From jams and jellies to canned fruit, preserving in sugar (sucrose) is a common method of saving food. Robin has canned peaches and cherries before, but during the past week we’ve expanded into candied vegetables and jam.
Robin was reading a post about sweet and spicy peppers over at Henbogle last week and she got really excited. I must say I was rather skeptical of the idea, but she’d hear nothing of it and brought back several pounds of jalapeños next time she visited her mom. (We grew hot peppers this year too, but not jalapeños.)
There was some chopping and dissolving and boiling and canning, and the final result was this:
You can find the complete recipe here, so I’ll not repeat it. The recipe calls them “Cowboy Candy”, although “candied jalapeños” is more descriptive. Starting from 3 pounds of peppers, we ended up with 6 half-pint jars of candied peppers and 4 half-pints of left-over spicy glaze.
But how do they taste?
They. Are. Awesome!
Honestly. It’s amazing. These things pretty much redefine the term sweet and spicy: great flavor, sweet on the tongue, and then a burst of flame to light up your mouth. We’ve mostly eaten them with cream cheese on crackers, but they are great on taco salad, and lots of other things too.
Just looking at that picture makes me hungry again. The recipe suggests waiting two weeks before you open a jar, but after giving away 3 jars we are going to have to start another batch right now if we want any to last that long!
Ground Cherry Jam
I’ve mentioned our one ground cherry plant before:
Ground cherries are an odd plant. As member of the Physalis genus, they are related to tomatillos and Cape Gooseberries and can claim tomatoes as a slightly more distant relative. The fruit falls from the plant when ripe, wrapped in a papery husk. The unripe fruit and plant stems and leaves are deadly poisonous (Nightshade family). Common varietal names are “Pineapple” and “Aunt Molly”. Our plant is a Pineapple, but I’m going to grow several of both next year.
On my previous post about ground cherries, Leigh asked if we’d tried making jam. Well, no, but after reading about it here I was keen to give it a try. I settled on this recipe, which seems to be the most common one online.
I collected ground cherries for a few days into the fridge and had enough for a 1/4th recipe. The starting ingredients were 2 cups of ground cherries, and the juice and grated peel of 1/2 lemon. (Some suggestions online have been to use less lemon to allow the mild ground cherry flavor to dominate.)
Some of the cherries will burst from the heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and store in the fridge. The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. The remaining cherries will burst and the mixture thicken.
After turning it back right side up, the jar popped with a seal in about 10 minutes. Meanwhile Robin and I cleaned out the cook pot. The flavor was mild, a blend of citrus and ground cherry tones. We’ve decided that turning ground cherries into jam is much better than eating them fresh.
Total yield: 1 half-pint jar. Unfortunately, while researching for this post I ran across another preservation idea: dehydrated ground cherries (described as gold-colored raisins which taste like figs). And the experiments continue …