Blueberry Velvet Jam

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Holy Moses!  What a great jam this turned out to be!  The flavor is to die for and even though 4 pounds of blueberries equals 7 pints of jam?  I’d do this OVER and OVER again!  We also found a great recipe for the purple vintage jars!

Here it is!  We are calling this Blueberry Velvet Jam.

 

4 Pounds (or 64 Ounces) of frozen Blueberries divided into two pots (6 Cups for those who are using a measuring device)

1.75 – 2 Ounces Powdered Pectin – I always round up

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Pulse frozen blueberries and add pectin to a pot.  Don’t turn the heat on yet, just incorporate the pectin.  Now add: 1 Cup (We used Cupcake Red Velvet Wine but, choose your own red)  1/4 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves and 1/2 tsp butter.  Mix it in the pot you’re going to boil it in while cold.

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Add heat.  Turn that stove on to med-high and bring to a rolling boil.

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  Add 6 Cups sugar to each pot with 1 lemon rind zest each and bring to another rolling boil for just over one minute.

Ladle mixture into pint or 1/2 pint jars and wipe rims to ensure a great seal.

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What you’re left with is 7 Pints of deliciousness in a jar and some HAPPY kids!  (Don’t worry parents; Alcohol burns off during the boil so your kids won’t be “punch drunk”. )

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Spicy Dilly Carrot Sticks

December is that time of year when the kids and I congregate in the kitchen to come up with our annual “basket of goodies” for close friends and family.  It beats trying to shop for everyone on a budget plus, we get a nice yield of canned goods for our food storage as well!

Yesterday, we made something so simple and delicious.  The real bonus is the cost of making this recipe is next to nothing!  A win-win for our homestead!  Here’s what we did:

This recipe yields 24 each 1/2 Pint jars

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My son peeled 3 each, 2 pound bags of carrots and sliced (with seeds) about 6 Jalapenos lengthwise.

I cut the carrots into sticks and stuffed them into the jars (leaving a little space at the top so we get a good seal). We also added 3-4 slices of the jalapenos to each jar. Once the jars are stocked, add 1 tsp. chopped garlic, 1 Tbl. Dill Weed, 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes to each 1/2 pint.

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Brine:

12 Cups White Distilled Vinegar

3 1/2 Cups white sugar

1/2 Cup Kosher or Sea Salt

Bring this to a boil and then simmer while adding the liquid brine to each jar.  Be sure to leave a space at the top of the jars!

Wipe each jar with a clean towel to ensure a good seal and add lids with tops.  Place each jar into a water bath and leave for 10 minutes. (I don’t leave them in the bath too long since I don’t want to over cook the carrots)

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BAM! Spicy Dilly Carrot Sticks!  Total investment:  $21.00  This included the 24 canning jars!

Cowboy Candy ~ The Ultimate Natural Sore Throat & Cough Drop!

Jalapenos

I make Jalapeno Jelly every year.  This time, I was looking for something different to do with all our Jalapenos.  I stumbled on an interesting recipe using these fiery peppers which turns them into completely edible and slightly sweet hard candy.  I’m forever hooked and we now stock this in our long term pantry for “Cold Season”.  Here’s the recipe for this great addition to your medicine pantry!

Cowboy Candy 

  • 20 Jalapeno Peppers with seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 2/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup

This next part is up to you.  You can use a mold of your choice or spray a cake pan with non-cooking spray or use a silicone mat/etc…  I originally went with spraying a baking sheet. The beauty with this kind of recipe is, it doesn’t have to look “pretty” once it’s all said and done.

Slice jalapenos (with seeds) and blend with the water until liquified. DON’T EVEN THINK OF INHALING!  Measure 1 Cup of jalapeno liquid with the solids. Discard the remainder.

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Combine jalapeno liquid with the remaining ingredients in a pot and boil until the mixture reaches hard crack stage. (Hard-Crack Stage refers to a specific temperature range when cooking sugar syrups. Hard-Crack Stage occurs at 300-310 degrees. This stage can be determined by dropping a spoonful of hot syrup into a bowl of very cold water. Remove the candy from the water and attempt to bend it. If hard-crack stage has been reached, the syrup will form brittle threads in the water, and will crack if you try to mold it.)  You will need to stir to keep it from boiling over or burning. Don’t let it burn!

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As you can see, the mixture starts out a very vibrant green and slowly turns a darker green as it nears the hard crack phase.  If you have a candy thermometer, this is the time to use it.  Otherwise, follow the hard-crack instructions above.

If you are doing this by hand, the procedure becomes considerably more interesting at this point. The object of this exercise is to take liquid that has a temperature of over 300 degrees F. and turn it into cooled lozenges without incurring third degree burns. After trial and painful error, my preferred method was to pour the molten liquid onto a prepared baking sheet. Working from the edges, I would allow the candy to cool until manageable but still quite hot.  I originally attempted to just spread it out and “roll” it into a log.  When this stuff starts cooling (and this happens rather quickly) you’re going to hit a point where you just can’t shape it anymore.  This happened to me so I decided to go “Cave Man style” and just break it apart with a hammer.  :::chuckle:::

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What I ended up with looked like a golden nugget but, green.  Once I broke up the candy and made a complete mess, I shook them in a Ziploc bag with powdered sugar.  I then emptied the candies into a fine mesh colander to shake off the excess powdered sugar. Ta-da!  Cowboy Candy!

Cowboy Candy

These babies pack a small punch!  There is just enough heat to soothe a sore throat and just enough sweet to keep your esophagus from internal combustion.  Seriously, you should stock these in your medical pantry or just put them in a candy dish and wait for it.  We will never be without Cowboy Candy!

Bread n Butter Pickles

I have turned non-eating pickle eaters into pickle lovers with this recipe!  Handed down from my grandmother and mother, I’ve tweaked it over the years for crispness and more kick.

Bread n Butter Pickles
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125 Pickling Cucumbers divided into 5 bowls of 25 Cucumbers each

10 Sliced white onions, 2 per bowl.  Add 1 gallon of water to each bowl w/ 1 Cup salt mixed in.  (This is the Brine)

Let cucumbers sit in the brine for at least 3 hours, drain and add cucumber slices and onions to fill pint jars.

Syrup: (It took 3-4 times the recipe I’m stating below to get all the pints filled)995569_278655732259371_2047498450_n

IN A POT, heat to boiling: 3 Quarts White Vinegar, 6 Cups Sugar, 3-4 Tbl. each Tumeric, mustard seed and celery seed. 9 Cinnamon bark.

Once boiled, pour into pint jars leaving 1/4″ space between liquid and top of rims (this is to ensure a good seal)

Boil lids and jar rings (sterilize)

Before placing sterilized lids on jars, use a CLEB and B picklesAN HOT cloth to wipe any spills/juice/etc…off the rims of each pint jar. Use tongs to place lids and rings on top of jar lids. Don’t over tighten rings on lids! Put each sealed jar into a hot water bath for 15-20 min.

Take pickles out of water bath and set on a clean towel (this will help with the temperature not dropping too fast and prevent cracked jars) Listen for jars to seal with a “POP”. Any jars that remain unsealed must be used/refrigerated. Jars that seal may be stored up to a year!B and B pickles

**This recipe is for 47 pints!

Hello and Welcome!

Greetings from our humble homestead!  Years ago, I thought it was just a fantasy of mine to leave the hustle and bustle of the City and purchase a 22 Acre property. I wanted to teach my children the skills my grandparents and mom taught me through the years.  Realistically?  I wanted to learn how to be a homesteader.  The idea of raising our own food sources and doing it without all the nasty things they use commercially has always been appealing to me.  I wanted to get back to basics; teach my children how to garden and prosper off the land and hard work.

Monica

My best friend is my husband, Aaron.  Together, we have two kids.  They both are your typical “city” kids who’ve gone from being completely plugged in; to learning the responsibilities of living on our 22 Acre homestead.  Boy, how things change when kids leave the city!  My only regret is not doing this sooner!

So please, enjoy our journey.  Our goal is to help others who are starting to learn about homesteading, canning, raising animals, gardening, rearing children in an unplugged atmosphere and showing like minded people, it CAN be done!