Pectin and fruit questions

I read your posts this morning on the Pectin and the Cider and had a question. After we can that Pectin following that Cider recipe, how long will the pectin be good for?

Got a couple of fruit questions too, we were blessed enough to get several fruit trees at some unbelievable prices. 4 Elberta Peach, 1 gala Apple, 1 Jonathan Apple, 1 Santa Rosa Plum, 2 Kiefer Pears, 16 Blueberry Bushes (2 different varieties), 14 thornless Blackberry Bushes (2 different varieties). The Berry Bushes, believe it or not were $1.00 each and are in gallon pots. All were 1 to 1 1/2 foot tall (not counting the pots). We have hard clay for soil. After we dug our holes, we added some potting mix and peat moss to each and then put a good 3 inch layer of cypress mulch around the base of each plant/tree. My questions are, is there anything else we need to do, to prepare these new plants for winter. We live in Central Alabama. Also, what should I feed them in the spring? We have access to horse manure right now and just started a compost bin.

From Alabama

Jenny, your pectin, once canned, is good for years and years. You got a real steal on your fruit! Good for you. Be sure to water your trees and berries until freezing weather hits. (If it doesn’t freeze tight in your area, give them a drink once in a while all winter.) In the spring, mulch them out to the drip line (trees) and around your berry bushes with rotted compost and manure. Do be sure your manure doesn’t contain hay that comes from a field that was sprayed with herbicides to kill weeds in the hayfield. Those chemicals can kill your garden plants and trees, too. Fortunately, this practice is not yet widespread. — Jackie

Ground meat jerky

I want to make some ground meat jerky. I have conflicting recipes, however. Some say to bake in the oven first, then put in the dehydrator and dehydrate, while some say to simply use the dehydrator. Do you have a preferred way of doing it? I’d love to get your recipe.

Sarah Axsom
Natchitoches, Louisiana

I just use the dehydrator or my oven with the heat turned down as low as it goes. Mine goes down to about 160 degrees. I do several different flavors and really don’t have one recipe I use exclusively. Here’s a start for you, though. Remember that the marinade is just that; it has nothing to do with the keeping ability of the jerky.

3 lbs. ground, lean meat
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder or one clover garlic, crushed
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. salt

Mix this well and either use a jerky gun (very cheap and really makes a nice product) or form meat into jerky-sized strips about 1/2-inch thick. Briefly lay the strips on a paper towel to absorb extra marinade, then lay another on top of the meat to absorb any extra from the top. Place in your dehydrator at 145 degrees. When your jerky is nearing doneness, raise the temperature of your dehydrator to 160 degrees and finish it at that temperature. Dry until it is leather-like. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. (In the “old days” people dried their jerky to stick-like dryness, which took real effort to chew. But it kept without refrigeration. Modern, flexible jerky won’t keep long at room temperature without getting moldy.) — Jackie