Easy Entertaining with a Charcuterie Board

When the book club of ladies come to visit- a charcuterie board can give everybody something they can enjoy. Fresh cheeses, fruit, crackers, olives, pickles and nuts. I also like to throw in some chocolates, jams and honey to bring it together. Crowd pleaser.

Start with your cheeses. Odd numbers are good. So three or 5 in a variety. I have a nice cheese ball of dried cranberry and herbs pre-made and centered. A firm but creamy gouda sliced and then a marinated mozzarella. Be creative and make it varied. This was a tray for 5.

After placing your cheeses. Fill in tight with your meats. I buy a simple prepackaged variety already sliced. Get a pack with four or more choices. Fold the larger cuts to fan around the cheeses and easy access for individuals to enjoy. Bring in small vessels of sizes of jams, olives, pickles … ect. Honey I placed in a creamer pitcher and added a honey comb server. So cute!

Add your fruit to fill in gaps. Then tuck your variety of crackers and breads about the platter. Add crackers right before serving so they don’t get soggy or soft. Add your utensils and plates and stand back to appreciate the masterpiece. You want lots of utensils so no double dipping and individual plates. Its always so Delicious!!!


Memories In A Jar Of Jam

Fresh picked from the back porch

As a kid- we spend the hot summer days playing in the creek, jumping on the huge inflated tractor tire tube or hanging on the porch eating grapes. The hot sun would sugar them so nicely and that sweet aroma would surround you. Dirt under our nails never slowed us down- delicious. So when my brother offered a bucket from the family porch- I instantly went to work capturing that in a jar for winter.

I cant say its difficult. Having the right tools is key and having it all ready to go because hot jam is well, hot. So you dont want to be scrambling for items during the process.

Items you need.

Washed and dried jars, sealing lids and rings. A good fine mesh drainer. Potato masher. Ladle that can take hot liquid. High temp large spoon or spatula. Canning funnel. (Mine is a antique from Jasons grandmother) large pot to water bath. A smile and 1 hour.

5 cups processed fruit- after cooked down so about 8 cups shucked grapes rinsed well and no stems( I think shuck is the right word)

7 cups sugar. Yep. I wont say more.

1 cup water

1 pack of surejel brand pectin. Keep it easy

Fresh picked and ripe. to ripe will have to much sugar content and affect your set. If it smells like wine- you missed your chance to jam. Make wine!
Rinse well after shucking from stems. If you miss some – the strainer will catch later.
Cook fruit w 1 cup water at a low boil for ten minute until you see it breaks down and really smells vibrant. Stirring often.

Strain over heat resistant bowl and mash fine pulp and just through strainer. Discard skins, seeds and other items.

Measure 5 full cups pulp and liquid back to clean pot. Add pectin. Bring to rolling boil. Add sugar. Bring to a rolling boil that wont stir down. Set timer 1 minute at this hot continual boil. Then take off heat. Skim off foam. Ladle into hot jars. 1/4 inch from top. Seal with lid and ring. If you preheat jars in oven. (225 degreed) and hot water bath lids You dont need to water bath seal. If not- water bath 10 min.

Grammas canning funnel.
I like to heat jars in oven and handle with car. Super hot. This is a trick learned from Jasons Mom Ann. It creates a hot seal immediately and bypass water seal. I only do this w Jam.
Only big jars- small ones were hard to find. So I made 5 good sized jars of heaven!

Follow the sur-jel instructions and have fun. Its so nice to have good jam in the winter to top your toast and take you to a summer memory.