for use later, so it is strawberries for me.  To top it off, strawberry jam is easy to make, a great beginner canning project and nothing quite tastes like a jar of homemade strawberry jam.  I love always having it available in the larder.

So I wait for that magical sale every year, the one where you can buy a few flats for a few bucks and this year the magical price was $5.88 for four pounds of berries.  I left with 16 pounds and the canning commenced.


In the end I finished up with 34 jars of luscious, slightly runny, delicious and RED strawberry jam.   Two were gifted and two were immediately eaten.

Simple, Easy, Strawberry Jam
Recipe type: Jams/Jellies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 jars
A super easy start to the years canning season. A great beginners jam.
  • 4 lbs strawberries
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ½cup lemon juice
  1. Wash and hull the strawberries then halve them and place into a large bowl.
  2. Pour three cups of sugar over the berries and stir gently to evenly disperse the sugar.
  3. Allow berries to macerate in the bowl for 2½ hours.
  4. Place your berries in a large, non reactive metal pot, pour in the lemon juice, and turn heat to medium high.
  5. Bring your berries to a boil and then lower the heat to medium and stir constantly for 20 minutes, or longer if you want a thicker more gelled jam. I prefer syrupy.
  6. Ladle the hot jam into sterilized canning jars and cap them for a water bath.
  7. Place your jars into already boiling water and ensure they are covered by water 1 inch deeper than your jars are tall and boil for 25 minutes, or for however long is recommended for your altitude as determined by the USDA.

Making Mustard.  It’s easier than you might think.

Making Mustard. It’s easier than you might think.

A few weeks ago I came across a great deal on some mustard seed at Williams-Sonoma and just the day before I had been thumbing through Home Made by Yvette Van Boven where she had a recipe for making mustard.  So I grabbed the jars and took the seed home to try my hand at making my own mustard.

It was easy, cheap and seriously made me wonder why I had never done it before.  In fact I will NEVER buy mustard in the store again!  It is expensive and no where near as good as what you can make yourself.  You can customize your ingredients any number of ways with vinegar, herbs, spices, beers and whatever else you can dream up.  Just remember that whatever you make will need to rest for at least 24 hours before you eat it.  Mustard is very bitter for the first few hours after making it and needs this time to rest and mellow it’s flavor.

The first step is to soak your seeds in the vinegar, beer or both.  Two hours is good, 24 hours are better.

The seeds should look plump and happy after the beer soak.

Then you throw them into the food processor with all the other ingredients.  I didn’t add more liquid, but you can.  Just depends on how viscous you want your mustard to be.

Crank up the processor and then stop it occasionally to scrape down the mustard seeds.

When you are done you should have a nice coarse and delicious mustard that will keep for a very long time in the fridge!


Coarse Brown Mustard
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A quick, easy and cheap way to get mustard without a trip to the store and pulling $$ from your pocket!.
  • 4 oz mustard seed
  • ¾ cup of a beer of your choosing
  • ¾ apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbs demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  1. Soak your mustard seed for at least two hours or overnight in the beer and vinegar.
  2. After soaking add the seeds and liquid (add more liquid later if you want a runnier mustard) along with all the other ingredients to a food processor and run it for about 5 minutes. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.
  3. When you reach your desired consistency move your mustard to storage jars and let it rest at least 24 hours before consuming. For the first 30 minutes to an hour it will be quite bitter.
  4. You can store your refrigerated mustard for a very long time. Just don't let it dry out.

Raised Waffles

What is a Sunday morning without waffles?  I’m not talking about eggos.  The waffles I am talking about are the kind of waffles you make up the night before using yeast.  You let them rise overnight and then add the eggs in the morning, just before you cook them.  They are crispy on the exterior, soft inside and malty with the remnants of the yeast party that happened while you were peacefully sleeping and dreaming of a plate of this goodness!

Sorry that all you get is a photo of the mix.  I was too busy diving in to actually photograph the waffle.  I’ll get one up here someday.

Yeast Raised Waffles
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Probably the best recipe to have in any box. These waffles are the perfect mix of crunchy and soft and sweet and savory. They are a great breakfast with syrup or jam and equally fantastic with fried chicken and gravy.
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Use a large mixing bowl (at least 6 quarts) as the batter will rise to double its original volume. Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth and blended. A whisk or fork will work just fine.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, go to bed, and let stand overnight at room temperature.
  3. Just before cooking the waffles, separate your eggs, lightly beat the yolks and fold them into your mix. Then whip your eggs whites until stiff peaks form(this is the true trick to the best wafles ever) and fold them into the mix. Add the baking soda, and stir until well mixed. The batter will be very thin.
  4. Pour about ½ to ¾ cup batter into a very hot waffle iron. Bake the waffles until they are golden and crisp. This batter will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.
  5. This should make about 8 waffles.

Zucchini pickles.

I love pickles.  All kinds of pickles.  So for that reason I am not sure why I never tried zucchini pickles, but that wasn’t going to last long.

A couple of weeks ago I read a post over at Lottie and Doof about zucchini pickles and I knew that was what I had to put up next.  So I did.

And this is what I ended up with.

The lighting is terrible and I need a real camera if I am going to keep doing this, but you get the idea.  They turned out great!  The taste is amazing.  Sweet, but tangy and they have a nice crunch.  So click over to Lottie and Doof and check it out.  They have better picures too.

Tomatoes everywhere. Time to can some tomato sauce.

Tomatoes everywhere. Time to can some tomato sauce.

So, last weekend I got the bug to go pick tomatoes at one of our local U-Pick Farms. It was Day Farms up in Layton. It is a great place and just a short drive from SLC.

It really was a beautiful Day.  Not too hot and not too cool.  Just right for the back breaking job of tomato and pepper gathering.

So I sent the laborer off into the fields…

And we came home with this!

And a case of peaches and a case of peppers and a bag of zucchini and a bunch of corn.  Day Farms is a great place!

Two days later I was canning tomato sauce and tomato paste.

It took all day but I did end up with 10 quarts and 9 pints of sauce and 11 4oz jars of Tomato paste.  Today I am working on more sauce.  Should get another 10 pints or so.

The process is pretty easy so check out the photos below and have fun.

First you roughly chop up about 12 pounds of tomatoes and put skins, seeds and all into a large pot to simmer.  (I leave the skins and seeds on to add depth and flavor) You will also notice chopped garlic in that photo.  I added one clove per 12 lb batch for added depth as well.  No salt.  I’ll do that when I cook.

You should have a pot like this.

Notice the super cool Portable Induction Cooktop I got!  Such even and FAST heat!!!

Once you get it warmed up and simmering you can mash it a bit with a masher.

Simmer some more (1/2 hour I guess) and then dump it into your food processor to puree the whole lot of it.  Better yet, if you have an Immersion Blender, puree it in the pot.  It is much safer that way.

Then you simmer some more (1/2 hour I guess).

And then ladle it into a Food Mill to separate the sauce, the seeds and the skins.

Then return it to the pot to simmer some more.  You want to go from about 7 quarts to about 5 quarts of sauce.  Then bottle your sauce in quart or pint jars and process it in your pressure canner per the directions as they are laid out for your region and altitude.  In my case it was 13 lbs of pressure for 25 minutes.

When you are done ( in my case I did it four times), you will end up with this…


Want to make tomato paste?  Then roast your tomatoes in a 450 degree oven for about 1/2 an hour – 45 minutes.  Then follow the steps above and simmer to a lovely thick paste.

Making Sunbutter – Sunflower butter the easy and cheap way.

We recently found that one in our household had a peanut butter allergy and being lovers of the famous PB&J this hit us hard.  We knew we had to find a substitute that we could all live with.  Enter SunButter, the peanut butter substitute to brighten your day!

Well, at about $5.00 a jar, it hurt, but we needed to do it.  It tastes very similar to peanut butter and made those bleary eyed morning lunch packing chores much easier.  I just couldn’t stomach the price though and last week I started googling recipes.  What I am posting here today is a conglomeration of a couple that I found and seems to be the road to a sunflower butter that closely rivals that of the store bought product.

Ingredients to assemble:

3 cups roasted sunflower seeds. (Use raw sunflower seeds and roast your own. DO NOT buy pre-roasted or salted seeds as they are too dry and too salty)

1 teaspoon sea salt.  (I prefer Maldon)

1 teaspoon sugar

Sunflower (or any oil of choice) to drizzle.

I started with roasting 3 cups of sunflower seeds that were under $2 a pound at our local Whole Foods.  It takes just about 5 minutes on the stove in a heavy pan, I prefer the All-Clad French Skillet for this task as it has nice high sides and the aluminum core provides a very nice and even heat for roasting, but any good heavy pan should do.  A cast iron skillet would be wonderful for the task. Preheat the pan on medium heat, add all your raw sunflower seeds (don’t skip this step and use roasted seeds.  Trust me) and turn them constantly so they do not burn.

When most of your sunflower seeds are golden brown you are ready for the next step.  Now pour all of your seeds into your food processor along with a teaspoon of sea salt and the teaspoon of sugar (you can add more to taste later if you wish) .  It is going to be running for a long time and will probably get hot.  Don’t panic.  If you have a sturdy, quality, food processor, you shouldn’t have any problems.  I use a Cuisinart Elite 12-Cup Food Processor.

Once you have your seeds loaded up you are ready to go!  So turn it on.  In just about 30 seconds you should have a pretty grainy batch of ground up sunflower seeds.  Most recipes tell you stop here and add the oil.  Don’t.  Let it keep going so that the seeds can release the oil within them, naturally.

Here is the grainy stage.

Keep going and you will see it starting to clump.

At this point you want to start using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides.  Do this every so often, but don’t be afraid to walk away and open up your chicken coop for the day.  I did.  Found an egg.

It’s getting shinier.

Then you will soon be here.

Now you can start drizzling in the oil a little at a time until you reach a nice spreadable consistency.

And here it is, looking good.

Scoop it into a pint jar and you are ready to go!!!  Sunbutter for less than half the cost of store bought and in less time than it takes to load up the kids and head to the store!!!

Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15
An easy way to make a tasty alternative to peanut butter for those with nut allergies.
  • 3 cups roasted sunflower seeds. (Use raw sunflower seeds and roast your own. DO NOT buy pre-roasted or salted seeds as they are too dry and too salty)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt. (I prefer Maldon)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Sunflower (or any oil of choice) to drizzle.
  1. Roast your sunflower seeds at medium heat and in a heavy skillet until golden brown.
  2. Cool seeds for 20 minutes
  3. Add seeds to food processor with sugar and salt
  4. Close and puree until fully processed and it begins to stick together in a ball
  5. Drizzle in sunflower oil until it reaches a spreadable consistency
  6. Enjoy!

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