Guava guava jelly

We have a few guava trees on our property.  The most prolific one is right next to one of our ponds and many of the guavas end up in the pond.  Unfortunate for us, but the ducks eat them so not as unfortunate for them.

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So I spent the morning making guava jelly (while humming the Ka’au Crater Boys guava jelly song the whole time).  Not sure if my nephew Mika reads this blog, but yes, I’ll be sending some his way.  Guavas have a lot of pectin, so making jelly is super easy.  I simply cut the guavas in quarters and boiled with a little water for about 45 minutes.  Then I strained all the seeds out.  Once I had the juice, I measured it.  You’re supposed to use equal part sugar to equal parts juice, so I had 8 cups juice, which technically means I should’ve used 8 cups sugar.  I used a little less sugar just to try and be “healthier”.  But as anyone knows who makes jelly, if you don’t use sugar it’s not going to jell.  I also added about 1 cup of lime juice. It’s a little more lime juice than most recipes call for, but guava jelly is super sweet, so it adds a tiny bit of tart.  I then boiled everything together again, first a rolling boil to dissolve the sugar, then a steady boil (I set my stove to 6 out of 10 in heat) for about half an hour.   It’s super important to stir throughout, especially if the sugar hasn’t dissolved; one it can actually burn, and two it can boil over your pot.  Sticky jelly all of your stove it not fun, and unfortunately I keep learning that lesson over and over again.  DO NOT leave a pot of jelly unmanned on your stove for more than 2 seconds.  Don’t do it, I tell you, it’s a mess.  I digress, after it’s cooked and you test for readiness (I use the cold spoon test – dip a cold spoon into your mixture, let it sit, is it starting to get tacky – yes, it’s ready, no cook a little longer), pour into jars, boil jars, then Pau – Guava jelly.  Well not quite, done, they have to cool and set, but that just requires waiting.

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Finished product

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It came out a dark red color, I think because I used an organic raw sugar instead.  It’s usually a little more pink colored.  It tastes pretty good if I say so myself.

I also picked up lilikoi today; I say picked up, because you’re literally picking them off of the ground.  If you try and pick a lilikoi on the vine, it’s not going to be ready, be patient, let them drop – they’re sweeter that way.  Lilikoi jelly is my husband’s FAVORITE!  Last year, we had a horrible year, and only had a handful of lilikoi.  Usually we have a loads.  This is year is better than last, not like our normal yield, but I should have enough eventually to make some jelly.  I also make a mean lilikoi liqueur.  I hope I have enough lilikoi this year to make some of that as well.  We have a number of varieties of lilikoi on the property.  The purple one is new and isn’t fruiting yet, but our orange and yellow varieties are fruiting.

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You can see the difference in the two in the picture above.  I find the yellow one slightly more tart and the orange a little sweeter, but they’re both delicious.

We have a lot of fruit right now.  My son took the picture below.  Not only did he take the picture, he harvested all the fruit.  I saw it on his Instagram account, and wished I had the picture for my blog.  Little did I know he actually took some pictures of the yield with my camera.  What a nice surprise.  (Bananas, pineapples, mangoes, starfruit, dragonfruit, papaya, pumpkin, and breadfruit, oh my!)

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He took a bunch of pictures.  I love this one, because Otis is licking his lips.  He loves bananas!  I made some pumpkins soup out of the pumpkins, we dried the pineapple, my son gave some of the breadfruit away (we have SOOOO many if anyone wants), and we’re slowly eating or giving other stuff away.

I feel extremely grateful for this little piece of heaven.  But most of all I’m extremely grateful for my husband.  The property was beautiful when we got it, but all the trees, and ponds, and fruit and vegetables, that was my husband’s work.  He is the hardest worker I know.  When he comes home from work, he’s in the garden.  Every weekend, he is in the garden.  While I know for a fact, it is a lot of hard work for him, the farm is his church – it’s his place to connect and be grounded.  He loves it, and I love that he loves it. I’m grateful everyday for him.

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Summer is almost here

It feels like it’s already here as it’s been quite hot lately.  Our lignum vitae tree, also called the Tree of Life, is covered in periwinkle flowers and bees.  It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this many bees.  I’m hoping they’ll migrate over to the lilikoi flowers.

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We’ve seen a few different types of bees on the flowers.  I was able to get some nice shots of two different kinds.  The second one is really small compared to the regular honeybee.

It’s nice to see all the bees, the tree is earning its name, the tree of life.

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In other farm happenings, our last set of duck eggs hatched.  Our white call duck was sitting on two eggs.  Every day we’d check to see if they had progressed, and during our last check found one ducking that had hatched and one egg in the water.  The mama was uninterested in her baby.  At this age and size, if the mama doesn’t take care and keep her baby warm and cared for it won’t make it.  The egg in the water wasn’t viable unfortunately.  We took the other baby duck who was now a loner, and put it in our incubator and kept it in the house.  It started to imprint on my husband and just quacked non stop until he would come by.  We ended up putting a small stuffed animal in the incubator with it to keep it company.  We checked the local farm store to see if they had any baby chicks with the intention of getting one to keep it company, but they had none.  We then called our neighbor, and she had a recent hatch of baby chicks, and she graciously gave us two.  At first we weren’t sure if they would like each other, but it didn’t take too long until we could see they would okay together.

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The chicks are just the perfect size, and as you can see they’re buddies.

Our dragon fruits are starting to flower.  We have two different varieties, one that’s white inside and one that’s dark purple/pink inside.  They taste pretty much the same, although I find the white a little sweeter, and my husband finds the purple one a little sweeter.  Right now the purple ones are starting to flower, although we see a few white flowers coming up too.  The flowers are pretty spectacular.

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You can tell the purple dragon fruit because the leaves surrounding the flower have a purple tinge on the ends like most of the buds above.  The flowers at the top have no purple on the edge so the insides will be white and the one in the middle has some purple.  Last season we didn’t have too many fruit although we did have a lot of flowers.  Hopefully most of the flowers will pollinate and we’ll get a nice batch of dragon fruit this time around.  Dragon fruit is one the fruits we sell.

Today we had a chance to get out on the boat for a bit.  The water was so calm it was like a lake.  We didn’t catch anything trolling, but my husband jumped in and speared some kole we’ll fry up for dinner.  We ended the day with a jump in the pool when we got home.  It was a pretty good weekend.

 

 

It’s raining mulberries, hallelujah

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We have loads of mulberries right now.  I learned recently that mulberries are part of the fig and breadfruit family.  Mulberries are super easy to grow here.  When in season, we can pick all day long.  The berries should be picked when they’re dark purple, not red.  Mulberries are a good source of vitamin C and have more C than oranges.  As a fruit, they  provide high levels of protein and iron.  Mulberries have many health benefits from building bone density, preventing cancer, aiding digesting, and reducing stress.  Not only can the berries be eaten, but the leaves can be used to make tea.  I haven’t made tea yet from the leaves, but I use the berries to make jam and often put them in scones.

We picked a bunch of berries today.  We’ve been freezing them, so when I have a large batch I can make some jam.

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It’s been dry and sunny for the last week.  David was able to drain and repaint the pool.  We filled it up yesterday.  It looks so nice.  Much improved from the last photo I shared.

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With the dry weather, I’ve had an opportunity to explore the farm and see what’s growing and sprouting.  We have so many flowers on our mango and avocado trees.  There are flowers on the jaboticaba and cherry trees, and new flowers on our allspice tree.  And for the first time, we have some flowers budding on our clove tree.  I’m so excited about that.  Cloves take a long time to produce the flower, they say 10 years.  Ours has been growing for longer than that.  We also have a flower on our giant lilikoi.  It’s beautiful.  I’ll write more about the giant lilikoi once we get actually have one.  But here’s the flower.

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