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Posts from — September 2019

persimmon tree and jam

In the early spring, I planted a bare-root persimmon tree. The persimmon tree is that stick with a tag on it in the photo above

I planted it because I love to use persimmons on my Harmony Boards in the fall.

The little tree set so many blossoms that I was pinching them off daily.

As the fruit set, I eventually put on netting to keep the birds away.

During one of the recent monsoon storms, part of the netting blew off and ended up high in my Joshua tree on the front side of the house.

This photo shows where the persimmon tree is in relationship to the Joshua tree.

I tried getting it off with the telescoping pole from my pool net, but it is not budging. I guess it’s there to stay.

Anyhow, the fruit I had left on the tree to ripen was weighing down the branches and putting undue stress on the tree, so I picked the majority of the fruit off last week. The persimmons were small, rock-hard and not yet ripe, but I discovered that when I left them at room temperature for a few days, they began to ripen and soften.

The outside was still green but the inside flesh was vibrant orange and sweet. What to do with it all? Jam seemed like the best solution.

I did some research and learned that persimmons do not have a high enough pH value to be safe for water bath canning.

The same article suggested adding another fall fruit, such as pears and plenty of lemon juice. Problem solved.

While I was in Canada with Kim last month, we talked about the dilemma of making jam and all the sugar that is needed. Kim did some research of her own and we learned about Pomona’s Universal Pectin. This brand requires far less sugar.

For instance, I found several pear jam recipes online that used about the same about of fruit as I used in this recipe, but used 4 cups of sugar versus the 1 ½ cups I was able to use because I used Pomona’s Univeral Pectin.

The Pomona’s box also comes with a little packet of calcium powder that you mix with water to activate the pectin. Here is more about the calcium from Pomona’s website:

“Pomona’s Pectin is activated by calcium, so calcium has to be present in the mixture either naturally or added by you. Since most people don’t know the calcium content of their fruit, we recommend a calcium water amount in every recipe to be sure there is calcium in the mixture. If your fruit has calcium in it naturally, you don’t need to add the calcium water.”

One mistake I made was that I didn’t cut the fruit small enough for my small jars. As you can see in the photo above, it wasn’t as much a jam as it was chunky fruit.

To fix that, I transferred the cooked jam to a food processor and used the pulse button to get it to the consistency I wanted. I rectified that in the recipe by called for diced fruit instead of chopped. But if you want do less initial chopping, you can use the food processor after the fact too.

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September 11, 2019   4 Comments

Well, look at me – 3 days in a row!

It’s crazy how often you can post when you have content! Here is the third recipe from Labor Day 2019.

I would absolutely love to have a big shrimp boil one of these days. It’s such an iconic east coast summer meal.

But here in the desert, in the summer, even the thought of standing outside while shrimp boils and then standing over the steaming masses of food poured out in front of you sounds absolutely torturous and horrendous. Maybe in the fall!

Something like any one of these images is the dream. Have a bunch of friends over and just dump it all out for the taking on a long table covered in paper.

This Fall. For Sure!

In the meantime, I made this attempt at a touch of the “shrimp-boil” flavor for our Labor Day BBQ.

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September 6, 2019   No Comments

big burgers

Along with the Corn and Shishito Salad I posted yesterday, I made burgers for the guys on Labor Day. I used one-half pound of 80/20 ground beef for each patty. So yeah, they were BIG burgers! If you’d like to make them more manageable, use about a quarter-pound of beef per patty.

But this recipe is really about the great zippy basting sauce that consists of sweet chili sauce and sriracha. The sauce really makes these burgers sing. Added bonus: Half of the sauce gets mixed with mayo … truly addictive stuff!

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September 5, 2019   2 Comments

Labor Day salad

I had my dad, Connor and Dave over for a Labor Day BBQ and swim this past Monday. Of course, I made a Harmony Board for the occasion.

Another of the dishes I prepared was a quick, easy, healthy and delicious side salad. I’ll be making it again before the summer is over … which, sadly, isn’t for many more weeks here in the desert southwest.

One of the salad’s main ingredients is shishito peppers. Most grocery stores are carrying them now and you can always find them at Trader Joe’s. I forgot to take a photo of the bag before I began slicing the peppers, so this photo is of the bag filled with the stem ends that I was throwing away. Sorry!

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September 4, 2019   2 Comments