I’m still on a bit of a pioneer kick and as the wind whips against the window panes and the air turns colder, my thoughts are turning to winter, using up what precious fresh market produce I have left and making it last.
While I won’t have the burden of hiking through 6 feet of snow to shoot jack rabbits, I’d like to eat an apple in the middle of the winter and not pay $2.39 a pound for a mealy, squishy, overall bad apple. At times like this, I ask myself, “What would Laura Ingalls do?” How would Laura eat an apple in February without one of those big box stores that now roam the high prairie in greater numbers than jack rabbits?
Thus, today was my first attempt at making dried fruit from scratch. No more mealy, squishy apples in winter; no more $4.00 for a bag of air and sulfur dioxide.
Want to try too? It was super easy!
Fruit of choice
12 cups water
1. Wash or peel fruit, then pit or core if applicable. Slice larger fruits into thin slices.
2. Soak in lemon water for a few minutes while oven pre-heats at 90-150 deg-F
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place in a single layer, not touching.
4. Place trays in oven and wait several hours. Resist the urge to turn up the heat.
5. Let sit out over night (at least 12 hours) before packing away in air-tight containers
I have a serious desire to milk a cow. With no room for a cow pasture in my yard (and the likelihood of serious backfire from my landlady), I’m at the disposal of the back wall of my local grocery store. However, with fresh inspiration from the Learn and Grow tent at the Glenwood Sunday Market in tow, I figured if I can’t milk a cow I can at least enjoy the old fashioned joys of making my own supplementary dairy products: butter, yogurt and cheese.
Either Laura Ingalls was extremely patient AND buff, or I did something wrong. I was meticulous in my choice of half and half (pasteurized, not ultra pasteurized), waited until the cream reached 72 degrees, poured into a mason jar and shook. and shook. And got tired and put it in the kitchen aid mixer. Fifteen minutes later and a seriously hot motor on my mixer and although little butter chunklets did form I simply can’t imagine that 1-1/2 cups of cream only yields a teaspoon of butter. I am defeated. But not discouraged! I shall live to churn another day.