We have had our suspicions now for a while… but the chicks we got this spring were supposed to all be females. In fact there was only a 1-2% chance that they weren’t. Just our luck that one turned out to be a rooster… Sigh. We didn’t mind keeping her, er, I mean him around as long as he didn’t crow, especially since he is the friendliest of the bunch. And, of course, part of us was holding onto the hope that maybe, just maybe he was just a really large, shiny hen that just happened to look like a rooster:) Besides, heck if I know how to tell for sure if a chicken is male or female… Well the crowing started this morning. Not anything too loud yet, but there is no way that this can end well for poor Sigrid considering that we live in town and all. Anyone up for a roast chicken dinner? (kidding! Well… maybe) Still waiting for the first fresh eggs from the other girls… should be any day now!
Anyways, on a much happier note, the peach-pineapple-honey jam I made turned out absolutely divine! Definitely the BEST jam I have ever made (and it is lower sugar to boot!*) A++++ on this one! I thought I would share my recipe since it turned out so tasty:
- Three cups of peeled, pitted and crushed ripe peaches, the sweeter the better since you will need to add less honey (I usually fudge this amount just a tiny bit so I can get 5 full jars of jam out of a batch. Otherwise you will end up with about 4 3/4 jars)
- One cup of crushed pineapple (fresh is best, but canned would do in a pinch)
- One cup water or unsweetened juice
- One package canning pectin (the no-sugar-needed kind)
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- 3/4- 1 cup of honey (or less), depending on your taste and the sweetness of the fruit
- 1/2 tsp butter (optional), to reduce foaming
- 5-6 sterilized half-pint jelly jars, with lids and bands
- large pot or canner to process jars
Sterilize jars before you start (I use the dishwasher on the temp-boost, heated-dry cycle, but you could also boil them) and keep them hot until you are ready to fill them. Keep the lids simmering in a small pan until you are ready for them as well. Begin heating up the water in the canner until it simmers.
In a large pot, combine peaches, pineapple, water, lemon juice, butter (if desired), and pectin (stir the pectin in gradually to avoid lumps)
Bring the mixture to a full boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring constantly. Pour in the honey and continue stirring until the mixture returns to a boil. Stir rapidly while the mixture boils for three full minutes. Use a long spoon- the boiling fruit mixture HURTS when it splatters!
Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and immediately ladle the jam into the first jar leaving about 1/4 inch space at the top, center the lid, and screw on the band. Use tongs to lower the jar into the canner. Continue filling the jars one-by-one and lowering them into the canner until they are all full.
Make sure all of the jars in the canner are covered by at least 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Process (boil with the lid on) for the recommended time at your altitute (look at the chart on the insert that comes with the pectin) In NW Arkansas, that would be about 15 minutes. Remove the lid from the canner, let cool a bit, and carefully set the jars on a dish towel or something on the counter. You will need to leave them undisturbed until they are completely cooled (unless you plan on using one jar right away! It is very tempting:) Once they are cool, test to make sure they are sealed (lid doesn’t pop up and down), wipe them off if needed and store until you are ready to use them! You can even take the bands off at this point and reuse them (never reuse the lids though!) Don’t forget to label the jars so you know what is in them and when it was canned. If any jars don’t seal, no worries! Just put them in the fridge and try to use them up fairly quickly.
* a note on the low-sugar thing: A full sugar recipe calls for as much as 6 cups of granulated sugar for 1 batch (about 6 jars) of jam. This recipe uses 3/4 to 1 cup of honey for one batch (about 5 jars), and you could use even less if you want, as long as you are using the no-sugar-needed pectin. I have to say I really prefer the jam this way. You can taste the fruit more! Of course, don’t blame me if it tastes so much better that you eat a whole jar in one sitting therefore rendering the whole low-sugar factor useless…