Saturday, September 21, 2013

Using Our Solar Sun Oven

I can't stress enough how much we love our   Sun Oven . I use it almost every sunny day and have cooked everything from soups, breads, muffins and apple sauce to pasta dishes.

It's such a different experience cooking in a solar oven than in a regular oven. Some times the food cooks faster, sometimes slower depending upon the amount of clouds that pass by.

For us, the easiest things to cook are those that don't need careful watching; put all the ingredients in a kettle, place in the oven and point it towards the sun. Through out the day I simply reposition the oven towards the sun.

Today we have a pasta dish cooking. I put raw hamburg, raw pasta, seasonings, tomato sauce and a little water in the kettle and it's been cooking for the past few hours. I didn't measure anything, just threw it all together. Yesterday we made apple sauce- 3 batches.

Pasta In The Sun Oven
 The great thing about a solar oven is anyone with access to south facing sun and an outdoor area can use one, city or country, doesn't matter. It's one more way to become a little more self-sufficient. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Apple Recipe: Apple Chutney

We like this recipe because it allows us to make just one pint at a time. The recipe is easily doubled.

The chutney has a somewhat strong vinegar taste and is delicious with beef. The recipe is adapted from Home Made in the Kitchen: Traditional Recipes and Household Projects...

Apple Chutney

3 ½ c chopped apple (okay to leave the skins on if they are organic)
¾ c white vinegar
½ c honey
½ t turmeric
½ t ginger
pinch of cayenne
1/8 t crushed red pepper
½ t salt
1 T frozen orange juice concentrate

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.

Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and simmer about 20 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick.

While the mixture is cooking, sterilize either 1 pint jar or 2 half pint jars.

Once chutney is thick ladle into sterilized jars. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath, or store in refrigerator.

Yield: 1 pint, or 2 half pints.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Latest Swarm of Honey Bees

We seem to get quite a few honey bee swarms around here, which is really bizarre because we have a hard time keeping our bees through the winter. This has lead us to believe that the bees prefer finding their own habitat; at least that's how we justify it.

These are photos of a swarm that was here last week.

We used to get empty hives to capture the bees into, but now we just let them do their own thing. Not great for honey production, but we are just looking to get enough for ourselves, which has been working out just fine. (Read here how we got our honey this Spring)

We set up empty hives and each year bees seem to move in on their own, with no help from us; sometimes they stay, sometimes not. There are always plenty flying around our apple blossoms and gardens.

We get great enjoyment out of watching the swarms; and we enjoy the bees doing their thing.

As my husband likes to say “Mother Nature has been doing a great job for all these years, why should we interfere”.