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Jamming, Pickling and Red Chile on Sale

By Jane Butel  September 11, 2019

Whew!!!  We have just had a very fun, busy and totally tasty introduction to September.  It all started Labor Day when we welcomed Lou's oldest son Louie the III and wife Emily from Taiwan.  We always love their visits and had great fun literally running around, cooking tasty dinners and catching up with each of our "whereabouts".

Louie is part of a manufacturing and export company headquartered in Taipeii, Taiwan and reviewed all the news and changes that the new tariffs are bringing to their company.  He also cooked a great Prime Ribeye Steak Dinner with a yummy fresh tomato-jalapeno-basil sauce for a Pasta side dish, Buttered-Lemon Zested Broccolini and I made a Caprese Salad.  So delicious....

Then on Thursday, their daughter, Eliza, who is the Director of Wine Service--a Sommelier--for two Brooklyn restaurants and her boy friend, an executive chef at a David Chang restaurant in Manhattan.  They prepared a feast of  a Pork Loin Steak Grilled and topped with an herb baste of Cilantro-Basil-Mint, accompanied by Grilled Artichokes, Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts and a Zucchini-Tomato-Corn Salad accompanied by 3 different Rose wines Eliza selected.

And...in the meantime, I have started getting inquiries for making homemade pickles and jams.  Just last night I made 10 jars of Fig-Ginger-Lemon jam out of fresh figs that a Yoga classmate, Marta gave me.  I am including the recipe...it is so good on pork or chicken dishes, to say nothing about on toast or fresh, hot biscuits.   

Another request I got was for my Bread and Butter pickle recipe that was formerly my Mother's that I featured on a blog many years ago.  I am also giving you that recipe.

Thursday of this week we will be giving the prizes for the International Culinary Contest at the New Mexico State Fair.  You just might be able to make an entry--check out the New Mexico State Fair website  for entry details.

Our cooking classes are coming along fun and booming.  The "Green Chile Fiesta", tomorrow night is sold out and is followed by a three day weekend class this weekend (September 13-15) that I have on half price special and still has a few openings.  All of these classes are full participation. 

In a couple of weeks, we will welcome the visitors for the  International Balloon Fiesta ( the World's largest),  where we will be having the Red Chile Fiesta class on Monday, October 7 at 11 AM and on Thursday, October 10, also at 11 AM--we are featuring our ever popular Tamale Roll class at 11 AM.  There are just a few openings for these classes...so if you'd like to come--register now!

To help celebrate the coming of fall--we are putting our very best, pure red Hot Red Chileot and Mild Red Chile powder on sale at 25 % off until September 15 at midnight.  These are the "winningest" chile powders ever being marketed.  Our customers keep telling us--using our chile powders has helped them to win many, many coveted awards and contests.


I have always loved to make jam or preserves.  With figs being so sweet, I have varied my basic favorite jam to the following proportions.  You do not need to use pectin if you combine some unripe fruit pieces with the riper fruit.  This is great for windfalls where you have to cut the bruised portions off.

Fundamentally you use ¾ cup sugar to each 1 cup of chopped fresh fruit.  So you can make any sized quantity.  If fruit is very sweet,  you can cut back a bit on the sugar and add lemon juice—usually about 1 teaspoon lemon juice per cup of fruit or to taste. 

Yield: 10, 8 ounce jars of jam

10 cups quartered fresh fig

¼ cup candied ginger, finely minced

1 large lemon, zested and juiced (need at least 2 Tablespoons juice)

6  cups sugar

  1. Using a deep, heavy bottomed kettle, place the figs, ginger, lemon and sugar in the kettle; and bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly until the fruit becomes juicy.  Then turn up the heat to medium high and boil, continue to stir constantly. 
  2. Meanwhile, using a large flat baking pan—about 9 x 13 inches--place 10, 8 ounce jelly jars upside down with one inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and allow to boil until jam is ready to place in jars. At least five minutes of boiling is needed to prevent bacteria.  Meanwhile, keep  stirring the jelly.
  3. When the boil starts to settle down to smaller bubbles and the mixture is visibly thicker and making large bubbles as it boils, test for doneness either with a thermometer or the sheet test. With the thermometer, jams are done when they cook to a temperature of 7 degrees above boiling.  For the sheet test, using a large metal spoon, dip the spoon into the mixture and hold vertical to the surface of the jam, tilting the bottom of the spoon back a bit.  If the mixture sheets off  with two drops on either side of the spoon joining together and sheeting off, then it is done.  A second test is to use a small white or light colored plate and place some drops on the plate.  Tilt vertically and if the mixture slowly rolls down in long droplets, the jam is done.  On the other hand if the mixture runs down, it needs more cooking.
  4. Take off the heat and stir to make sure the fruit pieces are evenly distributed. Jar the jam by placing a canning funnel, into the sterilized jar and ladle the jam into each to within one inch of the top of the jar. Then, dipping a clean cloth in the hot water used for boiling the jars, use it to clean out the inside of the jar and rub around the top. Dip the lid in the hot water and place rubber side down on the jar and tighten a jar ring as tight as it will go.  Set aside on a clean towel.  After a few minutes, double check the jars to make sure the rings are as tight as they can be.  Label and store in a dark place and enjoy!


This is my Mother’s very favorite pickle. They are wonderfully crisp and flavorful and good as a

table relish or in deviled eggs, salads and sandwich spreads.

Yield: 7 to 8 pints

3 quarts thinly sliced cucumbers

4 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cut in ¾’ cubes (3/4 cup)

¼ cup coarse salt

4 cups sugar

1 ¼ cups vinegar

1 Tablespoon, 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seed

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 ½ teaspoon celery seed

  1. Combine all vegetables and salt. Cover with ice cubes and mix thoroughly. Let stand three hours. Drain well.
  2. Combine other ingredients and pour over vegetables.
  3. Bring to just boiling. Put in sterilized jars and seal. Chill before serving.





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