Sunday, July 27, 2014

Caramel Corn with Peanuts--An Old-Fashioned Treat

I'm going to share with you a family favorite for our homemade version of "Cracker Jacks." Now, if you're not a fan of peanuts or have an allergy to them, you can use another variety of nut or leave them out altogether. Any way you choose, this caramel corn is delicious!


6 quarts popped corn (about 3/4 cup unpopped corn)
1 cup peanuts (or other nuts), optional
1 cup butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Butter or spray with oil a very large mixing bowl and two rimmed large jelly roll pans.

Place the popped corn into the greased mixing bowl and set aside for now.

In a medium saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat and let the mixture boil for 5 minutes without stirring.

Caramel boiling in saucepan

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the baking soda. (When you add the baking soda, the syrup with froth and grow for a few moments so don't be concerned when your syrup temporarily acts like a mini volcano.) Gradually pour the syrup over the popped corn, mixing well to coat all the kernels. (I use a very large wooden spoon and it seems to work well.) Spread the caramel corn evenly into the two prepared jelly roll pans. Bake the caramel corn for up to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

This is such a delicious, old-fashioned treat. It's a great take-along treat in the summer and equally good on a cold winter evening when you and your loved ones are curled up under a blanket or enjoying a cozy fire together.

I hope you give it a try soon. I think you'll be so glad you did!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Canning Blueberries...and a Great Blueberry Muffin Recipe!

Well, first of all, I would like to apologize for my silence these last weeks. At some point in the future I may share the reasons why I was unavailable, but today I'll just get right to the fun stuff!

Here's a post I recently did for the Amish Wisdom website. Since we are fast getting into the high canning season I figured you'd love to read this post:

Georgia Varozza’s Canned Blueberries – Perfect for Summer!

Blueberries are a favorite treat with my family, and I have plants enough to ensure all the fresh eating we could want plus a good supply to can and freeze for winter use. Added to pancakes, muffins, smoothies, yogurt or ice cream, canned blueberries are a tasty addition—and they’re good for you too!
If you are new to canning, blueberries are a great way to gain experience and confidence in the canning kitchen because they are so easy to process. Your best chance for success and to ensure safe methods is to get an up-to-date canning cookbook such as The Amish Canning Cookbook, but here’s the condensed version:
Choose fresh, ripe, blemish-free berries and gently rinse them in cool water; drain.
In a large saucepot, make a light syrup by mixing together 2¼ cups sugar and 5¼ cups water (more or less, depending on how much fruit you’re canning and how sweet you want the syrup—you can even use plain water although the berries will plump better with syrup); simmer.
Sterilize jars and lids.
Tightly pack berries into sterilized 4-ounce, half-pint, or pint jars.
Pour hot syrup over berries, leaving ½-inch head space. Run a knife around the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles.
Process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes (20 minutes if using quarts). If you live above 1,000 feet, add five minutes to the processing time. And if you live above 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes.
Canned blueberries are such a delightful addition to many recipes. I’ve included one of my family’s favorites here. I hope it will become a favorite for you and your loved ones as well!

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ½ pint or 4-ounce jar canned blueberries (or you can use ¾ cup fresh or frozen berries), drained*
  • sugar for sprinkling

Stir the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together. Add the sugar and rolled oats and mix well.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and butter. Add dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each muffin. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until brown.

*Save the juice and add it to soda water or sparkling cider for a refreshing drink!

georgia varozzaGeorgia Varozza is the author of the popular book, The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook (more than 60,000 copies sold), enjoys teaching people how to prepare and preserve healthy foods, live simply, and get the most from what they have. She works in publishing and lives in a small Oregon community.

Purchase Georgia’s books here.