Sunday, September 30, 2012
I am one who believes that out of difficulty comes opportunity.
Take canning. I'm not an expert canner. I taught myself how to can with a worn Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and the sheet of instructions that come in the little boxes of Sure-Jell. And I'll admit, I'm still surprised when I hear the cans pop, shocked that after all that processing and boiling, it actually worked.
My canning experience is limited to pickles, applesauce, jam, and a bad batch of green beans. Apparently, you must use a pressure cooker to can beans properly...at least that's what I deduced from the nose wrinkle I got from my mom after explaining how I processed them. Despite the bean debacle, I'm usually pretty successful with my other canning experiments, but there is occasionally a jar that doesn't seal or a jar of jam that's a little too runny. That's when it's time to get creative.
Unsealed jars just go into the fridge rather than the pantry shelf to get consumed immediately. But that runny jam - everyone will tell you that it's a great topping for pancakes and ice cream, but honestly I don't like fruity stuff on my pancakes, and I'll usually grab the chocolate sauce for my ice cream before the jam jar. I could use that jam as a basting agent for game birds, and a little bit of liquidy jam shaken with oil and vinegar makes an amazing salad dressing. However, most often to use up jam that doesn't set, I turn to my blender and resort back to my favorite way to use up bits of fruit and dairy: make popsicles.
You'll notice Ben is wearing a jacket in the photo. It's getting a little cooler out, and this is probably our last batch of popsicles for the season (the rest of my jam set up just fine). With fall underway, we're moving away from the fruitastic days of summer and into our season of squash, pheasant, apples, and the heartier stuff of autumn. As the weather gets colder, the popsicle molds will keep moving farther and farther back in the kitchen cabinet, awaiting the first burst of berries next summer.
When it comes to popsicles, I encourage you to just dig around your fridge, freezer, and pantry and start experimenting. I typically find one or two fruity items (jam, pureed fruit, juice) and one or two dairy items (yogurt, milk, ice cream), blend, taste, and freeze. But for the formal recipe lover in all of us, here's a basic recipe.
1/2 cup unset jam (or add a bit of water to regular jam to make it runny)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I looooove full fat Greek yogurt, but fat free is easier to find)
Juice, milk, or water as needed to make it pourable
Blend jam, yogurt and liquid together. Taste it for sweetness and adjust as needed. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until set.