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Friday, March 27, 2020

Pink Books for Pink Saturday

Good Afternoon Friends!
Boy, I'm sure loving this time of getting back to blogging! So far this month I've written five posts! FIVE! Ha! I'm on a roll! Seriously though, it's been tricky finding my groove again after years of blogging for income. I used to love sharing fun things during Blue Monday, Vintage Thingie Thursday, and Pink Saturday. As far as I know, the only of these still around is Beverly's Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound. I'll be sure to link up there today!

Even though I've not been blogging as much, I've definitely not disappeared from the internet all together. For the last few years, I've run another site called The Victorian Letter Writers Guild, where I facilitate a quarterly international ladies pen friend match up, among other things. I also started an Instagram page just for beautiful book photography. It's @readingresplendent.


I've been working on my pink books collection. It's coming along pretty nicely. It's a little difficult to find books that are all pink but I've had a lot of fun hunting!
I'm really excited to visit some of my old friends on Pink Saturday. If you're new to the fun, be sure to visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the pinky goodness!

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Beverly's Pink Saturday

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Peach Orange Marmalade -- Yum! Yum! (No Pectin)

Good Morning! Hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing day and keeping spirits up!
Wednesday I wrote about our big produce haul and pickled asparagus operation. Today I want to share what we did with some of the fruit we purchased.
I love to make jam as it's so simple and so pretty! I made two kinds of jam on Wednesday---mixed berry jam, using my freezer jam recipe, and peach orange marmalade, which I'd not made for about 15 years!

 To prepare the peaches for the marmalade, I began by using the boil/soak method to remove the skins. Just get a pot of water boiling and then set a bowl of ice water beside it. Put your peaches into the hot water first, letting them roll around for a couple of minutes, then plunge them into the ice bath. After a couple minutes in there, most of the skins will slide off very easily!

I also used this little zesting tool to remove just the part of the orange where the aromatic oils are found. When I was a kid, I despised marmalade because it was so bitter. That's because it contained pieces of the whole peel. Using just the zest will keep your jam sweet and flavorful.

After chopping up the peaches and oranges, I used this newly-devised method to crush the fruit. This is a photo of the mixed berries being crushed for my berry jam but I used the same method for the marmalade. It's important to crush the fruit so it will release the juices that make your jams so delicious. I used a stockpot with its strainer insert and this Pampered Chef Mix n' Chop tool. This allowed the juice to drain into the pot below and I was able to better crush up the berries. Before, I would do them all in a bowl but once it got pretty juicy, the pieces would slide around and were difficult to smash.

The last tip is in regard to the froth one will see when boiling the mixture. Jam can get pretty frothy and you don't want that in the jars, of course. I've found I just need to keep it boiling and it will eventually move past this super frothy stage as it thickens up. Any froth that is left on top when you're ready to fill your jars will be thick enough to easily remove with a slotted spoon.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. Let me know if you try it out!

Peach Orange Marmalade

5 c. chopped and crushed peaches (about 4 lb.)
1 c. chopped and crushed oranges (2 oranges)
zest from one orange
2 TB lemon juice
6 c. sugar 

Wash fruit. Remove stems, skins, and pits from peaches. Zest one or both oranges, remove peel, pith (white portion), and seeds from oranges. Chop and then crush the fruit. Measure the fruit into a large pot, add the remaining ingredients, stir. Boil rapidly, stirring often, until the mixture thickens. (This will be about 9 degrees above the boiling point of water.) Remove from heat and skim off excess froth.

If you are freezing the marmalade or just storing in the refrigerator, you can fill plastic containers, let them cool on the counter, and then refrigerate/freeze. If you are canning the marmalade, read the following instructions entirely before beginning.

To can:

Before beginning the marmalade preparation, wash and sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. This recipe makes approximately 3.5 pints of marmalade. Leave your jars in the hot canning water until you're ready to fill them.

Proceed with the instructions above for preparing and cooking the marmalade. Then fill the hot jars with the hot marmalade, leaving about 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel, then adjust the lid/ring combo on top of the jar---firmly but not too tightly. Process in the water bath for 10 minutes (15 min. for 6,000 ft+). Remove the jars and let them sit for 24 hours before checking the seals to make sure they're secure. Label the lids and store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Homemaking Party: A Very Big Pickled Asparagus Operation

Good Morning! Welcome to The Homemaking Party! 
How is everyone's social distancing going? We are starting to go a little stir crazy. Well...not me---I love being at home. But my super social kids are finding it a bit unnerving. Ha!

A local produce company who usually services the public school kitchens is selling their stock to the public at wholesale prices. I visited them last week to pick up some nice produce and have spent the last few days canning, freezing, drying, and baking it all up. Jamie and Elisha got in on the action and undertook a big pickled asparagus operation!

Making pickled asparagus is fairly simple and pretty rewarding. Pickled vegetables are healthy snacks and can be used in garnishes, hors d'oeuvres, or eaten plain. Most of our family loves it---I admit, I've not tried it! Ha!

Our favorite recipe is this one from AllRecipes.com. The kids like it better when we leave out the chili pepper flakes. Also, the store was out of dill seed this last time we made it so we used dill weed and it was just fine! 

It's been difficult to find our normal amounts and selection of groceries these last couple weeks, which just emphasizes to me the need to have a better stocked pantry and knowledge of cooking from scratch. I didn't realize how much I'd really slipped into being less and less of a traditional homemaker, especially in the kitchen, until all this corona crazy came along. It's nice to be able to hit "reset" and get back into some of the things I loved to do in my home.

Thanks for stopping by---I'm looking forward to seeing what you've got to share!

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