Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mid August In The Holler

The weeks go by quickly and another Autumn is here already. We are starting to see the first leaves turn and fall. School is starting and the canning is slowing down somewhat.

The grapes were loaded this year and the grape juice is tucked safely in the pantry now. We shared some with the neighbors as well. 

The peppers are loaded and it will be time to deal with those soon. 

The plums harvest was beyond our expectations to make up for no peaches or blackberries. 

The apples continue to ripen on the trees. 

Right now the lilies are blooming 

The Naked Ladies lilies are thick this year and I think will have to be thinned again. 

The gardens are winding down quickly now and we have planted very few fall crops. With both freezers full and canning jars running scarce we are not planting fall crops other than a few greens and such to eat fresh.  I have about 2 dozen empty canning jars left and refuse to buy any more. I think that the thousand or so that are already full will have to be enough. The pantry is full with no more shelf space left. I want to add some apple pie filling to the jars that are left and some pickle relish. I will freeze the peppers  and we are thinking to call it a year and get our seed saved for next year. 

I hope that all of you have has a productive fall as well and we look forward to a winters rest. 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Naked ladies Oh My!

Naked Ladies everywhere! 
(for those of you non gardeners this type of lily is called a naked lady..similar to the spider lilies of the south this lily put up leaves in the spring and then flowers emerge in the late summer/early autumn completely naked of foliage)

Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pickled Beets

Every year I pickle beets and this year was no different. 

With a cool and rainy spring the beets grew well and we were even able to pretty well keep the rabbits out of them. 

You can find my recipe for pickled beets below:

Our favorite way to eat pickled beets is atop a salad along with boiled farm eggs and fresh or frozen peas from the garden.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

Monday, August 18, 2014

Plum Preserves

While the blackberries and peaches were a bust this year due to a late frost/freeze the Lord has still provided in other areas. The plums and apples are loaded. With the plums ripening quick it is race with the birds to see who can harvest them faster. I think we have both managed to get our fair share. With them so plentiful I really don't mind sharing with the feathered friends. 

I spent the weekend making preserves my mothers way. Cooking down pure fruit and sugar slow and easy over a low flame to get all that great natural fruit flavor. No pectin just fruit and sugar and a little lemon juice. This is how my mother made all her preserves. Whether it be figs preserves, pear preserves, peach or strawberry they were all made the same way. The three day method. This was the way her mother made them.   

Friday I peeled and sliced 8 cups of plums away from the pits. Then I added 4 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice. I let that mixture stand in my non reactive pot for several hours until the sugar had dissolved somewhat. The sugar will draw the juices from the fruit and start to melt and form a liquid. I stirred it every so often.

Now don't forget to add a few slightly less than completely ripe plums to this mixture to help add a little natural pectin for thickening. 

Friday night after supper I brought this mixture to a boil on low heat stirring almost constantly to prevent sticking. Once it came to a boil I reduced the heat just a touch and let it boil on a low boil for about 15 minutes. Then I turned it off and let it cool and put the lid on and forgot about it until morning. 

Saturday morning I got up and repeated that same process after I had prepared breakfast. Bring it to a boil for 15 minutes let it cool and walk away from it. You can see in the photo it is starting to thicken. 

Saturday night after supper I again repeated the same process. By this time it is really thickening and I keep the heat really low and stir constantly. The preserves are starting to sheet away from a metal spoon. Again I cool it and walk away.  

Sunday morning the preserves were at the exact consistency after they had cooled the night before that I wanted. If not I could have cooked them again that day for a time or two. If you like your preserves thinner don't cook them as many times. If you want your preserves not as chunky cut your fruit smaller. The bottom line if you cook sugar and fruit long enough it is going to thicken as long as you don't burn it. If you over cook it this will set up like glue. Remember it is always a little thicker when it cools. Once you do this a few times you will develop a knack for telling when your preserves are at the exact stage of thickening that your family likes.  

I brought my plum preserves just to a boil and let it boil for about 5 minutes to heat it completely through and put it in hot jelly jars and put hot caps and lids on them. 

I put my jars into the hot water bath canner and brought it back to a boil and processed them for 10 minutes to again heat them through and get everything good and hot. Then I took my jars out and let them cool. This made 8 half pint jelly jars of beautiful preserves with a small jelly jar left over that I just put in the fridge for everyone to sample.  

And for the last 40 years that is how I have made preserves. 

My family loves it thick with lots of chunks of fruit and it makes great peanut butter sandwiches. I'll only make a couple of these batches because we just don't eat much jam and preserves any more but I like to have some for when we want a little something sweet on that buttered toast or biscuit. Raspberry preserves made like this makes a great filling between cake layers. 

When I was a child my mother made the best fig preserves from the fig tree in our back yard. She would bake homemade biscuits and my father would split those biscuits and put those thick fig preserves on those biscuit halves and then drizzle the preserves with fresh thick cream from that jersey cow we milked. This is truly a taste to remember even decades later. Who needed fancy desserts.  

Sunday the neighbor came over and I gave her the recipe and a 5 gallon bucket of plums to go with it. May as well share the blessings. 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

Friday, August 15, 2014

Corn and Cookin

Well it's another Friday morning here in Hickery Holler! Thought I would share some pictures of the corn on the cob I froze a few weeks ago. We are still eating a few of the ears that were late producing but it is just about time to pull the stalks up and compost. We had a bumper crop this year and very few coons. I personally think that with the bad economy so many people are now trapping coons for pelts in this area it has made a huge difference in their numbers.  The lady that owns the local store where everyone buys their trapping licenses said that she sold more trapping license last year than she ever had in the 30 years she has been here. O Wise One thinks that will change as soon as they have a bad year and the bottom drops out of the pelt prices.  

The other surprising thing was that we never treated this corn for ear worms and it filled out all the way to the end and we found 3 earworms in the whole patch. 

I put some corn in jars also to save on the freezer space. Great for corn chowders and soups. We use canned corn in our taco soup regularly. It is just so time consuming to can corn because the processing time is so long. 

Today the agenda includes starting plum preserves with the plums that the boys picked on Wednesday. I'll take plenty of pictures and let you know how they turn out.  

Supper last night was good and I thought I would share some pictures. Purple Hull Pea Jambalaya or a Hickery Holler version of Hoppin John. Purple hull peas, rice, sauteed onions and green peppers and about a half pound of cooked bacon. Everything but the rice grown right here on this farm. 

And rabbit pie. This is a filling of rabbit meat, chicken broth, peas, carrots and onions all simmered and then thickened with flour to make a meat pie filling. On top half a biscuit recipe flatted out thin and cut out then placed on top of the pie. Then baked in the oven till golden brown. This makes a savory meat pie and vegetable filling with crunchy thin biscuits on top to form a crispy crust.  Again everything from this farm but the wheat flour. (You can use this recipe for chicken and turkey as well)

O Wise One ate himself silly!

And lets not forget with lots of yard eggs right now and potatoes plentiful from a new harvest add some homemade dill relish and cool potato salad is a summertime favorite. 

I did cheat and buy the mayo!

Well that's another day at Hickery Holler and I am off to start those preserves. Hope everyone has a great weekend and stays safe. 

See you on Monday "If the good lords willin and the creek don't rise!"

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter 

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