Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Judging at the Fair and Putting By

I love this time of year!!!





Today I had the pleasure to judge at our local fair for Home Arts.  My area was canning, dehydrating and honey.  Beautiful home products were brought in.

We had wonderful group of gals and great questions were asked.  What do we look at? What are the criteria?, etc.

Well just in case you wonder as well what we use as guidelines, here are a few.

  • Is it a standard canning jar
  • Is it a standard canning lid
  • Is the jar clean (not sticky or residue on the jar or rim)
  • Is the jar labeled: contents, date, processed how and time
  • Was the correct processing method used (hot water bath, pressure canner, correct time processed)
  • Was it a USDA recommended recipe
Then after that...

  • What does the product look like.
  • Is it uniform in size
  • Is it uniform in ripeness
  • Does it hold it's shape (if that pertains)
  • Is the liquid clear or murky
  • Is there sediment in the bottom of the jar
  • Is the headspace correct for the recipe
  • And then there are additional items if it is jelly, jam, conserve, butter: consistency, thickness, etc.  
It is great fun and I'm always so pleased to see the lovely produce put by by such talented people.  

That was my morning so this afternoon I came home to get some of my own 'putting by' done.  

We lost two branches from our peach tree (very sad).  I didn't want the peaches to go to waste so I left them outside to ripen on the picnic table.  They were small but still tasty so I decided to make peach fruit leather with them. 

So I pitted them, whirled them in the blender with a vitamin C (which is ascorbic acid to prevent browning), some spices, honey and a little splash of water.  That is now out in the dehydrator.

I also had purchased some meat for the weekend that we didn't use.  My freezer is getting full. So I decided to can my meat.  I have nine pints in the pressure canner right now processing.

If you too would like to can meat, it is really easy, go HERE to the National Center for Home Canning Meat.  

That has been my day of judging and putting by.  I hope you are having a beautiful time harvesting the seasons' bounty as well.
a little bird

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's a Boy!!!





We have our 6th grandchild and, It's a Boy!!!  We love everyone of our sweet grand-babies for sure.

But have to admit we were all excited to have this sweet baby boy join our family. #2 son and wife named this sweet young fellow after his grandpa; Craig is still walking in the clouds.

God has blessed us with 5 beautiful granddaughters and now this sweet grandson.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Homemade Bread

I have been trying to come up with a catchy title for this bread.
BFF Bread - Best, Fast, and Fabulous Bread
DHF  Bread - Dear Husbands Favorite Bread
FFE Bread - Fantastic Fast Easy Bread
...
But whatever you call it it's easy, fast and fabulously good bread (EFFG Bread)

3 cups bread flour*
3/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water, tap water, lukewarm

In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients, add water and stir to mix.  You're just stirring to get all the flour incorporated into the water.  The dough will be sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap and let stand on the counter for 8 to 18 hours.
(this stood overnight - it is all bubbly and yeasty smelling - that's a good thing)

Use spatula and stir down. Remove from bowl to a floured parchment paper (you could use floured wax paper as well).  Shape with floured hands into a ball on the parchment and let stand for 30 minutes.





While that is resting heat your oven to 450 degrees.  Heat your baking dish right in the oven too.
(I normally use a cast iron pan it's a deep pan, but I have used a glass round casserole dish too.)


when the 30 minutes is up place your bread paper and all into your hot pan.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake 5 to 15 minutes more depending on your oven.  I bake 8 minutes uncovered to get a beautiful golden brown loaf.



* You could use all-purpose flour as well.  If you do I would add  1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.

This is a wonderful loaf of bread.  And so very fast and easy.  It takes a max of 5 minutes to stir the dough up.  I leave it over night to be baked in the morning or stir it up in the morning to be baked to go with supper.  My DH loves this bread and asks for it often.  My kids like it as do the grand-kids.  What an easy crowd pleasing recipe.
a little bird


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Homemade Croutons

Homemade Croutons

We went out to the garden this morning and picked some beautiful leaf lettuce, kale, and fresh dill.  Washed, spun, and mixed; smells so good.  But it needed a bit more to 'fancy it up'.  So homemade croutons were in order.



I have some buns that need to be used up so I cut them up into 1" cubes or there about.
Then sprinkled with with spices and drizzled with olive oil.

6 cups, approximately, day old bread, cubed
Sprinkle with:
Parmesan cheese, 3 to 4 tablespoons
Salt
Freshly ground Pepper
Dash of Garlic

Drizzle with olive oil - 1/4 cup or a bit more if needed.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes - watch them - you'll know by color when they're done.


They are wonderful!

a little bird

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Strawberries

Today DH and I ran to town for some groceries.  Our local strawberry farm shut down some years back.  The parents had run it for years and decided it was time for them to retire, but their children didn't want to take over... so there you go, no more local strawberry farm.  So now I watch for strawberries at Costco when they come in.  Today was the day.  $7.49 for a gallon.

I bought four gallons. Three gallons became Strawberry Jam.  I did the cook kind so I didn't have to have  pectin.

2 quarts crushed berries (trust me this took the whole gallon)
6 cups of sugar
mix and bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.  Once boiling, continue to boil fairly fast, for 40 minutes. Pour in to your clean jars and process. 15 minutes at sea level, 25 minutes at my altitude in a hot water bath canner.

The last gallon - some is for eating fresh but I also wanted to try this.  I'm storing it in the fridge so it's safe.




The berries are all preserved.  The kitchen is clean again and the dishes are washed and put away. It's late and time for bed.

Happy canning!
a little bid

Friday, June 3, 2016

Dehydrator is busy!

I have been harvesting herbs and drying them for use throughout the year.

I have picked the chamomile three times.  Clipped two bushel of mint, two jars of onions, and dried my oregano and cilantro as well.. 



Chamomile for tea.




Apple Mint also for tea.
Mix the dried mint and chamomile for a wonderfully relaxing tea. Both hot or poured over ice after brewing for a summer heat refresher.
I like 2 parts mint to 1 part chamomile. 


Walking Onions
I love these chopped in my freezer but they are also wonderful for the dehydrator.  Once completely dried to brittle, they store on the shelf in a glass jar.  Anytime I need some onion in soup, I just toss in a handful.  They are full of flavor and such a great addition.


Cilantro 
YUM - I love cilantro.  In salsa, taco soup, guacamole, and the list goes on and on...


Oregano 

Great spice for Italian cooking but I have also used this as a tea if I am feeling under the weather. 

The leaf lettuce is up and so are the radishes so our garden has begun to give us summer's bounty.

I hope you are all well and busy 'putting by' the harvest.
a little bird







Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring


 
 
Spring is here! 
The trees are in full bloom and if we don't get a real cold spell we should have apples and peaches come fall.  The blueberries are getting ready to flower as well as the sand cherry.  DH has the gardens and all the beds tilled and has started to plant.  The daffodils have died back the tulips are in full bloom and the hollyhocks are a good foot tall.  The walking onions and the chives are ready for harvest.  The peppermint and cilantro are up and the chamomile is coming too.

Friday we moved the bees to their mountain home for the summer.  The hives are large and we need to get them split.  Hoping for a good honey year.

I love all the seasons; fall is my very favorite but each new season is a blessing and I am feeling blessed by spring.

Wishing you spring blessings as well.
a little bird

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Oranges

We are having our family gathering New Year's Eve.  It was the time that worked best for all of us.  So yesterday evening I decided it was time to start some of the fixing and doing.

I have made these in the past and they were wonderful!  I thought it was time to make them again.







I wasn't willing to just toss the ends.  I could have dried them for tea but it's Christmas so I thought something more festive was in order.

Candied Orange Peel




Peel your citrus and cut into strips.  I like about 1/4".
Put in a sauce pan and cover with water bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
(this removes any bitterness in the rind)
Drain
Make a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.  Place over med-high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the citrus rind and cook until translucent (about 10 minutes).
Drain 
(reserving the syrup it's infused with the wonderful citrus flavor use it elsewhere)

Put the peel on a rack to drain and dry to tacky, roll in sugar and lay on parchment or a rack to dry completely.  When dry store in an air tight container.

This is absolutely wonderful!!!



Happy New Year!
a little bird



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Canning Potatoes

Photo by Mick Telkamp


We were given a large bag of potatoes in early November.  We have eaten potatoes, we have shared potatoes and there was still a good amount of potatoes in the bag.

Reds don't store as well as russets so it was time to do something with them or loose them.  Today was the day.  Honestly I thought the job would be monumental - but in truth it wasn't.

I washed the potatoes, peeled them, chunked them into  ascorbic acid and water solution to prevent darkening, boiled them for 10 minutes and then packed them in my quart jars and pressured canned them for 40 minutes.  How to home can potatoes.

I have 2 canners  full, 14 quarts, and enough for supper tonight left over.  I think that worked out well.  Now we'll be able to continue to enjoy those beautiful potatoes gifted to us through the winter.



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lemon Cream

This just looks wonderful. I think I need to try this today. It is very cold here -3 this morning and I think a high of 10 so this would be a good day.


 

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