Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall ala Apple

Apple Butter

Fall and spring are my two favorite times of the year. I love how you see life changing before your eyes. Now that fall is here you can't get more into the season than decorating and making apple butter. My family has been going to Millstone Creek Orchards for a couple of years now picking wonderful apples. 


    Millstone Creek Orchards

This is my second time making apple butter. It was a huge hit with friends the first time.  I used Fuji apples. I took the original recipe from allrecipes.com. I love that site! Thousands of people put in their recipes and others try them and give their input and tweaks. 

                                                         How it's done!

We picked a half bushel, I was able to make two batches from that half. 
I peel, core, and slice the apples. 
Then put them in my six quart crock pot with 1/2 cup of vinegar. 
Turn it on high and let it cook away for eight hours.  
After the eight hours you turn it to low and let it cook for another 10 hours. I usually start this around noon and before I go to bed I turn it to low, that way in the morning I can finish it off by adding 
                  1 1/2 cup of sugar 
                  1/2 cup brown sugar 
                  1 tbsp ground cinnamon 
                  1/4 tsp ground cloves 
                  1 tsp ground allspice 

The sugar is half of what the original recipes calls for. After   adding the spices you let it cook for another four hours. The last two hours I take the lid off to let it thicken up.

Next is getting the water boiling. I use the boiling water method of canning.  You bring it to a rolling boil and fill the jars that have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Place them in the water and let sit for 8 to 10 minutes.

Tada! You have the best apple butter to enjoy yourself or to share. I have a girlfriend who ate it as a dip with cinnamon chips.

Friday, September 27, 2013

2nd try...and FELLOWSHIP

So after a hardening 1st try in making grape jelly I gave it another shot yesterday. But this time I took instructions from a new book I picked up called The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Living.  I followed the instructions for not adding pectin. 

Well needless to say, it is quite watery. So I am not sure what the purpose of not adding pectin was suppose to be in making a jelly. Luckily I only did enough for one jar, so it will be a good flavor to put in baking. 

I have one more chance to making a jelly work before I run out of grapes this season. I will give it another go next week. Each trial and error is what makes us good at what we do. Not giving up and giving it another go makes us wiser each time. 

I did though finally accomplish something wonderful yesterday. My girlfriend and her girls finally made it over after two week of interruptions with colds. It was a well overdue time of fellowship. She ended up hanging around for over 3 hours. I love not having a schedule of spending time with those you love. I had plenty I could have been doing, but Shalom was present and fulfilled the purpose it was named for. 

We got to allow the girls to play and let out all that energy they have at such a young age. We got to make up for a lot of lost conversations. After she left later that night I was overwhelmed of emotions, because I realized how much I had missed her. How much I had missed the fellowship of a real good friend. How much I had needed to let things off my chest and so did she. How we become judgmental of ones life when we don't know what they are really experiencing at home. I was reminded how important fellowship is.

So if you have a friend or family member you haven't "really" spoken to in a while, take a seat outside your BUSY life and have a face to face conversation with them. You will be reminded of how special they are and grateful you are to have them in your life. 

Shalom, Peace be with You!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Muscadine Time

This is our first September here in our new home at Shalom Wooded Acres as we call it. An established 5 acre growing hobby farm in Eastern NC. We purchased it in November of 2012 with the direction of God and the intent to "live" off our land. "Shalom" is Peace in Hebrew and there are many many wonderful  spirit filled qualities about this land that I can't wait to share as we adventure into each of them.

First off is enjoying picking from our two grape vines, a muscadine and a scuppernong. Not sure how long they have been established but they sure do yield. Eating off the vines has brought me back to some wonderful memories of living on the farm in NY where I grew up. I am so excited to jump in and see what is to come of this beautiful fruit God has given us to enjoy.

My brother-in-law has a hobby of making wine and beer. So with the grapes we picked we will be making wine to be ready by Christmas. What a wonderful gift that will make! I am also going to make some scuppernong jelly as well.

I have a girlfriend coming over  next week with her daughters and I am going to make an activity out of them helping me make the jelly while we enjoy some homemade cookies and tea.

1st try...not so well.

Well I didn't get to experience making jelly with my girlfriend yet. My daughter ended up getting a cold. But I did experiment with a few jars. Which I am very glad I did. Cause it didn't come out right.

I looked up a few different recipes to get an idea of where people were going with there jelly.  I ended up using a recipes off pickyourown.org. Great informational site. She mentioned to add a slight more sure jell to make it a bit thicker.  Well between doing that and letting it cook a minute or two too long, it came out like a rock when it set up.  She said to test, but how do you test when you need to let it cool on the spoon and you only have a minute to cook it in.  That is letting it boil with the sure jell.

So I am going to give it another try this week, hoping for the best. The few jars I did give to friends to try said it tasted great, after they put in microwave to loosen up. LOL.