Concord Grapes

What a breathtakIng day to process concord grapes!

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There is nothing like being kissed by the dew from an early morning fog nestled amongst the mountains.

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This year yielded a beautiful crop of grapes–thanks to friends who share!

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After taking the grapes off the stems and washing them, it’s off to the canning factory we go!

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We used the majority of grapes to can homemade grape juice.

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Then cooked and ran the rest of the grapes through the juicer to remove seeds and skins.

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The next step is to strain the juice and can it, to make homemade grape jelly at a later time (it’s to die for!).

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We returned home to the most amazing sunset. It was just as glorious as the morning fog!

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Enjoying the fruits of our labor. There is nothing more refreshing and delicious as the treat of an ice cold glass of homemade grape juice! Isn’t the color beautiful?
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Traditional Mountain Apple Butter

Temperatures are dropping, the air is crisp and fall has arrived. When we moved Virginia, I was amazed by all of the apple butter making events in our part of the state. There is a detailed chapter in my book, Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about one church’s process of making apple butter and their recipe. All of their proceeds go to missions. It takes several days to wash, peel, remove cores from enough apples to fill a fifty gallon kettle. A long day of  apple butter making starts before dawn and does not end until late afternoon. On a recent trip to the canning factory, I was amazed while watching one family make apple butter.

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They spent all day stirring the huge kettle with a stick about the size of a boat oar. For lunch, they had a little tailgate party going on outside of the cannery and cooked t-bone steaks,  potato salad and other delectable fixins. The steaks and apple butter smelt heavenly! My tuna salad was not near as exciting plus I forgot to bring a fork so I had to use my pretzels as an eating utensil.

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Assembly line on filling quart-size jars with apple butter. There were about five family members helping on this endeavor.

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They were kind enough to share a jar with me. I asked the man in charge if I could please purchase a jar. He replied, “No but I’ll give you one.” When the apple butter finished cooking, they offered me a taste. I can’t even describe how scrumptious it was!

Homemade Grape Juice

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Canning season is nearly over but I have to share one of my favorites with you. Homemade grape juice. It is unimaginably delicious and a special treat.
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My cousins tell me when they were children that they rarely had the pleasure of drinking it. They only received it when they were sick. Evidently it helps settle an upset stomach. It is one of my easier canning recipes. One half cup sugar, 1 cup of Concord grapes, fill a quart size mason jar with hot water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Water bath for 15 minutes.

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Over Abundance of Zucchini

What is one to do when blessed with it over abundance of zucchini? Here’s my two cents for what its worth.

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First things first. Make a fresh and fabulous zucchini and squash casserole. My daughter won a blue ribbon in the 4-H Food Show with this recipe. She then advanced to the district competition competing against twelve counties and won the District Food Show. She advanced to the state competition and won fourth or fifth in state. All in all, that’s pretty good considering there are over 250 counties in Texas to compete against. Bottom line–this recipe rocks! In the above photo I did not have crackers to crumble for the top, so I used french fried onion rings and it was an excellent substitute.

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Slice it and pressure can it in pint jars  jars for 25 minutes under 10 pounds of pressure. Note: pressure cooker will not work, you need to use a pressure canner. I will use these jars of zucchini and squash to make the above casserole recipe.

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Shred it and pressure can it in quart jars for 30 minutes under 10 pounds of pressure. Note: pressure cooker will not work, you need to use a pressure canner. This will give you enough to make  zucchini bread at a later time. Be sure to drain it well before making your zucchini bread.

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Dehydrate it!

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I sprinkled it with garlic salt and chili powder, then dehydrate according to manufacture directions of your dehydrator.

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Dehydrated zucchini is so good! And a healthy substitute for chips. Special thanks to my friend Judie Lilley for this idea.

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Dice it. Then pressure can it in pint jars  jars for 25 minutes under 10 pounds of pressure. Note: pressure cooker will not work, you need to use a pressure canner. I will use this diced zucchini in stew and soup during the winter.

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Last but not least, I had several events and pot luck dinners to attend in a two day period so I created “casserole kits”.

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A Good Day of Berry Picking

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a good day of berry picking. I love being out in nature and picking berries. They are so good! Berry cobbler or berry jelly are equally scrumptious.

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The bees are working their magic. Our honey are in danger and it’s important to provide flowers for them to pollinate.

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I washed my hands in the antique spigot after picking berries.

A Productive Day

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On my last blog post, I shared my canning factory experience with you. Now that the car is unloaded and the jars are in the house I wanted to show you the fruits of my labor.

You probably think this blog has turned into a canning network but not really. Tis the season at my house and this is what I spend my time on at the moment. I am working on a spectacular king size quilt, but can’t show it to you since it’s a Christmas gift and I don’t want the recipient to see it. I look forward to showing you the end result someday.

On upcoming September blog posts, I I’m excited to show you some awesome quilts from several quilting events I attended this summer.