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Archive for the ‘Preserving food’ Category

Apple Butter Recipe

October 25th, 2014 by Susan Odom

Once a year at Hillside Homestead we make the supply of apple butter. We follow a common 19th century apple butter recipe which have no added sugar. It makes sense to do this because we use a thirty gallon copper kettle, an eight foot long paddle and one huge roaring fire! It is a big project and best to get it all done in a day. I have some wonderful friends who come and help me do this and it is great fun to share it with the public! So an annual event was born; The Apple Bee.

The apples have just been added and now for the big boil!

The apples have just been added and now for the big boil!

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The Apple Bee – a free, living history event at Hillside Homestead

October 6th, 2013 by Susan Odom

This is your invitation to visit Hillside Homestead on Sunday October 27 from noon to 5pm for our annual fall event, “The Apple  Bee.” This is free and open to the public and very family friendly! The last public event we had in June was very popular! I hope to see many of you again later this month!

Making apple butter circa 1910

Making apple butter circa 1910

The center piece of the event is the apple butter boil! We will be making apple butter, following the traditional 19th century method. The recipe is really quite simple. Take apple cider and boil it down to half. Add in the prepared apples and boil it hard till the apples break apart. Then cook it down till it is thick and smooth and so that it spreads like butter. This is a real hands on experience. Come give it a try and you can even have a taste! Just for fun here are some of the numbers…

  • 30 gallon copper kettle for the boil
  • 8 foot long paddle for stirring
  • 15 gallons of fresh, sweet cider will sweeten it
  • 3 bushels of apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 9 hours of cooking
  • 6 gallons of apple butter, that is what I hope we make!

There will also be historic cooking demos happening in the farm house and samples to taste! You can take a tour of the farm house and the grounds. The pigs have grown quite large and the chicks you saw in June are nearly mature!

There will be some games to play or just sit back on the porch and enjoy the rolling hills and orchards. Lots of good old fashioned doings. Please come and join us, we would love to see you! Come visit Hillside Homestead and experience early 20th century life at the farmhouse!

 

Getting ready to make apple butter

Getting ready to make apple butter

Peeling apples, its a big job, but we can do it!

Peeling apples, its a big job, but we can do it!

The apples have just been added and now for the big boil!

The apples have just been added and now for the big boil!

 

 

 

Strawberry Jam… let the fun begin

June 26th, 2013 by Susan Odom

Just a quick post to explain how I will be making my jam today. Wish me luck! It is really more of a rule or a technique than a recipe.

Weigh Fruit and use this ratio

  • 1 pound of fruit
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¾ pound of sugar
  • If you have it….5 -9 tablespoons of homemade pectin made with currant juice or green apples (2 pounds of chopped green apples and 2 cups of water, cook for about an hour and drain in a jelly bag)

Instructions:

Prep all the ingredients. Just hull the strawberries, only half them if they are big. Combine the berries, the lemon juice and the homemade pectin if you have it. Cook over low heat till it comes to low boil. Stir occasionally.Add the sugar and stir till dissolved over medium heat.Cook with very little stirring till setting point. To tell if it is done take some out and let it cool on a plate. If no juice or moisture gathers about it and it looks dry and glistening, it is done thoroughly. Also if you nudge it with your finger tip and it crinkles it is done, after slightly cooled.

These instructions are based on my experience and the reading of many historic cook books, most notably “The New Buckeye Cook Book” published in 1904. A modern cook book that thoroughly explains  the old way of making jam and jelly, “The River Cottage Preserves Handbook” by Pam Corbin has also been most helpful (and I don’t consider that cheating!)

Making Strawberry Jam at Hillside Homestead.

Making Strawberry Jam at Hillside Homestead.

To keep eggs… using beeswax and oats…without refrigeration…at Hillside Homestead

May 18th, 2013 by Susan Odom

Its egg season for sure! As they days get longer and longer egg production goes up and up. Here is my egg production for the last several months

  • February=47 eggs, from about 15 laying hens
  • March=160 eggs
  • April=236 from about 11 hens. 2 hens were killed by the hawks and one hen has gone broody. Broody means she wants to be a mama, so she is sitting on a clutch of 11 eggs. She does not lay new eggs while sitting on a clutch and that is ok. Because she is dong a good job of trying to increase the flock size. Sunday evening May 19 is the first chance for the eggs to hatch.
  • May=130 eggs by may 18

I’m getting more eggs than I need right now. But I remember how I ran out of eggs in December and January and February. So I’m ‘putting up’ eggs for the lean times. by following these instructions from “The New Buckeye Cook Book” published in 1904

Instructions on how to keep/preserve eggs to winter time. From "The New Buckeye Cook Book" published in 1904

Instructions on how to keep/preserve eggs to winter time. From “The New Buckeye Cook Book” published in 1904

To do this I dip the eggs in bees wax and then store them in layers of oats. The oats act as a medium for storage. They keep the eggs safe from breaking and bumping into each other. I put up 28 eggs this way so far. And about a month ago I put about 4 dozen eggs using lard instead of beeswax. I do prefer the beeswax method. I plan to do more waxed eggs for the next 4-6 weeks.

Take a peek at the waxed eggs below. The wax closes up the pores on the shell and helps them last longer.

These eggs have been dipped in beeswax to help preserve them to leaner times.

These eggs have been dipped in beeswax to help preserve them to leaner times of winter

After the eggs have completely cooled and hardened they are packed into crocks of oats  Put a layer of oats on the bottom then add the eggs. The eggs should go in big end down. Repeat till the crock is full and then cover with a heavy cloth and string. Keep the crock down in the cellar. 

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

These eggs will be great for cakes and cookies and the such. They don’t suit too well for scrambled for fried. I first learned this method when I worked at Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village, which is part of The Henry Ford. And it works!

Maybe this winter we will have enough eggs to eat pound cake all winter!

Basket of Eggs

The fruits of their labor, eggs for eating and baking!

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