I did it and I forgot to tell you. Well, I do recall that I wanted to write about my awesome cherry preserves. But, by the time I got my supplies and got organized, it wasn't cherry season anymore. I was able to make blueberry and peach preserves, however.
I couldn't decide whether I wanted to jam or preserve. Ultimately, I decided preserves (low sugar) because I planned to put them on my morning yogurt.
Preserving is pretty easy, actually. The toughest thing was getting the equipment. Funny, because I looked all over - restaurant supply, grocery stores, anywhere that seemed logical. I ended up ordering online. Of course! Then, long after I had made preserves, I was in Target, of all places, and voila! a whole shelf with the very same kit I bought online. Awesome.
Why is the preserving cage so wide, anyway? For the uninitiated, you place your jars in a sort of cage in a pot, cover with water, boil, and so on. And the cage is humongous. Luckily I have an enormous pot that it fit in, but who has something that size? Not even my husband's giant beer-brewing pot fit that thing.
I decided that my yogurt also needed homemade granola. The recipe made a boatload! I will halve it next time.
This whole DIY-back-to-the-land-citizen farmer-homespuns ... whatever it is we are doing with our locavore, homemade obsessions, is satisfying.
(adapted from the Marketplace Cafe, Seattle, recipe)
6 cups whole oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (make sure they are not rancid!)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup canola oil
3 T brown sugar
1 cup dried cherries (you can cut these because they are really big and chewy)
2 cups Trader Joe's dried fruit mix (cranberries, golden raisins, blueberries)
Other possible additions that I left out because I am not such a fan:
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1.5-2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup dried currents
Also, for the TJ's mix, the recipe just says raisins.
Preheat oven to 300. Chop nuts into smaller pieces, or leave large - whichever you prefer (I whirred mine in the mini-chop for a bit). Combine oats, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cinnamon, vanilla, syrup, honey, oil and sugar. Whisk occasionally until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Pour wet mixture over oat mixture. Stir until everything is coated. Spread onto two lightly oiled or nonstick pans. Bake, stirring every 5-7 minutes, until granola is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Once granola is cool, add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.