Tag Archives: jam

Muscadine Jam + O&P’s One Year Anniversary!

Good morning!  And Happy Anniversary to Oysters & Pearls!!

I seriously cannot believe it’s been one year since I started this little ole blog.  It’s been such a fun experience, and I’m so happy I did it.  I love the conversation starter it has become around town, and I love the new people and bloggers I’ve met because of it, whether virtually or in person.  I can’t wait to see what this next year holds!

To celebrate, I was going to make an elaborate cake, or pie, or something that seemed befitting of such a special occasion.  However, that idea completely went out the window when I decided to make jam instead.  Which I suppose is fitting after all.  Simple and as Southern as it gets: Muscadine Jam.

Simple Muscadine Jam | Oysters & Pearls

No, this is absolutely not seasonal.  Muscadine grapes ripen near the end of August, and that’s when I picked these at my parents’ house.  Remember me mentioning that?  Let’s take a trip down memory lane, to a sunnier, warmer, and much tanner time.

Scuppernongs On The Vine | Oysters & Pearls

Muscadines on the Vine | Oysters & Pearls

Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Picking Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Gold Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Gold Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Both the purple and gold grapes are technically “muscadines.”  I grew up calling them all “scuppernongs.”  I’ve since learned that they are both muscadines, but the gold variety are scuppernongs.  Sort of like, a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square.  Ya mean?

Anyway, the absolute best way to eat these grapes is directly off the vine.  Pop the hull and spit out the seeds.

Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Purple and Gold Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Don’t you just feel warmer now?  I think I’m just about over this winter weather and ready for summer again.  Writing this post and editing these pictures from August really sealed the deal, and a reminder of summer through the pictures and the smell of these grapes cooking is exactly what I needed this week.  Is anybody else over winter?

Anyway, last August my Mom and I picked almost 8 gallons of grapes behind my parents’ house.

Purple and Gold Southern Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

We washed them, separated them by color, and bagged them up.  I had big plans for jelly.  Or something.

Southern Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

But then life got busy and in the way, and in a panic, I stuffed all the bags in our deep freezer.  Whole.  Turns out, that’s okay!  And last weekend, I got around to doing something with some of them.

Scuppernong Grapes (Muscadines) and Sugar | Oysters & Pearls

Using a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Elena over at Biscuits & Such, I decided I would make a simple muscadine jam with a couple bags of grapes.  It didn’t work out perfectly, and my first two batches of the jam never really set.  However, I’ve since repeated the process a couple more times, figured out how to fix it, but also decided that this happy accident is perfectly all right with me.  Scuppernong Sauce is also the jam.

Scuppernong Grapes for Jam | Oysters & Pearls

Muscadine Jam Recipe
adapted from Biscuits & Such
makes 4 jelly-jars (half pint)

ingredients

– 2 pounds (1 gallon freezer bag full) muscadine grapes (any variety)
– 2 cups raw cane sugar
– juice of two meyer lemons (1 cup)
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 packet Sure Jell Pectin

instructions

In a large sauce pan, combine grapes, sugar, lemon juice, and salt.  Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until thick.  Stir in pectin and simmer an additional 10 minutes.  Note: this will take longer if you are using frozen grapes.  I put them in the pot frozen, and started the timer once they began to simmer.  Stir often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot, and smash the grapes against the side of the pot.
In a waterbath or your dishwasher, sanitize jars and lids.
Push the jam mixture through a mesh strainer to create a smooth jam, or leave the grapes intact for a chunky preserve.  I did the former.
Use a spoon or ladle to fill the jars, leaving a 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a cloth and screw the bands down over the lids tightly.  Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water, then remove to a dishcloth on your counter.  Let sit for 24 hours or overnight.  If any jars do not seal within 2 hours, immediately put them in the refrigerator.

Disclaimer: as with any canning or preserving, there’s always a slight risk of botulism.  If something doesn’t seal, stick it in the fridge.  If you have any concerns whatsoever, toss it.

Meyer Lemons and Sugar for Scuppernong Jam | Oysters & Pearls

I mentioned my happy Scuppernong Sauce accident because it’s awesome.  The problem lies in the straining process.  If you don’t push enough of the jam through a mesh strainer, your “jam” won’t set.  And pushing it through a mesh strainer is no joke.  You will have to do a lot of pushing.  I used the back of a wooden spoon as well as the bottom of a soup ladle.  Try to get as much pulp through as possible if you want a true jam that sets (jells).  However, if you want a delicious summery scuppernong/muscadine syrup/sauce that is delicious on ice cream, in yogurt, or on biscuits, by all means, don’t kill yourself with all that straining.  Because this stuff is the jam, whether or not it actually sets.

Muscadine or Scuppernong Jam | Oysters & Pearls

I am absolutely giddy with the idea of swirling some of this syrupy sauce into a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream this summer.  I can’t think of a more Southern summer dessert.

And have I mentioned it’s divine on a biscuit?

Simple Southern Breakfast- Biscuit with Scuppernong Jam | Oysters & Pearls

That goes for any time of year.  Including the frosty doldrums of this South Georgia winter.

Biscuit with Muscadine Jam | Oysters & Pearls

And although I would love to gift each and every one of my wonderful readers a jar of this Heavenly jam/syrup/sauce, I have another gift for you.  I like to make little labels on jars of jam I gift to those I love, and since I can’t give you the jar, I’ll give you the label.  Just print, write the type of jam you’re giving, and sign it.  It should fit perfectly on the lid of a jelly jar.

You're The Jam Printable | Oysters & Pearls

Because you, my dear readers, are indeed, the jam.  Thanks for making this one of my best years yet.

xoxo

Until Next Time

2014 French Brittany Field Trials & Scenes from My Weekend

Happy Monday!

As you may have deduced from my Instagram account (if you’re not following me, you should be!), Wheat and I spent our Saturday morning watching field trials.  The bloodline that my family’s French Brittany Spaniels are from has a field trial each year, and it’s so much fun to see all the different dogs and watch them hunt.  I thought I’d share (quite) a few pictures with y’all this morning!

I managed to get a couple pictures of a couple different quail.  Catching them is difficult, so I was pretty surprised this one turned out fairly decently.Eastern Bobwhite Quail | Oysters & Pearls

The field trials started with the puppy division, which consisted of a single puppy this year: Ivy.  Now Wheat and I both have a serious case of puppy French Britt puppy fever!  But can you blame us?

Ivy, French Brittany Puppy | Oysters & Pearls

Ivy was absolutely precious and was pointing already!

Next up were the old timers.  Our dog, Louie, who turns 14 this summer, was the oldest of the entire group.

Louie, a nearly 14-year old French Brittany Spaniel | Oysters & Pearls

French Brittanys on Point | Oysters & Pearls

He did okay, but he is moving awfully slow these days.  He had to catch a ride back to the Gator.

Daddy and Louie | Oysters & Pearls

Then we watched all the other Britts hunt.

French Brittany, On The Run | Oysters & Pearls

Champ Backing Lizzie | Oysters & Pearls

Quail Wagon | Oysters & Pearls

French Brittanys, Ready to Hunt | Oysters & Pearls

This pretty pup is actually our Bubba’s brother, Pick!  The resemblance is crazy to me.Pick, A French Brittany | Oysters & Pearls

Natalie and Wheat, 2014 Field Trials | Oysters & Pearls

Natalie and Doc, 2014 Field Trials | Oysters & Pearls

After the field trials were over, lunch was waiting on us.

2014 French Brittany Field Trial Lunch | Oysters & Pearls

It was awesome.  Wings, smoked onions, sausage, broccoli, baked beans, cole slaw, yeast rolls… I definitely overfilled my plate.

After lunch, most everyone went back out and hunted the rest of the afternoon, but Wheat and I had a birthday party to attend!  Wheat’s grandmother turned 87 on Friday, so we met all Wheat’s dad’s family in Tallahassee for a birthday celebration at Z. Bardhi’s Italian Cuisine.  It was amazing!

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Mary Cate and I split a Caprese salad at first, then she liked it so much she ordered her own!

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In her defense, it was really good. :)  Then I had a seafood lasagna with goat cheese instead of ricotta.  It was divine!

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It was also REALLY dark in there!

Sunday I came into possession of a great deal of canning supplies and an old wooden shoe organizing shelf.  I put the two together, and I now have a very clean and organized canning cabinet!

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It was a complete disaster zone before, so I was really excited to whip it into shape.  Now I wish it didn’t have doors because I could stare at this all day long!

That’s basically what I was up to all weekend.  What were y’all doing?

Until Next Time

Tuesday Kitchen Lessons: Canning Basics

I’ve posted quite a few canning recipes on here thus far (check the Recipe Box page for links), but I recently got asked to do a super basic canning tutorial for beginners. I thought that was a great idea, so here goes!

I think the most important canning tools that you’ll need to purchase are a jar funnel and a jar grabber. Besides your pots and your jars, these are the bare essentials.

Canning Basics | Oysters & Pearls

You can do without them, but they are crazy cheap and will make your life so much easier, so I don’t recommend canning without them. You can literally buy both of these items at most Dollar Generals, and definitely at WalMart. Or just search for either of them on Amazon. Just make sure you get them before you start.

Besides these two items, you’ll need a Hugh Jass “canning pot,” which is the pot in which you will boil water to sterilize jars, as well as the pot in which you will process the filled jars when you’re done. You’ll need at least a 20 quart pot for this, and a wire wrack inside it is not a necessity, although it may be helpful. I have never used one! But a lot of canning kits come with one. I purchased my canning pot on sale at TJMaxx way back when, and I have ended up using it for so many other things, too. It’s awesome!

You’ll also usually need another pot, which can vary depending on what you’re doing. If you are making jam or jelly or pumpkin butter, you will want a wide and heavy bottomed pot. The more of the surface of the pot touching your stove, the better. For other things, like canning whole tomatoes, you can use any old pot. I usually use a smaller pot to boil water for skinning tomatoes, just so it doesn’t take as long to get it boiling. Use what you’ve got!

To can anything and everything, you will want to sterilize your jars first. If you’re doing a lot at once, it’s easiest (and my preferred method) to sterilize jars, lids, and bands in your dishwasher. You may even have a “sterilize” setting. I’ve been doing a lot of small batch canning this summer though, so it’s easier to just sterilize my jars in boiling water. Bring your Hugh Jass canning pot full of water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, use your jar grabber to carefully and slowly place the jars into the boiling water.

Using a Jar Lifter in Canning | Oysters & Pearls

Cover the pot back up with the lid and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize them, making sure the jars are covered by at least an inch of water. To remove, carefully and slowly lift the jars out of the boiling water with the jar grabber and turn them upside down. Be really careful! Boiling water on your toes or arms is no fun, and this part can be kind of awkward.

Removing Jars from Sterilizing Pot | Oysters & Pearls

(Thanks to Wheat for those pictures!)

Place the hot jars on a dish towel spread out on the counter and forget about them for now. To sterilize jar lids and bands, I put them in my Le Creuset, just because I always have it out on the stove. You can use a bowl, another pot, whatever. Bring some water to a boil in a tea kettle (what I do) or in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, and pour the boiling water over the lids and bands. I cover them back up to keep them warm, and set aside.

Sterilizing Jar Lids & Bands | Oysters & Pearls

The following pictures are a mashup from canning tomatoes and pumpkin butter, the two things I have put up most recently. Note: pumpkin butter cannot be processed and/or shelf stable. You would skip the processing step and freeze them, as I noted in my pumpkin butter post. Just a friendly reminder! :)

To fill the jars, I spread out a dish towel next to the pot that contains whatever it is I’m canning. Line your still-warm (or hot) jars up on the dish towel. Place your jar funnel into one of the jars, and use a soup ladle to fill it, leaving about a half inch of “headspace.” Headspace is just the term for the space between the jelly/jam/etc. and the top edge of the jar. You always want to make sure you leave about a half inch.

Using a Canning Funnel  |  Oysters & Pearls

You can pull the jar funnel out and check the amount of head space, then put it back in and add more if you need to. In the picture below, I added too much pumpkin butter and had to scoop some back out.

Using a Canning Funnel |  Oysters & Pearls

After you’ve filled your jars, wipe the rims off with a damp paper towel and make sure there is no dust/debris/food on the rims. That can keep a jar from sealing. Using a dish towel to hold your jars tightly (because they will still be HOT), tighten down your bands over your lids. Just in case I skipped over this, jar lids are the flat part, and the band is the round part the screws down over it. A lot of people reuse jar lids over and over, but my grandmother taught me to only use them once. That being said, sometimes I will reuse them once more if I didn’t write on them and the rubber on the seal still looks good. Just make doubly sure to sanitize them well.

Tightening Lids for Processing | Oysters & Pearls

Once you’ve tightened all the lids down, use your jar grabber to lift the jars and carefully place them into your (still boiling) Hugh Jass canning pot. Again, make sure the jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Cover, and boil for the recommended amount of time. This part of the canning is calling “processing.” That time will vary depending on what it is you’re canning. Jams are usually 10 minutes, jellies often require more processing time. Pickles are usually 10 minutes, too. Just be sure to read your recipe, as this part is crucial to kill any bacteria that may have made it inside the jars.

If you’ve read about canning, you’ve probably read about botulism. Botulism is a bacterial intoxication caused from ingesting the bacteria. It is a paralytic, and sometimes fatal, illness which is incurable. Scary stuff! That being said, just be really careful about following recipes, and you’ll be fine. When in doubt, check the University of Georgia’s National Center for Home Food Preservation guidelines. It’s always a good idea to double check their guideliness for processing times anyway.

Anywho, so once you’ve processed the jars for the amount of time called for on the recipe, use your jar grabber to lift them out of the boiling water and place them on a dish towel spread out across the counter. Then, leave them alone! As the jars cool, they will seal and make a popping or pinging sound to let you know they have. After an hour or so, run your fingers across the jar lids, and any that haven’t popped or sealed will probably do so then. If for some reason any jars don’t seal, refrigerate them immediately. You may have had some debris on the rim of the jar or something that kept it from sealing.

I also want to warn you that during processing, any jars that have flaws may shatter. It hasn’t happened to me in a while (knock on wood) but I just wanted to warn you that it could happen, and that it probably isn’t your fault. Just be careful cleaning up the glass in the pot.

So, here’s a complete list of everything you’ll need to get started canning:

– Hugh Jass (at least 20 quart) pot
– other variously sized pots
– soup ladle
– jar funnel
– jar grabber
– canning jars, lids, & bands
– dish towels

That’s basically all the basics! Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions you’d like to ask and I’ll be happy to answer them. Otherwise, go forth and can!

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