Sunday, August 23, 2009
Back to Homesteading
I am back on task. I needed to step away from my home chores to take care of some other things.Yesterday I was busy getting a bit caught up.
While I was focused else where a zucchini grew in to a monster.I shredded it up for the freezer and ended up with 8 cups of zucchini for later on.8 cups! I had better stay on top of those puppies.
Our neighbor had brought us more yellow plums.She gave us a big bag full and we had eaten our fill of them.I had about 2 pounds left getting close to being chicken snacks but I found a way to use them up.I made some Plum Butter.I did not follow any recipe,I just used what I know about making Apple Butter.I put the plums in a pot with about 1/2 a cup of orange juice with cinnamon,nutmeg and cardamon.I'd say I used about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each spice. I then simmered the plums until they were soft.Next I put the plums in small batches into the blender to puree it smooth.
Something to remember when putting a hot mixture in the blender is the steam from the liquid will make the top of the blender pop off .Giving you a nice mess and possibly some burns.To prevent this only fill the blender pitcher half full,put the lid on and then place a towel over the blender pitcher.The towel will keep anything from spraying all over and less liquid gives the steam room to dissipate.
Now I put the plum mixture back into the pot and added sugar to taste.I have no clue as to how much I used maybe 1 cup or 1 1/2 cups.I simmered the soon to be plum butter on medium for an hour and a half.I kept stirring it and skimming off the foam.Once the plumb butter cooked down and was looking thicker I did a test to see if it might be ready to be done. To do this test I poured a spoonful of the liquid onto a small plate and let it cool.I ended up doing this a couple of times before I found what I was looking for.I was wanting the butter to be fairly thick once it had cooled a bit.On the second try I put the plate in the fridge freezer to speed things up.
I ended up with about a pint of plum butter that I did not process to store.I put the jar in the fridge to be eaten now.Later I did read that when you do this the plum butter can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.
I liked the plum butter so much I called and asked the neighbor if she had any more plums."How many do you want? Hopefully a million" was her answer. Jack Pot! I worked out a trade of some our pears and eggs for more plums,it's only fair the neighbors get something out of my taking some of their bounty. This afternoon I will go over and pick more plums to make more Plum Butter and this time I will process it to be put away.
Yesterday I also picked most of our Bartlet Pears,they had started falling and being gobbled up by the hens.I must of picked 30 pounds,as you can see from the photo at the top of the page my basket was full.I laid an old cotton rug on the kitchen counter for a place for the pears to ripen.While I was stirring the plum butter I remembered that I don't think the boys are overly fond of canned pears which had been my plan for the pears sitting on my counter.The boys have been off with friends for the weekend and once we have gathered here at home this evening I am going to have to ask them if I can the pears will they eat them? There is no use in putting up a food no one likes. If they say no I think I have a couple of options, Pear Butter,dry them or make up some mixed fruit butter.And there is always trading for some thing we want.
Our hens have settled into the new coop.They have figured out where to roost and where to lay their eggs. Chance has also had other things to do and has yet to finish the finishing touches of the coop.The only issue we have come up with the new coop is the run needs to be made larger.Our girls are used to more room and they seem to be squabbling more.
Big Red is not a happy fellow these days.The hens pick on him with no mercy.The girls grab him by his comb and shake his head like they are going to rip it off.Then they chase him under the coop.None of the girls tolerate him and I am starting to wonder if they are letting him eat.If Big Red dose not figure out that A. he's bigger than the girls and B. in the world of animals he should be the boss soon he may need a new home.It would be for his own good.Chance says he could go into the freezer easily but I am so superstitious about killing that guy that I'd rather find him a home.
My Mother bought me a vintage cookbook. She knows me well,two of my favorite things in one,vintage and cookbooks. The title of the book is "The Cookbook for Brides" And it is a HOOT! Not only are there some odd sounding recipes ,Pickled Eggs (which I like ) with Curried Russian Dressing and Spam and Lima Beans(GAG!) but there's all of these bits of "useful information" and "tips" like this one. New Brides should wake up 15 minutes before their husbands,put on some make up and a breakfast coat.( Yeah,sure I have one of those,ah not.And as for putting on make up well no again,I am up so I am making coffee first and for most.) This is so your husband sees you looking cheery.And supposedly it will make your husbands morning better which leads to a happy marriage. There's lots more of these funny ideas and I plan to post more of them for you to laugh over.The next one is about place mats at lunch time to save your social standing.LOL!