Backyard Grape Jam

Backyard Grape Jam

Our house is surrounded by wild concord grape vines which form a blind and the neighborhood kind of disappears. It reminds my of my childhood on Cape Cod hanging out with friends in the trees with the smell of ripe grapes in the air, filling up on the fresh grapes and spitting seeds.

Our yard is not that sunny so the grapes rarely are pickable but do make cutting the lawn tricky, you try walking on green marble like grapes that have fallen. I have made stuffed grape leaves with some of the young leaves and this year a vine that snaked its way thorough the tree limbs into the front yard grabbed enough sun to ripen. So I grabbed my pruner on an extension pole and snipped what I could reach, must have been a comical scene to watch not know what I was doing.

I proudly ate some that night while watching the news but the skins were a little on the bitter side so using my wife face as a guide I decided to and try and make some jam. I reviewed a few recipes for ideas but they all had so much sugar so I decided to cut that amount down by a good half. I did not use pectin so it was basically grapes, chopped skin and sugar.

It as fairly easy although time consuming and a little PIA getting the seeds out.

First squeeze the grape out of the skins forming two piles finely chop the skins and place in saucepan, cut the grape in halve and remove the seeds. That part was time consuming and the PIA so much so that Lyn came over and helped. When completed into the sauce pan with the sugar. To me the “jam expert” making this one and only time it appeared that there was enough liquid so I did not add any water. then I brought to a boil while mashing with a potato masher then simmered mashing and stirring until it got to what I thought looked like a good consistency about 20-25 minutes. Many seed that were in the mixture floated to the top and were easily picked out. Note: the seeds are easily swallowed and really don’t need to bbe taken out but for a jelly or jam I suggest they are.

Then into canning jars and placed in the canning pot of boiling water for a 10 minute bath which I had dug off a shelf in the basement, dusted off and rinsed. Turned off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes then on top towel on counter to cool. I had read that it should be aloud to set for 48 hours so after they popped and sealed I placed to the side. This morning I mad toast and had my first taste. Not bad, not too sweet and not to thick. I would prefer it a little thicker but and not going to empty the jars and boil down again, I’ve had enough.

Thinking about using some a for basting/glazing grilled chicken maybe a piece of salmon.

Seeing that I am a google/android user it is always listening to me making suggestions etc., basically invading my privacy, and this morning in my news feed was a link to Martha Stewart’s article on concord grapes.

Rosemary Blossoms

Rosemary Blossoms

I could go on a long babble about rosemary blossoms but the thing I like most is my wife’s face when she see them.

Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It is used as a culinary condiment, to make bodily perfumes, and for its potential health benefits.

Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender.

The herb not only tastes good in culinary dishes, such as rosemary chicken and lamb, but it is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6.

It is typically prepared as a whole dried herb or a dried powdered extract, while teas and liquid extracts are made from fresh or dried leaves.

The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.

Fast facts on rosemary

  • Rosemary is a perennial plant (it lives more than 2 years).
  • The leaves are often used in cooking.
  • Possible health benefits include improved concentration, digestion, and brain aging.
  • Very high doses may cause vomiting, coma, and pulmonary edema.
Smoked Spacock Chicken on gas grill

Smoked Spacock Chicken on gas grill

My son gave me some BBQ rubs, and sauce etc. for fathers day, I think I’ve used some combination on almost every meal since.

Any way WholeFoods had Spacock chicken on sale cheaper than a whole chicken and no extra work for me.

I made a soaked wood chip packet out of aluminum foil place on the space between burner 2 and 3

Placed a drip pan with a little water on #1 side and turn 2 and 3 up high.

When the packet started to smoke I put the chicken skin side up over the drip pan legs facing the hot side.

I had rubbed the chicken with the Blue Ribbon BBQ rub and placed uncovered in the refrigerator maybe an hour or so lost track

Took out and let come to room temperature

Dabbed any excise liquid with a paper towel

Cooked covered for about 45-50 minutes , every grill is different you know how your grill better

Basted at about 20 minutes

It was about 155-160 in thickest part of thigh with instant read thermometer

I basted again and filliped the chicken skin side down on the hot side for about 2-3 minutest

I probably could have cut that time down but I like the burnt bits.

Then back to the cool side skin up baste and cook until 165

Let sit on cutting board 15-20 minutes

I went to cut it and the bones just broke off

Rotation time

things that have made it into our make again list.

Herb Rub Flank Steak click to see recipe

Smoked Brisket on a gas grill – 12 hours of love or red meat

basic rub ( salt and pepper

created tin foil smoke pack

placed tin pan with some water under cool side grill

heated half with smoke pack up to about 225-250 degree

waited for the smoke pack to start to smoke.

placed brisket on grill fat side down thikcest side toawarads the heat.

Watched the heat to keep steady, I used a dual purpose remote thermostate one for meat temp one ofr grill temp.

When it reach the stall temp 160-165 I kept on for about 1 more hour then wrapped in butcher paper and replace back on grill until done 200-205.

I then I wrapped paper wrapped brisket with towel and placed in cooler for a few hours.

Cashew Cauliflower Bake

Easy and additions are unlimited.

Portland Pie Company Pizza Beer Dough

Challah French Toast

Mike and Gail like to bring us Challah so Lyn get this for her weekly Sunday breakfast in bed.

Guess who brought two kittens from DC. We lucked out they all stayed at our house.

This year’s garden from scraps

So far the only disappointments were the watermelon radishes bolting during the heat wave and my sweet potatoes just didn’t make it. Other than that I believe it will be a good yield.

This year’s veggies are green beans, acorn squash, peas, beef steak tomatoes, grape tomatoes, red pepper, russet potatoes scallions (on third harvest), lettuce all started from scraps or seed form scraps.

Herbs some years old Chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, German thyme (would make good ground cover) and regular thyme, oregano, mint, tarragon and arugula.

Why do I like plants from scraps well its a small challenge and heck the scallions cost me $1.29 but with the repeat harvest I’m probably down to 20 cents for that bunch. Spring mix works better than roman you can get a few harvest out of it, the arugula I got 4 harvest before it went to seed.

Because we are surrounded by woods we don’t have many prime spots for a garden a lot of shade, but I do the best I can. Any way I enjoy it!

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