Tag Archives: jam

Rainy day play!

Last night we had a date, dinner and a movie. We were home fairly early, before 10 P.m. and the house was quiet. Daughter and family were away over night to a tournament for grandson. They will be back later tonight. The house was so quiet this morning, and the rain was falling on the metal roof, I was lazy. Once we did get moving, we did a breakfast out and a Farmers Market run to stock up and support the local farmers that did venture out in the cold mixed precipitation. We bought our week’s meat, scored some fresh spinach and bought 8 cabbage starts already hardened off and ready to plant.

Then we made the weekly grocery run for those things I don’t make or aren’t at the market yet. Off to buy another big sack of dog food for the pack of big beasties that live here, then home to settle in to the warm house and cook.

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First up was 9 cups of granola, son-in-law’s weekly supply for breakfast and snacking.

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Sour dough starter set to begin a week long ferment tucked into a back corner of the counter. Next weekend, it will be made into a couple of artisan loaves. I am trying out this route as I don’t care for the taste and texture of gluten free bread and wheat has been causing me some distress.

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A friend recommended this book and I am trying out his technique and recipe for the bread.

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Once that was started, I sliced up the 2 pounds of organic strawberries I purchased and made a batch of Strawberry Vanilla Jam from the current issue of Taproot magazine. Tomorrow morning, I will make their recipe for Oat Scones to go with the jam for breakfast.

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Four half pint jars processed for the shelf and a quarter pint plus a bit for the refrigerator.

Now two thick chops are cooking with onions. Soon the spinach will be lightly braised and brown rice cooked and we will dine like royalty tonight. 

 

Olio – June 27, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

The Raspberry jam salvage was a success.  It is spoonable, spreadable, and isn’t so sweet it makes me gag.  A win.  The wild Blackberries are so thick with fruit this year, I have a dilemma.  I don’t need any more jam.  My daughter who LOVES blackberry jam made a pantry full of Strawberry Jam when the berries were ripe in Florida, so she doesn’t need jam either, but I can’t resist foraging for blackberries on the farm.  I can freeze them and use them in smoothies, cakes, and cobblers, but we aren’t dessert eaters unless we have guests and then hubby would rather I make apple, lemon or pumpkin pie rather than cobbler.  What’s a girl to do?

The rain held off long enough for me to get everything that wasn’t hayed, mowed.  Jeff is coming a few times a day and hauling off 9 bales of hay at a time on his lowboy trailer pulled by the behemoth tractor.  There are still 45 bales to go.  The mowing was a priority as I am off to babysit for 5 days then bring RT and L back here with me on July 3.  We will send 8 chickens to freezer camp, hang a gate, watch fireworks, and feast for the two days RT is here, then he will catch a bus back home to be back at work on Monday.  L will stay with us for about 7 weeks of his summer vacation.

The teenager chicks are looking like I may not have to wait until August to get eggs from them.  Many of the girls combs and waddles are growing and turning red.  It won’t be long before I start seeing wind eggs in the coop and then pullet eggs in the nesting boxes as they figure the process out.

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They are hiding from the heat, the culls are dustbathing to keep cool.

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I dragged the chicken tractor to a new spot to give the culls something fresh for their last week.  Jim will be in charge while I’m gone.

The last of the spoiled bale of hay needs to be moved over to the garden and some areas remulched.  We had a chicken escape and they got in the vegetable garden and the new flower bed and made quite a mess.  Between that, some thin areas that are starting to show weeds, tomatoes and peppers tall enough to mulch around, I need to get that task done before I leave also.  I might actually welcome a rain shower while that is being done to cool things off a bit.  The garden is thriving, the kale is winning.

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The sink is full, the chickens got at least this much and there is plenty to take to Northern Virginia for them when I go up.

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First Tomatillo.  Can’t wait for a crop of them.

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The peas are almost done.  If I cool off enough from working out there, I will pick a meal’s worth for tonight.

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It amazing me how quickly the raspberries ripen.  I picked the bushes clean yesterday and treated myself to a hand full while I was weeding.  I save a hand full to have with my yogurt tomorrow.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

 

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.

 

It begins

I love this time of year.  The garden is producing, giving us goodness for dinner and extra to put away for the winter.  Today, the bulk of the peas were harvested.  Two hours of shelling, a meal enjoyed with some and after dinner, blanching, chilling, and freezing.  I would like to have at least twice what was harvested put away, but at least there are 10 meals worth of fresh frozen peas out of our garden to enjoy when the cold winds blow and the snows fall.

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I opened one of the jars of raspberry jam and I am so disappointed.  The jam is too sweet and somewhat gummy.  Hopefully, I will be able to harvest another quart or so and can try again using a low sugar recipe and get a product that I am happier with.  The jars I have can be used in smoothies or stirred into oatmeal, but there is no way I would spread it on homemade bread or biscuits.

I am lovin’ life on our mountain farm.