Peaches and Sauce and Jam…Oh My!

IMG_1265One of my goals in life is to be Susie Homemaker. I love cooking, baking, gardening, and anything that pertains to growing or making tasty, natural foods for my family. After the pressure canning disaster, I was a bit wary to can anything else… ever. Nevertheless, my loving mother knows my desire to be a homemaker like it’s 1949, so she bought me my own water bath canner (i.e. a really, really big pot) and some other canning supplies, and we canned something simple: pureed tomatoes from the farmers market. Simple, pure, and quick, she restored my faith in canning.


Shortly after canning tomatoes, I spent a week in Michigan with my cousin, being her “cousin-nanny” to her young childlings, while her husband was out of town and she finished her graduate class. My cousin always inspires me: when I’m around her, I try new recipes and without fail, I learn something new with knitting. New knitting book and yarn aside, I copied a couple recipes from her jam and preserves cookbook, including one for blueberry jam (which I tasted in a pb&j; sandwich on homemade bread…mmm!). So I saddled up my car and rode into the grocery store to get some local Michigan blueberries. After I returned from Michigan, I made and canned blueberry jam…twice. And guess what? IT WORKED! NO DISASTERS! I WIN!


Of course, high from the thrill of success, I also canned the 8,000 peaches I purchased at a Michigan farmers market before heading home (in the torrentially down-pouring rain…that’s another story). The peaches didn’t fill as many jars as I had hoped, and I accidently made way too much hot syrup for preserving them, but I have a few nice jars of canned peaches in my pantry and I’m using the leftover syrup to sweeten my yogurt in the mornings.


Which brings me to my next homemade adventures… spurred on by another blogger, I now incubate my own bacteria…ahem, I mean, I make my own yogurt now, too. About once a week, I boil water around a quart jar of milk, cool it to the desired temperature, add a couple spoonfuls of last week’s yogurt, and let it incubate in a cooler overnight before then popping it in the fridge. The first few tries were a bit runnier than desired, but practice has made it better. I absolutely LOVE having a bowl of homemade yogurt (for about 50 cents a quart) with fresh farmers market fruit and homemade granola on top…delicious and nutritious!


Also, homemade bread (while denser-we’re working on that part) is cheaper, tastier, and healthier than store bought. I’m also trying to wean us off pre-made salad dressings. Thus far, salad dressings are a bit trickier to tackle, especially if you want something similar in taste to what you can buy at the store…but it’s getting better. The consistency is pretty smooth and yummy, so that’s a good start.


My next adventures? Homemade mayonnaise, granola bars, and more salad dressings!


The raspberries pictured below are from a super-fun morning of picking berries with some cousins at Anderson Orchards in Indiana…by the way, not all Indiana blueberries are small- you just have to find the right bushes!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Can you post the link to the homemade yogurt on my facebook or on here?! That would save me so much money!


  2. I have a great granola bar recipe! Let me see if I can find it and send it your way. One of my favorite books is called Grazing. it's By Julie, of Very excellent.


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