Friday, August 30, 2013

Making Muscadine Jelly

Our muscadine vines are producing a great crop of grapes this summer.  We all have enjoyed eating the grapes while standing in the yard but now there are so many coming in that I need to do something with them.  

On Sunday our neighbors brought over their juicer and we juiced 2 gallons. I was disappointed that the juice was fairly bitter.  I did some research online and found that juicing the grapes on the stove is preferred when making jelly so I picked another gallon.  

The first step is washing the grapes, followed by mashing them with a potato masher. 

Once the grapes' skins have popped, I heated them on the stove.  

After boiling the juice and pulp for 10 minutes, I strained the juice through a colander lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. 

Look at this amazing juice! If hadn't already committed this batch to jelly, I would have served it at breakfast. Muscadine juice has a much milder flavor than the more common Concord grape juice.  I stopped at this point and refrigerated the juice over night. 

Then tonight I strained the juice through wet cheesecloth again to remove any remaining particles (the goal for jelly juice is a very clear product).  

Now armed with 5 1/2 cups of juice, I followed the low-sugar SureJell recipe for grape jelly. 

Almost ready to can (pre foam-skimming). 

A little while later and I had 7 half-pints of muscadine jelly. Perfect for biscuits and PBJ sandwiches.  

I think this concludes my canning fair entry preparations for this year. In other news, Levi started Kindergarten last week (and it's partial immersion Spanish--so cool that kids have this option now). Mason begins 3 year-old preschool next week. And Tyler turned one a month ago. It's a fun time for our family!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Grilled okra at OHF

Tonight I am grilling okra as one of sides with steak sandwiches.  I saw this method in Food Network Magazine a couple of years ago.  
It's easy enough: toss your okra with oil, salt and paprika. Thread onto double skewers. Grill over medium heat until slightly charred (or however you prefer).  

Our summer garden is winding down   Ashley has planted the beginnings of our fall crops, which include kale, beets, carrots, and spinach. 

One of our new tries for the summer included peanuts. Being that we are from   South Carolina, we enjoy boiled peanuts and will crank up the crockpot to take care of these.

Happy tail-end of summer!