Winter usually consists of research time for us. I love to read up on as many things that interest me as I possibly can. This winter (since the new year began) I have researched backyard chicken raising, the home orchard, growing berries in a cold climate, and spent a considerable amount of time reading and marking seed catalogs. I have ordered many of next season's seeds and find canning recipes that pique my interest so I can order the appropriate plant seeds for those as well. Now a lot of you may think this is wasting good daylight but that to me is whole point of winter: Staying in the house! I feel like I use my time pretty wisely, I just refuse to be cold.
We made a ton of jelly this Christmas and gave a nice selection to each of our family members as their gift this holiday. We made wild plum, elderberry, cinnamon apple and carrot cake jam. Each gift also had a walnut cranberry scones mix complete with directions. I thought they turned out pretty well. I prefer to get handmade gifts and I banked on at least some of our recipients feeling the same way. This fall we picked our own plums and elderberries from the forest and used a steamer juicer to extract and then can all the juice. We then had some time before we needed to do something with the canned juice and ultimately made our jelly in December. I can't wait to see what kind of berries and fruits I can find to juice and can for next year. I am pretty sure you can even juice tomatoes for juices and pastes with that gadget. I may need to add on a room to store all this good stuff. Wait till I suggest that option:D