Canning & Preserving: Rustic Apple Butter

I love to make canned goods for friends and this week I learned a new recipe for Rustic Apple Butter. Beth Lord of the lovely shop, indie-pendent in Atlanta has workshops in her upstairs space so when I saw one one on the calendar for Canning & Preserving, I was there with my camera and tripod.

Lyn Deardorff instructs the class and she is the mama of canning. With forty years under her belt, Lyn knows the art of preserving inside and out. The best part about this Rustic Apple Butter recipe is she leaves the skins on the apples. As she explains, "Peels add flavor, texture and nutrition and the peels also contain pectin which help jams, jellies and butters set during processing."

And perhaps the biggest advantage is that when you use the peels, you need a lot less sugar for your recipe- or none at all. *We used less than a cup of the Agave syrup for our Apple Butter and it was super tasty...

Begin by washing your organic apples and sanitizing your mason jars and lids in boiling water for at minimum, ten minutes. 

This recipe makes 6 half pints of Apple Butter: 5 pounds juicy organic apples (such as Gala, Winesap, Jonathan, McIntosh or Stayman); 1 cup of water or apple cider; 1 cup (or to taste) sugar (or brown sugar, turbinado sugar or agave syrup); 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves; 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg; 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Wash the apples, remove cores and blemishes and cut into quarters.  

Place the apples and water or cider into a stainless steel or heavy enameled pot. Cook over medium heat until soft enough to puree. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. 

Next, place the apples in a food processor or blender (in small batches if necessary) and blend to puree consistency and until the skins are finely ground. Return to kettle and add sugar. Bring to a low boil and continue stirring until the sugar is melted. 

Next, you can either A) Cook quickly over medium high heat to brisk boil, stirring constantly as apples can burn easily or B) Place in 300 degree oven stirring occasionally to prevent skin from forming on top. By either method, continue cooking until thickened, so that the puree mounds slightly on a spoon and has a sheen to it. On a candy thermometer, it will be slightly under 220 degrees. 

Ladle your apple butter into clean, hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Remove air bubbles, clean jar edges and cap with lids and bands. Process the newly bottled jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Then remove and cool jars for 24 hours. Store in a cool, dark place. 

Lyn has her own line of delicious, organic, local and healthy fruit butters, pickles, relishes and condiments. Click here to learn more. Thank you to Lyn, Beth and all who participated. My tummy thanks you too...Happy canning...


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach

The Southern Table

I recently visited the wonderful and always inspiring shop, indie-pendent in Atlanta. I was struck by this one decorated table that was so enchanting in its thoughtful simplicity, I just had to share...

Owner, Beth Lord designed the table and found some help from employee, Karen Koprowski. Beth wanted a table that was soft, elegant, natural, sweet, simple and Southern. In this post, I'll share her ideas, which I must say, are so inspiring, I'm already thinking of creating a similar table for my own front porch.

#1: GREENERY. Karen shared with me how many times she sees people waste money on expensive flowers when so many trees and plants lie just outside our front door. Beth clipped some leaves from the Sweet Olive tree behind Indie-pendent while Karen added them to the top of each chair with a little bit of twine...

2. HEIGHT AND AWE. I love this original handcrafted piece Beth made with two bamboo sticks that are held up by two mason jars filled with beans. She used a branch from a Cherry tree to connect the two bamboo sticks...from which her and Karen hung garlands made of flattened cupcake liners. 

These garlands were also added to the back of each chair. Beth squashed blueberries, blackberries, coffee and such to naturally dye the cupcake liners different colors. She's so clever...

3. CENTERPIECE. This centerpiece is a grouping of collected vintage bottles in which clippings from the patio yard were added. It exudes Southern charm...

4. NAPKINS. These are just cut pieces of fabric. No hems needed, just pretty fabric and a pair of scissors. 

5. HOMEMADE GIFT. Each lucky person at this table will be getting their own jar of homemade blueberry jam. Each jar also has the guest's name handstitched on top a piece of scrap fabric. How fun is that? 

6. BURLAP RUNNER. This piece of burlap ties the look together as the lettering complements the purple theme of the table. Plus, the play of different textures works well, particularly with the shiny silver and sterling goblets. 

7. TABLECLOTH. Beth made this tablecloth by sewing two paint dropcloths together that she bought from Big Lots. Ingenious I tell ya... 

For your own spring or summer table, Beth advises to keep it simple, add various textures, be resourceful in your selection of goods and choose the colors that most inspire you. And happy creating...


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


When I shot Melody's house in Cabbagetown a little while back, she told me about a new shop in Atlanta that I need to visit. A shop that caters to artists and cares about handcrafted, quality products. It's called Indie-pendent and they're having a Grand Opening all weekend long. 

The first thing you notice when you walk inside Indie-pendent is what an incredible space it is. There are two floors with a total of 2500 square feet. The downstairs is for retail, the upstairs is reserved for workshops- from canning, knitting and painting tutorials to tips and strategies for small business owners. It's an incredible way to involve local artisans and create a sense of community, every time someone walks through the front door. 

When I asked the owner Beth Lord why she started her business she replied, "I wanted a nice, fun and creative place to be." She describes Indie-pendent as a "handcrafted lifestyle boutique offering home decor, accessories and gifts."  Indie-pendent stands for many things- Beth's freedom from corporate life, living and creating independently as well as supporting and celebrating artists. 

When deciding which lines to carry in her shop, Beth explains, "I like to find unique items that aren't flooding the market." Beth apparently has a knack for this as Indie-pendent is full of wonderful surprises and items that make me say, "oh, i want this..."  

Although the retail floor is one large space, Beth has created mini rooms with their own feel and personality. Beth's friend and colleague, Jordan Sandlin has lent a helping hand with the gorgeous, creative displays that pop up everywhere you look . I love the chestful of adorable stuffed animals and pillows that any kid would love to snuggle with or talk to... 

When I asked Beth what inspired her, she replied, "Pretty things...fabric, food and beautiful landscapes." You get a sense of her incredible aesthetic and point of view when you walk inside Indie-pendent - but I believe you also get a sense of calm and warmth too. She's found her passion and it shows...

Beth likes originality and seeks it out in her selected artisans. Leah Duncan from Austin, Texas is one of my favorite Southern artists. Beth carries a variety of her lovely tea towels, all thoughtfully displayed. 

In Beth's store of pretty things, you'll find lots of inspiration through her selection of goods, artistic displays and love of color. As she explains, "I like to surround myself with colors that make me feel good." 

Beth exudes Southern hospitality. She loves nothing more then helping her customers find the perfect gift. Originally from LaGrange, Georgia, she knows no other policy than an open door, friendly one. A Southern girl through and through, she just shrugs and says, "Its just what we do."


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach