I may be preeching to the choir here, but there is just something about the kitchen. As a little girl, it was where I could be the most creative, and where family stories and traditions were passed down while helping my Mama make her legendary lemon bars.
So when I read through Ashley English's lovely book on canning and preserving I knew what I had to do. I picked up the phone and called my good friend Kate. Ever the crafter that she is, she showed up with more than just ingredients, she brought everything to package them up in style too!
Once we got the crafting supplies set out it was time to get cooking. I was going to make apple butter and lemon curd, she was going to make a very gingery simple syrup. I have never made apple butter, and I decided to be daring and try something that sounded like a great idea. Which of course turned out to be a terrible idea. I read Ashley English's recipe for Apple Butter, but decided to roast the apples instead of boiling them. Turns out that at the temperature I was roasting, combined with the very dry climate of Colorado, I ended up with dried apple snacks, rather than caramelized roasted apple pieces. After a nice little snack, I turned my attention to the lemon curd. Here I used a tried and true recipe from the lovely Ina Garten. This time it turned out perfectly, yay!
Meanwhile Kate was busy peeling and slicing mass quantities of ginger for her simple syrup. After a brief boil over (my fault for talking too much), it turned out amazing, and so pretty!
Mixing together the recipes was fun, but what might have been even better was the label making that went on while all the recipes simmered on the stove. Kate brought over colored card stock, metallic markers, colored twine, and my new favorite thing, washi tape. These simple items were so much fun to put together, as a result we made far more labels than we actually needed!
Once the recipes were ready it was time to bottle. Since my Apple Butter didn't work out we had nothing to can, but it sure was fun making the little glass jars look pretty!
Crafting aside, what I love about these kinds of traditions, is that they bring people together in a way that doesn't happen all that often anymore. I can't stare at a smart phone and can a batch of strawberry jam. If I'm staring at a tablet the ginger syrup is going to boil over and make a very sticky mess. I have to be present, I have to disconnect to connect, to those around me, and to the food I'm trying to create. It's safe to say, I am rather enamored with all of it.
So a very heart felt thank you to Ashley English for helping to bring back the tradition in a fun and modern way, I'm enjoying every minute of it!
And we have a winner! Its Amanda who wrote:
"What a fantastic giveaway! I would LOVE these books!"
Thank you to everyone who participated!
*Last Time in Books and Stories: Ashley English Interview and a Giveaway!