2:07:00 PM
Lemon & Orange Extract
This afternoon I thought about doing some extracts since I had seen Well Preserved do a lemon extract that was very similar to the Vanilla extract I did with the canning group at our last meeting. Last night I did the lemon extract and also orange. 

Lemon or Orange Extract

1 cup Vodka
peel from one large lemon or one medium orange

Using a vegetable peeler remove the rind from the lemon or orange and julienne the rind into thin strips. Add the strips to a 1/2 pint jar and then add the vodka. Clean the rim and add the lids and rings. Store the jars in a dark cool place and shake the jar once a day for a month. 

Before you use the extract make sure you shake the jar first but you should have a vibrant extract within six months. The extract will last indefinitely. 

Cinnamon & Vanilla Pears in Light syrup
On the stove last night I found that I had a bunch of Pears that I needed to get into jars before they went bad. They were still crisp and had made it easy for me to peel. This recipe keeps staring at me when I open my Ball books so I add the cinnamon and vanilla to give them some additional flavor.

Vanilla or Cinnamon Pears in Light Syrup

5 lbs Bartlett Pears, peeled and sliced
2 T. lemon juice
2 cups water
2 Vanilla Beans (cut and split into 4 pieces)
2 Cinnamon sticks (break into 4 pieces)
2 cups sugar
4 cups water

In a large bowl put in 2 cups of water and the lemon juice. As you are slicing your pears put them into the water to prevent the pears from turning brown. You can also buy the citrus acid from Ball but I prefer to save the money on other things. 
Prepare and sterilize 8 pint size jars. This recipe works better with wide mouth jars, but I used what I had in my pantry. In a dutch oven or stainless steel pot combine the sugar and 4 cups of water. Cook on high and continue to stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn down to low and pack your hot jars with the pears. The easiest way is the tilt the jar using an oven mit and pack them in sideways. Try to maximize the space in the jar. To each jar add either a vanilla bean or cinnamon stick. 

Using a jar funnel and ladle fill the jars with the light syrup. Make sure to use your rubber spatula then to remove any air from the jar and ladle additional syrup to fill to 1/2" headspace. Clean the rims with a wet paper towel or cloth and put on sterilize lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes at a full boil.

Honey Mustard & Beer Mustard
On Thursday night I had a great time at Vieja Valley Elementary School. It was their science night and as a part of the mystery of science the Kindergarten teacher, Lynn, asked me to come and talk to the kids about making mustard. I think many of the kids think that everything they eat, other than fruits and vegetables, are found only in the grocery stores in their “familiar” containers.

I brought a mustard plant and explained how it will flower and the flowers will produce the seeds. I also brought both mustards seeds, yellow and brown, to explain what they looked like when harvested. And lastly, I brought two jars of my homemade mustard, honey mustard and beer mustard. I knew the honey mustard would be good for the kids since it is milder because it’s made with just the yellow seeds. The beer mustard is made with both the yellow and brown and the brown is the spicier or more pungent of the two. It gives the mustard the more Dijon flavor we are used to. The parents and kids both enjoyed the treat of trying it on a pretzel. Because we also had a donation from one of the local nurseries, many of the kids took home a mustard plant to plant in their garden.

My husband and I took a few days and went up to Monterey, CA and took in the sites. On the way home we stopped at Walmart, since we don’t have one where I live, and picked up some canning supplies at a great price. I found the Better Homes and Gardens jars that my sister was telling me about and they are cute 1/2 pint jars. I am doing my Cabernet Wine Jelly today so I will post a picture later!

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