Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Harvest Time

Doing some much needed harvesting and cleaning up this weekend! We ended up picking the last of our carrots! 6 buckets full!! That leaves just the eggplant and peppers to be cleaned out of house #2.

We all worked together passing pumpkins and squash from one to the next and into house #2. Here they are all lined up and ready for dividing.

 This is the bounty that went to each family! A wheel barrow full of squash and pumpkins!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cider Pressing 2011

 The apple season this year was amazing!!! There were loads of apples on trees that usually don't produce any! We were able to pick from some friends trees untreated apples for cider making.

The cider press was built after doing lots of online research on how to build your own. There are LOTS of plans out there but we really liked the simplicity of this one. It uses a  jack as the pressing power!

 The first time we gave it a try it was inside... the kids were in charge of washing!

The box was lined with a thin piece of cotton fabric.

Then the apples were ground in the food processor just to chunk them up a little and dumped into the fabric. We then wrapped the excess fabric around the pulp to form a square "bag". This process was repeated 4 times. Each bag was piled on the last and then the pressing began.

This video is of the press in action, it was taken on our second day of pressing. We are outside this time and instead of using the food processor to chunk the apple we crushed them in a 5 gallon bucket using some serious "man power"! Check it out:

Next year a must have for cider pressing is an apple grinder!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Green Tomato Mincemeat Recipe (And Cookies)

As promised we are posting the Green Tomato Mincemeat recipe we made this year. We had LOTS of green ones this year because of some nutrient deficiencies in the soil. Thankfully there are ways to turn those green beauties into yummyness! Also adding a Mincemeat Cookie recipe below, it's great made with this mincemeat!

Green Tomato Mincemeat
(adapted from the Blue Book Guide to Preserving 2009) 
2 1/2 quarts chopped green tomatoes 
1 T. salt
2 quarts chopped, peeled, and cored apples
3 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped suet
1 lb. raisins
2/3 cup chopped orange pulp
3 T. grated orange peel
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup vinegar

Place chopped tomatoes in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 1 hour. While waiting add the rest of the ingredients to a large pot. (We doubled this recipe so we used a large stock pot.)  After 1 hour is up rinse and drain the tomatoes then cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes and then drain again. Add the tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until everything is soft. Ladle the hot mincemeat into jars, screw on lids and bands and process in a pressure cooker for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Mincemeat Cookies
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar (we used Sucanat, brown sugar would be good too)
3/4 cup butter (softened)
2 cups green tomato mincemeat (or other prepared mincemeat)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour (we used white whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

 Beat butter and sugar together until throughly combined. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in mincemeat and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add dry ingriedents to wet and mix well. Drop cookies onto a cookies sheet (we used the Pampered Chef cookie scoop and it made 3 doz.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.
These reminded us of old fashioned hermit cookies! Soft and very tasty!!! Sorry no photo... they were gone before we knew it!