Much later: Canned pumpkin bread loosens easily and slices breezily. Mmm!

Don’t can in the fall?

Some of the best canning I know of happens in the fall.

I love canning quick breads to use for fancy fun, such as those delicate get-togethers where our mothers used to wear white gloves and hats, where the napkins are real and the butter is whipped and the goodies are all made from scratch.

And the tea is hot, not iced, and there is no coffee.

I love to make pumpkin bread and can it for later use. It keeps for months on the shelf, in a jar, in a pantry, without preservatives. And it tastes great, even six months later.

What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about this bread is:

  1. The bread is round, and therefore somehow nicer.
  2. The bread is over-the-top moist.
  3. The bread is super easy to slice thin and straight if you pull it out of the jar slightly and use the rim of the jar as a cutting guide.
  4. The bread makes an amazing and welcome gift.

The trick? Just follow these instructions and have fun.

You will need:

  • A good recipe for pumpkin bread. (Mine follows.)
  • All the ingredients for the recipe.
  • Six or seven straight-sided, wide-mouth, one-pint canning jars.
  • Lids and screw bands for the jars.
  • A pan of hot water for the lids.
  • Fork or lid lifter.
  • Canning funnel.
  • Sharp, non-serrated knife.
  • A sturdy, flat pan with a rim, such as a pizza pan or jelly roll pan.
  • One damp cloth.
  • One totally dry, thick towel.
  • Plenty of pot-holders or oven mitts.
  • An oven.

You will NOT need:

  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Any other such lumpy things in the recipe, no matter how much you may love them in your bread, if you want it to keep a long time.

Instructions:

1, Collect your stuff. Set oven for 350 degrees.

Jars like these.

Jars like these.

2. Make the batter. (Recipe follows instructions.)

Batter is ready.

Batter is ready.

3. Load the jars about half full, or a bit more.

Use funnel for neatness. Neatness counts.

Use funnel for neatness. Neatness counts.

4. Place loaded jars on sturdy pan and very carefully set in oven for about 15 minutes or until done. Use toothpick test for doneness.

Ready to bake.

Ready to bake.

5. While bread bakes, prepare lids: Boil water and place lids in it, then remove from heat. Do not boil water with lids in the water. Have screw bands, mitts, and both towels ready.

Ready to can the bread.

Ready to can the bread.

6. Remove one jar from oven individually, and set on dry towel. Quickly trim bread that has risen beyond top of jar with sharp knife. Quickly wipe rim free of crumbs and grease with damp towel and add lid and screw band.

Risen too tall. Trim.

Risen too tall. Trim.

Hide trimmings in your tummy!

Hide trimmings in your tummy!

7. Repeat with each jar, individually. Jars should seal almost immediately.

THE END.

THE RECIPE:

Sift together into large bowl:

3 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sugar

Quickly add, and stir in only until dry ingredients are moistened:

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup melted butter
2/3 cup water

Proceed with instructions above to can pumpkin bread.

IMPORTANT!: Do not add nuts or raisins or any other chunks, if you want this bread to keep a long time. Chunks will not become hot enough to be sterile, in this situation.

We are going to love fall this year!

Much later: It loosens easily and slices breezily. Mmm!

Much later: It loosens easily and slices breezily. Mmm!

(This post listed on “My Hot Kitchen” . Lots there to drool over…)

 

_______________________________________________

Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.

That Man! And His Incredible Gift!

I’ve written about this table before, twice. Here. And here. You just about need to read these, to prime the pump, so the rest will make tons more sense to you.

Otherwise, you’ll think I’m some kind of doddering old nut.

So, go ahead and read. This’ll still all be here when you get back. And I’ve arranged the links to open in new windows, so you won’t lose this page. You’re welcome.

Now, if you’ve read, or if you remember the story,

Let me tell you Chapter Three

Those of you who have hung with me for years may think you are tired of hearing about “the table”, but the story simply has gotten WAY better.

Basically, there is a table in my life that has not much monetary value, but lotsa nostalgia going for it. I’m not immune to nostalgia at all, but this thing rang all my bells and has humbled me to no end.

If it is possible to be in love with a table, then I was.

First, it is important to realize when I thought the table was destroyed, it was because it was old and I could not remember having it for years and years. Then, one day I wrote about it and later I discovered my son had it at his house. Wow. You cannot imagine my happiness.

When we were helping them move, it was so close to totally rotten we debated photographing it and giving it a funeral.

I voted a big “NO” and I won. Eventually the table came back to be mine, but finally in pieces. It lived, along with all its pieces, in our shop, for several years.

Well the other day, my newly-retired husband asked me if I wanted to see what he’d been doing all day, and you guessed it:

The table has been resurrected:

Sweet new old table

You can imagine my pleasure (but only if you’ve read the previous stories!) and the poor, simple table has brought tears to my eyes, one more time, and here it is, the way I saw it when I first learned it had survived surgery.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it was a sight to behold, for me.

Old table made newNow, here it is, newly repainted and pressed into service, again, making everything around it look in need of a Spring spruce-up.

Isn’t it like that with us? Our Father created us, and loves when our parents dedicate us to Him, and when we love him back and serve Him. But sometimes we get worn out, or worse yet, we get away from Him. Then He finds us and fixes us.

So this love gift has been given to me thrice. What a thing to make such a deal about, but really, it’s the love that has overwhelmed me.

Some days the blessings just come. Ever had a day like that?

This time last year…

World Calendar

World Calendar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…I had just finished posting three essays on gifts. Lot of folks liked them, so, here they are again, easy to find, for you to enjoy.

Be a Gift

The Gift of Peace

The Gift of Poverty

The Gifts of the Magi

Then, the year before, a similar series, including the following:

The Best Gift Ever

The Gift of the Blue Mailbox

The Gift of Laundry

The Gift of Joy

So grab a gift and have a wonderful life!

Y’all enjoy, now, y’hear?

The Gift of Poverty

If poverty is a help to right living, then this girl was a saint.

I’ll call her “Sharon”. She lived out in the country near us, in a rental cabin meant for hunters. Termite-infested, cold in winter, hot in summer, wet during rains,  it provided only privacy for Sharon’s family: her jobless parents and her little sister.

When, after my second son arrived, the carry-in meals were too much food for us, we passed some of it on to this poor family. They returned every single one of those empty Cool-Whip cartons, spotlessly clean. The only time they ever asked us for money, it was for food, and when Sharon’s mother had finished shopping, she brought me the change she had not needed.

Sharon was trying hard not to become a dropout and to keep away from the problems inherent to youth those days. It was easy for me to like her quiet and confident ways. Although there was about ten years difference in our ages, she showed me the kindnesses of friendship and sometimes would visit with me over the phone. She always ended each call by mentioning some difficulty she or her family had encountered and I counseled her briefly. Only after I converted her plight into a prayer request, would she say good-bye. How that impressed me!

Sharron married right after high school and soon was expecting her first child. She still called me occasionally and eventually asked me to visit at the new house her teen husband had built her. What a building! Constructed totally of 3/8” plywood, top to bottom, in and out, and walls painted in the latest style – with a feather duster. It was too hot in there for me, but the small wood-burner was kept at a low roar for the baby’s warmth.

One day I answered my door to find Sharon standing there with something to give me. She said they had to move and wanted to tell me good-bye. On the porch floor beside her stood a diminutive table her husband had made of scrap lumber, mostly 1×1’s. It was as simple as a plywood house, but well-made and painted with a feather duster.

How incredible that Sharon, so poverty-stricken, could even consider gifts for others! It almost brought me to tears.

I have loved the story and the person behind that small gift for a long time. It served well as a fern stand, outdoors when the weather was mild, and indoors when it was too hot or cold for ferns. It soon needed repainting and always bore the colors of the exterior of our houses, wherever we lived. I kept it proudly on display right by the front door and often told the story of this gift.

If you are thinking you’ve already read this story here, before, you’re correct. Oh, BUT – there is a new twist in the ending. Before, I had said what I thought was true, that it had finally sort of decomposed in the ensuing 30 years, but I was wrong. The little table still lives! While visiting my oldest son, not long ago, I spied it on the deck behind his house, still holding up, still holding potted plants, and I (TADA!) photographed it for you all to see: The lovely little table from “Sharon”.

table

The dear little table

 

 

The Best Gift I Ever Received

Receive

You can build
On sand and be filled
With hopes that just wash away.

But there’s a Rock
That will unlock
All the fears you have of dying.

He wants to give life to you
And all He’s asking of you
Is to receive.

All the time
That you’ve been blind
He’s opened His love to you.

And now He’s here;
He’s calling in your ear,
Asking you to love Him, too.

He’s breathing life in you
And all He’s asking of you
Is to receive–

Receive.

Your life.

I never thought it could happen,
What happened to me:
That I could see Jesus
And be set free.

Oh, but I saw Him.
I loved Him.
And I saw me.
I saw the real me.

And so I got down on my knees
And I asked Him to help me believe
And I received.

I received.

My life.

Annie the Poet

Christian singer/songwriter, Annie Herring sin...

Annie

The Gift of Peace

Serenity

Tranquility, calmness, peacefulness, quietude, stillness, composure, coolness, poise, contentment, repose, mellowness . . .

WHAT on earth is peace on earth?

We write poems about it, take classes to learn it, build our houses to achieve it, take vacations to find it elsewhere, and even try screaming to see if we can’t get a little of it . . .

. . . “and QUIET!”

Peace in the sky and on earth...It’s more than the opposite of war. It cannot be bought for any price. In fact, some of the poorest people possess it. Some of the richest also possess it, along with some of the saddest and the happiest. It also knows no color, no rank, no age, and no gender.

It sounds indefinable, but it is not. It just passes all understanding.

The definition? Peace is a fruit of intimate communion with Jesus Christ.

Anything else that masquerades as peace is false, will fall, will fail, will fly away.

Facts are, constantly working hard to capture all the runaway part of your own self-manufactured peace and keep them somehow glued together is not a very peaceful existence.

Getting the Prince of Peace to do it for you is—umm—peaceful. He just gives us peace, His peace.

Of course, such a great gift would be wrapped and need to be unwrapped before we could use it, right?

The wrapping is Jesus, Himself, and the unwrapping is as easy as letting go—and as difficult.

Actually, this gift is a trade.

We give up our own peace and trade it to Him for His peace, as when we trade in a bent, sweaty token for a train ride–trade it for the ride, itself. And He paid for the ticket.

And our hands were what bent and soiled it.

So simple, some people let it insult them. Some people are so accustomed to a difficult peace that they disdain something so simple.

How sad.