tag: preserve

Diy Dried Apples

January 30, 2012

Posted by in simple living

diy dried apples

Homemade dried apples are such an easy and inexpensive way to sneak more fruit into your diet. Of course, nothing beats a fresh, juicy apple, but I like dried apples for their portability and versatility. A little bag of apples can be slipped into a small purse for an anytime-snack, and they make a great topping for salads. They’re also a fantastic way to preserve a large bounty of apples through the winter. The idea came from the book How to Sew a Button by Erin Bried, and I modified the directions to fit my needs.


– apples
– lemons
– water


Slice as many apples as you would like into pieces 1/4″ thick or less. They can be as wide or long as you like. You may also peel them, or leave the peel on. I chose to leave the peel on and they came out great.

Soak the apples in a mixture of equal-parts lemon juice and water. The lemon juice not only preserves the color of the apple, but it creates depth to the apple flavor without having to add sugar.

After soaking, place the apples on a cake rack on top of a cookie sheet. If you don’t have a cake rack (I don’t!), then just place the slices directly on the cookie sheet. I did not need to grease the pan – the apples came off fine on their own.

The oven should be preheated to 140 degrees F, and the apples should remain in the oven for five hours. If your apples aren’t on a rack, flip them half-way through. I found that my apples really needed about 6 hours.

The apples should be flexible and bendy. You can eat some immediately, or all of them if you just used a couple of apples. If you’re looking for long term storage, then after they have cooled, place them in a sealed jar for a few days.

Shake the jars every so often. Pasteurize them by freezing them in bags for two days, and keep them for up to 6-12 months in a cool, dry place.

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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harvest and preserve

September 21, 2011

felix doolittle

whether we’re ready for it or not, summer is coming towards an end, but one of they many joys of fall is getting ready to harvest and preserve our seasons yummy produce. when i saw these summery kitchen labels from felix doolittle, i immediately thought about how pretty they would make a cupboard or how lovely they would make a gift of your garden’s goodies.

felix doolittle

with chef medallions, baker’s labels and oval kitchen labels, they are perfect for sharing garden goodies, canning, making jams and throwing parties! they all feature a gorgeous watercolor illustration by felix (he paints them almost to scale with a very tiny brush!) and come with personalization in a cute little tin, aren’t they lovely?
felix doolittle make sure to cruise by their notecard collections as well! i’ve found that if i have pretty notecards within reach, i’m much more likely to write my friends and family, something that i’ve been trying to a lot more of lately!

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you pick raspberries

August 10, 2011

Posted by in simple living

you pick raspberries

you pick raspberries

you pick raspberries

early we rose yesterday and to the ‘you pick organic farm’ we went. after an embarrassing amount of sugar, 4 trips to the grocery store and one lost wallet, we managed to can over 70 jars of raspberry jam. feet = exhausted. tummy = very happy.

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Posted by in simple living

maybe we should just call this food friday? today’s post accomplishes many goals:  first, it deals with beautiful red and blue berries perfect for 4th of july. 2nd, it’s in line with out eat local and in season initiative. 3rd, it’s the first post in a new series i’m kicking off called simple living!

freezing seasonal berries

berries are one of my biggest indulgences, there’s just not much that makes me happier than a fresh berry bursting in my mouth! as we’ve been talking about the importance (and fun!) of eating local and in season foods, today i want to touch on the importance of preserving some of those foods for enjoyment all year.  berries of all kinds are in season right now, and by preserving them, we can enjoy them for the rest of the year!  eating berries in winter not only come with less taste, but always leaves me feeling terribly guilty.  flown in from thousands of miles away, eating berries during winter comes with a huge environmental cost, plus it just doesn’t feel right.  so today we’ll talk about how to take advantage of your in season berries by freezing them, and how you can still be snacking on them come january- guilt free.

freezing seasonal berries

first things first, wash your berries!  i find it easiest to just plug up one side of my sink and rinse them till the water runs clear.

freezing seasonal berries

next, lay them out on a towel to dry.  you can blot them to help, or just let the water drain, but in the end you want them relatively dry before the next step.

freezing seasonal berries

next, lay your berries flat on a baking sheet in a single layer.  by spreading them out in single layer, you’ll prevent them from freezing in (hard to break) big berry clumps.

freezing seasonal berries

you can lay them flat on the pan, or on wax paper, and can even build them up by placing wax paper in between layers of berries.

freezing seasonal berries

place the pans of layered berries in your freezer.  you’ll want to leave them overnight (or for about 8 hours) before you take them out to bag them.

freezing seasonal berries

next step is removing them from the freezer and bagging them up for long term storage!  since you froze them in a single layer, they’ll remain loose in the bags for easy use.  they’ll last a long time so you’ll still be snacking on local berries even when february rolls around.

freezing seasonal berries

frozen berries have tons of uses, they’re great for snacking, pies, dessert toppings and especially smoothies (recipe coming soon!). they won’t be in season long, so don’t miss them at your farmer’s market!

{photos: bonnie forkner}

simple living

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my grandmother’s yard is immaculate.  apple trees, pear trees, black berries, grape vines.. you name it- she’s got it.  early this week she gave me 3 pounds of grapes and together we made grape jam- a first for both of us!


look at all of these beautiful grapes!  did i mention they were organic?


vines and vines galore..


these are her vines post-harvest, still so beautiful aren’t they?


here she is! my grandmomma- hard at work!


(that’s me in my yellow apron!)  here’s for the recipe:

– 3lb grapes

– 1 cup of water

– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp ginger

– 1 box of pectin- organic if you can find it!

– 7 cups of sugar

1) wash your grapes- really well!  then separate the pulp from the skin. sorry i don’t have a pic- but it’s easy!  all you have to do is squeeze the grape and… POP! out comes the pulp (don’t worry about the seeds).  keep the skins in one bowl and the pulp in another.


that’s three generations in one kitchen!

2) cook the pulp in a big pot for about 30 minutes, just to get them really soft and juicy.  while they’re cooking, you can blend all of the skins in the blender.

3) after the pulp has cooked, place a few cups at a time into a colander (small enough to catch the seeds!) and whisk it around with a spoon  until all the good stuff sifts through- just make sure no seeds are sneaking through!  then, you can combine the sifted pulp with the blended grape skins.


remember me mentioning my bird’s nest? you can almost see it here in all it’s glory…

4) take 5 1/2 cups of the grape mixture, add 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp of ginger, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 box of pectin.  stir together and put over high heat and bring to a boil.


5) meanwhile, make sure to sterilize your jars- click here for the know-how.


(isn’t she cute?)  6) when your mixture is boiling, add your 7 cups of sugar (i know, gasp) all at once.  bring back to a rolling boil, and then take it off the heat- it’s time to start canning!


7) once the heat is off, you can start ladling the *deeelicious jam into your sterilized jars.  leave about a 1/2″ space at the top and seal with your lid.  once they start cooling, they will all seal, and you’ll have jam all year long!  yay!


don’t worry it can get a little messy..

i thought i could finish with a pic of david with jam all over his face from our morning pancakes, but i’ll spare you.. :)

hope you all have a great weekend! and let me know if you have any questions! love, bonnie

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