It’s finally getting colder out and the geese are flying. It’s time to start gathering some food for the winter!
Our friends in Swanton have beehives that needed emptying! The trays get taken out a few days earlier, after the bees have been smoked out. A heated blade is used to shave off the caps of the comb. The trays of comb are then put in a centrifuge and spun, cranked by hand. When the combs have emptied, the honey is drained out into jars. Voila! Don’t worry, the bees will still have enough for the winter.
When I was young, I took an edible wild foods course at the Audubon Center. I recalled learning that you could make tea from sumac. Soak the fuzzy red sumac berries in cold water and then strain them out. What’s left is a deliciously tart sumac tea, or Indian lemonade. Of course make sure you identify the correct sumac. I made an extra concentrated batch and put them in ice cube trays for later.
Speaking of ice cube trays, pesto too!
and some herbs:
When I spotted the crab apple tree on campus, my brain started spinning. Sauce, jelly, pie… and free! Oh the possibilities! I set about reading about how to can, getting supplies, and picked some apples.
Cat: You are so ugly. I am sick of looking at you.
I was too cheap to get the $15 Canning Utensil set at Shaws, which I guess is $7.49 at Target… but was rewarded with a stop at Goodwill which found me the funnel and jar lifter for a grand total of $3. Instead of buying a canner, I used my big pot and made my own canning rack from this webpage.
Ready, set, go!
Finished Product. Three hours later a whopping two and a half jars. Thing in the back is the pillowcase I used to strain the apple mush out.
I kept reading online that everyone hated canning and that it was hard work. I will confirm some hard work, since I was using crab apples… But it really wasn’t too painful, just a lot of waiting for water to boil for long enough and more waiting for the jelly to gel.
Here are the tutorials I used:
And here’s the recipe:
Using my favorite Carrot cake recipe, I made some birthday cupcakes and expanded my melted-chocolate-drawing skills:
My roommate and her friend made Super Mario Bros. fireflower cookies using a playdough press in only ~5 hours (omg Google pixel cookies). Reminds me of my ~4 hour hidden heart pound cake fiasco.
I was in a baking craze after those lemon drop cookies and made a chocolate pound cake inspired by this recipe. I didn’t have a heart shaped cookie cutter, so I just sliced the hearts by hand, how hard could it be?
What I learned:
(a) Cookie cutters are helpful.
(b) Whole wheat flour really is different than all purpose flour, really.
(c) I will never make this again. Pound cake that took 3 times longer to make just to get a heart inside? Eh sorry, I don’t love you that much!
Instead of using tons of red food coloring for the cake, I replaced some of the sugar with red sugar sprinkles (which of course have no red food coloring..)
Crooked heart surprise:
Food blogs are all the rage these days (see foodgawker or smitten kitchen). Always complete with photos walking you through the entire recipe, and finishing with mouth watering macros of the finished product. So I thought, why not?
Perusing through Valentines Day recipes, I was inspired by this post, and made smaller chocolate hearts to place on these Lemon Drop cookies topped with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.
I learned that (a) it’s incredibly frustrating to feel like you should stop every 10 minutes to wash your hands and take a stupid photo to put on your blog, (b) I bake in the evenings, when the lighting is not ideal, and (c) for my first experience taking the time to neatly blop frosting on, I now have an appreciation for bakers at My Little Cupcake.
Making the batter:
My first time zesting a lemon!
Fish view of cooling cookies: