Posts Tagged With: Homemaking

 
 

Keeping Hope Alive

I am here 

and there

and it feels like a little bit of everywhere these days.

I celebrated surviving the seven month postpartum depression risk zone, just in time to welcome the changing seasons, and the associated seasonal affected disorder with another major life altering decision. Our little family moved halfway across the country!

While this has been something we have been longing to do, the work necessary to bring our dream into reality has been a bit overwhelming. Add to that my unwillingness to allow any admonitions of stress, and you have a recipe for complete and utter exhaustion. In fact, by the time we arrived at our wonderfully quaint little cabin, I was about to tuck tail and run the nearly 2,000 miles back home!

Deep Breath

After a couple of weeks adjusting to the elevation, isolation, and lack of communication (yes, there are still such places in the US, thank God) I began to settle into our new age homesteading lifestyle. My property manager has been a delightful source of inspiration with her frequent gifts of fresh fruits and veggies from her back yard. I made my first apple pie from scratch, with apples from her trees. I was going to post the recipe with pics, but the pie was devoured before I could think to snag a photo. Quite a testament to the value of home made baked goods, as well as an ego boost to boot.

Yesterday we experienced a little taste of autumn, as some cold, grey wet blew in to tone down the  summer. We enjoyed staying cozy with some fresh potato soup and beer bread. However I was reminded to savor the remaining days of sunshine and stock up on my omega oils and vitamin D3.

Best of all, our son has seen some local wildlife along with giant trees and more flora than he has yet to experience in his citified origins. 

Here’s to remembering to enjoy where we are, while we are there!

Advertisements
Categories: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Plentiful Peaches

What better way to celebrate the on coming summer heat, than with some homegrown fruit? A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to get an invitation to learn some preserving techniques in exchange for relieving my friends of some of their surplus fruit. A win-win situation if you ask me;) With my mother there to help with my son, (he’s active enough now to be a little bit too helpful in the kitchen) I got a full afternoon of peach prep and preservation information. This was the real deal, can’t buy the book on this kind of knowledge, from a woman who began her love-hate relationship with the peach when she was a little girl peeling peaches on her grandparents farm.20130622-105227.jpg

20130622-105252.jpg

Above are a couple of pictures capturing the glory of our friend’s urban peach tree at peak performance. The zoom shot was taken by her lovely 3 year-old grand daughter, and is leaps and bounds better than any of my photos.20130622-105335.jpg

When making preserves or jam (we decided to make jam rather than preserves, which retain more whole fruit pieces), you can utilize the hard, almost ripe fruits alongside the really ripe ones. This will give your jam a little bit more consistency. You can even press the peels to make peach jelly, but two batches of jam and some brandied peaches were enough work for one afternoon.

Rough Recipe:

5 lbs peaches (peeled and quartered)

6 cups sugar (Crikey! Next year I’m gonna try Tera Warner’s Raw Jam Recipe)

*1/4-1/2 cup water (this is optional depending on how juicy your peaches are at prep time, a little extra liquid can prevent them from burning)

1. Place peaches and water in a large pot and set the stove to about med-high. Bring the peaches to boiling and then stay on a high simmer for about 30 min-1 hr. You want to cook the peaches until they stop foaming.

We aren’t exactly sure about the reasoning behind the foam or why you want to cook it off. The closest guess we could muster was that it is a chemical reaction related to the acidic nature of the peach. (I would love to hear something more scientific from any of you chemists out there:)

2. Once the foam has been boiled down, it’s time to add the sugar. Lower the heat again to around med-low, so the jam just barely simmers for about another hour. (I can’t be sure on time b/c I had kind of zoned out from all the hypnotic stirring action at this point)

3. After you’ve lowered the heat, and burning is less likely, you can go ahead and sanitize your jars and lids. This is as simple as placing them in boiling water for a minute or two. Be sure to check the lids for any nicks or irregularities that might compromise a secure seal.

4. When the jam has thickened up a bit and looks and smells divine, pour immediately into your sanitized mason jars or other glass containers and gently place the flat piece of the lids on top. As the jam cools you’ll hear the lids “pop” into place as the cooling liquid creates a vacuum within the jar; which signals that the lid is now safely sealed and ready to be tightened and stored.

Below is a pic of a few of our finished products. The first batch came out a rich caramel color because I wanted to experiment with turbinado sugar, which is supposed to be less processed than the traditional variety. (Now I’m hearing that’s debatable) The turbinado also lent a slightly richer, almost caramel flavor to the jam.

Yield: about 16-20 small jars, 8-10 large jars

Nutritional Info: So delicious I don’t want to know, lol, but at least there’s some phytonutrients in there, right?

20130623-083944.jpg

This last picture is of some brandied peaches we made a smaller batch of as well. And you can see us removing sanitized mason jars from the pot of boiling water with tongs in the background.20130622-105615.jpg

So far we’ve enjoyed our jam with hot biscuits and challah bread, mmmmmm. Plus we’ve been indulging in fresh peaches and cream and dousing our pancakes with the extra brandied peach syrup. I think maybe I’ll try modifying my raspberry bar recipe to make a peach variety next, as well as some peaches and cream popsicles.

Anybody else have a great peach recipe they’d like to share? I would love to hear them!

Categories: sugar plums & gumdrops | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.