Friday, October 24, 2008

Canning, Canning, ALL the day...

give oh giiivee away!! ( Sung in tune to the primary song of Give Said the Little Stream)

Doesn't it always seem like the more you can, the more you end up giving away? Like you have to share the bounty, you know?

Yup, that's what I've been doing the last little bit here ~ ok, the last MONTH or TWO ~ besides homeschooling, Cub Scouts, acting classes, ballroom dance classes, chickens, friends in need, husband's web-site needing re-designed & added to.......oh yeah, and somewhere in there... household management, dinner, & from time to time... sleep.
So, yah wanna see what I've been up to? The fruits of my labor & all that jazz?

This lovely red gem is crabapple syrup. It can be used as either waffle & ice-cream topping, or as sweet & sour sauce for Asian dishes, such as fried rice, egg rolls, won ton, & etc. It has just enough bite to make you smile, but not enough to make you grimace. ;-D

Here is a representative sample :-D of some of the other things I have been canning ~ the small jar with the white ring ( yes, I remove my rings, I just didn't yet with the pic) is plum jelly from my plum tree out back ( 6 gallons worth). I also did plum syrup & plum jam. (About 10 gallons worth.) The pink-ish quart jar is crabapple/apple butter. (We call it pink applebutter ~ sorta like pink lemonade... it has a tang, and it's a good one :-D, & we did 3 1/2 gallons worth.) The next quart jar is regular apple butter ( 4 1/2 gallons). The pint jar is grape juice, from grapes out of my mother's garden, & it is absolutely HEAVENLY!! (Thank you Mom!, we got over 10 gallons out of those grapes!) And the bag is full of plum fruit leather, of which we did 7 huge cookie sheets worth! (Can you tell we were swimming in plums this year??!!)

This is pumpkin soup, which I made from fresh baked pumpkin ~ I also baked up & froze another 5 gallons worth of pumpkin mash. This was great, because every year for Harvest Fest, they hire Wood Genius to do a ~power tool carving demonstration~ on pumpkins. This year we did 6 pumpkins, but the weather was so bad, we only got to give one away before they shut down the whole event. It was blizzarding, and later that day we ended up with 5 or 6 inches of snow!

And do you see the tomatoes sitting on the counter there? Well, I ended up canning the mostly red ones into stewed garlic tomatoes, & the green ones I made into this absolutely LOVELY green tomato salsa verde! Well over 15 gallons on the tomato homefront! WHEEWWW!

Here are the stewed garlic tomatoes, in my pantry storage room.

And here are the other jams & jellies that I have canned. Those few with labels are jams that I canned over at the church cannery. There is peach jam, blackberry jam, raspberry jam, & strawberry jam.

And although you can only see the edges, those huge cannisters are holding about 800 lbs of wheat. (Thank you Mom & Dad, they worked perfectly, rather than dumping the wheat into them, we put them in bag & all, that way we can get out 50 lbs. at a time without risking the entire cannister of wheat.) We still have a few hundred lbs more of wheat to get, & I have actually thought about getting enough cornmeal to fill one of those cannisters, as well as one of sugar, one of oats, & one of beans. I already have about 50 lbs + of each of those, but I should get some more.

And I have been thinking about getting at least one or two more bags of chicken feed, sort of waiting for it to go on at least SOME sort of sale at the feed store.

Our last act of winter preps? We also logged about 5 cords of wood, 2 on the front porch, already blocked & split, and 3 cord out back, in 8 ft lengths. (It's harder to grow legs & walk away in stacked 8 ft lengths ;-D).

Today the tree-house tree ( it's an old Dutch Elm!) shed almost every single leaf in one large leap of faith that winter would soon be upon us, so we raked all the leaves onto the gardens, as a mulch till spring.

So far the ladies (read...My haven't slowed down one bit in their laying, in fact, they seemed to have finally geared things up, we are now averaging about 7 eggs a day. I'm so proud of them!! Believe it or not, we really go through the eggs, too. I think there are only 4 in the fridge right now. No, not 4 dozen, just 4. But we know there will be 7 more tomorrow.
I love my ladies!!

(ARRGGHH ~ it looks like these last 3 pics won't show all the way unless you click on them ~ sorry ~ don't know how to fix it.)

Here they are, with a little bit of that 1st snow still left on the ground.

And this is our newly updated locking system, as it wasn't toddler-proof before. And now it is. :-D

And here you can see that one of the stacks of firewood in the background of the pic, as well as the final resting place of the chicken arc for the winter. It is close enough to be easy to tend to in the winter, it should gets lots of sun, and once Wood Genius & I raze the rest of the garden, & put the extension run on the backside of the arc, it should serve nicely for the ladies. Plus they will be busily scratching & chickening for the greater benefit of my garden come spring. :-D


Kim Ayres said...

So do you have your own labelling system so you can sell them at markets?

Holly G said...

i love it! it's like your own little homestead :). you're a busy girl carol. ;). we're going to try crabapples, now. I've set tomorrow aside for apple sauce and apple butter. Have you tried pear sauce? Divine :). Did you use a steamer for the grape juice? Carol--it all looks delicious. You are a domestic goddess, it's true.

Tracy said...

Wow, you canning queen!! I'm impressed I've never canned anything I freeze a lot though like applesauce, jam etc.

Sister He said...

Wow you are self-sufficient -- even without me sending the juicer like I was supposta -- sorry bout that -- I should have told you on the phone about our weekend away. I'm still going to send it to you, so please don't hate me permanently. Love ya -- sister He (like on the periodic table)

twinshiner said...

Hey Red,
would ya' share your recipe for the Cranberry syrup??? priddy pea's. It looks wonderful. I didn't can as much as in years past, but we did try out a bunch of new pickle recipes. I found one we have fallen in love with. It's for a relish made out of radishes that is very reminiscent of horseradish sauce.
Thank you for adding my blog to your list of links!!! That was such a nice surprise when I came to check out what you've been up to. Maybe now that canning season is at an end, we will both be able to write more.

Lawanda said...

Wow, you guys are workers!!! SO do you use the wheat for making bread or what? And I take it that it keeps well.

My mom's chickens haven't slowed down a bit either! I haven't had to buy eggs all summer or fall, and we use a lot too!

Lawanda said...

Oh, I meant to say how very pretty all your jams, jellies, butters, and tomatoes look in their jars!! :)

Stephanie said...

this is pretty impressive carol. you look like you've been busy! :)So, i started my blog again, you should check it out sometime...

twinshiner said...

Hey Red, do you do anything with persimmons? I've got a bumper crop this year and they're extra good. Looking for different recipes--any ideas?

thE toKen aSian said...

Hey just checkin in on all my cousins- how are you, besides Busy?
Looks like all i well.
Take care,

redhead83402 said...

ok ~ so I am AGAIN ever the delinquent blogger ~ AND comment answerer ~ but I am putting forth the whole *homeschooling kids* as the excuse again. As it happens, it's a pretty dang valid excuse. ;-D

Kim ~ it is a labeling system, but I don't sell them at market ~ more's the pity ~ mainly due to my familys tremendous rate of consumption. They are avid consumers of all things Momma-made.

Holly ~ yes, we did use a steamer for the grape juice, in fact for most all of it, simply because it processes so very well that way.
HAHA on the domestic goddess ~ although, I WOULD go so far as to say, I bet I could take Martha Stewart any day! :-D (Just because she's done jail time, and I HAVEN'T,lol, hmmm ~ maybe that makes her tougher....naahh.. she did SOFT jail-time, her roomies were Paris Hilton types.)

Tracy ~ I freeze a lot too ~ in fact, sometimes I just get too lazy, process my fruit or veggies to a certain point, then freeze them, for later, when I can use the heat to help heat up the house. I think I have some rhubarb from like 4 yrs ago, lol, still waiting to be processed. That's better than the meat we rousted around in the back for, turned out it had been in there since just after my 10 yr old son was born....tasted ok....with a LOT of seasoning... AND some serious slowcooker time. ;-D

Hestercita ~ Sis o' mine ~ no worries, anyway, this way I was able to justify a Nutri-Steamer, lol. You can send the juicer still if you want, but it's no longer a desperation issue. And since when have I ever hated you? NEVAHHHH~ dahhhlink, NEvaaahh. ;-D

Twinshiner ~ ok, sorry this took so long, I feel massive guilt, something akin to my sis's forever hate guilt ( though not QUITE that bad). Here is the recipe for the crabapple syrup ~ for every 1 gallon of juice, add 3 to 6 cups of sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp vanilla, & 1 tsp (teaspoon!) salt. If you like things sweeter, with a heavier syrup-iness, go with the 6 cups of sugar. If you are all about less sugar, 3 is minimal amount you can get away with. If you taste it, & 6 cups just doesn't seem sweet enough for you, by all means, add some more! The only thing that can happen with adding more is that it gets a little sweeter & thicker. Boil it till it visibly thickens ( at 3 cups sugar it will still be QUITE thin.) If you want to can it, it needs 15 minutes in the water bath for anyone under 1000 ft above sea level, 25 minutes for anyone OVER 1000 ft above sea level. If you are going to make it into a sweet-n-sour sauce, I reccomend adding a tblsp of fresh/ bottled minced ginger & 1/4 cup of Aloha Shoyu soy sauce, it really adds that extra zing, tastes better than the restaurants! That can be added just prior to serving, I wouldn't can it with the ginger, just because I like the ginger fresh, & I like the versatility of the basic syrup. I hope this is what you wanted, & I'm sorry it took me so long to respond ~ don't hate me forever, eh? :-D
oh yah ~ and about those persimmons, I have heard that you can actually make quite a lovely persimmon jelly from them, if you have a juicer to extract the juice from. They are much like the crabapples in this respect. And let me tell you, that juicer, though it was $139, was worth every penny!! AND I have even been able to use the bottom pan as my soap-making tub, since it's stainless steel! heheh ( more on that later, that's my next blog entry.)

Lawanda ~ Thank You!! We try, lol. Yes, the wheat is used for making bread & pasta, biscuits, & things of that nature. We have this wonderful old electric stone grinder from the 70's that my mother gave us ~ it's just fantastic, grinds up the wheat to such a nice consistency. Of course, since we are a bit wimpish, & spoiled, we still add 1 cup of white flour to every 3 cups of wheat. It acts as a glutenizer, without the price of gluten. And besides which, ALLLL wheat makes Johnny RUUNNN to the potty ALLL DAY LONG. lol ;-D

Steph ~ HEY girl! I haven't heard from you in a LONG time ~ I checked out your blog ~ are your comments turned off??

Traci ~ Great to hear from you ~ I answered back on your blog ~ but if you are anything like me, you have a hard time responding right away ~ .....or maybe a fear of getting sucked into the blogger world at an inconvenient ~ I don't know, I have my excuses,lol, & I tend to broadcast them everytime I write. :-D

twinshiner said...

Thanks Red. that was exactly what i wanted. i've got about 30 lbs of crans in my freezer that i want to put into syrup but couldn't find a recipe that appealed to me. Your's looks perfect. I ended up not getting to the persimmons in time. bummer. Would love a way to preserve them though. They are abundant here and all i know to do with them is to pulp them out for use in cakes and puddings. Blessings, ~twinshiner