Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lilac Apple Jam Season!

Lilac season is in full swing here in New Hampshire!  Oh, beloved state flower!  As you're driving around, you can smell little pockets of it's wonderful scent wafting in through your now open windows.  Blessed heavenly scent!

And if you pull them from their stems, they are a key ingredient to a most amazing spring tradition around here.  Lilac apple jam!  

All you need is two cups of blossoms, add 2 cups of hot water, let steep and you have an amazing floral infusions.  Well, let me give you the recipe...

Lilac & Apple Jelly

2 c lilac petals, removed from the stem (try to keep the entire blossom intact, the nectar is in the center part)
2 c boiling water
1 pkg powdered pectin
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c finely diced, peeled apple (I used empire, which was a great flavor with the lilac)
4 c. sugar

Rinse flowers well. Put in heat resistant bowl and pour boiling water over all. Steep over night. Next morning, strain petals using either a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth. Discard flowers. You will need the liquid to be exactly 2 cups, so if the flowers soaked some up, add enough cold water to make 2 cups.

In medium saucepan combine flower infusion, pectin, and lemon juice. Using a whisk, mix until the pectin is fully dissolved. Add diced apple. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Return the pot to a rolling boil, boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Using sterilized canning jars and lids, ladle hot jelly into the 1/2 pint jars (5 in all). Put in a water bath canner and process for 10 minutes after the boil is achieved. Remove from canner and place on counter on dishtowel to cool. Listen for the wonderful sound of the "POP!!" as your jars seal!

There's no better jam on a hot, buttery English muffin, I guarantee it!  And, it's really quite easy to make, no special equipment needed. Whip up a batch while the blooms are blooming, it's wonderful on pancakes and waffles as well.  No better treat on a February snowy morning then this slathered on a breakfast treat.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Take Me Out To the Ball Game!

This fine strapping boy is Maestro, catching 5 innings out of 6 for his team last night.  He did an amazing job having only caught once before the whole season for two innings in the first game.  The coach decided to have him pitch in the 4 inning after catching for 3.  You can imagine that he was tired, he is young and had not been conditioned for this.

After catching 3, pitching one, he was put back at catcher to finish the final 2 innings behind home plate. 

This kid could not love the game of baseball any more.  It is clearly one of his passions in life, which he's fortunate to have found so young.  His little brother is also very fond of it as well, and as soon as he's played his first game, which is very soon, I will be posting pics of him as well.  But Maestro...oh, this child has the sports gene that is prevalent in Music Man's siblings kids as well.  He most certainly did not get it from me. I showed horses and did drama club, I was not an athlete per se...though, there were stints of it when I was young, gymnastics, baseball and basketball, but none of it stuck, I was horse obsessed.  My boys are dedicated to the game.  There's nothing they like more then playing, out in the field, fresh air and sunshine. 

And Maestro played an absolutely great game last night.  The best part about it for him was certainly not the loss, which was by quite a large margin, but the fact that he played a great game, struck some guys out at the plate, tagged more then one runner trying to come home, and hit a double to get 2 RBI's.  He caught for 5 innings and pitched one, was so exhausted by the end of the 6th inning, he could barely get his hand out to grab the ball in all the gear, but he plays with all his heart and gives it everything he has, and gets that it's not all about winning, but surely, how you play the game.

And he slept like a log last night after that workout.  Dang, I love my boys.

Wishing you peanuts and cracker jacks of your own, ~Peacemom