Homemade Maraschino Cherries: Easy, Delicious, Fun!

IMG_0028

I decided to try out a recipe for homemade Maraschino cherries for my summer beverage and dessert enjoyment. Who knew it was so easy – and soooo delicious? Continue reading

Water Bath or Pressure Canners: What Works for You?

Ball Blue Book Food Canning Guide

Ideal for beginning or experienced home canners–The Ball Blue Book has the best and most up-to-date home food preserving information. Available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

When folks new to canning start out, one of biggest questions asked is this one: which kind of canner should I use? And the answer most often heard is this one: “Well, it depends. What are you canning?”

As frustrating as that might be, that fuzzy answer isn’t out of line.

It really is important to know what you’ll be canning. Depending on the acidity level of the food, different processes and methods are used. Continue reading

Canning Makes It Easy To Handle Special Diets!

Here you can see my 'pineapple' zukes, left, and drink concentrates, center and right. I use Ball® and Kerr® jars.

Here you can see my ‘pineapple’ zukes, left, and drink concentrates, center and right. I use Ball® and Kerr® jars.

When I was growing up in Kent, Ohio my mother and grandmother canned tomatoes every Labor day. I hated it, I just wanted to be normal and buy tomatoes from the store in a real can not a jar that we said was a can. I didn’t want the bees swarming our hot house and I wanted to tell my friends of some fun activity that we did- not can tomatoes!

I smile when I think of that young girl that so desperately wanted to fit in and be cool. Now I have given up and embraced the country world I am in and love to can. I love the freedom I have when I pull a jar off the shelf and don’t need to read the fine print or call the company to make sure it won’t harm my family. I also love that I can look at recipes in canning cookbooks and not have to make any real dietary changes. Continue reading

Those Grapes With The Funny Names Are Delicious

Yoder's Muscadine Grape Seed & Skin Extract

Yoder’s Muscadine Grape Seed & Skin Extract

When I first moved to the South and heard somebody talking about “Scuppernongs” and “Muscadines”, I immediately assumed the funny words I was hearing were the product of the foreign-to-me accent I still wasn’t accustomed to. What are they trying to say? I wondered. It wasn’t until much later, when I actually saw the words written somewhere, that I realized these were the actual names of a variety of grapes native to the Southeast US.

The weather’s been mild where we are, in the upper South, so we’re just finishing our Scuppernong and Muscadine harvest. They’re not hard to grow.

One of the first fruits we planted here on our homestead were Scuppernong grapes. We love them because they are particularly hardy, and grow well in our poor red clay soil. Scuppernongs are actually the “white grape” of the Muscadine family. Muscadines are typically a very deep shade of purple. Continue reading

“I LOVE My Steam Juicer!”

Great Grapes Storey Books pamphlet

Learn how to grow your own tasty grapes! In stock now at Lehmans.com or at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

As the days speed into winter and fall’s mildness is becoming a memory here in the Upper Midwest, many of us are frantically trying to get everything “put by” for winter. I’ve become quite close to my steam juicer.

We here at Ash Lane Farm have a lovely vine of concord grapes and two heritage apple trees that I try to get into juice every year.

I am allergic to bees so I have to depend on the kindness of my husband, Norm, to take time from his busy life to pick the grapes and the apples.  But once they come inside, they are mine to do as I wish.

We like apple butter, apple sauce and grape jelly, and unsweetened gape and apple juices.  Plus, I make a wonderful apple brandy to give as gifts each year as well as have some for us. We also got elderberries from my sister to make into syrups for colds and coughs. Continue reading

Garden 2014: Plan To Preserve!

Put 'Em Up is in stock now at Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio and at Lehmans.com.

Put ‘Em Up is in stock now at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio and at Lehmans.com.

Sure, we all plan to plant. But how many of us plan to preserve?

For instance, when do you figure your supplies for your jars, bands, lids, freezer boxes and other preservation supplies? And what recipes do you use? Do you stick with the tried and true because it’s the last minute? After all, the harvest isn’t predicatable, right?

Well, that may be true. But this is the year you change, because Sherri Brooks Vinton has published Put ‘Em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook and Put ‘Em Up! Fruit: A Preserving Guide and Cookbook, two fantastic collections that share some great ways to dry, freeze, can and preserve your garden’s and orchard’s harvest. Continue reading