Biscuits and Jampionship

Food Sport just got sweeter! The Jelly Queens are bringing a new ancillary competition titled “Biscuits and Jampionships” to the World Food Championships (WFC) in Dallas, Texas. This online recipe contest will qualify ten talented cooks to compete for a sweet cash prize at the world’s Ultimate Food Fight in October at Reunion Tower Lawn. 
How to Enter:

  • Submit your best biscuit and jam recipe by emailing it to donna@thejellyqueens.com between July 16 and August 18.
  • In addition to emailing your biscuits and jam recipe, you are required to mail two jars of your jelly recipe to [Address you want them to mail the jam to] by August 18.
  • Please note: You do not have to be registered to compete at WFC’s Main Event to enter this contest.

How Will the Contest Be Judged?

  • Local E.A.T.™ certified judges will conduct a small judging event at The Jelly Queens’ facility to review all recipe submissions and determine the ten finalists that will compete at WFC in October. The Biscuits and Jampionships’ finalists will be announced on September 2.

The ten finalists will face off in the Biscuits and Jampionships competition on Saturday, October 19 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm in WFC’s Kitchen Arena at Reunion Tower Lawn. 
Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $2,000 in cash and five cases of their jelly/jam produced by The Jelly Queens. ($2,600 value)
  • 2nd Place: $1,000 in cash and four cases of their jelly/jam produced by The Jelly Queens. ($1,500 value)
  • 3rd Place: $500 three cases of their jelly/jam produced by The Jelly Queens. ($900 value)     

For a full list of rules, email donna@thejellyqueens.com.

SUBMIT YOUR RECIPE:

Sugar and Spice and everything nice…

WHY DO THE JELLY QUEENS USE ORGANIC CANE SUGAR??

THE BENEFITS OF ORGANIC CANE SUGAR

When it comes to added sugars, which ones are okay? Read on…

All sugars should be consumed within healthy limits. While organic cane sugar is much better than white and brown sugar it would be a very prudent move to consume it in conservative amounts. The American Heart Association recommends that men do not exceed their daily limit of 9 teaspoons (about 150 calories) of extrinsic sugar. Women on the other hand should not consume more than 6 teaspoons (100 calories) of added sugar a day.

In terms of availability, versatility, convenience, texture, price, eco-friendliness, and nutrition the best substitute for the ubiquitous white sugar is perhaps organic cane sugar. Organic cane sugar is unrefined sugar minus the cancer-causing and environmentally damaging pesticides present in conventionally grown sugarcane. Compared to white sugar, organic cane sugar has the full-bodied taste of sugarcane and is much less processed, retaining a lot of the nutrients present in cane juice. Unrefined cane sugar contains 17 amino acids, 11 minerals, and 6 vitamins, including antioxidants that may help reverse oxidative damage. It is made up of sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Table sugar is just sucrose and calories, plus traces of chemicals utilized in the refining process such as lime, sulphur dioxide, and phosphoric acid. Organic cane sugar is not like brown sugar, which is white sugar with molasses thrown back in.The light color of organic cane sugar is comparable to turbinado or “raw” sugar, a sign that it is less processed compared to other wholesome sweeteners such as muscovado and molasses. The closer the color of the sweetener to fresh sugarcane juice the better.

ORGANIC IS BETTER FOR YOU AND THE PLANET !

Jelly Lessons #10 – History of Preserves

History of Preserves

The first recipe for jam appears in the first known cookbook: De Re Coquinaria (The Art of Cooking) which dates from the 1st century AD. In its simplest form, it was soft fruit heated with honey, cooled and stored. In the Crusades, warriors brought back more complex concoctions from the Middle East. Jam’s popularity as a delicacy – rather than just a way to eat fruit – took off.

Joan of Arc ate quince jam before going into battle as it was said to filled her with courage. Nostradamus loved the stuff so much he wrote an entire treatise on it, including a love-potion version that, if passed from mouth to mouth, would strike a woman with ‘a burning of her heart to perform the love-act.’ (Presumably this wouldn’t be the same woman who had slaved for hours over a scalding hot stove, praying desperately for seven different batches of it to set.)

The tale goes that marmalade was invented when Mary Queen of Scots was suffering from sea-sickness (Marie est malade, in the fashionable French spoken in court at the time). Her doctor whipped up a concoction of orange peel and sugar which cured her ailment immediately. It’s more likely, however, that the word comes from ‘marmelo’ – the Portuguese for quince. Sailors and pirates stockpiled jam on board their ships as it became clear that Vitamin C prevented scurvy. Meanwhile, Louis XIV was so passionate about it that he insisted that every meal be finished with jams served in special ornate silver dishes. All of his was made from the fruit gardens at Versailles.

But large-scale jam production did not become possible until the discovery of pasteurization. In 1785 Napoleon Bonaparte offered a reward to anyone who could find a way to preserve large quantities of food for soldiers. It was Chef Nicholas Appert, who worked out that boiling fruit at high temperatures and then sealing in airtight containers kept food safe. Louis Pasteur validated these empirical findings in the next century.

Immigrants to the US brought their own recipes with them, the first book on making jam appeared in this country in the 17th century. Early settlers in New England used other ways of making jam, using molasses, honey and maple sugar to give it the sweet taste. They used pectin obtained from boiling apple peel to use as the thickening agent.

In the early 1800s in the United States, the country was experiencing a surge westward. Of the many legendary characters to emerge during this period was John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. A nursery-man from western Pennsylvania, Chapman walked through the Midwest planting apple orchards. His purpose was to provide crops for the coming pioneers.

One of those pioneers was Jerome Smucker of Ohio who used Chapman’s apples to open a cider mill in 1897. Within a few years, he was also making apple butter. Smucker blended the apple butter in a copper kettle over a wood stove. He and his wife ladled the apple butter into stoneware crocks. She then sold it to other housewives near their home in Wayne County, Ohio.

Fifty years earlier in Concord, Massachusetts, Ephraim Wales Bull finally achieved his goal of cultivating the perfect grape. His rich-tasting Concord grape became enormously popular. In 1869, Dr. Thomas Welch used the Concord grape to launch his grape juice company.

In 1918, Welch’s company made its first jam product, Grapelade. The entire production was purchased by the U.S. Army and shipped to France for consumption by the troops during World War I. When the troops returned to the States after the war, they demanded more of this “Grapelade,” and it was produced in quantity. The company’s trademark Concord grape jelly debuted in 1923.

During WWII in the UK, there was widespread anxiety about a shortage of food. The Women’s Institute came to the rescue. A government grant in 1940 gave them £1,400 to buy sugar for jam. As a result, 1,631 tons of preserves were made in more than 5,000 ‘preservation centers’ in farm kitchens, village halls or sheds. They were largely made by volunteers, under the guidance of the Ministry of Health. 5,300 tons of fruit were preserved between 1940 and 1945.

To appreciate today’s gourmet jam and the artisans that create it. One must look to the past and understand it’s journey from the Kings and Queens who regaled in its delicate creation, the settlers who relied on its nutritional value and sustainability, to troops and sailors that utilized the quick energy jam would provide them during battle.

 

Jelly Lesson #9 – Texas Back Road

Nothing like a Texas back road to free your spirit!

We have had a wild month since the last posting. The Jelly Queens were 1 of 100 food companies invited to Slow Food Nations in Denver. So we spent a month  making every kind of jelly, jam, marmalade and preserve we could! Once I started out for Denver I decide that in Texas it did not matter which way you went, cause all roads lead to beautiful countryside…

precious little towns…

and the best skies ever. (‘Cept I think this one is on the edge of New Mexico!)

Slow Food Nations is such a cool organization. Good. Clean. Food. Which is what The Jelly Queens make. There were classes taught by great chefs, fabulous dinners and lunches, and a tasting market with some of the best food in the world. And we got to be included.

 

To get prepared we poured on the jelly making! Got peppers and rosemary from the  “We Over Me Farm” at Paul Quinn College and… 

tomatoes from Green Gate Farm, eggs from my favorite chicken farmer, Lisa Robertson and got busy! We made Rosemary Salt and Sriracha Salt, Peach Pepper Jam and Lemon Lavender Curd and 16 other summer flavors including…

Red Horn Brewery’s House United Coffee Stout Bacon Jam!

Amanda, Cameron, Adam, Jennifer and I got to stay in a house that was built in 1847! We love Denver and plan on spending a lot more time there in the next few months! Thank you! Denver for welcoming us and Thank you Slow Food Nations we are honored to have participated and look forward to more great events with you !

Jelly Lesson #7 – Brix Readings, and What They Tell Us and Why They Matter When Making Jelly!

Brix Readings, and What They Tell Us and Why They Matter When Making Jelly!

A Brix reading measures the sugar, mineral and protein content of the fruit. So letting it ripen is really important for both flavor and health!

Brix – A unit of measure used in the refractometer.  When the Brix reading is divided by 2 it will be equal to the percent of crude sucrose in the plant tissue.

Refractometer – A device used to measure the refractive index of plant juices in order to determine the mineral/sugar ratio of the plant cell protoplasm.

Refractive Index of Crop Juices are calibrated in percentage of sucrose or degree of Brix.

During the growing season it is possible to check a plant for percent sucrose.  A refractometer is easy to use.  You will need something like a garlic squeezer for juicing the plant sample.  To make a reading, place 2 to 3 drops of the liquid sample on the prism surface, close the cover and point toward any light source.  Focus the eyepiece by turning the ring to the right or left.  Locate the point on the graduated scale where the light and dark field meet.  Read the percent sucrose (solid content on the scale).

The refractometer measures in units called Brix.  The Brix equals to the percent of crude carbohydrate per 100 pounds of juice.  The higher the carbohydrate in the plant juice the higher the mineral content of the plant, the oil content of the plant, and the protein quality of the plant.

For example, if you were to have 100 pounds of alfalfa that has a Brix reading of 15 it would mean that there would be 15 pounds of crude carbohydrates if the alfalfa was juiced and dried to 0 percent moisture.  By dividing 15 by 2 it tells us that the actual amount of simple sugar would be equal to 7.5 pounds.

Crops with higher refractive index will have a higher sugar content, higher protein content, higher mineral content and a greater specific gravity or density.  This adds up to a sweeter tasting, more mineral nutritious feed with lower nitrates and water content and better storage attributes.

Crops with higher Brix will produce more alcohol from fermented sugars and be more resistant to insects, thus resulting in decreased insecticide usage.  For insect resistance, maintain a Brix of 12 or higher in the juice of the leaves of most plants.  Crops with a higher solids content will have a lower freezing point and therefore be less prone to frost damage.

Brix readings can also indicate soil fertility needs.  If soil nutrients are in the best balance and are made available (by microbes) upon demand by plants, readings will be higher.

You will find that when the phosphate levels in the soil are not up to what they should be, the sugar in the plants will vary from the bottom of the plant to the top.  In other words, the Brix reading at the bottom of the plant will be higher than the top of the plant.  The better the phosphate levels in ratio to potassium the more even the Brix reading will be all over the plant.  Also the better the phosphate levels in ratio to potassium the less fluctuation there will be in the brix reading in any given 24 hour period.

You will also note that when you are looking into a refractometer you will sometimes be able to see a very sharp line which is very easy to read, while at other times it may be a very hazy line and not well demarcated and so difficult to read.  The very sharp and dark and easy to read line means the crop is lower in calcium and higher in acid.  A very diffuse and hard to read line tells one that the calcium is higher and the acid is lower in the plant.  This is why a lower Brix reading on a plant will actually taste sweeter when there is high calcium than one that may have a little higher Brix reading and a low calcium.  The available soluble sugar is what gives taste and sweetness to food.  The more calcium in the crop along with the sugar, the sweeter the taste even though the Brix reading will be the same on two samples.

Source:  Frontier Labs, Inc; Biologic Ionization as Applied to Farming and Soil Management, Beddoe.

 

Jelly Lesson #6 – Guess what! The FDA determines if you can call your product jelly or jam!

More Jelly 101:

Guess what the FDA determines if you can call your product jelly or jam!

The Food and Drug Administration has “Standards of Identity” which have been in place since 1940 for what constitutes a jam or a jelly.

Interestingly enough, the current standards are based on the housewife’s formula that even pioneer women used when making their own jams and jellies — approximately half fruit and half sugar.

Following are definitions of the terms:

Legally in the USA – jelly is a clear, bright mixture made from fruit juice, sugar and often pectin or acid. No less than 45 pounds of fruit must be used for each 55 lb. of sugar. Must contain at least 65% Brix in the finished product.

High-fructose corn sweeteners are used interchangeably with sucrose due to the benefits each brings to different product formulations. Originally, cane sugar was used exclusively. Its use can be traced back to the 16th century when the Spanish came to the West Indies where they preserved fruit.

And jam is a thick mixture of fruit and sugar (and often pectin) that is cooked until the pieces of fruit are very soft and almost formless — the texture of a thick purée. It is also made with 45 lb. of fruit solids combined with 55 lb. of sugar. Must contain at least 65% Brix in the finished product.

A preserve is almost identical to a jam but preserves can contain large chunks of fruit or whole fruit. It is made with 47 lb. of fruit solids combined with 55 lb. of sugar. Must contain at least 65% Brix.

A conserve is much like a preserve but usually contains more than one kind of fruit and often nuts. No “Standard of Identity” exists.

A marmalade, on the other hand, is also like a preserve but contains some amount of fruit rind, usually from a citrus fruit. No “Standard of Identity” exists.

Fruit spreads such as those that have surfaced over the last 15 years, do not fall under the jelly or jam “Standards of Identity”, hence the generic name “fruit spreads.” These products are usually made with fruit juice concentrates or low-calorie sweeteners replacing all or part of the sugar. No standard of identity exists, and they are less than 65% Brix and legally cannot be called jelly, jam or preserves.

A fruit butter is a spread that is made by cooking fresh fruit with spices until it becomes thick and smooth. Fruit butter has a FDA “Standard of Identity”, and must be five parts by weight of fruit to two parts by weight of sweetener (72% fruit, 28% sweetener). Must contain at least 43% Brix.

Jelly Lesson #5 -The Jelly Queens’ Code of Ethics

The Jelly Queens’ Code of Ethics
As The Jelly Queens members, we have the responsibility to our planet, our community, our  company and our customers.
We hereby agree to:
*Create the best food products possible using organic, earth friendly, environmentally sound, fair trade and sustainable ingredients.
*Maintain the highest standards of business conduct by using only legal and ethical means in all business activity.
*Actively promote and encourage the highest level of integrity within the specialty food trade.
*Be fair, equitable and respectful to competitors, customers, the public, and all business or professional relationships.
*Adhere to honesty in advertising and in all representations to the public concerning specialty food products we manufacture, import, distribute and/or sell.
*Treat all customers and suppliers honestly, fairly and objectively.
*Commit to the development and use of the highest standards and practices for the marketing and sale of our food products.
*Observe all applicable state, federal, foreign or international laws and regulations pertaining to the production, processing, labeling, handling, importing,
distributing, promoting and selling of specialty food products. To comply with all required licenses as they pertain to the food industry.
*Provide a safe working environment.
*Avoid any unfair or deceptive practice and always present our products and services in an honest and forthright manner.
*Be responsive to and available for customers before, during and after the sale.
*Provide proper, fair and reasonable service to customers including, but not limited to, after-sales service in accordance with best industry practices.*
*Refrain from discriminatory practices in dealing with our employees, providers and customers.
*Respect the rights of others concerning their intellectual property such as patents, copyrights, art work, trademarks and trade secrets and, if any innocent breach occurs, promptly address and rectify any such breach.
*Never comment on a competitor’s product without a good faith basis or need for such statements.
*Never make false statements about competitors.
*Make a full and frank disclosure to customers of all material terms of any agreement with them.
*Comply in good faith with contractual obligations.
*Maintain adequate commercial general and product liability insurance.
*Never pay any bribe, kickback or other corrupt payment in any form directly or indirectly to or for anyone for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or obtaining any other favorable action, nor offer or extend any gift or entertainment that is illegal, known to be in violation of the rules of the recipient’s organization, or likely to result in a feeling or expectation of personal obligation on the part of the recipient.
*Act in a manner consistent with, and make every effort to uphold this Code of Ethics.
*This Code of Ethics does not set forth all aspects of good conduct and ethical behavior.
*Acceptance of, and adherence to this Code is a condition of membership.
If you would like to become a Jelly Queen, please write the Queen Mum at Donna@thejellyqueens.com !

Jelly Lesson #4 -The Rules of Jelly

 

The Rules of Jelly

1. There shall always be jelly in the fridge. ALWAYS

2. There is no food that is not made tastier by the addition of jelly. Jelly make great BBQ, salad dressing, icing, pizza – the list goes on and on – ask me for recipes!

3. There are two kinds of people in the world:
Those who like jelly.
And.
Those who will be used as fodder in the case of a zombie apocalypse.

4. There shall be no jelly discrimination – savory, sweet, tangy or tart all can be life altering.

5. Jelly has zero health risk – zero fat and only make things easier – where do you think the saying “I am on a jelly roll” came from…

6. Meals with out jelly are rarely worth eating

7. Thou shall always consume jelly on the Sabbath, the Mondath, and the Tuesdath and ….

8. Since it is found in very country on the planet and everyone has a favorite flavor – clearly Jelly makes life better.

9. Watch out for the Banana Crack (aka Banana Nut Bread Jam) – it is not only the best jam on the planet – although it is organic – it is addicting.

10. The Jelly Queens’ will always take care of your jelly needs… we have over 200 flavors!

Jelly Lesson #3 -10 Ways to use Jellies, Jams and Preserves

10 Ways to use Jellies, Jams and Preserves

 

#1 Add Preserves to BBQ Sauce – Our slow-cooked ribs call for something sweeter: The Jelly Queens’ Peach Pepper Jam or Six Pepper Jelly. Our luscious ingredient pair with bottled chili sauce and a little brown sugar to create a perfectly fruity sauce.

#2 Spread Preserves on Flatbread The Jelly Queens’ savory jellies add a bright, poppy flavor to any golden flatbread. Our jams thick texture is perfect with rich Brie and crunchy red onion.

#3 Make Doughnut Cake with Jelly Jelly and jam doesn’t just belong in doughnuts. We add a dose of The Jelly Queen Four Berry Jam to the filling and soft vanilla cake, then spread extra jelly in a heart shape to top things off.

#4: Add Jam to Frozen Drinks For an extra-fruity frappe, one of The Jelly Queens berry jams, Strawberry Black Pepper or 4 Berry with creamy berry gelato, then top with broken chocolate bars for that delicious fix of sweetness.

#5: Slow-Cook Chicken in Jelly Make your chicken thighs pop with bold flavor by slow-cooking them in The Jelly Queens Six Pepper Jelly. A squeeze of lime juice and pinch of brown sugar gives ’em a refreshingly sweet twist.

 

 

#6: Blend It into SmoothiesCreamy peanut butter and The Jelly Queens’ Groovy Grape Jelly make a fantastic (and easy as ever) PB-and-J smoothie. Just blend the unbeatable duo with plain Greek yogurt, milk, and a banana.

#7: Use Jam in Cookie Batter These darling little cookies switch it up and use The Jelly Queens’ Cranberry Pom Sauce, Blood Orange Lavender or Pink Lemonade Marmalade to make their batter sweet as can be. Dress them with icing with match fruit zest.

#8: Dunk Chicken in Jam Pretzel-coated chicken legs may sound weird, but dunk ’em in The Jelly Queens’ Black Garlic Rosemary Sauce and they’re an instant favorite and dip away for a sweet-and-tangy finale.

#9: Slather It on Savory Sandwiches Sweeten up your savory sandwich with a spoonful of one of The Jelly Queens’ savory jams. We smear the jelly on Italian piadina or any flatbread and add salty prosciutto, tangy Gorgonzola, and fresh arugula.

#10: Cook Meatballs in Jam Grab a jar of The Jelly Queens’ peach, grape or our sassy apple fig jam and bottled barbecue sauce venture to the slow cooker in this so-simple party recipe. Just toss in frozen meatballs and jalapeno smoked sausage, then let ’em soak up the sweet-and-smoky goodness.