Monday, October 3, 2016

My Outdoor Kitchen

The weather around these parts has finally caught up to the season we are in and the days are absolutely gorgeous. Summer was here for so long this year, I think everyone around here, even the most die-hard summer lovers are thankful. 
But with the end of summer it gets the mind thinking on the cool weather and the coming days of fall and winter ahead. 
Like I said last week, with those days showing up, as well as some gentle reminders from friends, I thought of how ill prepared I felt for the coming months. 
So Thursday after we had a little school under our belt and some of the dew dried off the grass, the children and I went to pick some of the last of the muscadines. These are scuppernongs. They are a white variety... although we say they are green. ha
I told the kids I wanted a big basket full as long as there were enough to be picked, that we were going to pick. Our jelly supply was really low and grape is one of their favorites. 
I began by washing the grapes and then filling up a large pot with grapes and then enough water til it was just barely covered. Then I put the grapes on the stove and began to heat the water til we got the water to boiling. Once the water began to boil, I turned the heat off and set the pots off the stove. Cover and let them set all night long. The grapes will burst and the juices will begin to flow.

The next morning I started straining the juice with my strainer and mashing them through, but the juice seemed very watery and I wasn't super happy with that. I thought then about the champion juicer I have borrowed and pulled it out. I ran everything, juice, pulp, hull... everything through the juicer and got the most wonderfully thick juice. 
I received a question after showing this to some friends, asking me if there was a bitterness to the juice. I didn't think there was until after... and yes, there was a slight bitterness. But since I was making this all into jelly, I was ok with that. 

I made my jelly per usual. 

What was different though was my setup outside. I took advantage of the beautiful weather and the kids and I set up an outdoor kitchen/canning area for me.
A small propane burner and a couple of tables outside on the back deck, and it was an ideal outdoor space for me to use. It kept my kitchen stove free to make supper on and to finish up making the jelly. 

While I worked on canning outside, they worked on tearing down the old chicken yard. It was falling and looked frightful. We are hoping that once I get some chickens again, this will help in the safe keeping of them.  Look at that sky... isn't it gorgeous? No editing on this picture at all!
Well, my juice was WAY more than I anticipated and I worked on canning jelly til almost 10 pm on Friday night! 

Finally finishing up with 46 pints of jelly. 
My eldest said, "Great Mom! That's a lot of jelly.... but where's the bread?" 
Haha... Hopefully we will get on some sourdough bread this week. 
Cause she is right.... what good is jelly without some toast to smear it on?
Happy Monday, friends! 

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