Cora’s Garden: The Beloved Honohono

Mom’s honohono has bloomed. Just one spike this year.

The Honohono orchid is very beloved amongst the orchid growers in Hawaii. The sweet scent and cascading flowers something to look forward to in the spring. Here’s an article to give you more information about these orchids.

Cora’s orchids are having a very active blooming season this year. Though the orchids plants themselves need more care. Once the blooms are gone, will tend to them with some repotting the is very needed on several of them. We moved them in the patio so we can enjoy them together.

Mom’s also wanted to show off her oxalis that has a blooms.

Recipe Testing: Raspbery Orange Marmalade

Sliced and ready for an overnight soak

Raspberry orange? Is this blood oranges? I’m thinking as I hold up a bag at the grocery store. Two 3lb bags for $6 was a deal if it’s a blood orange. Guess Raspberry Orange is a more appetizing name then blood orange. I decide to buy a bag to give them a try with on some marmalade.

These were very juicy and sweet with slight bitterness that blood oranges usually have. They were beautifully dark reddish purple with a bit of orange at the tops. I googled Raspberry Orange. There isn’t a specific reference to a name change. Just a description about how blood oranges has raspberry-like flavor and scent.

Here’s a recipe for my Raspberry Orange Marmalade. It’s a loose recipe as I usually go by taste to adding a bit more sugar if it is too bitter.

Raspberry Orange Marmalade

3lbs Raspberry Oranges, sliced as thinly as possible into half moon shapes. If there are seeds, discard.
3 cups of white sugar with adjustment
water to cover

Place sliced oranges in to your jam pot, cover with water and soak overnight. This is to take some of the bitterness out. Next morning dump out the water the oranges were soaking in. Then add enough water to cover, bring water to boil, turn down heat to medium to medium high to simmer. Add sugar and stir till mixed in. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally.

Marmalade needs to cook a long time to thicken up. As it thickens, I start tasting for bitterness and flavor. I’ve found adding a little more sugar helps with the bitterness. Add about 1/4 c of sugar at the time, till the taste is right. There should be some bitterness. it does mellow as it cools. If it is too sweet, I add lemon juice.

There may be foam or some missed seeds while cooking. Skim them out so your marmalade clear.

You will start noticing when stirring the marmalade that it is thickening up. The weight of marmalade will become heavier. It also start looking glossy and the rind start looking transparent. Your marmalade will never be as thick as store-bought one as they use a lot of pectin and preservatives.

Here’s a jam testing method. At the start of the marmalade cooking session, put a small plate in the freezer. When you feel like the marmalade (or jam) is done, place a dollop on the plate. The coldness of the plate sets it up that if you draw your spoon (or finger) through the dollop, it leaves a trail. I don’t use that method. I always for get to put the plate in the freezer. I watch for the stickiness on my spatula as I stir. As you marmalade (or jam) cools it does get thicker.

I do can my jams and marmalade. Here’s a link to how it’s done: https://www.freshpreserving.com/how-make-jam-and-jelly.html. You also can put it in jars and containers and store it in your refrigerators, should last about a month.

NOTES FROM THIS BATCH

On the first taste: not sweet enough, a bit too bitter, just kind of bland. I added 1/2 cup of sugar. Continued to cook. I got it to the point of when I could tell it was almost done. It was thicker, rind was transparent, it was kind of clumpy, and looked glossy. I did the last taste test for sweetness. It was good but I thought it needed brightness. I usually add lemon juice but only had calamansi (like sour orange). I added the juice of six calamansi and gave it a stir. You can use lemon or lime juice, about 1/4 cup. I gave Mom (she’s the official taster) a taste, and she thought it was good. This batch made 7 half pint jars. It took about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to cook down and can.

Good luck with your marmalade. It is a long process to cook down liquid to sweet/bitter goodness but it is worth it. It’s great on toast with butter, good vanilla ice cream, and plain yougurt.

Cora’s Garden: I guess it’s Spring

Seasons in Hawaii is much more subtle than on the mainland. Winter kind of shows up around Chinese’s New Year, the lows are low–mid 60s and highs are mid–high 70s and it may be rainy. This last about 2-3 week. For me, this is the perfect weather and last much too short. Then spring shows up with lows in the mid–high 60s and highs in the high 70s–mid 80s with rain and windy.

I’m not sure what triggers all the blossoming, the longer days or the moist conditions (it’s been very wet winter/spring) but they are happening in the last couple of weeks. Here’s some of the pictures I got.

Anthurium

Orchids

There are blooms everywhere. The roses are doing well with tons of buds. This year’s iris crop seems a little small, but every morning watering brings a new bud or two. The hydrangea has tiny bloom. And the self seeding snapdragons keep popup up in the front.

Coming in next is my mom’s beloved honohono. The buds are popping out from the leafless stems. The first time I saw this happening I thought they were dying. But she said the leaves drop before the buds come out. I’ll post the picture of the blossom when they arrive.

And for the weeds, they are even doing better than the flowers. I can’t keep up especially in the front yard. I spend about an hour a day pulling weeds but that’s not enough. The pentas are doing great which Mom considers as weeds as they show up every where. I try and get as much of them as I can but the bees love their flowers so I leave any that started flowering.

I was trying to get the weed patch in the front yard but Bulbul family was mad me for watering baby by accident. He’s sitting in mom’s Desert Rose bed and got a bath this morning. Mom and dad scream at me. So later in the morning when went out to get a pictures of our weed patch, Mom and dad started to get excited again.

He (I don’t know if he is a he) looks fluffy and fine. Mom and dad better what for the neighborhood strays that love our yard. Oh, look you can see the edge of the weed patch at the bottom of the picture.

How could I forget to . . .

The beginning

Post about Scheepjes CAL (crochet-along) 2020: d’Historie Naturelle. This pattern was designed by Scheepjes Blogger Christina Hadderigh from A Spoonful of Yarn. I’ve been working on it since October. This is was my first CAL and a pretty dificult one to boot. It comes as a kit and seeing all the posting about it on FB and Insta, that persuaded me to purchase it. I got the color way Herbarium and pink, orange, and green color way.

If you read the information about the CAL, it takes about 11 weeks. And yes, it’s 5 months since I started and I’m only half way done. I kind lost steam mid-January. I’m hoping this post will shame me into finally finishing it. Here are picture of what I’ve done. Remember there were a lot of ripping out as I would find mistakes.

Sometimes you just have to let the mistake be a happy one.

-princesshotflash

With this CAL, there were YouTube video for each section. Without those I probably would have a pile of yarn, trying to figure out what to do. A Scheepjes Blogger Esther Dijkstra from It’s all in a Nutshell did the videos. She had a calming voice and pointing out area where to watch out for as it was difficult section.

one of four corners

This is where I’m at, all four corner ready to be attached to the blanket. I know this this will need all my attention and time. That’s my excuse I’ve been using to get to the next step. I need to get to next step because the elephants are there. Hopefully, I’ll be done by my birthday so I can buy another kit. I’ve gained a lot of confidence and knowledge from this project. I’m still in AWE of Christina Hadderingh design skills. I can even figure out how she visualized in her head. I’ll hope she know she made many people happy and proud their work.

Quick post: Laamia Tree

Spent my Saturday sitting under the giant banyan tree at the Hawaii Plantation Village, helping out at their first farmers market. Their volunteers are so knowledgeable about the plants and trees on their property, they told me about the Laamia or calabash tree. They produce these egg-shaped gourd. These gourds are used to make ‘uli ‘uli, feathered gourd rattles used in hula. I also found out from one of docent that the Portuguese used them to make castanets. Here’s an article I found on other uses for these fruits.

close-up one of the gourds

One of the volunteers, was using the dried out gourds as hanging containers for air plants. I’m sure there are tons of other uses for these gourds.

many gourds hanging from this on tree