Pear Blueberry Kompot Beverage

Pear Blueberry Kompot Refreshing non-alcoholic fruit beverageOther beverages will pale in comparison to a Pear Blueberry Kompot. Before the day began, I had no idea that I would be googling “What to do with pear peels” and going down a rabbit hole learning the history of kompots. The pears were getting past the point of no return. I planned to preserve them canned in water but ended up making a batch of pear butter and pear blueberry kompot.

That’s life when you don’t want to waste any of the harvest goodness. I have a hard time looking at the peels and cores from soft fruits and tossing it all to the compost bin. I am glad that I learned to make tomato sauce from the scrap pile. And so, as I started cooking the pear butter, I looked at the bowl of pear peels and decided their must be a way to turn those into attractive food. 

The first hurdle to overcome was confusing the term kompot or compot with compote. A kompot is a European non-alcoholic beverage similar to a fruit juice. You can serve pear blueberry kompot both hot and cold. I found references and recipes for kompot on many Eastern European cooking blogs, Ukranian recipe blogs and Russian Websites. On the other hand, a compote is a dessert sauce prepared from fruit and drizzled over cake or other sweet food. 

Pear Blueberry Kompot

While the pear butter simmered, I had time to start the pear blueberry kompot. I tossed together 2 quarts of water and the pear peels from a dozen pears. I added a cup of blueberries, one cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and a half teaspoon of cinnamon. 

Bring the mixture to a boil and continue  on a low boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit and cool. 

When the liquid has cooled, strain out the solids. I used a strainer lined with cheese cloth to make sure my juice beverage was clear. You could also line a strainer with a basket style coffee filter. Of course I could not find these when I needed them. 

Pour into quart canning jars, and store in the refrigerator. But first, I had to try a serving of this beautiful fruit juice drink. It was refreshing and delicious. I can also see that it would be amazing served warm on a chilly day, like hot cider.

Pear Blueberry Kompot and a Bonus from the Scraps

The pear butter was still bubbling and the kompot was complete, but there was still a problem. I still had a pile  of boiled fruit that was rather large and still looked wasteful to me. This reminded me of the tomato sauce I made from scraps. Why not do the same with the boiled fruit? I began pressing the boiled fruit from the pear blueberry kompot through the fine mesh strainer. You could also use a food mill for this. I press with the back of a large spoon, pushing and scraping the fruit. Occasionally, scrape the fruit puree from the bottom of the sieve.

pear blueberry kompot

pear blueberry kompot

After I extracted all the puree from the boiled fruit, I gained two cups of fruit puree! This can  be used like applesauce in recipes or eaten as is. I plan to use it in baked goods, in place of some of the oil. You could also use the puree in this recipe for breakfast muffins in place of the fruit. Final production – one jar of pear butter, two quarts of pear blueberry kompot and two cups of pear blueberry puree. Oh and one totally messy kitchen!

Pear Blueberry Kompot


2 to 3 cups of pear peels

1 cup of bluberries

1 cup of sugar

2 quarts of water

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool completely. 

Strain out the solids using cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer.

Store in glass jars in the refrigerator.

For other ideas on using fruit for beverages look into making a shrub! Or try this recipe for making mead. Looking for a more adult beverage? Check out this Shrub recipe from Lovely Greens.

pear blueberry kompot refreshing non-alcoholic fruit beverage




Meat Lovers Zucchini Lasagna

Meat Lovers Zucchini Lasagna DSC_5595We are not vegetarians. Never even entered our minds. Meat Lovers Zucchini Lasagna is a perfect blend of hearty meat dish and garden fresh goodness. We like hearty meals and when I have tried to serve my family a meatless dinner, well, lets just say it was not met with rave reviews.

When I was visiting my daughter, she said that we would be having her zucchini lasagna recipe for dinner. I was surprised because her husband is a fan of eating meat for dinner. It sounded good to me, though so I was looking forward to trying her recipe. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the recipe included meat! It was not vegetarian lasagna, but zucchini lasagna with meat. And, it was delicious. I really think this tastes like the original lasagna. The zucchini has the texture of lasagna noodles and the rest of the ingredients are the same as the original recipe.

Meat Lovers Zucchini Lasagna

Make sure that you start this recipe early in the day. The texture of the dish and of the zucchini is much better if the water is drawn out of the zucchini and that can take up to an hour. The entire process took me about an hour and a half to get it ready for the oven, including the wait time to draw water out of the zucchini. I baked it for the suggested 45 minutes covered and an additional 15 minutes uncovered. I hope you will enjoy this version of Zucchini Lasagna.


Meat Lovers Zucchini Lasagna DSC_5587

Zucchini Lasagna

I’m sure there are also many ways to vary this recipe. If your garden is providing a generous amount of tomatoes and green peppers, increase the freshness level by making your own tomato based sauce. If you are looking for more dinner time recipe suggestions take a look at this post with quick and easy dinner recipes.

Meat Lovers Zucchini Lasagna
Serves 9
A Delicious, hearty take on the standard vegetable zucchini lasagna
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 4 large zucchini sliced as thin as you can length wise. Try for 1/8th inch thickness or try using a mandolin
  2. 1 pound of ground beef, sausage, turkey
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 cup chopped onion
  5. 24 ounces of pasta sauce of choice
  6. 15 ounce Ricotta Cheese
  7. 16 ounces shredded Mozzarella
  8. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  9. 1 large egg
  10. salt
  1. Start well in advance of dinner time. Slice zucchini and lay slices out on parchment paper or paper towels. Salt the zucchini slices to pull out the excess water. This will help keep the lasagna from being soupy. Wait at least 40 minutes. I waited one hour. Wipe or dab off the water from each slice using a paper towel.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly cook the ground meat with the chopped onion and garlic. drain the meat mixture. Add the pasta sauce and simmer. In the meantime, in a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and 12 ounces of the mozzarella. Add the egg and mix well.
  3. Put a small amount of the pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. You can make one large lasagna using a 9 x 13 inch baking dish or two smaller ones using two 8 x 8 inch pans. If you are feeding a smaller family, this would give you a dinner to freeze for another evening.
  4. Begin building your lasagna, starting with a zucchini layer, then spread the cheese mixture, then the meat and sauce layer. Continue for two to three layers and end with zucchini topped with sauce and the remaining four ounces of mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until topping is browned to your desired amount.
  6. Let cool for at least 10 minutes to firm up before cooking.
Timber Creek Farm
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zucchini lasagna




Quick Healthy Dinner Recipes

quick healthy dinnerQuick healthy dinner recipes are essential to planning meals for a busy homestead family. Even if the family is a downsized family of two! Dinner brings us together for a connection. Sharing the food we grow and prepare at home or purchase locally gives us nourishment to do our work. 

It’s no mystery that as our family’s grow and change direction, our meals need to adapt. If we don’t adapt we can find ourselves staring at an empty oven at 6 PM, wondering how to salvage dinner time.

Quick Healthy Dinner- Our Needs Change

As empty nesters, we face this scene too often for my comfort. Yes, we could go out since it’s now just two of us and not too costly. However we prefer to stay home, most nights. Both of us still work, plus the farm and other obligations find us seeking a quiet evening after the days work. Eating at home means we know exactly what we are eating. Knowing what went into the meal is becoming more and more important to us as we strive to stay fit and  healthy. Some families have diet restrictions or concerns. Having meals planned helps to ensure a good meal is on the table, and no family members health is jeopardized. 

What I Need for Quick Healthy Dinners

Meals that require a little prep time to deliver a tasty, hot, dinner in less that an hour fill many of our needs. These recipes are what I find myself searching for more and more. Quick healthy dinner recipes can be prepared in the oven, crock pots, and pressure cookers. One dish meals are delicious and nutritious even on the most hectic school, work, harvest, canning, sports days.

In addition, many of these recipes are perfect for teaching beginner cooks how to prepare a meal from fresh ingredients, instead of a box. Having more than one cook in the house is always a good thing!

While I am not good at planning or organization, having ingredients on hand helps. Then, add a stack of recipes that can be pulled together quickly, and I am saving dinner time and avoiding  take out food. 

Recipes From Our Kitchen and Others

quick healthy dinner

quick healthy dinner

Chicken Chile is a crock pot recipe that takes little time to throw together. Allow 4 hours for it to cook in the crock pot. It uses cooked chicken, so save some from a roast chicken, or cook ahead of time, and place in the freezer. Then quickly assemble this recipe and go on with your day!

But Wait! There’s More! 

I asked some of my friends that blog, to share some recipes with me for this post. Mouthwatering ideas popped into my inbox! Please click the photos or the link provided to get to the original post. 


This one popped up in my news feed recently on facebook. I follow the site Grow a Good Life and was thrilled to find a recipe that I had all of the ingredients in the house ready to make! We had this for dinner that same night and it was delicious! You can substitute the veggies to suit your taste and preference. I am looking forward to trying it again with fresh from the garden summer squash.

Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Vegetables


quick healthy dinner

From Homespun Seasonal Living

Nothing says quick like a ready made batch of sloppy joe filling. Grab the rolls and salad and everyone is fed! Here’s the trick. This recipe was intended for pressure canning. When I made my batch, I froze three cups in zip lock bags in the freezer. It takes little time for the small amount to thaw and we had yummy sloppy joe sandwiches in no time!

From 104 Homestead.

Nothing says Comfort Food like a casserole. And don’t miss the funny story at the beginning of this recipe post!

A Farm Girl in the Making Shared a delicious comforting soup recipe.

Attainable Sustainable

No one argues with a good bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup in front of them. Make up this version in very little time.

Reformation Acres shares a delicious idea for Chicken with Bok Choy

All I can say about this recipe from Green Eggs and Goats for Shrimp and Grits is “get in my belly!”


Stay Tuned for More Quick Healthy Dinner Recipes being added here soon!

quick healthy dinner

PEAR APPLE JAM for a Delicious Combo Spread

Gathering the fruit for the pear apple jam was easy. Our local market had some delicious looking pears and I had been wanting to make a pear jam. I purchased five pounds of the fruit, but I am not sure how much was left when I went to make the jam! Fortunately I did have enough for two cups of finely chopped pears called for in the recipe.

I searched for a pear jam recipe and came across this one for PEAR  APPLE JAM. It is from Great! I still had apples too!


pear apple jam

2 cups peeled cored and finely chopped pears
1 cup peeled cored and finely chopped apples
6 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
6 ounces liquid pectin (2 pouches)

Directions for Pear Apple Jam

Crush the apples and pears in a large heavy  bottom saucepan. and stir in the cinnamon. Thoroughly mix sugar and lemon juice with the fruits and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Immediately stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam and fill hot sterile jars leaving 1 inch of headspace.
Wipe jar rims, and cap the jars.
Process for 5 minutes for 4 ounce jar,  10 minutes for 8 ounce jars in a hot water bath canner. **

Yield: 7 – 8 half pint (8 ounce) jars

pear apple jam

 Note-  I was able to fill 8 half pints and 1 four ounce jar. I usually have an extra jar or two ready to go, just in case.
** I amended the directions to include the canning times I use.

More on Safe Canning

When learning to can food for storage, fruits, jams and jellies are a good place to start. Canning the acidic fruits requires a couple hours of prep time and a short processing time in the hot water bath canner. The high sugar content in many jam and jelly recipes can be slightly adjusted to taste once you get a feel for making jam and jelly. 

Vegetables require the use of a pressure canner in most cases. The lower acid content in most vegetables means that a higher temperature and longer processing time is necessary to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria. Use the canning methods outlined on the USDA website or the Ball Canning Guide for best results.

Canning Green Beans

How to Pressure Can Root Vegetables


pear apple jam

Canning Green Beans from the Harvest

canning green beansCanning green beans brings back memories of long summer days and warm sun. Listen for the fresh snap as you prepare the beans for canning, right from harvest. Every speck of work needed for canning green beans will be worth it when you eat fresh all winter long.

First, let’s review some of the basics of preparing vegetables for canning recipes. Vegetables almost always need to be pressure canned. The hot water bath canner that is used to as a food preservation method for many fruits and pickles, does not reach a high enough temperature to preserve the lower acid vegetables. The investment made in a quality pressure canner will last a lifetime.

What Will You Need for Pressure Canning?

Gather your canning utensils and canning jars, and fill the canner to the recommended level according to the instructions. Pressure canners do not need to be filled to cover the jars as the hot water bath canner does. Make sure yu use only jars intended for canning. Reusing other glass jars in a pressure canner can lead to unpleasant breakage and food loss.

Start with clean, sterile glass canning jars from a reputable canning jar company. Look for chips around the rim, cracks and any abnormalities or signs of stress on the glass. These jars should only be used for dry storage or recycled with your household recycling. Gather enough two piece lid pairs. Keep separate. The flat disc lids will need to be clean and possibly sterilized. Wash the rings in warm soapy water, rinse completely and air dry.

What is a Five Piece Canning Tool Set?

In addition to the green beans, the canning jars, lids and the canner, you will want to have a canning tool set. This includes tongs made to lift the hot jars in and out of the canner, a funnel for filling the jars, a magnetic lid grabber and a packing tool. Use the packing tool to assist you in getting the vegetables packed into the jar and measure the required head (air) space above the liquid. Jars come in various sizes and styles. Usually, for green beans, pints and quarts would be selected. Salt is needed, in small amounts in each jar. Be sure to use a pure salt or a salt labeled for canning.

Always Start with Clean Jars

Prepare the jars,before beginning to work with the fresh vegetables. You can choose from two acceptable methods of sterilizing the jars before filling with food to be canned. One method is to run the regular cycle on your dishwasher, which heats the jars and the wash water to a high enough temperature for sterilizing. The other method requires two steps. Wash the jars in warm, soapy water. Fill the canner with enough water to cover the jars, bring the water to a simmer and heat the jars on simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the flat lids and a small saucepan of water. Bring the water to simmer and keep the water simmering until you use the lids. Do not boil the water. The boiling water could damage the rubber seal. Wash the ring portion of the two piece lids in hot soapy water, rinse well and set aside to dry.

canning green beans

Preparing the Vegetables

When you are canning green beans start by preparing the vegetable. Wash the beans and drain. Snap off the ends of the beans and either leave whole or cut into smaller, bite size pieces. At this point, you have two methods of proceeding with the canning. One method is called Hot Pack and the other is referred to as Cold Pack.

Hot pack is preferred for dense vegetables like green beans. It makes it easier to pack them into jars. Cold pack or Raw pack is used for more fragile vegetables that might be too soft if pushed into a jar. This method calls for the food to be packed in the jars cold, then boiling water is added to the jar.

Blanche and Pack the Beans 

In preparing for canning green beans, place the beans in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil the beans for five minutes. The beans will still feel firm, but will be more pliable for packing into the jars. Begin filling the glass jars with the beans using a slotted spoon and the canning funnel. I like to use this scoop I found online to fill my jars. It holds one cup so usually two scoops fills the jar.

After the jars are full with a one inch head space, add boiling water to cover the beans. Maintain the one inch head space at the top of the jar. Add one teaspoon of salt to each quart jar and a half teaspoon of salt to each pint. The salt does not need to be stirred into the beans. It can sit on top of the vegetables. The salt will filter down as the liquid is reheated in the canner. Using the head space tool, run the tool around the inside of each jar, along the sides to help release any air bubbles. After all the jars are filled, using a dry cloth, wipe the rim of each jar. This will help ensure a good seal when the lid is added.

canning green beans

Getting the Jars Ready for the Pressure Canner

Using the magnetic wand, grab one lid from the saucepan and place it on the rim of the filled jar. Using a towel or pot holder to steady the jar, screw on the metal bands that you hand washed and set aside. Finger tighten the bands. This does not have to be as tight as you can possibly make it, but just snug. Using the jar tongs, place each jar into the canner which has the required amount of water in the bottom. (refer to your canner’s instruction manual.)

Usually the amount of water in the bottom of a pressure canner is only a couple of inches deep. Always read the instruction manual for operation of the canner. The steps from this point are similar but may vary slightly with each manufacturer’s model.

canning green beans

Basic Pressure Canner Operation for Canning Green Beans

Place the filled jars down into the pressure canner. Apply the canner’s lid and set into place. Bring the water in the canner to a boil. Allow the steam to begin to add pressure. DO NOT attempt to open the canner after the water is boiling. Most canners now have safety mechanisms in place that prevent you from opening a canner under pressure.

While the water is heating and the pressure is building, the steam vent is left open. The steam is left to vent for approximately ten minutes, then the weight is applied that came with the canner. The weight closes the steam vent, allowing the pressure to build. At a point, the vent will close and the canner will lock. The pressure should build and the gauge will move up in pressure. Do not start timing the processing until the pressure has built up to 10 pounds and is stable at that level. Begin timing the processing time at that point and adjust the heat to keep the pressure steady. This does take some practice, but you will soon know what works best with your stove and your canner.

Canning green beans require 20 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for pint size jars and 25 minutes for quart size jars. Always check processing times for your altitude.

The Processing Time is Up

When the time for processing at 10 pounds of pressure is over, turn off the heat. Do not attempt to open the canner. Leave the canner on the stove to cool completely. As it cools, the pressure will dissipate. When the canner is no longer under pressure the locking mechanism will release. The canner will still be hot! Some people leave the jars in the canner overnight and remove them the next morning.

Find a space on the counter to place the jars. Using the jar lifter tongs, place the jars on a towel to cool and rest. Stacking or moving the jars too much at this point could break the seal on the jar, resulting in product that cannot be stored long term. The recommendation is to leave the jars undisturbed for about twelve hours. Safe canning requires that you check the seals on the jars before putting the jars away. To check the seal you press on the center of the lid. If it does not move up and down under pressure from your fingers, the lid has sealed. When you remove the metal ring , the lid does not move or shift. If any jars did not seal, refrigerate and use the contents soon.

canning green beans

How Long Will the Pressure Canned Food Last?

The canned food shelf life is about a year for green beans. Optimize the storage by keeping the jars  stored in a cool, dark, dry space. The recommendation is to store the jars without the metal ring portion of the lid and do not stack the jars on top of each other. Stored this way, there is less chance of the jar having a false seal and staying preserved safely. When ready to serve, empty the contents into a saucepan, add enough liquid to cover and gently boil for 10 minutes.

Once you enjoy the fresh taste of your garden all year long, you will be canning green beans every year. How do you like canning green beans? Here’s a link to more methods for preserving green beans. I suggest you try the Dilly Green Beans! Do you have a favorite vegetable that you can for eating later?


canning green beans