Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hints of Spring & a 'Mother' Develops

Hairy Woodpecker
Some of the first hints of spring are arriving on Gracewood, catkins on the pussy willows, thrushes at our birdfeeders and the suet feeding birds aren't devouring the cakes quite as fast as they did when it was freezing all day.


winter retreating in the forest


I just finished my ornament and sent it off for the 2015 Christmas Ornament edition of the Just Cross Stitch magazine.  It is amazing how far ahead magazines have to plan.  My vintage textile design, 'Seville', is going to be featured in an upcoming issue and it seems like I've mainly been designing and stitching for publications for many months now. 

'Alsace' has had to be put on hold twice in order to meet deadlines but I hope to finish it soon and I don't plan on taking any more magazine projects for awhile so I can focus on getting more designs accomplished. 

'Alsace'
And I'm happy to say that our attempt at making our own pear vinegar have been very successful!

Pear Vinegar
In order to make a true 'vinegar' a 'mother' has to form and thankfully our experiment in turning all of the pear peelings and cores into gourmet pear vinegar has been very successful.  In the above photo you can see a milky white line that is this jar of vinegar's 'mother' that I caught as it was sliding from the top of the jar to the bottom.  This is the sign that it has reached the appropriate stage of development. 

Next you strain the vinegar through cheesecloth and you are left with this alien looking thing at the bottom of the jar that is the mother and you can either add some of it to jars that haven't formed a mother yet or you can freeze it until you are ready to start new vinegar and add a tablespoon to a new batch to ensure you'll develop a good mother.

'vinegar mother'
I've already used almost a quart of pear vinegar in various recipes, it is great for making a sauce with drippings from roasts or added to salad dressings and stir fries.  The pear flavor and aroma make the dishes so delicious.  I hope you'll give the process a try, it has turned out to be a lot of fun to make our own vinegars.

Now back to 'Alsace', hope you're enjoying spring in your neck of the woods, or fall if you are south of the equator :)

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