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Top of the Hill Tomato Jelly

3 c. diced tomatoes and their juice (even canned tomatoes, along with the liquid will work great) 

2 c. sugar

2 small hot peppers, finely chopped




Boil for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and place in sterilized jars. When cooled, place in fridge.



Now how easy wasn't that easy!


This is served on the side and goes great with black eyed peas, pinto beans, cornbread waffles, and meats such as roast, pork chops and pork loin.



****I cook mine on a slow boil the 12 minutes the recipe calls for and simmer it on the lowest temp. possible for much longer. Be careful and do remember it will thicken as it cools. Check for thicknest by placing a wee bit on a saucer, let it stand for 5 minutes. This will ensure that you don't reduce it too much. Do this often as you are simmering.  You want it to be jelly, not a butter, and you don't want it too awfully thick.  When it is served,  you should be able to drizzle it over your food, but still have the solid tomato chunks present.



I make this all year around, just 2 pints at a time. I use canned Delmonte Dice tomatoes along with the liquid in the can.  Whatever size can of tomatoes you use, that is how much sugar you will add.


****Cook this jelly until it has really cooked down. I usually cook mine almost an hour! You really want it to reduce, but you have to keep in mind that it will thickens as it cools, so don't go overboard with the cooking. And heaven forbid, don't let it scortch!


One other thing, you don't have to have fresh hot peppers. When I cook it using the canned tomatoes, I just grab 3 small peppers from my jar of pepper sauce, dice them very finely, and plop them into the tomato mixture. The cooking will bring out lots of hotness from those tiny peppers, you will really be surprised! 


Makes great Christmas gifts and what better than something from you kitchen that can be made so easily!



Strawberry Figgy Jam
I usually use fresh strawberries or even frozen ones that are not packed in syrup. But this year, I didn't have access to fresh strawberries and the Pig was out of the frozen kind I needed. I opted for strawberry jello.
I canned all the jam in these tiny little jars since I plan to include a jar of these in my Christmas packages. I hadn't placed the label on them yet, because these pics below were taken while the jars were still warm.
There was about a 1/2 of a small jar that wasn't left over, and that wasn't enough to actually process, so we ate that with biscuits for dinner that night.
These have a yummy strawberry/fig flavor, you can distinguish both fruits flavors here.  
3 c. fresh, peeled figs (mashed slightly)
2 c. sugar
2 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry Jello
1/2 c. water
1/2 slice lemon
5 (8 oz.) jars
Place figs in large pot ready for cooking. Pour boiling water over cut up figs. Let stand 15 minutes.
Mash figs, add sugar and bring to rolling boil. Squeeze in your 1/2 slice of lemon slice into the mixture and toss in the actual lemon slice.
Cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes. This will thicken and cook down a lot. After 20 minutes of cooking time, really begin to take notice of the amount you have in your pot. Don't allow it to reduced down too much or get way too thick.
 After cooking for the 45 minutes, remove pan from heat.
Remove the lemon slice and discard it.  
Stir in your jello and mix thoroughly.
 Pour into sterilized hot jars, leaving between 1/4 and 1/2-inch head space. Process in water bath 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size jars you have used.
*******You can opt to add all the ingredients at one time and cook everything at one time, including the jello. When you do this, you will only cook the mixture for 20 minutes, then after removing the lemon slice,  place jam in your jars and seal or process. I always process mine no matter which method I use when do the cooking. I just feel better about storing processed jams and jellies. At least when I know I will not be using them for several months.
****The flash made the color appear lighter than it actually is. The jam is very pretty, and it is a little darker in color than what is appears in this pic above.
Strawberry Perserves
For plump red perfect preserves, do not increase quantities in one batch
Pour boiling water over 2 quarts cleaned strawberries.  Let stand for 3 minutes.  Drain. Add 4 cups sugar, bring to boil slowly and boil 5 minutes, counting time after entire contents of pan are bubbling.  Remove from heat. After bubbling has stopped, add 4 more cups sugar and boil another 5 minutes.  Pour into pans to stand overnight.
Next morning pack preserves into sterilized jars and seal at once.
***If strawberries are very sweet, add 2 cups sugar instead of 4 cups for the last boiling. This makes the proportion 3/4 c. sugar to 1 c. berries instead of equal amounts.