Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ground Cherry Preserves

Every winter I pour over the pages of various seed catalogs looking for something new or unique to plant. Last spring I planted Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries.  I wasn't absolutely sure what I would do with them, but I was game for trying out something different.

Many people love to eat them out of hand.  My family.... not so much.  That saddened me a bit, but after some researching I found that these little beauties make a wonderful jam.

I was not to be disappointed in the results.  It was amazing!

This year my garden was a sham due to torrential rains during most of May and early June which are my prime planting months.


I had a surprise awaiting me.

The ground cherries reseeded themselves all over my garden.  Which brought sweet joy to my heart. God is good my friends and even in poor growing conditions He provided me these little bits of sunshine.

 This year so far I have made this jam which required pectin.  Some how I botched and it is more like syrup.  I'm thinking it would be wonderful on pancakes.  So all was not lost.

I also made this scrumptious coffee cake that only three of us thought was scrumptious.  I'm having a bit of trouble talking three of my guys into the charms of these beauties.  After it sat for four days it was even better.  So, I will definitely be making this again, but with a few alterations that may help my skeptics fall in love.

I am trying to get away from the use of commercial pectin, so I have been making a lot of preserves this summer. And so my second batch became preserves.  I love the color, the consistency, the seeds.  Yes, even the seeds.  Normally this many seeds would be a HUGE deterrent, but trust me they aren't hard and do not get caught in your teeth.

This is one of my very favorite jams/preserves.  Right up there with black raspberry and for me that is saying a whole lot.  I love it on toast, biscuits, or even on my PB & J.

It's that good.

If you find ground cherries at the farmers market grab them up or consider planting them in your garden next year.  You won't be sorry, I promise.

Ground Cherry Preserves

2 lbs. husked ground cherries
1 lb cane sugar or granulated sugar
1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice

In a dutch oven bring all ingredients to a low boil.   Using a potato masher mash the berries.  Cook until berries are soft.  Remove from heat. Place in glass bowl. Cover with parchment paper and top with a plate. Place the bowl in refrigerator over night.  
On the following day place preserves back into dutch oven.  Bring to a boil and cook until the preserves start to thicken.  Use a cold metal spoon to test for doneness of the preserves. 
Place preserves into hot and sterilized half-pint canning jars.  Wipe down rims of the jars and top with sterilized lids and rings.
Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and let set an additional 5 minutes. Remove from canner set on towel and let set undisturbed for 24 hours.
Remove ring wipe down the jar.  Label and store.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Two Weeks Down

Our second week of school has come to a close.  Next week we will be minus one.  Isaac will be starting college and I will be teaching only three.

It has been an interesting two weeks.

Not so much because of school.  We just sort of fall into the routine.  It's what we do after fourteen years of learning together.

The interesting comes from life changes.  I'm juggling three part time jobs: writing, tutoring, and photography right along with homeschooling, house work and being a mom.  Isaac will be heading off to college full time, moving out of the house and lodging with my parents.  Jacob is working a part time job and has some pretty busy seasons during the year.  Often Caleb, Lauren and I are the only ones left home.  It is quiet and so absolutely different.

Different is good, though.  I want my boys to grow up into responsible young men and so I am grabbing hold of this new time in our lives with excitement.  God has grand plans for all my children and I am now seeing some of them come to fruition.

Last week I grabbed my camera and tried to document a glimpse of our days. What follows is a little peek of what school looks like for us each day.  Learning, imagination, book work, art, structure, un-schooling, it is all lumped into what we call Juniper Hills Academy.

And to me it is beautiful!


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