We’ve been quiet around Burbex recently. Rachel had nasal surgery last week, so we haven’t been up to any large projects. To keep you entertained if you’re bored in the mean time, here are a few fun pictures and small projects to keep you going:

Here you can see two of our syrups we made for soda. The brown color is the pineapple mint, which we talked about in another post, and is from the really fun cookbook, “Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it”. The pink syrup (which is almost gone!) is strawberry. This was an adaptation of the Strawberry Black Pepper syrup from the same cookbook.

We also made a small batch of mulberry jam last night, which can also be seen in the picture above. We have a mulberry tree in our back yard, but this is the first year we’ve been proactive enough to actually harvest some of the berries before the birds ate them all. Mulberries look and taste a little like blackberries, except instead of growing on an uncontrollable vine, they grow on a funny looking tree:

 

 

We’re also in the middle of a big project that is a part of our long, ongoing yard renovation:

Eventually all of the sod will be removed, and we will have a garden here under the cottonwood tree. You can also see from the state of our grass (dead!) how hot and dry it has been here in Colorado. You can also see were we have previously started the sod removal in this garden and never finished…

And last, but not least, we welcomed a new member of our menagerie here at Burbex:

 

This is Kazumi. He’s a nearly 2 year old retired Bengal. He’s settling in and bringing a little equilibrium to our wild household by giving Sora someone to chase around.

 

 

Fruit of Our Labor

March 27, 2012

To continue with our theme of making our own food, Katie and I decided to tackle something I adore – fruit rollups. It never occurred to me how they were made, but it turns out they are surprisingly simple. We have made apple fruit rolls as well as today’s recipe – pear strawberry rolls.

You start with fruit. A lot of fruit. Like, eight pounds of fruit. We divided this amount between pears and strawberries. Start by chunking everything up in to smaller pieces so that you can cook it down somewhat.

We cooked these down in a large pot, along with a half a cup of pineapple juice and a bit of honey. We tossed the pears in first because they took longer to cook, then added the strawberries. We let it all boil until the pears began to soften – maybe a half hour or so.

While the fruit is cooking down, we set up our food mill. In this case, we have an attachment for our Kitchen-aid.

The main attachment sets in to the front of the kitchen-aid. This is where the food will be pushed in to the mill.

The corkscrew is placed in to the center, and when on, will turn and move the food down the chamber and through the screen.

The screen is the strainer that is placed over the screw. The screw will push food down to the end, and push food out through the strainer.

Finally there is a basket placed around the entire strainer. This allows the strained food to be pushed out and fall to the right, while the solids (fruit skin, stems, etc) are pushed out the front. Make sure you have a container to catch both!

As you can see, the fruit was placed in to the top of the miller. We have a tool to push down the fruit to make sure it makes it gets all the way to the screw.

As you can see, the fruit that is strained is falling down the chamber to the right, in to the white bowl. The glass bowl is catching the fruit skin and solids that we don’t want in our strained fruit.

Once you have your strained mixture, spread it out in layers. We used a dehydrator and it made about four trays worth of puree. We set it up to go overnight, and about nine hours later we had fruit leather. You can also do this in the oven on parchment, baked on a lower temperature until dry. You want the fruit to maintain a little springiness, but not be sticky or wet feeling. Once you have your fruit rolls dried, you can tear them up in to pieces and enjoy!