Bermudiana Flower

Bermudiana Flower
Bermudiana Flower

Monday, 7 November 2016

Halloween & Homemade Orange Jam

For Halloween, we don't get any Trick-or-Treaters in our neighbourhood (which saves me a bit of money) but I like to decorate for the occasion in any case, yet I didn't want to spend more than $20 (my Halloween budget) in decorations, so this is how I did it...

At virtually no cost to me... being very thrifty...

On the walls, I printed out a couple pages of different sized 'monster' feet images I found on the internet, cut these out and taped these to my walls in the entrance way and hallway.
Cut out paper monster feet decor taped on walls
I also printed out 12 small Halloween clip art pictures and a skeleton hand image I found on the internet, which I cut out and stuck to a piece of printer paper to make a clock and taped this to the wall.
Cut out Halloween clip art for numbers and taped to paper to make a clock, with skeleton hands
My mom and I usually but 1 or 2 magazines a month to share and read (I deliver them to the hospital waiting room once finished for others to enjoy) so I cut out 4 Halloween photos from one of the October magazines and taped them to the corners of my mirror at the front entrance.

I stuffed a spooky clown mask (we've collected about a dozen masks and a few costumes over the years) with newspaper and rested it on my entrance table.

We have red, green and blue table cloths (I use blue year round mostly, and red for October, Green for November, and Red for December) so I put the red table cloth on the front entrance table.

We've received three wine candles as gifts from people over the years - one large wine candle (like a real sized wine bottle), one medium wind candle and a pack of 6 little wine candles - so I put the two smaller ones on the table as well for added decoration.
Front entrance table and mirror Halloween decorated
Then, at a cost of about $19.00, I was able to...

Fill a small dish with a handful of mixed Halloween candy (not even $1.00 in cost - my mother bought a huge back of mixed candy for $13.00 for us all to share - for multiple uses to share with the kids at the bowling league where I volunteer, for a bowls of goodies at the art center where my sister works, some for our home, and some for my sister's home - she get's trick-or-treaters).

Buy 8 balloons ($5.00), blew them up and hung them in pairs around the house with ribbon which I already had.
Halloween orange and black balloons
We also found on the Saturday before Halloween a discounted wall decor banner discounted at $2.25 (was originally $7.00) which we purchased and taped to our entrance wall.
Halloween plastic banner taped to wall
Plus, I bought a bag of tiny oranges for about $8.00 (some are already eaten and gone LOL) and put them all in a bowl to go along with the orange/pumpkin color/theme but to also consume later, so it wasn't a waste of money.
Bowl of oranges for table decoration at Halloween
Lastly, I purchased a $2.50 plastic Halloween table cloth to cover my dining table and laid out some masks we had already, as decoration.
Plastic Halloween table cloth with masks laid out on it for decoration
With all of these things, we managed to make a great effort at decorating simply but inexpensively and it looked great without a lot of effort and time.

Now that Halloween is well over, today I've decided to make Orange Jam with the left over oranges for us to eat through the week.  We will only have enough oranges to make a small/medium jar of jam and as it will be eaten over the next week or so, I won't have to add in any preservatives or boil any jam jars.  I'll just use a freshly hot washed jar and lid and put the jam in the fridge until we've eaten it all up.

The recipe I'll use is going to be really easy - I do prefer SIMPLE recipes...

My Basic Quick Homemade Orange Jam (should be refrigerated and consumed in about weeks):-

4-5 oranges
1 tsp orange zest (optional, you can double this if desired)
1 1/2 cups of warm water (cold water can be substituted for warm water)
1/2 cup of sugar (optional, you can halve this, add more if desired, or use none at all)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional, not essential but helps with thickening)

20 small oranges for the jam

Wash the oranges really well.  I peeled all the oranges we had left in the bowl from Halloween (the ones you see above), and removed the outer skin and the inner white stringy bits and the seeds (I had about 20 tiny 1.5" oranges, which equalled about 5 large oranges).  This preparation takes a bit of time - perhaps 20 mins.

I grated about a tsp of the orange peel from a few of the oranges to add some zest and tartness to the jam.

 I put the oranges and zest, plus any juice remaining in my plate while slicing them up, into a greased medium sized pot on the stove and boiled it for about 20 minutes over medium heat, mashing them up every minute or so, stirring them regularly, to make a pulp.
Zest and oranges in pot on medium heat, starting to mash them to make a pulp
Next, I poured in the warm water and sugar.  You can use cold water if you like but I like to use warm water.

Note: I did not add in the lemon because I wanted a thinner, more liquid, pure orange jam but I do add a squeeze of lemon (about a tablespoon) in my jams usually.

Stirring and mashing every minute or so, I let the mixture boil on a medium heat for 30 minutes - this allowed a better pulp and reduced the liquid a bit in order to make a jam consistency.

Mashing and stirring the oranges every minute, really well, during the first 30 minute boil process
The sugar must be all dissolved.  Don't over boil - you'll make the jam too thick because it hardens as it cools.  You'd prefer it to be more liquid than solid if anything - this part takes trial and error and after doing a few batches you'll know when to turn it off and get the right consistency you like.  If you take it off the boil and let it sit for 10 minutes, check the consistency - if it's still too liquid, put it back on medium heat for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Boiling during 2nd 30 minutes, having mashed and stirred them each minute during the process, to make a good pulp

Jar of homemade orange jam ready to be refrigerated and consumed
I washed a re-used jar and lid I had in my cupboard already.   I washed it with hot soapy water, then rinsed it before pouring the jam into it (you can store it in anything you have with a lid that can take heat and be refrigerated).  I put the jar of jam in the refrigerator - ideally you'd want to consume it within the next two weeks.

Some ways to enjoy this jam is to put it on bread, toast, crackers, spread it over the top of some cheese (brie, cream cheese, any soft cheese will do), pour a couple spoonfuls on top of vanilla (or your desired flavor) ice cream, put a dollop on garden or chef salad, pour a few teaspoons in with a bowl of fresh fruit, or even heat it up and mixed in with some cooked chicken (in a skillet or baked in the oven, cooking them together).

Enjoy!  Cheers, B.

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