There's a few things I've learned since we started gardening
1. North Texas gardening is a battlefield. You get unpredictable hail, crazy temperature fluctuations and big black rabbits named Layla stomping all over your veggie patch.
2. Gardening takes a lot of work, patience and discipline. Thank god for Collin or else our garden would only be growing rocks.
3. Anything that grows in your own garden (no matter how boo-boo) is 100 times tastier than anything you'll ever buy at the store. Because your own blood, sweat and tears will always taste better than someone else's blood, sweat and tears.
4. When it rains it pours. Bountiful harvest always means an overabundance of produce that either spoils before you get the chance to eat it all or you just get sick of eating the same thing for weeks. Best solution? Preserve.
This was our first hand in canning and went surprisingly well! It is a little time consuming but seeing that one batch will probably last you a year, there's little room for complaint.
HABANERO PEPPER JAM:
(yields 8 half-pint jars)
- 8 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 6 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup canned pineapple, drained and small diced
- 15 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
- 5 pasillo peppers, seeded and minced
- 2 (3 ounce) pouches liquid pectin
Stir the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the carrot and pineapple. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Add the pasillo and habanero peppers and simmer 5 minutes longer. Pour in the pectin, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Skim and discard any foam from the jelly.
Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 5 minutes.
Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).
Store jams in a dark, cool and dry place and can last for up to 2-4 years.