August 22, 2013

Simple Slurpies

Sometimes simple hits the spot. 

This summer, Anchorage broke records for consecutive days with temperatures above 70. degrees. All that gorgeous heat stretched our imaginations for more refreshing warm weather treats (after all the Popsicles, sorbets and ice creams that we had already eaten). We have moved well past that now to the cold rains of August, but for those of you who still have hot sunny days ahead:

This recipe comes from my son who first called the results Slushies and then renamed it Slurpies once he got a straw into the action.

How to do it:

Throw a tray full of ice cubes in your food processor and pulse until they are reduced so those ice-y granules that he calls snow. 
Use your favorite ice cream scoop to transfer some "snow" to a juice glass. 
Pour some juice over the top. 
Slurp away.

We like cherry juice. Or to really pucker up try pure cranberry. Something with bold color makes it more fun. 

Fig Jam

Fig Jam

Figs really don't grow here in Alaska. But I ordered fresh figs as an add on to my produce order from Full Circle this week. They were incredible, sweet and tender and so luscious that I could easily have eaten lots and lots of them plain as hand fruits. Instead I ate some and put the rest up as this fig jam. It tastes great. Looks lovely in the jar. And has definitely turned me on the to concept of balsamic adding a depth of flavor to other fruit jams. 

What you need:
2 pounds figs
1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar (you don't need super fancy aged sipping balsamic)
1/4 Cup bottled lemon juice

Important Note: Do not squeeze lemons for juice. 
You need the reliable acidity of bottled for safe storage.

What you do:
Stem and quarter the figs.
Bring water and figs to a boil in a large nonreactive pot.
Simmer for 5 minutes, smashing the fruit a little to soften and break it up.
Add the sugar, vinegar and lemon juice.
Return to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes until thick and jammy.
Remove from heat.
Wait 5 minutes.
Stir to remove air bubbles.

How to store:
Then either ladle into jars to keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Or use the boiling water bath canning method to preserve for up to a year. 

The specs for canning:
Use four ounce or half pint jars.
Leave 1/4 inch of headroom.
Processing time at a rolling boil is 10 minutes. 
Then turn off water and let rest for 5 minutes before removing to a kitchen towel on the counter to sit for 24 hours. 

How much?
For me, this produced a little less than the 4 Cups predicted in the original recipe from Put 'em Up! But start with sufficient clean hot jars to handle that quantity. I may have reduced it a little too much and you might get slightly more. Better to have the jars ready and need them, then to find when you are almost done that you are short a jar. If you do end up with a partial jar, pop it in the fridge and use it within 3 weeks.