Winter Holidays 2012
Over the past few years, we have gone with more and more homemade gifts for this consumer-prone season. Often, these gifts are grown or made by us on the farm, or bought from local crafters. We do make exceptions for the wee little kids and get them toys to challenge their minds and imaginations. We’re Yule celebraters more than anything else, but enjoy seeing family and friends and partaking of their chosen holiday, no matter which one(s).
This year, many relatives are getting dried beans grown here on the farm and roasted, dried corn (chicos), also grown here on the farm. I love the colors, and yes, all the effort that goes into making this food and giving it away. I love the planting, the weeding, the picking, the processing. I especially love putting them in jars or baggies and adding some ribbon and gifting them away.
We were successful this year in making our first jams and jellies. Over the summer, we had so much fruit that we were simply processing it enough to put away in the freezer. Now, we have all this frozen fruit to turn into jams and jellies. During our first attempt, we made grape jelly from my parents white grapes, plum jam from our wild plums, and peach jam from peaches from the neighbors. We still have plenty of frozen grapes and apricots, so we’ll be making more over the remaining holidays.
We also made cookies. the chocolate mint and almond oatmeal cookies were pretty basic. But then we were snowed in (and a bit lazy) and made up these other two cookies: Green tea honey, and Tamarind spice. While I have had green tea cookies before, i had never made them, and by choosing to go with only honey and not granulated sugar, I wasn’t sure how they would come out. They are fantastic – not too sweet and you can taste the green tea clearly. This was also my first time doing anything with tamarind, so I am very grateful to El Internet that had several tamarind spice recipes. They turned out quite delectable. I did have one batch (Spicy Raisins) that came out very bitter – even my chickens were not interested. Sigh.
We have also made a few batches of baklava to share with coworkers and neighbors. A handful of special folks will be getting beeswax candles (our neighbor has bees and another neighbor makes the candles but has recently decided to switch to special order, which means a smaller supply).
This was also my first year to make fudge. I doubled the recipe, so that we would each have some to share with coworkers, but even doubled, it made this tiny amount that did not come anywhere close to filling the designated pan. I will be trying again over the break, because it was incredibly good tasting. I chose to do chocolate cashew fudge.
We hope this holiday season finds you full of good cheer, with cherished family and friends, and a fuzzy cat or dog to warm your feet.