Monday, September 26, 2016

BACK IN THE KITCHEN

Fall has come and settled itself in nicely here.  The long hot days of summer are but just a memory.


My tomatoes are in boxes and slowly ripening.  As they ripen.. this is what happens next:


When I have enough fresh (and frozen - I freeze them to get enough as they are not all ripening at the same speed) then I pile them in a stock pot, add salt and let them simmer away...



Once they have simmered and reduced to about half in size, and the sauce is thick and rich, they are ready for the blender.  I scoop enough tomatoes to put in my blender to fill half way.  One thing I have learned - the hard way of course - is that you NEVER fill the blender full of hot tomatoes.  The tomatoes have a way of blowing the lid off, and hot hot hot tomatoes come out, get everywhere... and burn!  So... no shortcuts here, and trying to do too much at once.  Trust me on this one! {smiles}



One stockpot full of tomatoes, makes this much canned tomatoes, a little over 6 quarts... you can see it takes a lot of tomatoes to can.  But really, there is no taste in the world like the tomatoes you can at home!  And so this is why I do it.  Just looking at those golden jars full of goodness makes my soul joyful!


While I was busy in the kitchen... this little fellow was snoozing, and I thought how nice it would be to take a cat nap in the middle of the day, lol!

But... no time for naps!



These lovely plums given to me by my dear friend GT were fully ripe and ready to be put to good use! 


First they needed to be pitted.  They filled my saucepot to overflowing! I froze most of them, and saved 8 pounds to make plum jelly.  The recipe I use calls for 4 pounds of plums for one batch, and I was going to make a double batch. I was able to get 2 batches of plum jelly, and 3 gallon zip lock bags full of plums out of just ONE brown bag of plums!  I will freeze the remainder of the plums... so our freezer will be well-stocked for winter smoothies. :)



Making the plum juice.... After cooking the plums, the juice is strained through cheesecloth to make the jelly.



With the plum jelly all plum done,  I was plum wore out... but from first taste test... the jelly sure is plum good! {smiles}

Next, it was time to strain the beans from my vanilla extract.  I started this extract back in March, and it takes about 6 months for the alcohol to extract the vanilla from the beans.



It was a beautiful rich color, and smelled oh so good of strong vanilla.  If you want to see how I make my own vanilla extract, you can see my post here on how I do it.



Next on my list was taking my dried raspberry leaves and putting them in storage.  I cut down all the raspberry branches that had bloomed this year, and hung the branches upside down to dry.  Once the leaves had dried, I collected them and put them in this ziplock bag.  I will add an oxygenizer to the bag to keep them from going moldy, should any of them have not completely dried.

You may wonder why would you save raspberry leaves?

There are so many health benefits to raspberry tea (especially for women)  that it really is a remarkable addition to your home health collection.  Drinking raspberry tea has been done for centuries, but it has been just recently that more research has been done on why it seems to be so beneficial.  Just a few of the benefits of raspberry tea:

1. The specific combination of nutrients in raspberry leaves (magnesium, potassium, vitamin B and iron) are highly beneficial to the female reproductive system, both in pregnant women, and those suffering from PMS, endometriosis, or those who are trying to conceive.

2.  It has a high concentration of vitamin C.

3. Because it is high in tannins, it can be used both internally and externally. It can be swished as a tincture tea for gum disease and gingivitis, and the tea can soothe sunburns, eczema and rashes.

You can read more on the raspberry tea here.   Since I grow my own raspberries, and the raspberry leaves are high in vitamin C, I like to make my own raspberry tea, and add it to smoothies, or drink as a hot tea sweetened with a little honey.



My next endeavor will be putting up the pumpkin.  This is the pumpkin that grew in my potato patch spontaneously.  It is turning orange rapidly, and once it is ready, I will be putting it up as well.


I still have flowers blooming in my garden, despite all the frosts and freezes we have gotten, and for that I am very thankful!  This verbena is still going strong, after being planted in an old metal oil can.

We have been enjoying absolutely amazing fall weather here... today it got up to the 80s, which was a nice treat!  Bright blue skies, brilliant foliage and the warm temps today made me glad that I got the canning done this past week when the temps were a bit cooler!  I hope that you are enjoying lovely fall weather too!

Here is a little poem I wrote today, as I marveled aloud in praise to the Lord who has created this beautiful world for us to enjoy.  May your day be blessed, in HIM!














62 comments:

  1. Lovely post and poem. I, too, am glad to see Fall come.

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    1. Thank you Tammy, it is indeed such a joyous thing to have the hot days of summer past, and the glorious days of fall upon us. Hope you are enjoying lovely fall weather!

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  2. Oh, those yummy-looking tomatoes! I absolutely LOVE home-canned tomatoes...I miss having them on hand. Your plum creations look so yummy, too! We are not experiencing fall yet, and, oh, my, it is SO hot on our daily walks! It is hard to press forward, but, someday soon, Lord willing, the temperatures will drop, and it will be easier. Thank you for another wonderful post, sweet friend. Sending you much love and many blessings!

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    1. There really is nothing like home canned tomatoes! It is a lot of work, but oh so worth it to pop open those cans in the winter! I hate to hear that it is still so hot there, it is almost hard to imagine, when it has been quite lovely here. I hope that the weather cools off and you can enjoy walking and seeing some of the sights! Hugs to you dear friend, always such a joy to read your comments :)

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  3. I agree there is nothing like home canned tomatoes.
    I made your Butter Tarts yesterday and took them to a dinner at church last night. I came home with only two little squares left! They were a big hit. Glad I got to taste them when I got home! I'll make them again. :-)

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    1. Oh that is awesome, they are quite a treat, and I'm glad that two were left over for you to enjoy :) Hugs to you today dear friend, thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the little sweet treat :)

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  4. You look very busy doing beautiful things. Blessings to you!

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    1. As you well know, there is always lots to do, lol! Appreciate your visit, and hope all is well with you :)

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  5. I like your idea of letting the green tomatoes ripen and then making tomato sauce or salsa. Thank you for the lovely photos too.

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    1. Ripening tomatoes inside is born out of desperation, because the frosts came just as they were starting to ripen, lol! I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures, and so appreciate your friendship. Have a blessed day :)

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  6. Your poem is beautiful and I love the picture that it is set on. :) I have tomatoes sitting on my counter too waiting for me to use them...I may have to follow your lead and freeze some of them so they don't go bad. I did not know the health benefits of raspberry leaves. I'll have to dry some of mine here too. Thank you! And last but not least...I'm in love with your sweet curled up kitty. I have a thing for orange and while cats.

    Be blessed my friend!

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    1. Yes, freezing tomatoes works really well. If you want to can them without their skins, you can pop them into a bit of cold water, and the skins come right off. However, I blend mine up, so we don't mind keeping the skins.

      Yes, raspberry leaves do offer women a lot of benefits, and drinking the tea is probably one of the easiest ways to enjoy their benefits.

      We love our sweet orange tomcat too... he is definitely a sweet keeper!

      Hugs to you today dear Debbie, hoping that you are doing better :)

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  7. Marilyn, you sure have been busy! What a great storehouse of things you have for the long winter ahead. I love your photo with the poem - beautiful! It has cooled down here but we haven't had a frost yet. Have a blessed week. Pam

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    1. It has been a good busy, for sure, and it always feels great to put things back for the winter ahead. No frost yet? Wow, I'm amazed! Our trees are really turning now, and I see that yours are just starting to turn. I saw today that many of the maples in town have already lost a lot of their leaves. Fall moves along way too fast, I think! Hugs to you today :)

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  8. Morning, I loved seeing your wonderful fruit of your hands...
    The plum jelly looks so pretty and I know it taste wonderful, It is my favorite jelly of all jellies. But you are right about the taste of our own home canned tomatoes.
    I laughed over your statement of how nice it would be to just stop in the middle of the day and take a cat nap. Also canning a few jars at a time is sometimes easier then doing it all at once. You will enjoy this bounty all winter long!
    Sending you a hug!!
    Roxy

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    1. Thanks for your visit Roxy... it feels great to have all that jelly sitting on my shelves, and you are right, doing a little bit at a time is sometimes easier than doing it all at once. I put up another batch of canned tomatoes yesterday. Hope you are doing well dear friend, blessings and hugs to you!

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  9. You have been one busy, productive lady! I know that you will enjoy the fruits of your labors. I especially like the raspberry tea-I drink it in the afternoons when I can't have any more caffeine. The plum jelly sounds delicious. I used to do more canning than I do now, but with two of us we really don't need that much. Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Noreen

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    1. The raspberry tea is quite comforting to drink, and so nice to know that it has such great benefits! I understand what you mean about not needing to put up so much food when it is just two of you! Hugs to you today dear friend, hoping you are having a lovely day :)

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  10. Oh my goodness yes, you have been a busy, busy girl! Everything looks absolutely wonderful and I bet tastes as lovely as it looks! I wish I had learned to can when I was little. My mom always did but I don't recall having any interest in learning how. But who says an old dog can't learn a few new tricks?? I have just have to put that on my bucket list! I loved your beautiful poem too! Happy Tuesday!

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    1. Canning is not nearly as intimidating as it sounds! You most certainly could do it :) I would just start with a small batch, and see how it goes. There really is no taste like homemade canned tomatoes, and homemade jams and jellies. Hugs to you today dear friend, praying your day is blessed!

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  11. Yes Marilyn, this is definitely a time to be back in the kitchen once again ;D enjoy your time canning... even though it is hard work, I'm sure you will enjoy it :D mari

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    1. I am enjoying putting things up for the winter, it is truly wonderful to feel like being back in the kitchen :) Hugs to you today dear friend!

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  12. WOW! You have been busy. What a feast you will have this winter with everything you made. Those plums look delicious-you now have me curious to try a plum smoothie ;-)
    P.S. Happy Belated Birthday!

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    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, and adding frozen plums to smoothies really gives a lovely flavor to them! Hugs to you today :)

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  13. My goodness, is there anything you cannot make in the kitchen? I am also so impressed. It's a wonderful way to spend your cozy fall days! Enjoy your bounty!

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    1. I'm willing to tackle just about anything that involves putting up food for the winter, if my family will eat it, lol! Appreciate your visit and friendship so much, have a blessed day! :)

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  14. Your kitchen activities remind me a lot of mine lately too. The canner is busy a lot of the time. That is a good thing. :-) Your plums look very yummy. Thanks so much for reminding me that I need to dry raspberry leaves. We have been so busy drying mint and other herbal tea stuff for winter that I forgot about the Raspberry leaf. We need to get on that soon.
    I love your poem!

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    1. Sounds like you really have been busy Abbi! I know you are a very industrious lady, and you are right, there is always so much to do with the fall harvesting and putting up for winter. I hope you are doing well dear friend :)

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  15. I bet the plum jelly was yummy! We have a small, very small raspberry bush that has produced a few raspberries....definitely not enough to make jam though.
    I didn't know all the health benefits of raspberry tea. Do you make raspberry tea and then add the tea to smoothies, or do you add the leaves to smoothies? How do you make your tea?
    Love in Christ,
    Ashley

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    1. Hi Ashley! To make raspberry tea for smoothies, I would make the tea and then put it into ice trays and freeze it. Then I can just pop out the ice cubes, store them in a ziploc bag and add the ice cubes to my smoothie :) To make tea, I just take 1-2 tablespoons of raspberry leaves, pour boiling water over them and let it sit for 5 minutes, strain, and drink. Hope this helps! Have a blessed day my friend :)

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  16. Wow! You go girl! Canning season is in full swing. We bought 36 pounds of strawberries, so I've been dehydrating, slicing, freezing, baking scones and made 3 batches of strawberry freezer jam in the past two days. I must admit a cat nap would have been nice. ;)
    Roxy and I were just saying we should can some tomatoes. We might be doing that sometime soon.
    Plum jelly is my favorite! I also canned some pear jelly and pear butter a few weeks ago. And I must admit, pear is right up there with the plum. Its really yummy!
    I never knew all the health benefits of raspberry leaves...I might need to go cut some of my bushes. They haven't produced fruit yet, does that matter?
    Enjoy your week!
    Amy

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    1. Wow, that is a lot of strawberries! Lots and lots of deliciousness! I do love to can tomatoes, there is really no taste like homegrown canned tomatoes. I have not ever made pear jelly, but will give it a try. A friend has a pear tree, and is going to give me some, and I will have to give pear jelly a whirl! As far as raspberry bushes, if they have not fruited is apparently when they are the most beneficial for you. However, I use the leaves off mine that have already fruited, I think either way there are great health benefits to the raspberry leaf tea. Hugs to you today, and hoping you are enjoying fall :)

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  17. A wonderful post. I loved seeing all your clever industry in the kitchen and the rows of jars filled with goodness, there is nothing like homemade.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. You are so right about the homemade being best, I agree! Hugs to you today dear Amelia :)

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  18. Marilyn,
    I am so impressed with all of your canning! Everything looks delicious! Wow, all those tomatoes and plums!!! I found your information about raspberry very interesting. I guess I have read a little about the health benefits but did not know specifically what they were. You are just a wealth of information!

    Have a wonderful fall and winter enjoying all of your bounty! After all that hard work, you certainly deserve it!
    xo
    Linda

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the information about raspberry tea, it really is delightful to drink :) I hope you are having lovely fall weather there, and enjoying the bounty of beauty fall offers up! Hugs to you today dear friend :)

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  19. Hi Marilyn! I have a low magnesium count, so I read with great interest about the benefits of raspberry tea. I'll have to start drinking it for sure. And it's caffeine free, I'm sure.
    You should have been a pioneer woman on the plains, you are such a great canner and juice maker too. Did you grow up doing all of that? We do jar spaghetti sauce, but that's about it around here.
    Happy Thursday :)
    Ceil

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    1. Oh yes, it is caffeine free, and a good all-around tea to drink I think! It is enjoyable mixed with green tea leaves too.

      I just enjoy puttering in the kitchen, and while I did grow up in a family where we canned and put up food in a root cellar, I'm probably the only one out of my family that continues to do that. I just enjoy it :) Spaghetti sauce is a great one to put up, always so nice to grab something off the shelf and have dinner presto!

      Hugs to you today Ceil, always appreciate your visit :)

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  20. Oh how I love visiting your lovely blog, Marilyn! Each and every time I smile as I look at your lovely and colourful produce in the preserve jars! I love all the little tidbits of helpful information you share. Love your beautiful poem. Reading your beautiful words and gazing at the beautiful trees one is moved to worship our God. Love your kitty; how cozy he looks.

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    1. And how I love to visit your happy place too Kim! Your remarkable talents always are a creative thrill to me. Thank you so much for your sweet comments, and I'm so thankful that you are moved to worship the Lord as you read, that is the focus of what I do... lift up our Lord so others will want to worship Him too. I cannot help but just worship Him though, as His love and grace are so evident throughout His creation. Appreciate your visit Kim, and hope you are enjoying the splendor of spring now :) Hugs and blessings sent your way!

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  21. My hubby's parents were canning experts. I've never canned anything but would love too. This looks like a yummy haul here.

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    1. Canning is something that once you get started, you start to see possibilities in everything, lol! Perhaps you need to see how your hubby's parents do it, and then try it yourself. It is easier than it looks, and oh so rewarding! Hugs to you today :)

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  22. My hubby's parents were canning experts. I've never canned anything but would love too. This looks like a yummy haul here.

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  23. I always come away from reading your blog with so many interesting facts and ideas.
    Didn't know about the raspberry leaves! Thanks!

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    1. I'm happy to hear that Christine! I too always love to learn new things, and share what I have learned. Hugs to you today dear friend!

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  24. I love your homespun post, Marilyn! From your homegrown produce to the jars full of tomatoes and jams you put up for future use. It warms my heart when I come here and see what you have been up to, and the way you appreciate all that God blesses you with.
    Love to you, and Happy Harvest!!
    Debbie
    xo

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    1. Thank you Debbie for your sweet visit, it is so good to have you visit! It is a joy to put up food for the winter, and though it is quite a bit of work, it is oh so worth it when the snow starts to fly :) Appreciate you dear friend, and praying the Lord is blessing your day today!

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    1. Thanks Sandi! So happy to have you visit! Hugs :)

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  26. OH wow. You have been one busy bee. I loved reading about all this. Plums...yummy! How interesting about raspberry tea. Blessings from Mississippi.

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    1. Dear Chrissy, how happy I am to see you here visiting! I have missed you! Yes, I've been busy, but a good busy, and I love having the extra food in store for the winter :) Hope you are doing well my friend, and will be stopping by for a visit with you soon :)

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  27. Aw! The kitty is so cute and cuddly! You're doing a great job of putting food by!

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    1. He is a sweet and cuddly fellow, and sure loves his naps. LOL! Yes, it has been enjoyable putting up the food after the harvest from the garden. It will be enjoyable come wintertime :) Hugs to you today!

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  28. Hi,
    I had no idea about saving the raspberry leaves. Do you use a dehydrator to dry the leaves?
    We are blessed with a grand raspberry patch, I really should save my leaves!!

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    1. Hi Carla! I just hung the leaves upside down inside a clean bag, and as the leaves dried, they fell into the bag. Then I just picked each leaf up and made sure it was dry before storing. Yes, if you have a large raspberry patch, this would make a great use of all those leaves that will just blow away in the wind, lol! Hugs to you today :)

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  29. It looks like you've been hard at work. I love your kitty, don't they always look so cozy when they sleep? We've been getting a lot of rain lately but it's warming up again. It will probably be the last hoorah for a few months. Enjoy your week!

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    1. Yes, whenever I see cats sleeping, I always feel like taking a nap too, lol! Are your trees starting to show color yet? The maples and shrubs have already turned, but the tamaracks are just beginning their color show. When they finish, that means snow flies, so I am not in a hurry for them to turn, lol! Hugs to you today!

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  30. It looks like you've been hard at work. I love your kitty, don't they always look so cozy when they sleep? We've been getting a lot of rain lately but it's warming up again. It will probably be the last hoorah for a few months. Enjoy your week!

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    1. Hi Kelly, fall doesn't last long enough, does it, lol! Hope you are having a good week :)

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  31. Wow, you have been busy! I have never thought to dry raspberry leaves - so obvious! Thanks for the great info about that.

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    1. Glad the information was a blessing to you Julie, so happy to have met you. Hugs to you today!

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  32. I always love visiting your place, Marilyn, to see what's being whipped up in your kitchen. Love the sight of all those preserve jars! I enjoyed reading your facts re the raspberry leaves; facts I will file away in my muddly pea brain. =) What a joy to wake up to your lovely poem; such beautiful thoughts. Have the most beautiful day, beautiful lady. Xx

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Your comments are blessings to me, and I appreciate each and every one, they are precious to me! I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my blog... this is what makes blogging worthwhile! Have a blessed day!