Cherry, Champagne Grape, and Jalapeno Jam.

Cherry, Champagne Grape, and Jalapeno Jam.

It’s official.
I’m obsessed with canning.
I haven’t even tried the two jams I’ve made, and I keep thinking of new things I should can.
Next on the list?
Lemon curd.
Marmalade. MARMALADE?! Kumquat to grapefruit.. I want it all.
Pickled green beans.
With a cute little label? Ugh. It’s too much.
I daydream about making a potato leek soup with my very own leeks, and fingerling potatoes.
I kind of draw the line at canning meats.
Something about it rubs me the wrong way.

My friend J-Rock went out of town a couple of days ago, and had me take her strange little jalapenos off her hands.
We wondered if they were just a certain breed of pepper, or if something went wrong in her soil.
They turned red, and stayed tiny.
(there are a couple of poblanos, and some banana peppers in there as well.. both of which i didn’t use in this recipe.)

I bought what are called “champagne grapes.”
I thought they were currants, and the people at my grocery store were just trying to get people to buy them.
No. Champagne grapes are a thing.
They are not only adorable..
But they are soft, and magical, and full-a-juice.
Three things I could say to describe myself, incidentally.
They seem so sturdy, and dense.. Yet fragile.
Kind of like that guy who splooshes into water from the X-Men.. You know what I’m talking about.
You can take the wee pea-sized grapes, and smash them with your fingertips.
Seriously, you feel like a god.

I know, I know. I’m getting a little carried away.

My friend taught me how to zest lemons without a zester.
(something i always forget to buy! but totally want/need/love!)
Serrated knife. Kinda brilliant.

I, again, have developed my own recipe from bunches of them.
I don’t know if I should be doing that yet, seeing as how these are my first canning attempts..
But when it comes to cooking, I go balls out, okay?

I chopped about 6 of J’s tiny jalapenos, and threw those in a pot with the juice of two lemons, their zest, about 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar, my champagne grapes, and about 2 1/2 cups of cherries. I used Ranier and Bing, because that’s what I had in the fridge.
Some recipes I read said not to remove the pits of the cherries, but.. I pitted them.
I only removed the large stems from the wee grapes, though.

I boiled them down on low heat for a good 45 minutes..
Squishing, and mashing them into pulverized fruity mush.
We poured the fruit soup through a mesh strainer, and made sure that not a drop was spared.

I threw my remaining 2 cups of cherries into my pot with some extra jalapenos.
When I tried J’s, I noticed there wasn’t much heat to them..
So I traipsed down to my garden to pluck one of my giants.
(i’m not trying to make the little guys feel bad.. that’s actually the type of jalapeno.)
I poured the juice over the top.

I let them boil down dramatically, until the cherries were quite soft, and the color had darkened considerably.
I then added my sugar, and let that boil for a bit, too.
After around 5 minutes, I added my pectin.
Only about half a pouch of the liquid kind..
I had a small batch.

As we were cooking away…
Something I told a friend recently took very little time.. (it was 4 hours)
My new jars arrived on my front steps.
I didn’t have to use the Ball jars I got at the grocery store!

We ran into a small snafu when we realized the funnel for the cans was too large for my new jars.
Good thing I purchased a tiny little ladle(squee!) from the restaurant store a few weeks ago.
It was a little messy, but worked just fine.

I started toying with packaging.
How I do love giving gifts! It’s one of my greatest joys.
I love the thought of plain brown paper, and raffia, too.
This didn’t turn out the way I reaaaaallly wanted, but it’s a start.
I kind of threw it together haphazardly due to time constraints (I WANT IT NOW), and with limited materials.
The metallic markers I bought are felt-tipped.. Too wide of a stroke for me. (there’s a first for everything.)
What I really wanted to find were those metallic pens with the black lining..
Michaels was a clusterfuck of gleepy looking crafters(me included), and very few employees.
But I did get a cute little “C” stamp to mark all of my creations..
Just wish I had better handwriting.
Ehh. I’ll work on that.
For now, cute hexagonal jars will have to remain cute in raffia and brown paper with metallic fat pens.

With all these jellies and jams, the question remains.. What do you do with such a thing?
I’ve wanted to bake scones that actually matter to my mouth for a good long time now.
And seeing as how it’s cooling off, and autumn is rolling in, I am going to start doing just that.
Homemade butter, too? COME ON. Little orange zest, and some honey in that bitch, and you’ve got a kickass tea party.