pie and preserving

Pie and Preserving

Pie and Preserving

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 2
Week 38: September 24, 2022

Where preserving season is the culmination of a summer’s work, a freshly baked pie 馃ェ is the reward of an afternoon’s effort. Start with Butter Pie Crust for a delicious pie!

If you have ever gardened or baked a pie from scratch, you know exactly what I mean.

Pantry shelved don’t fill themselves, and a slice of pie with a cup of tea or coffee doesn’t magically make itself!


harvest on the baker's bench
An afternoon’s puttering

Herbs, fruit, seeds, and vinegar from small harvests.

Sweet Raisin tomato bore a good crop of small Roma-type grape tomatoes, despite unusual summer weather. I picked several quarts into a pretty McCoy pottery bowl and sat in the garden teepee to sort them for seed saving, keeping only the best. I am so glad I saved seeds as the variety has been discontinued. The others were halved and went into the Excalibur dehydrator to dry for the pantry.

Another small batch of crushed tomatoes with herbs. Notice the jewel-like colors! From left to right: Japanese Black Trifele tomato (purple/black), Japanese Plum tomato (bright pink), and Dad’s Sunset tomato (yellow). Home-canned crushed tomatoes are one of the BEST and most convenient meal starters to have in the pantry.

Br没l茅e butternut squash
Tiny Br没l茅e butternut squash

See how small they are? I mistakenly bought a packet of miniature butternut squash seed, a variety called Br没l茅e.

Amarylla tomatillos
Another harvest ofAmarylla tomatillos

Hoping for enough Amarylla tomatillos and peppers to make another batch of Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde.

Wintergreen berries
Wintergreen bearing pink berries

Wintergreen grows as a low ground cover in the corners of the garden teepee. The bright pink berries are deliciously minty!

Having grown both Lemon and Tangerine Gem marigolds in the past, I suspected I would like Red Gem. The blooms are bright and edible, with a citrusy flavor. Zloty Lan chamomile is another favorite I mention frequently. The larger-than-usual size flowers mean more cups of chamomile tea! Nestled in the island of chamomile is a young pawpaw tree grown from seed, the only one to survive nibbling of the millions of big-eared field mice that share our homestead.

Someday I will study smartweed and learn all the wonderful uses it has beyond just being a cute pink volunteer flower in my garden beds, but until then I will enjoy seeing it as it pops up!

Persian basil plants and small abundance: sage, basil, hollyhock seeds, and a big jar of Persian basil.

Nearly a week old, this jar of homemade Persian basil vinegar is fermenting nicely in the warm early autumn weather.

Sadie is nesting again. How many eggs are in the nest and how many do you think will hatch? Leave your guess in the comments!

Saving seeds always reminds me of God’s abundance. One volunteer hollyhock produced thousands of seeds. (Which is a good thing because weevils often help themselves to most of them.)

Everything being late, I was pleased to get a second cutting from yarrow. The glowing yellow blooms of Kelway Golden chamomile are like eye candy! This variety is grown for dye rather than tea.

Tea at Mom’s

Weekly tea at Mom’s. Mom’s best friend Joy Longiotti brought rustic fruit cookies finished with a thin glaze and a fruit salad to enjoyed with Zuppa Toscana, or Olive Garden Soup as my kids call it. I used local Italian sausage along with kale, potatoes, garlic, and fennel seeds from the garden. Homemade broth distilled from leftover chicken bones adds deep nutrition and flavor. Joy also brought a newly finished quilt to show!

Unexpected goodbye

Utterly sweet and adorable Charla, on a walk at Mill Creek Falls on Sept 13. She was perky and energetic and we had no idea we were about to lose her. Charla died suddenly and unexpectedly 10 days later, despite massive emergency vet intervention. She was the shared love of Miriam and I, and we are both bereft. Please give your pet an extra dose of love and attention today. And tomorrow. And every day.


Plant Sitter and Nature Printing

Two fun books:
The Plant Sitter by Gene Zion is a charmingly illustrated children’s story of responsibility.
Nature Printing with Herbs, Fruit, and Flowers brims with simple ways to get creative with nature.

I can’t say we are ready for winter yet, but we’re getting there.

Somehow I didn’t end up with pictures of Sam and his projects this week. He spends evenings after work doing small chores to make our place winter-proof and spent many hours over the weekend working to locate the source of a small antifreeze leak in his 2004 Ford truck. To his frustration, he still has not found it.

Have a pleasant week, friends.
Michele and Samuel

Note: From time to time I recommend products and business that I use and/or patronize. Some are affiliate links, some are not. All are ones that I use and have confidence in. Qualifying purchases may earn me a small commission at no cost to you, so thank you for using my links!


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