Tag Archives: fruit

I Didn’t Think I Would Get Here

With all of the awayness last month, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated that I was so far behind that I couldn’t catch up. The grass was tall, the stick weed invading the hay fields, the apples, Asian Pears, and tomatoes ripe. Applications were due. My chickens were disappearing daily to a red tail hawk.  Usually, I can take one step at a time, but this time, I just couldn’t see an end in sight.

Jim stepped in and hopped on the tractor, mowing more than half of the fields in need of attention.  I like riding the tractor, like mowing, so I did get on it a few times, mowing the areas around the house and around the trees.  I mowed the smallest west field, the one with the rock bar.

After a couple of days at home where I awoke disoriented, wondering which bed I was in that night, I finally got a good sound night sleep and the rest allowed me to start tackling the problems at hand.  I came up with a solution to keep the hawk out of my chicken runs, harvested a 5 gallon bucket of tomatoes and got them canned along with the ones in the freezer as diced tomatoes and pasta sauce; harvested apples and made applesauce.  The weekly supply of peaches was made into sweet chili sauce.  The quart of ground hot chilies, mostly habeñeros, was made into hot pepper sauce and all of the applesauce, sweet chili sauce, and hot pepper sauce canned, labelled and making their way to the root cellar shelves.  Another harvest of tomatoes await preparation into sauce.  The Asian Pears still need to be harvested and made into Ginger Pear Conserve and pear sauce, but I now look forward to working on them in days to come.

saucy  Filling shelves applesauce Drygoods

Now that the applications for fall shows are in, I need to make a few batches of soap, but that too is something I look forward to doing.

Another task that was on my plate, was making a gift that I had started twice, undid twice, and finally decided that I would not even unpack my spinning wheel until it was done.  Daily work on it has rewarded me with a gift that will be finished within a few more days.

The shelves are filling for a winter of good food.  The fields are mowed, and it has been dry for about a week, so the grass is not growing fast enough for me to watch.  I am feeling good about our efforts.

 

Salvage

Each evening as I harvested the day’s produce and eggs, bringing in a half to a full cup of raspberries, I got more frustrated with the results of my batch of jam.  The new berries were put in a wide mouthed pint jar and frozen, new ones added each night.  The original batch so sweet and so gummy that it didn’t even work well in a smoothie without melting it first.  Today’s harvest of berries filled the jar plus a half a cup or so.  After some research from various cookbooks, homesteading books, and the internet, I decided to see if I could salvage the batch.  Again, down came the pots, the jars and lids.   The original 6 jars were warmed slightly to thin the sickly sweet goo.  The new fresh and frozen berries crushed in the bottom of the jam making pot with the potato masher.   Once they were beginning to cook, the first batch was added back to the pot with a quarter cup of water and a good splash of lemon juice and cooked til a gel test on a spoon showed a product that jelled but didn’t clump.  The re-canning in clean jars with new lids has been done.  The now 7 jars have all given the satisfying pop as they cool, so they are all sealed.  The new process was less frothy looking and the foam easier to skim, so the jars are a pretty ruby color throughout.  After they cool and I can do a tip test, I will see if I have 7 jars of jam or 7 cups of raspberry syrup.  Hopefully, when I open one, I will have a jam that is spreadable.  It tasted better when I checked it.  When my peach jam didn’t jell (my fault for using old pectin), I bought liquid pectin and it seems to give a thicker consistency jam which I don’t like.

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If any of my readers out there have jam recipes for low sugar (not artificial sweetener, I can’t use that stuff), or have found a good source of recipes for low sugar jams, I would love to have it.  It is counter intuitive to  me that most jam recipes call for sugar equal to or more than the amount of fruit.  That takes a healthy product and makes it unhealthy.