Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pickle update and Peaches

The pickles are looking good.  We cut one last night and tasted and they are well on their way to yummy dills.  That said I really felt like the brine wasn't as heavy as I wanted.  So... I added salt and vinegar.

Recipe from the 2009 Ball Canning Book

10 pounds cucumbers
1 1/2 cups canning salt
2 cups vinegar
2 gallons water

3/4 cup mixed pickling spices, 2 to 3 bunches of fresh or dried dill, garlic (optional)

These should be ready to can in 2 to 3 weeks.  :-)

I personally just prefer a stronger brine.  I know both are tested and safe.

Last night was peaches.  18 pounds for $20.00  not a wonderful price but that is the price this year so if you want peaches you pay it...

I freeze my peaches - they taste just like fresh off the tree.

1 quart sliced peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fruit fresh

Stir together and let set for 10 min. so the sugar dissolves.  Put these into your freezer bags or containers and pop into the freezer.

(the recipe calls for 2/3 cup sugar but that just seems like too much, 1/2 cup is lots of sugar!)

These are wonderful in a pie or just in a dish.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Today was piccalilli.

Chopped and salted, let set to draw out juices.
Drain well - twist to get all the extra liquid out.

This is a little muslin bag for my spices.  Buy some muslin wash it and you have materials to make tea bags, spices bags, etc...

Vinegar, brown sugar and spice bag

It smells good in my house.

18 jars 

I will let these set over night so they are cooled and then I will wash them, remove rings and shelve.

If you would like to try Piccalilli too click HERE 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crock Pickles

What a wonderful time of year.  I pray that you are enjoying the bounty of God's blessings and putting by food for winter.

Last night D-i-L and I did crock pickles.  She was given a huge amount of wonderful cucumbers.  She gave some to her sister and then shared with us as well.  :-)   Cucumbers for three families that's a lot!

We decided to do fermented dills.  If you too have extra cucumbers you may want to try Crock Pickles too.

Preparing and Canning Fermented Foods

Dill Pickles

Use the following quantities for each gallon capcity of your container.
  • 4 lbs of 4-inch pickling cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp dill seed or 4 to 5 heads fresh or dry dill weed
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (5 percent)
  • 8 cups water and one or more of the following ingredients:
    • 2 cloves garlic (optional)
    • 2 dried red peppers (optional)
    • 2 tsp whole mixed pickling spices (optional)
Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard. Leave 1/4-inch of stem attached. Place half of dill and spices on bottom of a clean, suitable container. For more information on containers see "Suitable Containers, Covers, and Weights for Fermenting Food," . Add cucumbers, remaining dill, and spices. Dissolve salt in vinegar and water and pour over cucumbers. Add suitable cover and weight. Store where temperature is between 70ºF and 75ºF for about 3 to 4 weeks while fermenting. Temperatures of 55º to 65ºF are acceptable, but the fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks. Avoid temperatures above 80ºF, or pickles will become too soft during fermentation. Fermenting pickles cure slowly. Check the container several times a week and promptly remove surface scum or mold. Caution: If the pickles become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable odor, discard them. Fully fermented pickles may be stored in the original container for about 4 to 6 months, provided they are refrigerated and surface scum and molds are removed regularly. Canning fully fermented pickles is a better way to store them. To can them, pour the brine into a pan, heat slowly to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes. Filter brine through paper coffee filters to reduce cloudiness, if desired. Fill jar with pickles and hot brine, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process as recommended in Table 1 , or use the low-temperature pasteurization treatment described below.
The following treatment results in a better product texture but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage. Place jars in a canner filled half way with warm (120º to 140ºF) water. Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars. Heat the water enough to maintain 180º to 185º F water temperature for 30 minutes. Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180ºF during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185ºF may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Dill Pickles in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar Size0 - 1,000 ft1,001 - 6,000 ftAbove 6,000 ft
RawPints10 min1520

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lonesome already...

The kids are all moved into their new mountain home.   We went up overnight to help set-up and unpack a bit.   They are starting a wonderful new adventure.  We have loved having them stay with us.  And both Craig and I are lonesome for them already.

We will be heading north for a cup of coffee often I think.

This is one of their beautiful views.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Family Time

We are having family time.  My mom and DH's mom flew out together last Tuesday.  They will stay through this week and then head back to their homes in MI.  Neither had ever met the youngest of our grandchildren 3 years and 2 years. And they hadn't seen the older two in a long while either.  So the visiting has been going strong.  DH has family out here so we have had a real family reunion!!

We drove up to C&K's new to them house yesterday.  It is really a cool place!  They have a big country kitchen, nice living space, cozy bedrooms, great office, and that's only the downstairs!!!  The house is a big old country house so their is a full upstairs as well.  There are 3 unfinished bedrooms that will need some TLC but so cool!!!  A great finished 'huge' bedroom with private bath and then a sewing/crafting room that has an entire wall of built in cabinets.  They will have so much fun up there.

The camp itself is wonderful!!  We hiked around the main developed areas.   A beautiful place.  What a GREAT place to raise children!!  

So all is well at our house we are just very busy right now.  

I am headed to the garden as the kale is ready to be cut again.  The cabbage can wait a bit longer, the tomatoes are coming on nicely too.  
I pray God's richest blessing upon you as you go about your day.
a little bird

Thursday, August 8, 2013

WICK Omnibus!

WICK Omnibus August 10th Release

Wow!!  You can now get all four Wick books in one.  The WICK Omnibus!  

The W1CK series is an apocalyptic thriller.  It is beautiful and haunting, action packed and poignant.
 Mr. Bunker's writing style is captivating.    The plot draws you in and holds your attention as you are introduced to the different characters.  Mr. Bunker paints them very vividly, showing you their wisdom and imperfections. 
I was drawn to the characters and their fate.  

This omnibus is available August 10th.
So if you are looking for one last great summer read I would recommend this book.
I believe it will cause you to pause and think and challenge you to take an inward and outward look.
a little bird

“An Epic Story of Hardship and Survival”

Praise for WICK

“…WICK has rocked my world and shaken everything inside me…”
Michael Bunker goes way beyond writing a popular thriller: he clearly has a literary agenda, making the W1CK series so rich and so deep you could analyse each and every page and write a whole book about it. I guess you'd have to call it W1CK1P3D1A.”
“…The writing is excellent. We need more Indie writers like this … Michael's writing changed my perception of this life quite a bit. I hope it does the same for you.”
“ …The characters are richly constructed …. The prose is easy to read and the story develops smoothly. I can't wait to find out what happens but I don't want the story to end! “
“ …combines the best of Sinclair Lewis and James Howard Kunstler in a truly great read that will both engage you and challenge you to think- and choose wisely.”
 “ ….Mr. Bunker has managed to write a carefully crafted and extremely, disturbingly believable piece of fiction about the modern human condition.”
Exciting, riveting and compelling story… Highly recommended reading…”
 “ …So glad I took the plunge and got hooked on this thrilling series! Characters that are personable. Settings in vivid detail. Couldn't wait to move on to the second book!”
“…I was kept guessing at every turn of this book. I love how this story becomes rich and alive in my mind without being tedious or over-written. He tells you just enough to keep you engaged, but doesn't overwhelm with detail.”
“…It had me fully engaged from page one.”
“…Great fiction with a lot of realistic probabilities. Not your typical end of the world doomsday thriller.”
 “I love Michael's way of writing and the subjects he writes about…. “
 “… packed with great characters, suspense, philosophy, and thought-provoking ideas.”
“…will have you reading non-stop into the wee hours of the night and will leave you gasping for air.”
 “Ok, this book has me on the hook… I very rarely read fiction but this outing by Michael Bunker has been terrific. … Buy it for yourself and your friends.”
“This was the most intriguing book I have ever read. It started out to be a journey and ended up with nail biting, edge of your seat conclusion. …What a rush this was.”
 “ … The writing is gorgeous, tactile, vivid, with a plot yarn that unfolds a landscape beautiful and terrifying.”
“I was engaged in the story from the start - something I've missed from many other authors from this genre recently. Nice to see some real literary talent and wit in this genre.”
 “A compelling story that is beautifully written. Each sentence simply melts into the next. Michael Bunker has a gift for awakening the imagination. …”
 “You can't go wrong when you have fiction with excitement for the brain AND heart. Combine that with the lurking knowledge that many elements of this story could be off the fiction backburner and onto full heat reality very soon, and, well, it all adds up to one I could not put down.”
 “I found it to be a captivating use of the English language. Packed with well written, thought provoking mental imagery.”
“…I could hardly put it down. Read in two sittings. Like eating a beautifully prepared, delicious meal when you are really hungry, eating so fast, scraping every speck and morsel from the plate…”
“ … Michael Bunker draws you in with his beautiful imagery and storytelling. I have a feeling I'll be following this author for some time!”
 “The twists and turns keep coming. This is an excellent read. And the kindle version is so inexpensive that you would be foolish not to read it.”
“ … Entertaining and thought-provoking. Can't wait to get my hard copy because you never know if the power will go out.”

“…I literally read it in one sitting because I could NOT PUT IT DOWN. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars.”

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Beet Pickles

This is the product of yesterdays endeavors.  

We did 48 pints of pickled beets.  It was a good day of putting food by.
a little bird

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mint Cordial

Have you ever made mint cordial??  It is wonderful!!

1 1/4 cups mint leaves (peppermint or chocolate mint)
1 1/2 cups sugar
Use a pestle or something to crush and bruise the mint and sugar to a paste.  (we used the bottom of a heavy tumbler)
Pour 1 cup boiling water over and stir well.  Allow to cool completely, then strain into a sterilized bottle. Store in the fridge.

You can add 2 or 3 drops of green food coloring if you would like.  Without it is a drab olive green color which is pretty too.  We opted this time to add the food coloring as you can see.

We had a rain storm come through two days ago and as you can see the windows haven't been washed since... :-o

We weren't willing to just toss those beautiful mint leaves so we used them to make some iced mint water.

The mint will infuse the water and be a refreshing drink for our busy day.

D-i-L and I will be pickling beets today.

They are ready to pick and our family loves beet pickles.
Have a great day~
a  little bird


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