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Monday, August 22, 2011

More jam!

We got adventurous this weekend and made some plum jam!  Black plums were on sale at the grocery store, so we thought, why not try making some plum jam?
It was a little trickier than the peach jam we made.  It wasn't setting up as easily, but I had read up on what to do if your jam was not passing the "jell test".  So twice we added some supplemental pectin and cooked it another minute.  And finally, it was "jelling" appropriately.  I'm glad our first try at jam with the peaches went so smoothly...it's good for things to go exactly like they're supposed to the first time you do something new!  But this was also a good experience for learning how to make adjustments, which must be done on the fly, and still come out with a satisfactory end product.  We ended up with 7 half pint jars out of about 3 1/2 pounds of plums.

The jam came out just fine and dandy.  It's nice and sweet, and we used the lower sugar recipe.  Neither my wonderful hubby or I can imagine using the full sugar recipes...seems like you would totally overpower the goodness of the fruit with sugar.  Makes my teeth hurt thinking about it!

The worms are doing well...I know you were dying to know, but too shy to ask.  They have been happily munching away on all our produce scraps.  We're starting to get a good build up of castings...black gold!  My hubby turned the organic matter in the worm condo and it was warm in there, letting us know everything is working as it should. 

In the Little Garden That Could, we have picked close to a dozen baby yellow squashes.  Can't wait to eat them.  I started picking some of the beans that grew about an 3/4 of an inch long and then just stopped.  The bean plants are doing all they can to stay alive in this oppressive heat.  I'm picking the mini beans for the worms.  Maybe, if it EVER cools down below 100 and I get this whole stunted batch off of the plants, they might have a chance to make one more round that we can eat before they're done.

We still dream of having our own little homestead.  It's fun to talk about all the things we'd like to do with a small parcel of land.  With all the uncertainty in the world, it's fun and gives us hope to dream about something positive!  We look forward to being more self-sufficient and able to produce at least some of our own food.  We'll have a couple of chickens and a greenhouse.  We will plant some fruit trees and we'll have bees.  Someday.  It won't be easy.  But it'll be worth all the work.  I read in a homesteading book once (I wish I could rememer which one, I've read through so many) that although some people may look at growing your own food and living off the land as a lower standard of living, he considers being more self-sufficient a higher standard of living because you create your own food from your own soil with your own two hands.  You know exactly where your food comes from.  I consider it a higher standard to living too!

Well, until next time...worms still rule.


1 comment:

  1. Plum Jam......yummmmmmmmmm....... that sounds so delicious! I know you'll be happy to get some land and begin living your homesteading dreams, but you are really doing a great job now at learning and honing skills you'll need.

    Our poor garden is limping along. We desperately need rain. I was hoping to put up at least 100 quarts of canned tomatoes, but it doesn't look like we'll get anywhere close enough this year. But we've been blessed with more than enough from the garden for our meals this summer and even enough to freeze and can a little for the winter, so I really can't complain. We're already making plans for expanding and improving the garden next year.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you find relief from the oppressive heat soon, and that your beans make a good comeback! Have you considered putting in a new row of beans in the hopes that the heat will lift before they start producing? I've had luck with later summer beans in the past. Just a thought.

    And now I'm craving plum jam :)

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