Thursday, November 12, 2009

Longer Lasting Flowers!

Over the years, Matt and I have enjoyed many bouquets of flowers, but many of them were short lived. I don't remember exactly when, but we discovered that clear soda with sugar in it does an amazing job at keeping flowers alive for an extended period of time.

I LOVE getting roses, but they never lasted very long and I always felt bad that they would be dead in a week or less. Not with soda! Don't worry about adding any extra water, just trim the bottom of the stems and place them in the vase full of soda. Within about twenty minutes you will see that many of the flowers are opening up! I had one bouquet of roses that lasted so long the sugar crystalized on the rose petals, making them sparkle. It was awesome!

Right now I have a wild flower type bouquet with carnations, daisies, snap dragons, lilies, a big purple flower and little white flowers. There were only a couple lilies that were slightly opened. The soda has encouraged them all to open up, and the bouquet looks gorgeous and it's been on my counter top for more than a week! At this point, when we buy flowers, we also buy a bottle of soda, even if I'm giving them away. It makes me feel better knowing that the flowers I give are going to last a good long time!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkin Jam!

Do you like pumpkin pie? Then you'll love pumpkin jam! It's very easy to make, though time consuming. I bet you can still find a pumpkin somewhere that hasn't been thrown out or carved yet so you can try this! Measurements are not perfect, so just go with the flow! Any size pumpkin will do, but I used a medium pumpkin.

1. Pierce the pumpkin in a spot or two and put it on a pan. Bake your pumpkin at 350 degrees for a couple hours until it's soft.

2. Cut the pumpkin open to let it cool off. Once it's cooled off enough, cut it into small sections, scrape off the seeds, strings, and skin.

3. Put the pumpkin in a large pot and use a potato masher to smash it. (My pot is about a six quart.)

4. With a full pot, I add 5-6 cups sugar and a tablespoon of pumpkin pie seasoning. Squish thoroughly while simmering. No thickener is necessary, the simmering pumpkin is plenty thick.

5. Optional: I like my pumpkin jam smooth rather than chunky, so I put it through the blender and then bottle it in sanitized jars.

6. I've never tried to do freezer jam with pumpkin, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I prefer to hot water bath my pumpkin jam. Once the jam is bottled, hot water bath them for thirty minutes. Remove the jars from the water and let them sit to cool off. Do not move them until after the lids have popped! What a rewarding sound!