Friday, September 22, 2023

Garden/Kitchen projects we have been working on! And a quilt top waiting to be quilted!

Hi everyone!

It is starting to feel like Autumn here, Happy Autumn Equinox! Only 2 or 3 Hummingbirds remain at our feeder. Lots of other birds have flown off (to migrate, I guess!). We saw a few Ravens in the area, and the Geese have returned, flying in formation over our house in the morning and evening. (We are near a river, which flows through our town.) I'm happy we survived the extra hot temperatures this year and it is feeling nice outside now.

I have been wanting to post for a while, have been very busy with a bountiful orchard this season. We have been harvesting, freezing, drying and canning fruit! I have been using the Steam Canning process with my Victoria Canner. It worked well, using the indicator on the top of the canner as an aid when processing. The process kept our kitchen from getting so hot!

Here are some photos of canning in the pantry (I apologize for the bad lighting) :

Canning - Apple Sauce and Fig Jam

Canning, Blackberries and Blackberry Jam

Canning Jars, Asian Pear Jam, Blackberry Jam and Applesauce

Caning in our pantry

This is the most fruit we have had - so I have had to take time from creating in my studio to harvest and preserve. My husband has been helping with preparing the fruit with me and drying too. 

We had enough peaches to freeze (will make pie later), Stella cherries with extra to freeze, tons of Blackberries, for freezing, canning and I made some Blackberry jam and Blackberry fruit rollups. Also grapes - we made some rollups with Blackberries and grapes combined (if you use this combination you don't need to add sugar). Our raisins didn't turn out as well, too moist.

We even had a few nectarines and plums for eating. It wasn't a good year for apricots and almonds though (we did get a bit of hard frost). 

We harvested Asian pears and Apples (we gave away most of these to neighbors, friends and to a bakery in town). We froze some apples, then dried some and canned applesauce and Asian pear jam. I made the Asian pear jam without sugar or honey, since they were sweet, and applesauce without sugar, since they had a great flavor.

Then, have been harvesting our Chicago Hardy Figs! They do well in our area (zone 8b, Central Arizona, though this variety is hardy in colder areas, also). We dried some and I made some Fig jam (I added some honey, a bit of sugar and some molasses). I'll use the jam to make Fig Bars later on!

Today we will be making Fig roll ups and trying our hands at drying some Jujubes! (note: they both came out great!)

We also harvested Persimmons and Yali Asian Pears, here are some of the Yalis on our counter:

Yali Asian Pears on counter

Hand holding large Yali Asian Pear

We will be harvesting our large hard Pears, Utah Sweet Pomegranates and Pecans yet this year. All have been doing well! The heat seems to have kept some of the Codling moths away. Though, you still have to be careful when eating the fruits they like to eat.

It will be nice to have the fruit to use, especially since not every year is as good as this year has been! If we have more good years, we will share more food too!

I did manage to piece together a quilt top for one of my great nieces. She loves cats. I will write about that in my next post! Here is a photo of it on my design wall:

Pieced Gidget and Chloe Quilt Top

Wishing everyone a beautiful Autumn!

Blessings to you,

Denise A. Buchwalter-Losczyk