Friday, August 21, 2009

Garden Jelly

I must beg forgiveness from those who are following this blog for my somewhat cryptic title of a truly fabulous jelly. I fear that if I divulge the secret ingredient right away that everyone will close their minds and even refuse to try it! I suppose I can understand. In my mind, the taste of liver can't be disguised no matter how hard one tries....although...a number of years ago I found that I loved Dirty Rice ... aka...gizzards and chicken LIVERS. (eek....running away screaming)

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Yes. It is August and therefore it is FALL in Alaska. Last night my tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplants froze. The fireweed has finally bloomed to the top, signaling the end of summer. We really know that fall is here when the "Dirty-Feet-Smell" permeates the air. That's when I know I must venture out into my own backyard with my raincoat, high-top rubber boots, ballcap and berry picking bucket to harvest those nasty smelling High Bush Cranberries and make and jar that wonderful ketsup!
High Bush Cranberries
The root crops are still fine and enjoying the cooler temperatures. I harvested most of the beets last weekend and couldn't bear to throw away that beautiful crimson liquid. So, I looked on-line as to what I could do with my beet juice and found an interesting recipe for Beet Jelly as well as some really cool information about the benefits of beets. There is just something about this fabulous veg. That intense, deep almost royal red of it, the Earthy smell and taste of immediately KNOW it is GOOD for you and, if like me, want a little more. I didn't fully appreciate beets until pregnant with Chris-and then I couldn't eat enough of them. I love them best simply boiled then lightly dusted with salt, pepper and a little melted butter...nothing fancy.

Beets are a universal veg! You can eat the greens as you would spinach or any other green, the root with butter and seasonings, and the juice made into jelly. They are full of anti-oxidants and have been used to treat anemia, circulatory problems, kidney disease, menopause, tiredness, bladder problems, eye fatigue and liver problems. Beets are a great source of calcium, sodium, vitamin A, chlorine, sulfur, vitamin B-6, iron, potassium and choline. The leaves and juice are known to cleanse the blood and kidneys...this is why you need to eat/drink them in moderation (I've read that one should never drink beet juice alone-it needs to be mixed with another veg).

With that said, here is my recipe for "Garden Jelly a.k.a. Beet Jelly"

4 cups beet juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 pkg. Sure Jell Pectin
1 -3 oz. pkg Jello (raspberry or black raspberry)
6 cups sugar

In a large pot, mix beet juice, lemon juice, SureJell and Jello. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and bring to a full rolling boil for 3 minutes and pour into sanitized jars. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

This recipe made 12-4 oz. jars and three 12-oz. jars and two 1/2 pint jars. (Yes, everyone will be getting one of those little ones with your Christmas present)

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