Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Red, White and Blue at the Warren County Fair

I won't keep you in suspense -  I've won a ribbon for each entry in the Warren County Fair! How exciting and surprising. I'm so glad I took a chance.
First place and a blue ribbon for Chunky Mustard Pickles and for Apple-Mint Jelly. Second place and a red ribbon for Pineapple Marmalade and for Peach-Jalepeno Pepper Jelly, and third place and a white ribbon for Plum Jam. 
I'm really proud of them all.  The prize winning recipe for the pickles is in the previous post about Van Vorst Park Farmers' Market.

Second Place for the Peach-Jalepeno Jelly.
Each jar was displayed with the entry tag, recipe and the comment card. Judge's comment for mint-apple jelly, " sealed well, color and taste excellent, make some more".
That was my first time making herb jelly, a little challenging, but worth it. You can use other herbs too.
Here is the recipe, from the Better Homes and Gardens Canning special interest magazine, 2011, page 106
Mint-Apple Jelly
  3 ounces fresh peppermint leaves
  3 cups fresh apple juice
  1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  1 pkg, 1.75 oz, powdered pectin
  4 cups sugar
1. Wash, cut and measure 1 cup mint leaves. 
2. Simmer the apple juice and mint together for 15 minutes. 
3. Strain, reserving the juice, and discard the leaves. 
4. Combine the flavored apple juice, lemon juice and dry pectin in a large pot. 5. Heat to a full boil and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve completely.
6. Return to a full rolling boil for 1 minute.
7. Remove from heat, skim foam, fill jars to 1/4 " headspace and adjust lids.
8. Process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes, timing when the water boils.
Yields five 8oz jars.

The Concession stand and the Rides behind it.
The Warren County Fairgrounds are about five miles north of Phillipsburg NJ, and the fair is noted for its hot air balloon "inflation". It also features all the usual fun attractions of a county fair: carnival rides, strawberry shortcake; farm animals; quilts; pig races; beauty and baby contests; tractor races, vendors and community organizations, and something new to me "Polish-style hamburgers".There is so much to see and do and a lot of effort is put into it.

A girl and her goats.
I'd like to thank Becky Hummer, of the Warren County Rutgers Cooperative Extension office, consultant for the canning exhibits, who helped me fill out the paperwork and kept my opened jars an extra day so I could pick them up. Exhibitors who enter 5 or more items received a week long pass, and I wish I lived closer so I could take my son-in-law and my grandson to the competitive hay bale rolling and the 4 wheel drive truck pull. Maybe next year...

Next weekend I plan to enter more jams and pickles in the Middlesex County Fair in East Brunswick. Can this city girl win some more ribbons? 

Oh, you definitely want to check out this great article on canning, southern style, in the August issue of Southern Living magazine. Looks like a lot of fun and some new twists on traditional recipes, as well as a quick 3 step description of how to can and properly process your jars. I've been invited to make corn relish and tomato marmalade; and mango jam and Indian pickles; and zucchini sott'olio, sounds like a good time for a party?


  1. Congratulations on your ribbons! I entered things for the first time in the Middlesex County Fair this year and am dying to know if I've won anything. I didn't enter any canned goods, but next year definitely will. If I'm already making preserves, why not enter them, right? Good luck to you!

    1. Thanks for writing. Let us know what you entered and I hope you did well!

  2. Hi Joan! Is there any way you could add a way I can contact you by email, to your profile page? I have a question about your winning Chunky Mustard Pickles and Mint Apple Jelly. I will check back here again soon. Thanks!

  3. Hi Dana, How can I help you?