How to Can Pumpkin

How to can pumpkin-- it's possible! You can the cubes and then mash when you are needing puree. Easy peasy.

I don’t claim to have much of a green thumb…

But I can grow a mean patch of pumpkins.

Okay… Okay. Pumpkins are pretty easy to grow, so don’t be too impressed…But still… I’m going to take full advantage of my bragging rights.

This year I poked a handful of heirloom pumpkin seeds into my hugelkultur bed, just to see what would happen. (If you’re wondering “hugel-whaaaa??” then read this post). Last year, my maiden voyage as a hugelkultur gardener was a complete and total flop. But being the stubborn homesteader that I am, I decided to give it another try–after applying a generous amount old manure, of course. (Because manure fixes everything).

how to can pumpkin

Apparently, the seeds loved the whole hugulkultur-thang, and they thrived. I ended up with around a dozen happy pumpkins from just a small corner of my garden.

I saved a couple of the littlest pumpkins to adorn my dining room table (because they are so cuuuuuuuute) and set to work preserving the rest. In years past, I’ve baked my pumpkins (using my finger-saving, no fuss method),  blended them, and crammed the puree into gallon-sized freezer bags. But honestly? I was dreading the process this year…

I don’t like the whole freeze-the-pumpkin-in-a-baggie method because:

a) It’s messy to put in the pumpkin puree into the bag, and wastes a lot of pumpkin when you are trying to remove it.

b) It takes up valuable freezer space.

c) I am the WORST about remembering to thaw stuff before I need it, so having jars ready at a moment’s notice makes me super-duper happy. (This is the same reason I can my beef broth instead of freezing it...)

Therefore, you can imagine my homesteader-delight when I realize you can indeed can pumpkin. There are just a few rules you need to follow first:

How to can pumpkin-- it's possible! You can the cubes and then mash when you are needing puree. Easy peasy.

 The Rules of Canning Pumpkin

1) If you are going to can pumpkin, you must, must, must use a pressure canner--no exceptions.… [Continue Reading]

Maple Walnut Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce

maple walnut blondie cookie recipeThe cool weather we’ve been having has me in the mood for baking! Today Jamie from How to Do Just About Anything shares her mouth-watering recipe for maple walnut blondies with a decadent maple butter sauce.

There are few things better than biting into a brownie…

And this warm, maple walnut blondie, with a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream and hot buttery maple sauce dripping down the sides is brownie heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love chocolate, especially since it contains a mineral many are deficient in. It’s my number one dessert of choice, but this blondie is definitely in my top three.

 

Applebee’s makes the maple blondie that inspired my creation. Every time I go there, which admittedly is only once every year or so, I indulge in the guilty pleasure of a maple blondie. The waitress brings the gooey dessert out on a cast iron skillet. The maple butter sauce sizzles on the skillet, as the sweet vanilla ice cream trickles down the sides.

And although it’s delicious, it’s loaded with unhealthy white sugar, white flour and who knows what else.

This recipe is something I really enjoy eating and don’t feel bad about serving to my family.

 

 One of the main ingredients is pastured butter which is one of the few sources of vitamin k2. This nutrient is vital for healthy bones and teeth and can be found in pastured animal products. Right now is a great time to use pastured butter before the cold weather of winter takes the grass away.

 

Blondies also typically rely on white chocolate chips to give them their moist, rich and mellow flavor. This recipe though uses coconut butter, which tastes amazing by itself, but gives baked goods that extra depth of flavor and creaminess.… [Continue Reading]

4 Ways to Save & Ripen Green Tomatoes

how to ripen green tomatoes

I was NOT happy…

…when I found out it was supposed to snow several weeks ago. The calendar had *just* turned to September, and I was not ready to pull out my muck boots and coats. Not to mention this was the first year in a long time that my garden was actually thriving!

So after I finished my little homesteader temper-tantrum, I realized I was faced with a very real problem: what to do with all of my lovely tomato plants, loaded down with very green roma tomatoes…

I agonized over this decision more than I care to admit. Part of me wanted to ignore the weather warnings and take my chances that the supposed snow storm would skip us. But my more cautious side won out, and after asking all the smart folks on The Prairie Homestead Facebook page, I came up with a plan of action to save my poor green tomatoes.

And I’m glad I did–it snowed several inches that night. Thankfully, I’m still enjoying fresh, homegrown tomatoes, weeks after our freak snowstorm, due to the measures I took. Here’s what I did:

how to save green tomatoes

How to Ripen (or Save) Green Tomatoes

You have a couple of different options when dealing with green tomatoes. Being the curious blogger-type that I am, I decided to experiment with several of these choices . Here are all the juicy details—>

1. Cover ‘em.

I’ll be honest–this option scared me a bit, and I worried my my rag-tag collection of sheets and quilts wouldn’t be enough. But, I decided to try it anyway.

I covered some of my plants with sheets, and then topped them with quilts. I tucked the ends of the blankets around the plants to seal them in as much as possible, used clothespins to pinch up the edges and corners, said a little prayer, and walked back into the house for the evening.… [Continue Reading]

Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate

chai tea concentrate

The cravings started earlier than normal this year…

I’m blaming it on our cooler-than-normal summer, and our early snow (YES, it snowed two weeks ago… *facepalm*), but I’m already hankering for sweaters, and fires in the stove, and chai tea.

Especially the chai tea.

I’m kind of a picky chai drinker… The chai tea bags you can grab in the tea aisle don’t quite cut it for me. And the pre-made concentrates are often filled with junk ingredients… So what’s a chai-aholic to do?

homemade chai tea concentrate

Make it herself, of course!

I tried a bunch of different chai tea concentrate formulas before I tweaked it enough to finally come up with this one. You’ll find it’s pleasantly sweet and spicy, yet not overpowering. You can absolutely adjust the level of sweetener, so feel free to adjust it as necessary to fit your tastes.

It’s pretty much autumn in a cup. Oh yeah…

chai tea concentrate

Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate

Yield: Approximately one quart of chai concentrate

You Will Need: 

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Instructions:

In a medium pot, bring the water and sweetener to a boil and simmer until the sweetener is fully dissolved.

homemade chai tea concentrate

Add all of the spices, and continue to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the heat, add the tea bags, and let them steep for 10 minutes.… [Continue Reading]