Archives for category: Orchard

One of the questions I often get is “how do you do it all?” – and of course the answer is “I don’t!”

In the spring the chores are many and physically demanding.  Planting requires bending over and digging, and there is no way to do little bits because so many of the plant varieties share planting times.

So this weekend Saturday was spent planting starts from the nursery – I direct sow seeds when I can, but every year I get starts from the nursery to jump start some I have trouble with seeds.  This year the starts were strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and some flowers.

image

image

The orchard is ready to be thinned, already the apples are developing.

image

Advertisements

Sunday, 11/11/2012 Veteran’s day came with very cold temps and our first freeze.  This year mother nature skipped frost altogether.  After making breakfast for the family and thanking my father in law for his service the kitchen was pressed into service to produce quince jam and jelly. 

Quince is an old style fruit, and has fallen out of favor.  It is a member of the apple family and looks very much like an apple – with a bit of fuzz and a button end.  However, while the fresh fruit produces an amazingly sweet aroma they are not edible until cooked.  They are so hard that the apple peeler – corer was only about 75% effective and much of the fruit had to be hand peeled, cored, sliced. 

image

Like apples that are cooked soft to make butters and apple sauce, quince jam requires the fruit be cooked down, and pureed.  That meant I had a juice byproduct to make the jelly with.

image

 

image

image

After the solid fruit is separated from the juice, the juice is strained to remove any remaining solids.  Such a pretty pink!

image

I have made jelly in the past and have produced mortar (overcooked) and syrup (undercooked) instead – so was skeptical and full of self doubt about how this batch would turn out.  The “jelling point” continues to allude me, though this is the closest I think I have come to the correct level of “set” in the jelly. When cooked and the sugar is added the jelly turns a beautiful  deep pink, making a jelly that qualifies as decoration on the pantry shelf.

image

%d bloggers like this: