Thursday, October 29, 2020

Our Fall HOME, beginning to settle in for the long haul.

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We've been so busy with projects and yard work. I finally got in my doll room after almost 3 months. I had stories and themes to do there. The yard and produce from the garden really kept the kitchen too busy to decorate. 

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Every day in October brought heat, more work, rain...inside projects, beautiful days for outside and today...???? 

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The last two mornings it has been very heavy frost and SNOW. Such is Chicagoland weather. And, NO, I'm not ready for Winter yet. I haven't done Fall.

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Because of the frosts, I brought herbs and plants in from outdoors. And, finally have some sort of decor set up that isn't flowers drying or tomatoes ripening. My ivy topiary is so thick, I may have to start clipping it. I had transplanted it in Spring...and it loved the extra dirt.

HOW TO MAKE THE IVY TOPIARY HERE.

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I take that back, I still have flowers drying for seeds. Maybe I will sort tonight while watching...GASP...Christmas movies. In these turbulent times, it's silly relief.

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This sweet stove was a purchase this summer, and never left the kitchen. The pots and pans were found in a tote of my mom's stuff. Eight pieces in a bag, brand new, marked $1.99. Guess how old they must be..LOL. 

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Long as I finally was putting up some Fall, I added my Turkey platter, plates and my rustic Pilgrims. It really doesn't take too much to make it cozy.

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My centerpiece is a pot full of last of the Zinnias (actually drying on the stems), an old pumpkin bottle (Pumpkin Spiced Rum---it was SO GOOD!) and drying flower buds for seeds in an old Mason Jar and some coin glass from the 1960's (wedding present).

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On the island, the usual suspects, a little less blue than normal. The crock on the right is full of cough drops, an Atlas jar (very old), my old scale, a Swedish trivet, a very early McCoy pitcher another crock (from Glenn's great-great grandmother, and some vintage S&P. 

This island has been so busy, I just finished making pumpkin butter. This week, I will begin deep cleaning the kitchen, and oiling the counters. 
Something I do at least twice a year.



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Here is my only Halloween decor up---a large rubber spider captured in a jar.  In the living room are my plants from out doors. We will see what thrives.



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Love the Mandilla flowers.  I brought in 4 of those plants...I hope they will be happy inside.  The mini Spathiphyllum  on the right was in the pond. Which reminds me, I have to put the pumps away...YIKES! So, much still to do.

What are you planning to do inside for WINTER?

Do not use my photos without my permission and linking back to this post on my blog.


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi 
 











 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Making PUMPKIN BUTTER


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Sandi's Pumpkin Butter. 

Last post was how to PUREE FRESH PUMPKIN. I don't remember where this recipe started, I know it has been tweaked over the years...so I call it my own. I tend to reduce sugar content if possible. With jams you need the sugar to make it thick. With this recipe you can add more sugar if you like, just don't reduce the sugar.

 

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Blending and measuring the Puree.

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Huge pot of puree, pumpkin liquid, sugar and spices. 


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SECRET: STIR, Stir, stir and stir some more.

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It's a long process, look at the bubble, (Bubble-bubble-toil and trouble---always wanted to say that! )

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Since I quadrupled the recipe---
40 cups of pumpkin, it's a slow process. 
I washed and then 'roasted' my jars and rims to 220 degrees.
 Lids are on the stove in a pot of boiling water.
Water Bath is the easiest type of canning. Fill jars, wipe edges clean, seal with hot lids, then put in canner and when it boils, time for 10 minutes. Carefully remove hot jars and cover with towels to cool slowly.

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Here, I'm all ready for the scooping and sealing.

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After they cool, we label them. 
I hand wrote the labels for gifts. I'll probably put cute paper tops on and tie with string!

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Best part is sampling. We had one odd jar that wouldn't fit in the canner, we are using immediately. Whole grain toast and pumpkin butter. NUM!!!

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40 cups of pumpkin--made 16 pints and 12 1/2 pints and 2/3 of the extra pint.

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Long day, and very hot stuff. OLD clothes and splatters everywhere. But that's what kitchens are for.

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Have a 'cuppa' and some spicy pumpkin butter with me! 

Sandi's Pumpkin Butter

Place all ingredients in a heavy pot with lid

10 cups of Fresh Pureed Pumpkin
3 1/3 cups of sugar (1/2 white and 1/2 brown sugars)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon Juice
1 Tbsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of allspice
1 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cardamon

Add at the end.
1/2 cup of salted butter

Add Apple juice or pumpkin liquid to get the pot to start boiling. Bring to a bubbling boil, and then lower heat to maintain a slow simmer. Stir frequently to avoid burning on bottom of pot. Cock lid open to allow steam to escape, so the contents will reduce. 

Simmer until the pumpkin is thick and flakes off the spoon. It should be very thick and dark. Another test of consistency is to pour a Tbsp of hot pumpkin on a chilled plate. If no rim of liquid forms around the edge it is ready to add butter. 

Add butter stir until glossy and thoroughly combined. 

Ladle pumpkin butter into hot clean jars, seal and process in rolling hot water bath for 10 minutes, (completely covered). Remove and cover jars with cloth as they cool.

Perfect on toast, in oatmeal, or in pastries. This Will keep in fridge once opened. I store ours upside down. Remember there are no preservatives in the pumpkin butter, it's just pure food.

ENJOY!

What's your favorite Pumpkin Recipe?
Do not use my photos without my permission and linking back to this post on my blog.


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi 
 

Monday, October 26, 2020

MONSTER PUMPKIN PUREE

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WE were sure busy this week, trying to beat the FROST and today SNOW...and getting the garden and yard work cleaned up!


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October 24th, 2020...The GREAT PUMPKIN PUREE!

REMEMBER THIS!!!?


From our Midwest Gardening end of August 2020, . 
YES we did grow this monster! Instead of fifteen pumpkins in the yard, this is the only one that made it this year...? Back in the NW corner of the yard, this monster crept toward the compost pile, in the shade and watered, it grew, and Grew, and GREW. I guess that what GREEN gardening does.


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Now, where do you start? We did use the pumpkin for a display in the front yard for Fall.

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It really doesn't look big here, but it really was. We didn't weigh it, shame on us!
We had a heavy FROST warning, so we brought our monster and the purchased pumpkins inside. 

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Hubby pulled out a new battery saw, a small tree branch trimmer with a new blade, and gave the pumpkin basically a 'JASON' swipe. It worked perfectly and sure saved a lot of hacking! 


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Really not much mess either!

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The inside was as magnificent as the outside.

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Healthy and clean...I should have harvested the seeds, but I didn't. I do know it was a Fairytale Pumpkin, probably cross pollinated with a heirloom squash, due to the bumpy surface.  

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Hubby kept cutting into manageable pieces, well almost manageable. 

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This is my biggest pan, an old broiler pan from an old stove we had. I stacked the un-scraped pumpkin---no need to wear yourself out scraping. We added a cup of water to the bottom of the pan, and tightly covered with thick foil.

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A smaller pan was put in the upper oven.

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And the large pan fit in the bottom. I started the ovens at 375 degrees. After a half hour I  lowered the temp to 325 degrees. Roasting took about 3 or more hours. I lost track, doing other projects.
After this was done, I had another pan, I had to cook.

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To Test: Press down on the foil until the shell bends and is soft. Check under the foil, the hull should be the same cooked color all the way through. 
Let COOL.
 The inside waste easily scrapes away at this point.

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I scraped the shells and put in a bowl, and transferred the pumpkin water, (there was a lot) into another bowl in the front.

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 Puree two scoops in the blender with a small amount of pumpkin water to ease the machine. Don't tax it. 

You can use this Puree for Pumpkin Butter, pies, bakery as is. Or,  measure quantities into freezer bags for the freezer. Frozen pumpkin will 'weep' when thawed. Drained it becomes quite thick for your favorite recipes. The FLAVOR is divine and I got 40 cups of pumpkin puree out of our monster! 

Enjoy, next post:
How to make PUMPKIN BUTTER!
NUM! 

What's your favorite Pumpkin Recipe?
Do not use my photos without my permission and linking back to this post on my blog.


Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi