Our young refrigerator got very, very icy in the freezer section. It looked like snow every time we opened the door and the fridge was barely keeping things cool. We proceeded to clean it out and defrost it as one must do occasionally. After it had successfully defrosted we turned it back on only to find that the compressor would not work. Since then, it did kick back on, however this refrigerator has given us trouble for the entire 5 years we have had it. So we have ordered a new and different fridge that we are pretty excited about. It comes later in the week, so we had some food in the freezer that we had to get rid of, or eat immediately. What does one do with a ton of frozen blackberries, and a big bunch each of frozen strawberries, frozen peaches, frozen blueberries, and frozen apples? If that person is me, she makes jam.
How to Make Freezer Broke Jam
Admittedly, this would have worked a lot better with pectin, but since I had none, my jam is a little oozy. I’m not planning on entering any county fair jam competitions, so I’m okay with this. Also, you could warm it and eat it over pancakes too, so it does double duty.
Take all the fruit in your freezer (or fridge, or yard) About 4 quarts in total and put in a 5 quart pot, blending up anything with peels, or fruits that may not break down well after cooking with a little water (quarter cup or so).
I ended up blending up all my apples (with peels) and peaches (without), and ladling out some chunks of berries after cooking a while and blending up most of them. We don’t care for super chunky jam, but if you do, feel free to blend less and keep it as chunky as you like.
Add your sugar to your fruit. I added 7 1/2 cups of sugar to this jam. If you want to add pectin now is the time for that as well.
Cook until it starts to thicken up quite a bit. My jam reduced by around a quarter when I got impatient and called it done enough.
Ladle hot jam into hot, clean jars or containers. Let it cool completely, then put it in the freezer (Thankfully we have a deep freezer and our regular fridge was working by then again.). Or, if you prefer, boil your jars in a water bath canner following the proper guidelines to make it shelf stable. I have canned jam before and it’s not too much trouble, but this time I ended up putting it in the freezer to save the extra steps. We got 8 and 1/2 pints of jam out of this batch, which is enough to last us quite a while.
Put jam on hot homemade biscuit, eat, and repeat.
Some nights when you get home from work, put the kids through the shower, help fix supper, eat supper, and finally sit down, the only thing you want is to go to sleep. Other times, all you want is a piña colada. Last week I had the urge to get out the vita-mix and turn the super-ripe pineapple on the counter into something delicious with a blackberry twist.
To make a lava flow, you have to make two concoctions and pour one into the other to get the swirling effects. If you don't care what it looks like, just throw a few blackberries into your piña colada and call it a day.
Blackberry Swirl Recipe:
1 small carton of blackberries (about 1 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup of ice
Sugar to taste (start with 1/4 cup and then see if it needs more)
Piña Colada Recipe:
1 Pinapple cut up
1-2 Ripe Bananas
1/2 Cup of thick coconut milk
1 cup of ice
Sugar to taste (start with 1/4 cup and then see if it needs more)
1/4 cup orange juice (can add more for non-alcoholic smoothie version)
2 shots of rum (about 1/2 cup)
Blend up Blackberry swirl. Feel free to adjust amounts to your personal taste (and leave me good suggestions in the comments!) Pour into another container or glass. Next blend up the Piña Colada Recipe, also adjusting amounts to your liking. This recipe is just a starting off point! Into clean glass, pour about 1/4 full with blackberry swirl mixture. Fill the rest of the way with Piña Colada. Add a straw or drink umbrella and enjoy!
Makes about 4 servings
I made mine without rum first then added some to mine after the kids had some. They showed their approval with an empty glass, and so did I.
About 5 years ago my husband and I started traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee on the weekend of St. Patrick's Day for the St. Paddy's Day on Market Square event. It started on the spur of the moment when we decided we desperately needed to have a weekend away without the kids. We searched for Irish events and this one popped up in our search. Knoxville is around two hours away from our home, so it is a great weekend trip away. Since we started going, we have kept it up as a yearly tradition and we look forward to it every March.
St. John's Cathedral was a beautiful stop on our rainy walk around downtown Knoxville, TN. We weren't about to let a little rain stop us! We only take a trip away from the kids once or twice a year, so we make the most of our kid-free time, even if it means sloshy shoes for a while. The stained glass there is absolutely stunning, as well as the bright painted red door and gorgeous stonework, but the coolest part was the labyrinth. There was an open gate leading into the outdoor courtyard area between the church and what looked like a fellowship hall, and the bricked ground there is laid out in a labyrinth. We followed it to the center, which took us about 10-15 minutes! The winding path looks deceivingly short. I'd love to go for a service there sometime.
The Sunsphere is hard to miss. It has stood in the heart of downtown Knoxville since the World's Fair was held there in 1982. Now it's as iconic to the Knoxville skyline as the space needle is to Seattle and the Empire State Building is to New York City. Except it's in the friendly town of Knoxville, where true southern hospitality still exists, thank goodness. I highly recommend taking a walk around the sunsphere, taking a few goofy selfies with it, and strolling through the rest of World's Fair Park.
After visiting World's Fair Park, The Sunsphere, and St. John's Cathedral, make your way post-haste to the most adorable and awesome center of town ever: Market Square. It's essentially a town square, but way cooler. There are shops, restaurants, and bars all around featuring food and wares that will not disappoint. Stock and Barrel.. I can't think about their duck confit fries without drooling (but more about that in another post) , and Earth to Old City is filled with all sorts of amazing clothing, accessories, toys and housewares, including plenty of gear sporting the "Keep Knoxville Scruffy" motto, which is basically just the way people from Knoxville support their local community. Bliss and Bliss Home have original and gorgeous furnishings for your home and body, so be sure to check them out too. If all this wasn't enough, there are usually street performers offering up their talents to anyone who cares to stop and watch or listen and a stage to host local artists and events. You definitely don't want to miss this destination.
The Bridges. What can I say? Bridges aren't generally a destination, but these bridges are part of the landscape of downtown Knoxville and I couldn't wait to drive over them. They're only a block apart, so drive down Henley Street and back up Gay Street just to say you've done it. We parked and walked around Henley Street Bridge and took some great photos of both bridges. This was actually one of my very favorite things we did in Knoxville. The architecture and the beautiful (finally sunny!) weather made this a great outing.
As we walked all over downtown we saw tons of "street art" or "illegal destruction of property" depending on how you look at it. Personally, I find graffiti fascinating, so we took as many pictures as possible. I saw several of the same names decorating alleyways and there is some serious artistic talent emblazoned in the alleys and on the buildings of this city. And can we just talk about logistics? How do these graffiti artists get to the tops and sides of these building?! Do they take ladders with them? Isn't it hard to stay incognito when carting a ladder through the middle of the town at night? Also, if you are the artist Uh Panda, props.
In addition to all the illegal street art there are beautiful and interesting sculptures throughout the downtown area along with Krutch Park, a piece of property set aside and bequeathed to the City of Knoxville to be used as a quiet retreat. Since the Krutch family had strong ties to the artistic community the city has honored their bequest by using this property to display local sculptures and changes them out periodically so it's always fun to go back and see what has changed.
We usually hit the rowing man on our way back to the hotel after a night of eating and hanging out around downtown. Visiting The Rowing Man is basically the perfect way to end the night in Knoxville. After a drink (or two) at Preservation Pub and Scruffy City Hall, or a glass of wine at beautiful Uncorked, take a stroll back to your hotel, or if you're lucky enough, your beautiful downtown loft, but be sure to go by the rowing man. It's just not as much fun to walk home any other way.
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