Showing posts with label Virginia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia. Show all posts

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Apple Traditions










This year was our 4th year going apple picking and our 3rd year picking at Carter Mountain. The first two years that we picked there, we went with my best friend Anya and her kiddos. Ironically both times we went one of us was pregnant. Yeah we're just kinda crazy like that. We did co-op together for 2 years as well. She moved this past summer to Northern VA- so she's about 2 1/2 hours away. Which just bites, but it could be worse. My other best friend Courtney lives in NY, which is even harder. Gah. But I digress. While I had a great time picking, needless to say, I missed my friends.

I wanted to pick sooner in the month but the apples took longer to ripen this year. So we ended our month of September with apple picking. It was nice to go and have the kids spouting off what they learned about apples or tellings stories about them. At one point Deirdre was convinced that she saw September and heard Mrs. Brambley sing- from our monthly book "Christopher's Harvest Time". 




Jonas was no nonsense about picking. I think he ate close to 5 while we were there and then 2 more on the way home. That boy loves his fruit. Brynna on the other was in food heaven. She just kept gobbling up the apples happily. She immediately knew what we were doing and was more than happy to help pick and add to mama's basket, as well as sneak a few out! Deirdre was more fastidious. She wanted to save her apples for pie, candy apples, and applesauce. God bless her. She takes preserving our food seriously and worries about how much we'll have for the winter, ha! 

Not that I don't. My goal has always been for the past few years when we go picking is to save as much as we can so we don't have to buy fruit out of season. I'd love to get to the point where we can pick all of our fruit but we're not there yet. We blew through our frozen cherries, strawberries and blackberries- even though I picked more than I ever have this past year. We have one big bag of frozen peaches left. We also have only 2 of the dozen jars of strawberry preserves left thanks to my sweet husband who I think has a jam addition. I mean who puts jam in their drinks?? Gah! That's what i get for cutting out juice. Oh and the blueberries didn't even last a month! Jonas broke into the freezer one night and polished off almost half a bag. 

But we should have lots of apple goodies to help us through. We've already made apple pie, apple, pancakes, apple cobbler, and candy apple slices. The rest I have hidden for applesauce and butter! Both of which I make totally in my crockpot! 





So how do you all make your applesauce or butter? Do you have Fall traditions each year? If so what are they? I'd love to know and share! Also I'd love to hear any nighttime photos tips you all might have. My nighttime photos alway looks so yuck!

PS: I am linking up with Linda at Natural Suburbia  Nicole S at Frontier Dreams, and Carrie at Crafty Moms Share. These are also some of my favorite blogs so hop over for a look! 

Until next time,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Virginia's Peaches: Picking and A Canning Recipe








Hello dear friends! I am so excited to share with you bit of our peach picking trip that my family took this past Tuesday. As I mentioned in my last post, Summer for us is fruit filled. Beginning with strawberries in May and ending with blueberries in August (plus apple in September),  we spend our summer picking and day tripping. 

Last Summer we managed to squeeze in strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and apples. However this year my daughter is determined to pick everything that comes in season... in our state! Sadly we already missed cherry season by two days due to a late frost that killed most of the orchard's crop but I was happy to discover peaches just came in season. So we packed all the kids up- baby too- and headed to Charlottesville which is about 2-2.5 hours away. While the weather was a bit cloudy and sprinkling on our way up, the trip was so worth it.  Once you've picked and eaten a fresh peach- all other peaches will pale in comparison. 

The orchard we went to was the same one we visited this Autumn with our co-op, Carter Mountain. I have come to really love this place. The set-up is great, especially for families. It is also beautiful. Every time I visit this area of our state, I don't want to leave. I adore the mountains.  After we picked, and treated ourselves to some fresh baked peach donuts and peach cider slush- we headed home to make peach cobbler, juice, and jam. 

I used my bread maker this time to make jam. My machine specifically has a jam setting! I was given this maker for Christmas from my mother. I use it almost daily. You'd be surprised how many things is can make. I primarily use it to make dough, so I can shape and bake my bread it myself. But I digress, I will just have to write a bread maker post another time!







I doubled and slightly modified the recipe that was included in my bread maker cookbook. You can also follow this recipe by using your stove top, just skip down and I explain that process below. 

Also if you blanch your peaches first, it makes peeling them so much easier! 


Virginia Peach Jam

Ingredients:
-4 cups of peeled and sliced peaches (if yours are not mushy ripe yet then you'll need to slightly mash them)
-2 cups organic sugar
-1 tps of apple pie spice (optional but I liked the extra kick it gives) 
-5 tps of lemon juice 
-3 tbls regular fruit pectin (optional but since peaches have less natural pectin in them and your jam will be a bit runny and more like preserves if you omit this)

If your using a bread machine, select your jam setting and sit back! Once it's done transfer your jam immediately to their jars. If you don't process them in a hot water bath, then you will need to keep your jams in the fridge or freezer. Processed jar will last 6 months in your pantry. 

If you don't have a bread machine, just add all the ingredients to a large boiling pot and bring your jam to a boil, stirring constantly. Once you've got a rolling boil add your pectin and boil for two minutes. Then remove from heat and transfer your jam immediately to their jars. As I said above, if you aren't going to give them a hot water bath to seal the jars, you'll need to put them right into your fridge or freezer. 

Cheers and Enjoy!
Until next time,