Old-Fashioned Apple Jelly

My favorite orchard in North Alabama announced last call on apples over the weekend.

The trees are no longer producing quality fruits, and apple season is ending as the first frosts are threaten the South. This doesn’t mean you have to wait another year for that tasty autumn flavor! Nothing is as delightful (nor as cozy) as homemade jelly topping hot, flaky biscuits on a cold weekend for breakfast, brunch or even supper with the family!

Fresh Picked Orchard Apples

Apple jelly, while a little time-consuming, is really quite worth the small amount of work as you savor each bite throughout the year. I stepped out of my comfort zone this year and made our apple jelly without commercial pectin.

Did you know commercial pectin is actually a derivative of apples? This delicious fruit is loaded with natural sugars which make it an ideal experiment for old-fashioned jelly making.

Old Fashioned Apple Jelly

Taking about 6 pounds of Granny Smith and Rome Beauty apples, I chopped them up (core and all) and placed in a large stock pot with six cups of water. When choosing apples for your jelly keep in mind that tart apples (Granny Smith, Fuji, Honey Crisp) have more pectin. Also, the more an apple ripens, the less pectin it will have, so choose slightly underripe apples. This is where picking your own at an orchard comes in handy!

Apple Jelly Prep

I allowed my apple mixture to simmer about 25 minutes until the apples were nice and soft. Lining a colander with cheese cloth over a large bowl, I carefully and slowly poured the entire pot of apples and juice into it, allowing the juices to start draining so I didn’t overfill. I had about 7 cups of juice, which is slightly more than you need for this recipe.

Pulp for Apple Jelly

{Save what’s left, chill and drink it. The taste is unforgettably delicious !}

Fresh Apple Juice

Next, I added the juice to a large stockpot along with sugar and lemon juice, then brought it all to a boil. Even though your juice mixture might hit the 220° mark fairly quick, working without commercial pectin can be tricky. Test the jelly several times to see if it’s going to gel. Keep stirring it, so that it does not boil over while you’re waiting! To test for gel I took a cold spoon and dipped it into the boiling jelly, then dropped it over a cold plate. If the jelly forms a gel or began dripping very slowly, it’s probably ready. This was my first time making jelly without pectin, so there was a lot of uncertainty in my judgement!

Apple Jelly in Weck jars

Once the jelly was ready, I ladled it into sterilized jars, sealed with bands and lids, then processed in a water bath to seal them up for future use.

homemade apple jelly

Click Old Fashion Apple Jelly for the full, printable recipe.

Audley opened a jar the next day to top a Bojangles biscuit and deemed it absolutely perfect ! His seal of approval is all I need.

How do you preserve your favorite harvest flavors for later use? I would love to hear what your favorite ways to extend the season!

img_5691

Deep Dish Apple Crisp

Between picking apples with Audley as well as a trip back home for a visit with my Momma to one of our favorite orchards, we have a house full of apples right now! We have Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, Macintosh, yellow and red Delicious… so many flavors, which means there are so many ways to use them!

And Audley has been enjoying the many ways I’ve found to use all of nature’s bounty in baskets and on our kitchen table and on our cabinets….

Besides snacking on them, my oatmeal has been quite tasty the last several days as they make a yummy add-in. I also made some fabulous apple jelly and put up a few for later use.

Deep Dish Apple Crisp / Fiddle Dee Dee Blog

By far the absolute best way I’ve used the apples was in the apple crisp I whipped up for us to enjoy last weekend!

Y’all, it was absolutely delicious.

It was also so unhealthy.

But, It was so delicious!

What made this even better was mixing the different types of apples and their unique flavors to create a symphony in your mouth!  Combining the juicy tart flavor of a Granny Smith apple with a sweeter Rome Beauty is just the beginning of flavor.  Audley really loved the mixture of flavor.

It was THAT noticeable.

Deep Dish Apple Crisp

Making an apple crisp may seem difficult, but honestly, while it takes several steps, it is so easy to create.  Everyone will love you for it, and the unexpected ingredients raise this crisp far above any other you will taste! This recipe has the traditional ingredients of an apple crisp as well; oats, flour, vanilla, apple pie spice, etc… but the filling is really special. I mean who combines butter and heavy cream into the filling of their apple crisp?

I did, and it is over the top scrumptious!

And guess what?

The topping has butter in it as well.

Deep Dish Apple Crisp in Lodge pan

Whether you pick your own apples or buy them at the grocery store; mixed a variety of apple flavors or just stick to one, this apple crisp is perfect for your next potluck, family dinner, or to sit and eat in the corner, keeping it all to yourself!  If you show up to Thanksgiving dinner with this dessert you will be the family hero.

Apple Crisp / Fiddle Dee Dee

Y’all, I promise, it is that good!

You can find the full, printable recipe by clicking  Deep Dish Apple Crisp.

Bite of Apple Crisp / Fiddle Dee Dee

If you want to elevate the unhealthiness deliciousness of this recipe, Serve it warm topped with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

Autumn Deep Dish Apple Crisp From Fiddle Dee Dee

After serving this, if you don’t hear from your husband for a while, he is probably passed out on the couch with football playing in the background in a dessert coma.

Take this moment to change the channel to Hallmark, savor your own dish of Apple Crisp, and enjoy the peace and quite.

img_5691

Game Day Fruit Salsa

It’s football season which means our Saturdays are filled with the sounds of game day as Audley and Bradley {and yes, me too} flip channels and cheer loudly for all of our favorite teams.

I don’t know about you and I have no idea why, but something about watching football makes me want to snack! With all the lifestyle changes we have made around her over the last several years, I am picky about the kinds of snacks that I keep in the house. You might think this would be a challenge.  But, really it isn’t.

 One fairly healthy treat that has been a favorite of ours is a sweet and spicy fruit salsa served up with cinnamon sugar pita chips.  It fits the rules of Jones family snacking… Sweet with a kick, crunchy, fairly healthy, fresh and totally easy!

Check it out.  It might become a game day favorite for you as well!

game-day-fruit-salsa-7-oh-fiddledeedee-com

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup diced pineapple

1 cup diced watermelon

1/2 cup peeled cucumber, chopped

1/2 cup diced mango

1/2 cup diced papaya

1/2 cup red bell pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 small red onion, diced

game-day-fruit-salsa-3-oh-fiddledeedee-com

ASSEMBLE:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir gently to mix together and rest for 30 minutes, to allow flavors to mesh.

This serves 4-6 people, so I usually double my recipe.

game-day-fruit-salsa-8-oh-fiddledeedee-com

gamedayfruitsalsa

Serve with anything that crunches, although we love Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita chips with our salsa, you can use plain tortilla chips as well.

game-day-fruit-salsa-4-oh-fiddledeedee-com

If you have any left over I highly recommend using it for a topping on a chicken taco salad. It is so delicious, and much healthier than sour cream or dressing!

Just in case you’re actually heading out to the big game, or just watching your own athlete play, this fruit salsa is great to make ahead and is easily portable.

game-day-fruit-salsa

What are your favorite game day snacks?  Inquiring minds want to know!

signature

Strawberry Caprese Salad

By far one of the highlights of spring has to be farm fresh strawberries.  Whether you pick your own, purchase them at a farmers market, or travel to your local strawberry farm, there is something absolutely wonderful about these sweet, juicy berries that always beckon and call my name in the month of May!

Fresh Strawberries

While just washing them and popping twenty or so a few in my mouth throughout the day is always delicious, I love to cook or make dishes that incorporate my favorite berry.  From jam (Strawberry Wine Jam, Vanilla-Laced Strawberry Jam)  to dessert (White-Chocolate & Strawberry Pie, Pavlova with fresh berries) or even breakfast (Mixed-Berry Muffins)your imagination can guide you to all kinds of mouth-watering treats!

Recently I stumbled on a recipe for a Strawberry Caprese Salad that Southern Living Mag had shared on Facebook.  After tweaking it just a little, I put together my own Strawberry Caprese Salad that was absolutely flavorful and delicious; a real spring treat for sure!

Strawberry Caprese Salad

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup Peach White Balsamic Vinegar (can be purchased in a speciality store)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup chopped basil

10 ounces mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces

1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, quartered.

Strawberry Caprese Salad2

ASSEMBLING THE CAPRESE SALAD

Whisk together the peach white balsamic vinegar, garlic, Splenda brown sugar blend, pink salt and black pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Add fresh basil (saving just a little to garnish with) and mozzarella cheese bites; toss to coat. Cover and chill about 2 hours. Stir in strawberries; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve as an appetizer with toasted French bread baguette slices (I found mine at Fresh Market in the deli). Garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil.

Strawberry Caprese Salad6

This is such a unique dish and with the use of farm fresh flavors of spring, you can’t go wrong!

Strawberry Caprese Salad3

finger food snacks

The Strawberry Caprese Salad makes a great addition to a finger food buffet for a girls night in!

 Strawberry Caprese Salad4

What is your favorite dish to incorporate strawberries?  Inquiring minds want to know!

http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54492-83-9BC920CC6823471E78F010232F661C22