Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Making

So ... my blog hasn't been very active lately, mostly because I haven't been doing much sewing because of the awful heat waves. However, I have been making other things. What has Momotaro been making, you ask? Well, I'll show you.

Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge Block:

The Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild held a challenge recently to design a 12-inch block using Jay McCarroll's Habitat fabrics.  Below is my entry.  Sadly, I didn't win, but I think I still like my block.  see the winners at Generation Q Magazine's post.


These are "half-sour" pickles. I've been making them almost every week for a couple months now. Let me know if you would like me to share my process. I believe they are called half-sours because no vinegar is added (vinegar, being an acid, has a sour flavor), so the only acid generated is from lactic acid fermentation.
Half-Sour Pickles

Rosy Quince Jelly:
Based on instructions found on the Food in Jars blog.
Rosy Quince Jelly

Vanilla Peach Jam with Star Anise and Cinnamon Peach Jam with Star Anise:

We went to Kauffman's Fruit Farm in Bird-In-Hand, PA last weekend and I bought a HUGE box of peaches (see photo below). They were "seconds" so there were bruises and imperfections, but for canning, it isn't all that important (even for eating it isn't so bad, just cut away the bad bits and they are juicy and delicious). So, I'm now working my way through this box (it was probably 20 or 25 lbs of peaches).  I used Pomona's Universal Pectin for this, which I have never tried before.  It gels just about anything, so you don't need to add much sugar, which was nice.  I'm not sure I love the texture of the end result, but the flavor of the jams is good.
Box of Peaches to box of Jam


I've made apple butter before, but with my peach bounty, I decided to try making peach butter. This peach butter was a pain! I read the info on the Food in Jars blog about doing butters in the slow cooker, so I tried that. I prepared my peaches, pureed them, and threw them in the crock pot. The tutorial said to cook for 8 to 10 hours on low to reduce the volume by half, but after 11 hours (with about 4 hours on HIGH), I had only reduced mine by about 25% and it was 11 PM on Sunday night! So, I had to throw the peaches in the fridge overnight. Tonight I put them on the stove and cooked for a couple more hours until it was relatively thick (when I made apple butter, apparently it was TOO thick, so this time I didn't go so long). I added some sugar but no other spices - I wanted the delicious peach flavor to shine! I think the end result is awesome!

Peach Jam:
This is Chad's favorite and it is a basic peach jam.  The only ingredients were peaches, lemon juice, and sugar.  The jam is not super-set, which is how Chad likes it.  I made him 7 jars - hopefully this will satisfy him until next the next peach season, but maybe not ...


  1. You "think you like" your Jay block? I love it! Very creative!
    I had no idea you were so good in the kitchen either. Everything look SO yummie! You may need to bring some jam and bread to the next meeting!

  2. What a fun pinwheel block! And I'd love to see the pickle process/recipe.

  3. Thanks, Dan! I'll put up a post about the pickles tomorrow. It's a very quick process and totally worth it.

  4. I want a pickle post as well!

  5. I love your block! I can imagine it translating really well into a full quilt.

    It's great to find someone else who is into canning, as well! Not sure how I didn't have you in my Google Reader feed, but you're in there now for sure.

  6. Haha, thanks, Amanda. Now I'm going to feel obligated to post more about canning!!