Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thats all folks!!

During canning season, life is a blur. There is time for nothing but the steady growing, tending, harvesting, and canning. There is no time to think or plan, you have to move automatically. You have to can from some instinct within you. Your life beyond preserving the years food, takes a distant second, and is only done when you have those rare moments when there isn't any work to do in the garden.

To some, given the current age of "convenience", this sounds like a complete useless waste of my time and efforts. "Why the hell cant you just run to the store and get what you need? It's a lot easier!" I hear this a lot! Mostly from folks who have never had the pleasure of looking at your plate at any given meal, and knowing every. single. thing. on it, is something you can look out your window and see where it came from, and know you worked right along side mother nature and the good Lord above to make sure it was right there for you and your family to enjoy, and be nourished from.

Given the current age of "convenience", this comforts me.

And then theres the fact that I want my children to actually know where their food comes from.
Hint: the "store" didn't make it.

I want them to know how to work and take care of the land and get out of it what they need, and put back what it needs. This is a concrete world and I want my kids to go out and make the most of it, don't get me wrong, but they need to know all about where we were before all this concrete took over. And how to get back there if they need to.

I say all that to say all this..................

The 2011 canning season is over.

Kind of bittersweet for me.

Im glad its over, cuz im friggin tired. I'm glad its over cuz this means we have food for the year. But I'm sad to see it go cuz outside is where I love to be working the ground and growing stuff.

But for now, we've tucked in our garden with straw, snug as a bug in a rug, for a long winters nap.
Thank you land, for providing for us this year!!

Sleep tight! 
Here is a shot of the cellar at the end of the 2011 canning season.

Directly across, are 3 shelves full of potatoes. Joe said he liked this picture cuz it was colorful! I like it cuz its peace of mind. 

I hope you guys had a great season!! I hope to see you guys again next year for more garden adventures!! Prob not so many canning posts tho. Sorry if ive bored you. But thank you for coming to share my adventures this year with us!! 

Now begins the knitting/crafting season! (and trying to get my Tupperware biz goin)Stay tuned for all kinds of nonsense about knitting or other crafts I come across...LOL Christmas gift posts coming up! And back to my HEXIPUFFING!!!!!  What are yall crafting for this year? 


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Jelly

Can you say...YUMMMY!

Apple jelly is one of (many) favorite jellies of mine.

But its touchy.

For instance. This year, I made 2 batches because the first one didn't jell, so now we have a batch of apple syrup. Do any of you guys know if I can use this stuff in other apple recipes like bread and cookies such??

Anyway, to make apple jelly, you need 6lbs of apples washed and cored. (Or you can run to the store and get you 6 cups of apple juice and skip to the cooking the jelly part.)

Then put around an inch (per batch) of water in a big pot and throw them all in to boil. When they get soft, put them through a sieve or juicer of some sort to extract the juice. 

However, if you dont have a juicer, I run them through my Roma with the smallest screen to get a juice with a lot of apple meat in it. Just to break it down to the smallest form before I run it through my jelly strainer.

This is where I get excited for 2 reasons:
One...we are almost done with the prep work!!!
Two...because this step takes so looooonnngggggg.......I can sit down and surf Ralvery or Facebook and have a sandwich or watch tv or knit something.....(would love reviews of a juicer and suggestions for a certain brand.)

The strainer is in the middle, and the bowl to the right is the product from the Roma getting ready to be juiced, and the bowl on the left is whats left after its been juiced. I keep it to make fruit rollups. 

......I'll be back, im going to go eat a couple bratwurst leftover from last night while this is draining........ 

When you get all the juice out you can, get the "meat" out and put it in the bowl and set it somewhere out of the way, or if you don't want to make something out of it, toss it.
Wash the sack and run the juice through again, just to make sure its just apple juice. 

When you're done with that, measure out your juice to make sure you have 6 cups. Put it in the pot you used to cook the apples after it has been washed and gather this stuff. 

This is one box of pectin and 1/2 cup of sugar per batch. I'm making a triple batch today. 

Open the pectin and stir it in with the sugar. Set it aside but keep it handy. This is to make it easier for you to stir it in the juice. 

Now measure out the rest of the sugar and put it in a bowl and keep it handy. How much you say?? Well that depends on your apples. As a general rule: I use 7 total cups of sugar per batch in my jelly. If you have extra sweet apples that year, use less. Have a taste while your cutting them up to see. This year, mine aren't as sweet as past years so im going with the full 7 cups per batch. Keep in mind, you're using 1/2 a cup of that to stir the pectin up with. 

I suggest you go here, scroll down to step 7 and check out his chart. This will give you options for sweetener and measurements for each. While your at it. He has quite a bit more information and options on making apple jelly, so have a look at his recipe. He also has canning supplies for sale if you need any. 

So when you have your jars, lids and flats ready, get your waterbath canner going and turn on the heat on your pot and stir in your pectin mixture.  When the apple-pectin mix has reached a full boil, (the kind that cannot be stirred away), and add the rest of the sugar (or other sweetener), and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. No less, just a little bit more if you have to. 

Put the jelly into prepared jars and adjust the lids. (I roped hubbs into helping this time) 

Put them in the canner for 10 mins and on the other side............

Straight out of the canner, this will look like apple juice. Give it 3 or 4 will see jelly, give it overnight and it should be ready to eat! 

Now where is my toast?? 


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hey Tupperware Lady!!!

Yes, thats right, I've started to sell Tupperware products now!!

I truly love this stuff and no one sells it around here. I hope to make a few extra bucks from online sales too! Actually most of my sales will be coming from online. You can even have a Tupperware party online exclusively!! How cool is that?!

I don't know more than a couple people around here and it just wouldn't make sense to get into it just for home parties. So I hope, with yalls help, I can make my online business successful!

Tupperware sells itself pretty much. My mothers mother had food storage containers and other cool gadgets from Tupperware! (I now have it...LOL) this stuff is awesome and stands the test of time!

So, everyone run to my page on facebook and like me (and then share) so you can see the latest deals in your feed like this deal we got running now.....good till November 18th so hurry!

And if you just wanna buy some stuff for Christmas gifts for you or someone on your list, either click on that cool banner over there on the right, or go here to my Tupperware website and order.

They will ship it to you directly so you don't have to be local to me and there isn't a middle man(me), I just get credit.

And if you wanna be a Tupperware lady too and get all kinds of deals and free stuff while you make a few extra bucks, friends and get out of the house every once in a while....Please let me know, I would love to chat with you about this opportunity for YOU! Even if you live across country from me.


Monday, November 7, 2011

"How to Make Juice" by my son

We home school my son, and his assignment for today was to write a recipe for whatever he wanted to make. So this morning, we were working on fractions and made some pancakes and we decided we wanted some OJ to go with the pancakes. You can see where this is going...

I'm combining writing, typing and communication arts all in one lesson here(if im wrong, please tell me), so my 8yo son did the typing for the recipe part. I made him write down each step as he was actually making the juice and then brought him in here to type it for yall. I made very little contribution to his recipe. This is (mostly) all his writing. He was not allowed to use spell check and I had set myself up to knit in the chair behind him while he was doing this to help if needed.

So If you guys will indulge my son and I, we present to you: A recipe for making concentrated orange juice. We would like for you to follow this recipe and provide feedback as to if the recipe works and if not, please let us know!! (and for all you teachers out there, I would like feedback on his writing ability, grammar , and your thoughts on this assignment.)

Concentrated Juice
1 can frozen juice
juice container  

1. Get juice out of freezer 
2. Open juice 
3. Put juice in juice container
4. Let thaw about 15 mins 
5. Fill juice container with 3 cans of water 
6. Stir
7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pork Chops and Applesauce

I got my applesauce done yesterday. But before we get into the how-tos, a little entertainment.....

I LOVE the Brady Bunch!!! I wish it was still on the air, among other shows....but that's another blog entirely.....I'll spare you my wishful thinking.

Back to the applesauce.

This year the apples are HUGE!! Check them out next to a pop can.

This is actually a good thing, it means less cutting per batch. 

Ya gotta figure out how many apples is in a batch ya gotta weigh them. 

Now, I dont have a proper scale, so this one sees a lot of action. Thats 2lbs in that scale!!! I need 6-7lbs per batch so we spent some time weighing and counting how many batches worth of apples we had so we knew how many ingredients we needed.

Then we got to washing and cutting.....

You need to quarter and core your apples, then put them in a pot with 4 cups water per batch, to boil and soften. Somewhere around 15ish mins. 

Then you take them out and run them thro a food mill of some sort. I'm using my Roma. Well, the child labor is....

The results of this is apple mush. You put it all back in the big pot and here's where you need your taste buds.

How much sugar you put in, depends on how sweet you like your applesauce, I used 1cup of sugar per batch this year, because I like tasting the apples more than the sugar. I have used up to 2 cups per batch though. It just depends on how sweet the apples are in that years harvest. You really have to taste every batch while your adding ingredients. Start out with the bare minimum, add from there. Throw in some cinnamon, taste it again, and when you've got it just right, bring it up to boiling, stirring a lot to keep from sticking. This is to dissolve the sugar, so after its brought to boiling, turn off the heat.

You now have applesauce!! GO YOU!!

Take it off the burner so it don't stick while your working with it, and put the applesauce in pints or quart jars. Around here, a pint of applesauce would last about 2 mins. As it is, a quart only lasts through one meal.

Then you put your flats and lids on, and put them in a water bath for 10 mins (both pints and quarts).

And on the other side of 10 minutes, you should have something like this........

Run to the freezer/store, grab you some pork chops and have you some.....

say it with me....