Alban Elfed (autumnal equinox) has come and gone and autumn has fallen into the Willamette Valley. Mornings are cool and damp, the rains have begun and tomatoes hang beautiful and green without a chance of ripening. This morning marked the end of the third week back to school – time is just flying by. I went out the the garden and picked our first, and what will probably be our last, harvest of the year. The cucumbers are doing well and the eggplants gave a decent harvest, the tomatoes, corn and zucchini went in too late for much of a crop although I was able to get a single red tomato and three very small zucchini.
The basil was lovely so I made a batch of walnut, parmesan pesto. Most went into ice cube trays in the freezer, but the scrapings are going into the spaghetti sauce that I made from my friend Harold’s tomatoes – thank you Harold, for taking pity on my meter garden.
Last weeks apples from the market are on the stove becoming applesauce and a quart of last weeks milk is cooling before I add a starter culture for yoghurt.
Most exciting, however, is my Havarti. I made this in July and have waiting for it to ripen. It is a bit crumbly, had a little mold to cut out , and isn’t entirely pretty, but IT TASTES LIKE CHEESE!!!!!
It’s still a scorcher so more inside chores today – I finish the Pear Jam, baked two loaves of bread, put up three batches of sausage and some burgers in the freezer, and made a batch of plum sauce.
I made some Bread and Butter Pickles last night, but it was late and I was too tired to blog about it so here’s the recipe I used.
Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles
- 2 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced
- 8 small cipollini onions, sliced
- ¼ c canning salt
- 2 c sugar
- 2 c white vinegar
- 1 T mustard seed
- 1 t celery seed
- ½ t ground turmeric
- 1 pinch of ground cloves
- Combine the cucumbers, onions and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and cover with crushed ice. Let stand for 3 hours. Drain; rinse and drain again.
- Combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, and cloves and bring to a boil. Add cucumber mixture and return to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and ladle the hot mixture into a large Le Parfait type jar. Let cool and refrigerate.
In the afternoon, I made a batch of Plum Sauce
- 4 pounds Italian Prunes, washed and pitted
- 1 med. onion
- 1.5 c brown sugar
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 1 T dry mustard
- 2 T ground ginger
- 1 T kosher salt
- 2 T minced garlic
- 4 T minced ginger
- 1 small bottle Hoisin Sauce
- 3 T soy sauce
- 2 t red pepper flakes
- 1 c apple cider vinegar
- Chop the plums and then the onions in the food processor.
- Combine the remaining ingredients with plums and onions in a large heavy-bottomed pot.
- Bring the ingredients a boil and then reduce heat. Cook for one hour or until thickened.
- Puree the ingredients with an immersion blender right until smooth and continue cooking for another hour, or until the sauce reaches the desired thickness.
- Ladle sauce into hot pint jars and process for 20 minutes.
I picked up some Italian Seasoned (not very) ground turkey on clearance the other day and today was the day to re-season and store it.
Package #1 (top right) – Maple Breakfast Sausage
maple syrup, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, sage
Package #2 (center right) – Moroccan Sausage
Moroccan seasoning from New Seasons
Package #3 (bottom right) – Citrus Sausage
Citrus seasoning from New Seasons
The left side has seasoned ground beef for burgers
These will all go into the freezer and then get packaged up. Perfect for back to school.
It hit 100 degrees yesterday and is forecast to do it again today. Yesterday we went out to a couple of farms on Sauvie Island, hoping to go to the herb nursery (which was closed). We picked up corn, pears, nectarines, onions, pickling cucumbers, apples and a couple of snacks. The plan was to can the corn today and make applesauce. The portable burner I was trying out to can outside did not get hot enough so the corn will have to wait. I did, however, make a batch of Ginger Gold Applesauce, started a honey ferment on some blueberries, started a honey and whey ferment on some blueberries, huckleberries and blackberries, made a half gallon of watermelon-lemonade and started a batch of Pear Jam and Sage and Honey.
yummy little Forest Berry Pie
Mixed Berry Whey Ferment
Blueberry Honey Ferment
Pears Macerating with Sage
Hard Ceider from apple peels?
Pear Jam with Sage and Honey
- 4 Bartlett pears
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 ½ c granulated sugar
- 3-4 sprigs of sage
- 1 T honey
- ½ t apple cider vinegar
Peel, core and finely chop the pears. Quickly toss them in the lemon juice in a bowl. Add the sugar and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set them aside to macerate overnight.
The next day, bring the pear mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook to jam temperature or until a drop tested on a frozen plate wrinkles and is slightly sticky.
Remove the jam from the heat and add the honey, vinegar and sage sprigs. Allow the sage to steep in the pear jam for about 5 minutes before removing. Bring the mixture back to the boil and pour into prepared jars.
Process in a water bath or steam canner for 20 minutes.
We had a little leftover corn from supper so I made up a batch of Corn Fritters. We used to make these when I was a kid so I found the recipe from my mother’s My New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook c 1937.
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. drained whole kernel corn
2 tsp shortening, melted
In one bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In another combine eggs and milk. Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix untilsmooth. Stir in corn and shortening, Drop from a tablespoon into deep, hot fat (375 degrees F). Drain on absobent paper. Serve warm with maple syrup or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. (Serves 4 – 6).
This morning marked two weeks for the Early Gravenstein peelings soaking in a light syrup (1/4c sugar to 1 quart water). They have been bubbling nicely for days, but have recently slowed down so I strained out the peelings, recovered the jar and left it to finish fermenting into cider vinegar in a dark corner of the kitchen. A second jar, from the Akane apples, has a while yet and is bubbling happily.
We tried to tackle two other jobs today – getting a start on the new hen house and finishing the wood shed for the season.
DH was able to get about 5 cords of wood and he and the boys stacked it all. My job is to come in at the end, move things a little, pick up the messy stuff and lay down a layer of chips before the rains turn it into a mud hole. We may still try to make some type of roof for the extension that he had to put together to handle the extra wood, but that will come a little later.
While I was cleaning up the wood shed, DH was taking out fencing from the old fruit garden and moving things around so that he can get a start on the hen house. He made good head way in the heat and this evening we moved three more blueberry plants – not a good time of year for this, but we had to do it.
chicken yard before
chicken yard before
free wood from the fort
free wood from the fort
chicken yard day 1
chicken yard day 1
The wood shed is done!
I left the pulp from the hedgerow mix to strain overnight and, much to my disappointment, not that much liquid had strained through the pulp – only 2 cups. So…..I decided to mix the pulp with a little honey for fruit leather and use the two cups of juice, along with a little lemon juice and a pound of sugar to make 4 jars of Hedgerow Jelly. The jelly didn’t need additional pectin because of the green apples and the haw berries, but a pound of sugar may have been over doing it – it’s very sweet. Next year I’ll cut back on the sugar.
The weather forecast is showing temperatures in the 90’s for the next several days so early morning chores outside give way to indoor chores in the afternoon and evening.
I’ve started refurbishing the loom that I have never used. I’m hoping that as I take it apart, clean and repair it and reassemble the parts, I will have a better understanding of how to use it. It’s pretty clear that this point that it is homemade and I will never find instructions so I’m trying to figure out each section – what it is, and how it should be working. I began with the treadles. They were dry, have some water damage and the hardware was a hodgepodge of this and that. I disengaged the chains, removed the hardware, waxed the treadles and put on new eye-bolts, washers and nuts.
After the treadles, I removed the chains and the odd assortment of wires from the lamms. The assembly is on the left side, containing four lams and three spacers held together by a long bolt and nut. The whole thing was really floppy with too much empty space on the bolt. I took it all apart, removed some added hooks, waxed the lams, and put the assembly back together using eight washers to take up the extra space.
DS17 helped me this morning go out for a forage on our property. We found rose hips and haws, elderberries and blackberries and huckleberries. We picked filberts and a couple under-ripe apples and the first of the wild Italian plums.
I put everything into a pot with a little water and simmer until everything is soft. Then it’s into a muslin to hang over night.
So I didn’t rest well enough yesterday evening after the surgery. I moved some furniture and started bleeding a little so today it was much “restier”.
I did manage to make a small batch of blackberry jelly…….
…..and a few jars of pickled red onions…….
…..but mostly I read and knitted a scarf with some lovely yarn that I bought in Joseph, Or.
I had some diagnostic surgery yesterday and, although everything is just fine, I’m supposed to take it easy for a few days and not lift anything over 5 pound. I slept most of yesterday, so I didn’t sleep most of yesterday night. I want to nap, but I don’t want to not go to sleep until 6:15 in the morning, so I’m trying to power through the afternoon and evening,
Anyway, this morning I……
- made a batch of applesauce from the Strawberry Apples. Wow is it bland! I finally added a little nutmeg, which helped, but I’m not sure I’m going to go to the trouble to can it. I may just add it to some figs and make fruit leather. I’ll decide later.
- made DH a double batch of Granola. This time with pecans and dried cranberries. It should be enough to tide him over for at least a month.
- was also able to get out and pick some of the last of the blackberries. I cooked them up with a little water and strained them for jelly. A perfect job for tomorrow.
- wrapped up the bacon in some cheese cloth and popped it into the cheese cave to cure. I weighed it, but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to lose 30% from now or from the original weight which I don’t have. Oops!
- made a batch of No-Knead Bread dough for the refrigerator.
- tended to the sourdough
Bacon Ready for Cave
Strawberry Apples Sauce
No-Knead Bread dough
Cranberry Pecan Granola
…….and now that nap is really calling my name.