Tag Archives: ginger

Ginger Apple Plum Jam

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Can we talk about canning? The whole process has fascinated me for quite some time, but until recently I stayed far away from it. I was terrified I’d create jars swarming with bacterial toxins that cause botulism, inevitably killing folks. It scared me enough to keep from canning all together. Then I started researching MANY small batch jam and pickle recipes and realized that the bacteria that causes botulism cannot thrive in the environment that the majority of jam and pickle recipes create. The fruit and vinegar in these respective types of home canning situations are too acidic.

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The desire for homemade jams and pickles absolutely outweighed my now seemingly irrational fear. So I started experimenting. Making jam is not difficult, so long as you follow some basic rule for safe canning. The heat used in proper canning seals the jars in a way that keeps air and little organisms from creeping in. The heating process also kills undesirable “ingredients” like bacteria, mold, and yeast, as well as the naturally occurring enzymes that cause food spoilage. Miracle food. :)

When I was gifted some plums from my mother-in-law’s neighbor, I already knew I was going to make a jam with them. In part because I don’t care for whole plums, but simultaneously enjoy their sweet tartness. A jam seemed like a good way to enhance the flavor of already delicious fruit. Since plums do have some sourness, I decided to incorporate apples for sweetness, and fresh ginger to deepen the overall flavor. The consistency of this jam was intentionally a bit chunky – I like the bits of sweet apple that keep their shape in the slightly tart surrounding jam.

I told my husband I knew it was good because after I’d jarred up all the jam, I didn’t share the leftovers clinging to the pot or my stirring spoon… I absolutely demolished every last remnant myself and couldn’t wait to eat more. I may also have unsealed one of the jars within 15 minutes of it coming out of the water bath, so I could have just one more spoonful (or five).

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Ginger Apple Plum Jam

Yields about eight 8-oz. jars.

Ingredients:

2 pounds santa rosa plums, firm ones do well
2 pounds fuji apples
2 cups unrefined cane sugar
zest and juice of one lime
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ cup candied ginger, minced
Pomona’s Universal Pectin: follow instructions to make the calcium water, then use 4 tsp. calcium water, 2 tsp. pectin

Directions:

Pit the plums, then dice them into tiny bite-sized pieces (think 1/4-inch cubes, at the biggest). Core the apples, then dice them in the same way as the plums. Place them in a large stock pot, along with the lime juice,  and zest, then let the fruit sit for 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, place a metal rack or extra screw bands from the canning jars, into the bottom of a heavy, large stockpot, which is at least 3-inches deeper than the height of the jars. Fill the pot with water, then arrange the jars you plan to fill in the pot (without the lids and bands), cover the pot and bring the water to just under boiling. Reduce the heat to low. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with cold water and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer (NOT boiling!) while you make the jam.

Stir the pectin and sugar together, then set aside. Place your stock pot filled with fruit on the stove. Very finely mince the ginger and add it to the fruits. Add the calcium water, nutmeg, and candied ginger. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring. Once the mixture reaches boiling, quickly stir in the sugar/pectin mixture, continuing to stir until the pectin is completely incorporated. Mash to thicken the jam, using a potato masher. Bring the heat to about 220-degrees. Remove from heat.

Drain the the hot water out of the jars that have been simmering. Place the jars on a flat surface. Ladle the hot jam into each jar, leaving about 1/4-inch of space on top. Wipe the rims and sides. Lift a lid from the pot of simmering water, shake it dry, then seal the top of each jar with the lid and a screw band. Fill all of the jars like this.

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Place the jars on the rack in your large stock pot, still filled with water. Cover and water-process the jars for 10 minutes (begin timing once they’re gone in the water. After 10 minutes, remove the jars from the hot water without tilting them. Let them cool completely at room temperature.

After 15-24 hours, check the seal on each jar by undoing the screw band and checking the lid. You should be able to safely lift the jar by the lid without it shifting or coming off. If the jar has properly sealed, it’s shelf-stable for up to a year. If it didn’t seal, place the jar in the fridge and eat sooner than later.

Pineapple Sunrise Juice

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Let’s discuss something. Pineapple. And how adding pineapple to anything does not make it “Hawaiian.” For instance – Hawaiian pizza, topped with pineapple and Canadian bacon. C’mon now.

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Being born and raised on Kauai, I have to tell you – I didn’t eat pineapple in or on everything, nor with most meals. We saw it as a treat when my Uncle Ronnie would be gifted a case of Maui Gold pineapples at work on Oahu, then fly the whole thing over to share when he’d stay with us on the weekends. I had never bought a pineapple until moving to Oregon… but when I do, I think of warm sunshine, hot sand beneath my feet and in-between my toes, and salt water drying on my skin after too many hours in the ocean.

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We recently took a trip to Southern California. I knew my body had been missing the ocean. I knew that my mind needed crashing waves, grains of clean white sand and sunshine. The combination of all these things is always refueling, no matter where I’m at in my life. There is peace, and contentment, and a stillness I rarely find elsewhere.

I am not calling this juice Hawaiian anything. It’s not warm like sunshine, but the color is so vibrant that I enjoyed it as much as the flavor. Granted, this juice isn’t an ocean. It isn’t sticky summer days and sun-kissed skin. It is tart, sweet, tangy. It is re-energizing and contentment.

 

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Pineapple Sunrise

Makes enough juice for 2-4 people.

A juicer is needed for this recipe. A blender won’t suffice.

Ingredients:

1 medium ripe pineapple
1 large ruby red grapefruit
4 mandarin oranges
1 large fuji apple
1- one inch piece of ginger

Directions:

Cut the pineapple. Peel the grapefruit. Peel the mandarin oranges. Core the apple. Peel the ginger.

Juice all of the ingredients in your juicer. Serve over ice or as is.

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When Winter Moves From Inside-Out

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Since I was about twelve, I’ve known what it’s like to ride out lows that feel like they’re going to bury me alive. That’s a decade and a half filled with periods of wanting to close myself off to the world, week-long – month-long, periods of time where unburying my head from under my pillows feels like the most grandiose chore. Major and minor times of depression, where it feels like the rest of the world couldn’t possibly have any idea why I’m not at all hungry, why it feels like work to move from one room to the next, where my mind recesses itself when all I’m trying to do is sleep, why I don’t want to talk about it.

When you’re in it, it’s big and overwhelming. I’ve been medicated for it, but not since I was a teenager, because once I turned eighteen, I had some say in deciding that it felt better to actually feel things (even if it got to be a lot sometimes), rather than numbing my feelings away to move through my days. The truth is, I still have periods like this in my life. Times where I don’t want to socialize, I don’t want to talk about how things feel. Times where it takes a lot of effort to motivate myself to get up and be productive. Even if “productive” means spending some time in fresh air, or doing a few loads of laundry, or writing things I’ll never attempt to place on this blog or submit to some poetry journal out there in the world.

This time of year, where sunshine is limited and the cold clings under my skin, I find that the chances of low-feeling days are increased drastically. While I like to allow myself to feel those things, at some point I have to decide how much it’ll overtake my life. So I try going to the gym even though I don’t want to. I make the effort to laugh or find humor anywhere I get the chance. I cook things that are filling and have some nutrient value to them, even if my body says it isn’t hungry. I’ve found that things like the following oatmeal are easily filling and help keep the motivation going. But even if you’re not depressed, or sad, or tired and unmotivated, these oats are lovely. And really, most of the work happens overnight while you’re sleeping, so as far as motivating yourself goes – it just takes the tiniest push.

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Blueberry-Nut Overnight Slow Cooked Steel Oats

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1¼ cups steel cut oats
1½ cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
2-4 tbsp. unrefined cane sugar
½ cup shredded coconut flakes
¼ cup sliced almonds (roasted or raw)
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or ½ tsp. vanilla extract)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. ground ginger
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 cups milk (keep this vegan by using nut or rice milk)
2 cups water
2-3 tbsp. unsweetened dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

If you’re using frozen berries, rinse them under cold water until the water runs clearly rather than purple. Allow the blueberries to drip-dry for a minute or two.

In your crock pot, stir together the oats, berries, sugar, coconut flakes, almonds, walnuts, vanilla bean, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cranberries if you’re using them, until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Stir in the applesauce, milk, and water until just combined. Set the crock pot to low heat, then cover and cook overnight (or 6-8 hours).

When ready to serve, fluff the oatmeal gently with a fork or spoon. Add enough milk to your individual serving in order to get the consistency you prefer.

Chai Spiced Homemade Applesauce

We have a Japanese maple tree that borders along our front yard and the neighbor’s house. It’s the tell-tale give away I depend on each year to determine fall’s arrival. The leaves transition from vibrant greens of every shade to golden yellows, to flamboyant oranges, to flaming reds that scream to be noticed. As soon as the colors begin to shift, I know the cold will soon arrive, the days will grow shorter, and I will crave just the tiniest glimpses of sunshine (please) between the grays and chills that I equally appreciate.

When I greet fall, I crave a home filled with a warmth that’s greeting, scents that welcome you as soon as you enter in. Homemade applesauce so easily offers that. The smell alone is intoxicating, heavy with sweetness and cinnamon, earthy flavors that fill your senses. Last month, some friends from the North Bay area brought us a huge box of Gravenstein apples. I made apple pancakes, apple doughnuts, apple cakes, apple slices dipped in almond butter, apple oatmeal… I read recipe after recipe, concocting new ideas in my head that wandered far from applesauce. I was avoiding it intentionally, until I realized that we had nearly 10 pounds of apples that would soon leave me with two options: applesauce or the compost pile.

Another of my favorite scents that lingers when brewing is homemade chai tea. I thought about the flavors that I love so much about chai: sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, anise, cloves. I realized that at least half of these were flavors I’ve used with apples in various recipes and decided to attempt combining the two. The result was a sweet, spiced applesauce that was both filling and warming: exactly what I was aiming for. I added some pears, as I had them on hand and thought they’d offer some sweetness to the final applesauce. Feel free to replace them with an additional pound of apples if that’s what you have available. This makes a large amount of applesauce, but I think it would can well, or freeze just fine to use throughout the winter when you need something sweet, inviting, and delicious.

Chai Spiced Applesauce

Ingredients:

5 pounds apples (I used Gravenstein apples, use what you want), cored, peeled, cut in chunks
1 pound Bosc pears, peeled, seeded, and cut in chunks
1 tbsp. ground Ceylon cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of ground star anise
1/8 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
½ – ¾ tsp. ground ginger
3 cardamom pods, ground
1- 4 inch peel of fresh orange peel
3 tbsp. honey
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 stick Ceylon cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
¾ – 1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Directions:

Combine the apples and pears in a large pot. Add the ground cinnamon, cloves, star anise, nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cardamom, orange peel, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, scraped vanilla bean, and water. Stir to combine everything as best as you can.

Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until the apples and pears break down (30-45 minutes – cooking time absolutely depends on the type of apples you’re using). Once the apples and pears have completely softened, use a potato masher or large wooden spoon to mash them into your preferred texture (for a really smooth applesauce, puree in your food processor). Stir in the vanilla extract.

Serve warm or cold, depending on your preference. This applesauce would be great for canning if you’re into that, Freezing works well, too!

Cinnamon Apple Cake

The following post contains the recipe for a cake reminiscent of fall, that is also ridiculously moist, good-looking, and tasty. You could call it a cinnamon apple cake, or apple spice cake, which it is. I jokingly referred to it as a Magic Hippie Juju Cake as I worked around the kitchen to create its existence.

Last week Wednesday my brother and sister-in-law were in a hospital in Illinois, trying to welcome their first baby girl into this world, a few weeks earlier than planned. My first niece. By the time Thursday afternoon came around, John sent me a text saying that he and Kim were more than ready to go home and the baby hadn’t shown up yet, despite the doctors saying she’d be here soon. I told him I’d bake baby Keira a magic hippie juju cake to let her know it was supposed to be her birthday. Now. That day, at least. I apologized for not knowing how to send scents through my telephone, but assured him I’d send a photo.

As I mixed the ingredients together, I thought of my brother becoming a father and it was simultaneously the strangest, loving, tender, funny, sincere experience. My brother who is barely one year younger than me, who I spent over a decade fighting with over nothing important? John who tried to drown me in our Disney World hotel pool when we were 6 and 7? The same kid who snuck toads into unsuspecting neighbors’ mailboxes? That guy was, at any moment, becoming a dad? I was awestruck. I thought about how much he’s grown up, his intelligence and love, his wisdom and ridiculousness. I’ve got no doubt he’ll be a great father.

Back to that cake. About half an hour after it came out of the oven, I was sitting at Silas’s football practice and received a text: “She’s on the way!” Magic Hippie Juju. Or as I told my sister… perhaps those labor-inducing drugs finally kicked in.

Regardless, this cake was a celebration of my new niece, of a life welcomed with love. Celebration of humor, of memories that tie siblings in ways that only make sense to them but are still entirely universal. Celebration of my kick-ass superhero sister-in-law who is humored by my sincere cheesiness.  As I prefer most of my celebrations, this cake isn’t overly fancy, but it holds its own… you will not be disappointed.

Keira Leilani Hashimoto McCreery

 

 

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Yields one 8-inch round cake

Ingredients:
2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. sea salt
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp. fresh meyer lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 medium apples (granny smith, golden delicious)
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar
juice from ½ an orange
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375º F. Evenly coat an 8-inch round cake pan with one tablespoon of butter.

Prepare the apples: peel and core the apples. Cut in half, then into slices about 1/8-inch thick. Place the apple slices in a bowl, then add the 1/3 cup of sugar, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Stir (or use your hands) to toss and evenly coat the apples. Set aside.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or your stand mixer, cream together the six tablespoons of room temperature butter and 2/3 cup of sugar, until light and fluffy. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, then the fresh lemon juice, and vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, until just combined. The batter will be thick. Stir about one third of the egg whites into the batter until completely incorporated and then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.

Work from the outside of the pan towards the center, overlapping the apples by about ¼-inch and slightly pressing them into the batter. Pour all the liquid from the bowl of apples evenly over the top of the cake.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Serve warm.

John and Keira