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Candied Orange Peel

This time of year I love making candied citrus peels.  Sometimes we use the sweet sharp peels in cookie and fudge recipes and sometimes we just eat them straight.  You can also dip them in chocolate for a lovely blend of flavors.
Ingredients:

  • 3 thick-skinned organic navel oranges
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 3/4 cups water

Directions:

Take a sharp knife and cut off the top and bottom of each orange.  Score them and peel off the skin into quarters.

 

Peel oranges.

Peel oranges.

Use the fruit of the orange in other recipes.  Cut the peel into strips 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.  Put in a saucepan and cover with water.

Cook peels

Cook peels

Bring to a boil then pour off the water.  Repeat this process a couple of times.  Remove the white pith from the orange peel.

Slice into thin strips and remove white pith.

Slice into thin strips and remove white pith.

Combine the sugar with the water and put the softened peels and the sugar syrup into a crockpot on high heat.

In crockpot

In crockpot

Cook until the peels are translucent.  Drain the peels.  When they are still moist roll them in sugar.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

You can use the orange flavored syrup in other recipes.

 

 

Urban Farming Notecards

Looking for that perfect urban farming gift?

Five note cards for $12.95.  Email Diana at ankataa@yahoo.com or use PayPal here.

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Note cards

Urban Farm Hub Calendar!

What better gift for that urban farmer in your life than an urban farming calendar! $24.95 plus shipping,  (11.5 x 14 inches), email Diana at ankataa@yahoo.com or visit here to use PayPal.

January

January

February

February

March

March

April

April

May

May

June

June

July

July

August

August

September

September

October

October

November

November

More Fair Isle Knitting

It’s cold and time to knit!  I have been playing around more with Fair Isle knitting and think it could take a lifetime to explore all the interesting colors and patterns that can be used.

small hat

From sheep to hat!

Another pattern

Another pattern

Two contrasting colors work well.

Two contrasting colors work well.

This is one of my favorite color combos.

This is one of my favorite color combos.

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Color gradations can look good.

Mittens are great!

Mittens are great!

A round up!

A round up!

 

The season of wondering what in the world to give people for the holidays is upon us.  I really enjoy making people things but it can be a challenge to figure out something that people will actually like.  This has not always been something I have been particularly good at; I remember the year everyone got neon potholders then there were the health bars filled with lots and lots of wheat germ and bran.  Here are some suggestions of things you can make that have had much better receptions!

Stone necklaces are pretty simple and low cost to make and you can put together a range from demure, made with tiny rocks, to large showy pieces with rocks studded with mica.

These stone necklaces are quite easy to make and are popular gifts.

If you like to take pictures then note cards can be fun to make also.  You can get card making supplies at stores like Paper Source.

Cards and a stone necklace!

Cards and a stone necklace!

Goats milk soap makes great gifts; it is easy to ship and can be made in all different colors and shapes to suit even picky people on your list.

You can leave these a natural ivory color or use vegetable dyes to add variety.

People usually love getting homemade herb blends.

Herb blend picture from Kalyn's Kitchen.

Herb blend picture from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

If you are looking for an attractive way to package your homemade gifts putting them in baskets can be quite attractive.  If those baskets are ones you made then all the better!

Baskets can hold other gifts or be a present just by themselves.

A different style of basket.

A different style of basket.

Here’s how to make fingerless gloves in a snap!  Here’s how to do easy hats.

Hat and fingerless gloves are quick and easy to make.

Hat and fingerless gloves are quick and easy to make.

Probably the most popular gift I give is raspberry jam.  This could be a bit challenging to make this time of year but it can be done with frozen berries.

Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

A Backyard Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving and time to search the garden and plan out a backyard menu.  This year there are beets, apples and kale ready to be harvested, a pumpkin from a neighbor and potatoes and oats in the basement.  We’ll give the plum and grape wines a try too.  I’m ordering a turkey from Smith Brothers this year and giving the chickens another year.

 Menu

  • Roast turkey
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Kale salad
  • Pickled beets
  • Oat cakes with goat cheese
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Plum crisp
  • Plum wine
  • Apple cider

    “You really want to eat turkey and not chicken!”

Ready for roasting with fresh rosemary and garlic.

These potatoes are good mashed or roasted with fresh rosemary.

Still a lot left to harvest.

My family loves a massaged kale salad with fresh kale, chopped apple, cider vinegar, olive oil, onion and toasted nuts. (The nuts and olive oil are not from the yard but really make the salad much tastier.)

A zesty addition.

These zesty pickled beets can be made ahead using this recipe.

Yum

The goat cheese is purchased this year but here’s a recipe if you want to make your own.

Oats

I grew just enough oats this year to have some for breakfast and make some cakes.

Squash!

My neighbor grew pumpkins this year and gave me a lovely one.  I am also using some of the squash I grew, frozen goat milk and eggs from the girls.  Most pie spices and sugar cane are from warm climates so these I did not grow!   Here is an old family recipe.

So many plums this year.

Here is how to make delightful things with plums; frozen fruit work well for most of the recipes.

Hope this tastes good.

The wine should age longer as it still tastes pretty sweet but what’s a feast without some wine?  We may still go for some turkey and cranberries but it’s fun use as many things as possible that we have grown.

Whatever you choose to cook this year a very happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from Urban Farm Hub.

Making Applesauce

Fall is here and thats means apples.  Many of the apples grown west of the Cascades have scab or are infected with coddling moth.  The result is that apples that aren’t very appetizing to eat out of hand, but still can be used to make great applesauce.   You can also buy apples by the box at your local farmers’ market and these can be used straight or mixed with your homegrown apples.  I like to talk with the grower and see what breeds they like to make into sauce.  One of my favorite growers is Tonnemaker Family Orchard.  They have great produce, good prices and often have seconds boxes that are lower priced and great for canning.  Last week they suggested Gravenstein apples so I bought a box to mix with my own apples.

Here are directions on making your own applesauce:

Pick out apples that are free of mold and rot. They don’t need to be pretty but they should be wholesome.

Core your apples then cut them up into about one-inch chunks and cook them over a low heat until soft.  Then put the mixture through a food mill to separate the skins from the fruit and turn it into a sauce.

Here is a food mill I got at Fred Meyer. They can also be found sometimes at Goodwill.

If the sauce is too tart then add in a bit of brown or white sugar.  I like to put in some cinnamon as well.  Heat the sauce, while stirring constantly, to boiling and boil for one minute and pour into sterile jars.  Be careful because blobs of the hot sauce can leap out of the pot and give you a burn.

Here it is heating up with cinnamon added at the end of cooking. Once it begins to bubble it will be ready for the jars.

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes and you’re good to go.  Applesauce can be eaten as is or can be used in many recipes.

I like lots of cinnamon so often add even more before I eat my sauce. My family varies on their degree of cinnamon adoration so I go light when canning it.

Grandma Fields’ Pumpkin Pie

Here is an old family pumpkin pie recipe from my husband’s aunt, Betsy Stapleton.  She makes this for special events and it’s always a favorite.  Besides it tasting good, I like that it doesn’t use evaporated milk.

Recipe

Put in a frying pan:

  • One large can of pumpkin puree
  • One teaspoon ginger
  • One teaspoon salt
  • Two teaspoons cinnamon
  • One pinch nutmeg

Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked down to four cups.  Cool to room temperature.

homemade pumpkin pie

Thick and delicious

Add to pumpkin mixture:

  • Three well beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • One rounded tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in half a cup of milk
  • Three and a half cups of milk

homemade pumpkin pie

Blend well

Beat with a mixer until smooth.  Pour into two large pie tins and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until set.

 homemade pumpkin pie

Ready for baking.

Enjoy!

I wonder if I will get any pie this year?

Dyeing with Black Walnuts

If you’ve ever handled black walnuts you know how well they can dye your hands, countertop and many other things you may not want a deep brown color.  Dark brown yarn is lovely.

Black walnuts ready to be harvested!

Black walnuts ready to be harvested!

The first step is to carefully harvest your walnuts.  I always use gloves to do this as the fruit is a bit caustic and even a little juice will stain your hands. Once you have the fruit put it in a bowl and pour boiling water over it.  Mash it a bit with a fork and let it sit for about an hour.  No mordant is needed.

Ready for the yarn.

Ready for the yarn.

Put the yarn in your dye bath and leave until a shade darker than desired is reached.  Pull the yarn out and wash in clear water.  Be careful to rinse out the dye that hasn’t fixed to the wool or it may stain your body or bleed on to other clothes.

This dye can be used for basket materials, cotton or wool.

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Some of the brown yarns are black walnut dyed.

Have fun!

 

 

Bean Necklaces

Every urban farmer should have at least one bean necklace for that perfect agricultural fashion accent.  Right now is a great time to harvest those end of the season beans and get crafting.

Here’s how:

Pick your beans while they are still soft.  These are scarlet runners.

Pick your beans while they are still soft. These are scarlet runners.

Many colorful varieties can be used and you can do patterns with solid color beans.

Thread a darning needle with stiff thread or a flexible wire.

Thread a darning needle with stiff thread or a flexible wire.

I like using pliers to pull the needle through the bean as it can get a little stuck at times.

Here are necklaces made with calico beans.

Here are necklaces made with calico beans.

Wait to either tie the ends or attach fasteners as the beans will shrink as they dry. It’s also a good idea to string on a few extras; it’s easy to take them off if you have too many.