Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gardening Woes and Fast Times!

Well, it seems as if fall is fast approaching.  I have heard from a few gardeners that it seems like mid-September in their gardens.  Many of the plants are done producing and the late fall crops are coming on.  Those of us that can have been swamped getting the pantry ready for the winter. 
I never know from one day to the next if I will be working on fruit or vegetables in my kitchen. Because of my business, I don't manage to can for my pantry as many of my friends do, so when I do get to create something other than jams, I feel like that is a vacation!
I have dabbled in pie fillings: Gourmet Apple; Red Raspberry; Strawberry Rhubarb; Peach; Mixed Berry etc.  I have dabbled in pickles: 14 Day; Squash Bread and Butter; Cucumber Bread and Butter; working on a batch of 9 day Aristocrat.  I have dabbled in relishes: Yellow Squash; Zucchini; Zesty; Dill; Dixie.
I am ready to start making my friend, Cindy's, zucchini salsa!  OH she wasn't joking when she told me that would be my 'go to' salsa.  I love eating it right out of the kettle!  We use it in everything from tacos to taco bake, dips, etc.
It will also be a busy time in the jam world with fall bazaars, craft shows, etc coming up. I have scheduled time off but I don't know if will get here fast enough!


 
I don't know how my grandmother did the canning and had seven children running through the house! I am plum wore out!! LOL 
Enjoy the days ahead everyone.  Be safe and smile. :)
 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Black Raspberries and Memory Lane

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but I have a hard time finding nice black raspberries around here.  A handful of customers ask me for that flavor and I reply "Sorry. They are so hard to find and when you do, they are so expensive." 
Well the local paper had an advertisement for them the other evening, so I placed a call and  my order. Ten whole pints!  LOL Yes, pricey but I thought "one time deal", I will go ahead and make the purchase. 
View from today.
So today after my errands in town, I began my journey to find the Hilltop Black Raspberry Farm. It was a nice morning for a drive and I let my mind enjoy the somewhat new territory I was traveling. Familiar in the way of it was still near my hometowns, but different as I had not been on certain parts of the roads I was driving. As I turned down road after road, my final turn was onto a small gravel road/lane.  Signs posted told me I was going the correct way. Uneasy on the size of the lane, all I could think was "I hope I don't meet a milk truck or a fast moving mail carrier" because the road was literally the size of a lane.
My ten pints of black raspberries.
But once I made it up the "washboard" hill, there it was!  A beautiful fruit and vegetable farm.  All the produce fields were nicely fenced and laid with black weed cloth.  The only thing you saw were the beautiful plants reaching for the sun. Once, I parked the car, a nice lady was walking out of the berry patch with her baskets full.  Now, you can't get any fresher berries than that! We spoke of the breeze, the sun and the beautiful berries! 
Once home I brought in the groceries and put them away.  Then the fun!!
I washed my berries. Made jam and processed 15 jelly jars. Yes, not much but when making jam or jelly, you usually don't get a whole lot.
But the BEST part of the whole day?  Saving that one bowl of berries for me.  Adding a touch of sugar. Smiling and tearing up the entire time thinking of my childhood on the farm.  My Uncle Cozy would go berry picking but he would never tell me. He always wanted to surprise me and if he didn't find any, then I wouldn't be disappointed. 
Today, with that first bite of fresh black raspberries and sugar, I saw him walking over the hills in the pasture field with the old berry buckets, one in each hand.   Just as fresh was the memory as if I was standing in my grandparents kitchen, looking out the window at him.  I couldn't wait to have my grandma wash them for us.  So many of us on the farm, and of course you had to share, one bowl was all we would enjoy.  I remember seeing my grandpa pour our fresh cows milk over his and thinking that was a waste!  LOL 
Oh my the years have come and gone but that memory...that first taste of those berries today, with a touch of sugar...took me back to my childhood. I sat in my chair and enjoyed every single one of them and felt the love of my family, in the middle of June, in the farmhouse almost 40 years ago.

My berries today.


And the money I paid for those berries? Yes, I would pay again tomorrow for that same feeling I felt today.



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Busy Busy Busy

Remember that line from Frosty the Snowman?  The magician had to get working on good deeds for Santa to bring him gifts.  He was going to be "busy, busy, busy."  Well, that is how it feels around here. I think I have a schedule and it flies out the door everyday! 

I really do try my best but when someone calls with a good price on produce, or you have to run to town for a child pick up or a loaf of bread, how can a "work" schedule be realistic when you work at home and are the wife, mother, cook, cleaner, etc.

This past week was enjoyable.  The weather, after the rain on Wednesday, has been nice and sunny with very low humidity. Very enjoyable!  Speaking of Wednesday, that was the opening day of the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio.  VERY VERY nice!  I was amazed at the beautiful produce, delicious looking baked goods and the friendly people. I can't wait to try some of the pizza cooked in a wood burning outdoor oven, fresh made on site doughnuts and etc. I will be there every Wednesday thru October. Stop out and see me and the other wonderful vendors there. 

Remember when you buy local, organic, small business--you are helping us provide for our family not helping some 'fatcat' get a 20 million dollar bonus!  So shop local!  It's so good!

Until next time my friends!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ok...ROAD TRIP!

Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with my 85 year old Grandma, my Mom and my Aunt.  We went to Port Orange, Florida. It was a wonderful, relaxing, fun time. We live close but the four of us haven't been on a vacation like that EVER!
The weather was nice. A few showers here and there on two days but they cleared off quickly and the sun was back out. Lots of things planned to see and do.  Each day, something fun!
While in Port Orange, I wanted to stop at the local farmers market to meet a canning friend of mine. Well, it was a good thing and a bad thing. Good thing: I LOVED meeting Jennifer and exchanging jams.  BAD thing: all the beautiful produce and the low, low prices and I live in Ohio!!!  Seedless watermelon, no smaller than a nice sized bowling ball 50 CENTS and 75 cents. Cantaloupes $1. Baskets of peppers, potatoes, zucchini, etc for $1 at one stand. I was like a kid in a candy store with cavities, meaning no canner, no jars, no way to transport all this glorious produce home 5 days later to Ohio. The markets I have been to have no way compared to this one.  So many vendors. So many different kinds of produce and fruits. Every piece calling my name! LOL
So, my mind is racing as to what would be the "perfect" time next year to load up my car with my canner, jars, etc and head to my aunt's house.  I would arrive on Tuesday. Go to the market on Wednesday.  And dive into a canning frenzy!  This is "normal" to think this way, is it not? It sounds perfectly sane in my mind!  

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Showers

Good Evening All,
Rain, rain here tonight. Love the sound of rain on the roof.  It lets my mind drift off in other directions.  Of course, all those directions end back up at one place...canning.  I wish, in one way, that it was easy to do and fast to finish, but then...it wouldn't be worth doing or worth eating. 
 
Since I have been at home doing this as my "job/profession" now for 4 months, I keep saying to myself on the days I feel like I've been ran over with a truck..."This is what you wanted remember?"  And it is what I wanted and still do.
I still have a few different recipes (ok....a lot) to give a try and some great ideas, with help from friends, for grilling jams and jellies this summer. It just never stops!  I have become quite popular around my local area now.  Word of mouth is really get out and many people are finding my flavors delightful and I sure do appreciate the support. 
I think that is why I enjoy it so.  Fun to create a new flavor, try it on something and realize how good it is and then I want to share with everyone so they can serve it to their family and friends. 

Until next time....enjoy life.  Smile, laugh, love.  It all comes and goes so quickly.

A delightful jelly I made with apple peels and cherry juice.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hello and Happy 2014!

Good Evening! 
As this new year started, I gave up my employment outside of the home and have began Joyful Jars as my full time occupation. It is exciting!! 
Lots of new changes for me.  I will NOT compromise the flavor or quality of my wonderful tasting jams but I have decided to go to smooth jars and I have found a logo that I LOVE! So, I will be incorporating it on my labels and marketing etc.
 
I started out the New Year in a new spot.  Country Bits in Cambridge has a nice selection of Joyful Jars for you to purchase.  I have received many kind words and new customers via that store in just the short time I have been there.  
Also, the Locals North End Market in Cambridge is doing quite well. They have a great staff and great lady behind the food counter, Lori, that is inventing new menu items almost daily it seems! Lots of good breakfast foods also.

The deli at the Caldwell Food Center in Caldwell is also incorporating my original recipe, Wrangler Jelly, in the lunch menu.  They have even tried it on steak hoagies and it was a huge hit! 

So, look for the new labels soon!

P.S.  In yesterday's mail I received the letter stating that Joyful Jars was approved to become a partner in Ohio Proud.  A program that serves local business in our great state. When you purchase local products, you not only support that business, you help support the economy of Ohio.


 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Some new recipes for the Holidays!


Merry Christmas Eve Eve! :) 

I have been busy in the kitchen tonight preparing for Christmas Eve fun.  One dip I wanted to try is a tweaked version of something I saw at the store.  Bloody Mary Shrimp Dip

I used one block of soft cream cheese and a half cup of mayo.  I combined those until smooth with a spoon.  I then added a 4 oz jar of my original recipe Bloody Mary Jelly.  Again, combine until smooth.  Add one 7oz can of shrimp, that has been drained, rinsed, drained and then chopped.  I used my Pampered Chef Hand Chopper.  Gently fold the shrimp into the dip.  Chill overnight or 24 hours.

I also have Sausage Balls prepped and ready for the oven.  A nice pork roast with kraut and hot dogs in the crockpot on low.  I have hamburger thawing to make a huge dish of Taco Bake, it doesn't last long around here! And finally I will make another new recipe tweaked with Joyful Jars.

I am using a package of little smokies and a roll of crescents.  I will baste some of the smokies with Hot Berry Mango-ilow and then wrap in a small version of a regular crescent.  The others I will bake as is and use Beer Bomb Butter as a dipping sauce for the smokie rolls.

I hope you all enjoy your Christmas with family and friends and pleasant memories of Christmas's past.  It is a bittersweet time when loved ones are gone and we grow older but remember with a smile and love in your heart. 

Merry Christmas to you all!

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