Pleasant Valley Farm

  (Tionesta, Pennsylvania)
Real Family Farming in Tionesta, PA
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As the year goes on, I'm finding more and more of our home-canned goodies are selling, but I've had a few comments that too much of it is hot for some tastes.  I like a good spicy sauce, but I realize not everyone appreciates it and some people have bigger a sweet tooth.  So I went back to my big book of canning recipes to see what inspired me.  I found a great recipe to use up carrots that hadn't sold over the weekend...a carrot cake jam!  Spreadable carrot cake was just too intriguing to past up, so I collected all the necessary ingredients and went to work.  I must confess, I was fearful of a flaming disaster when, after the 20 minutes of boiling was up, I still had a pot of fruits and veggies without much visible liquid.  I expected it to look more syrupy, and thought there was no way in the world that the large amount of sugar I had would ever dissolve without adding water or something my recipe didn't call for. But there was nothing to do but grab the big bowl full of sugar, dump it in and stir. To my surprise and delight, it stirred right in and the result makes a plain piece of toast into dessert!  

Since we're all but done with butchering, I feel like I have more time to create in the kitchen.  Even though I'm not home all day now, it gets dark out so early that canning a batch of something seems like a great way to pass a chilly evening.  Also, with the garden being done I feel like I have more freedom to choose what I'm doing.  Although I try my best to let no tomato, hot pepper, green bean, etc, go to waste, the only home grown veggies I have left to can are tomatoes I've already run through the food mill and frozen.  So there is no hurry to get to them before they go bad.  We try to be as self sufficient as possible, but sometimes it's ok to buy some of the ingredients, so I'm looking for tasty treats now instead of a way to use up all these hot peppers or whatever I was overrun with at the time during the growing season.  Next up, I have my eye on a Black Forest preserve...cocoa and cherries and sugar! Yum!  It should go well with the ice cream maker that arrived via FedEx today that we're excited to try out. Or maybe I'll do gingered pears, or a recipe for spiced pumpkin that sounds like a holiday treat.  I'm going to try to set aside time for canning tomorrow, as I have the day to spend at home, but Finniat is coming in the morning and I'm not sure how much of my day will be wrapped up in that!  

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