Archive | Recipes RSS feed for this section

Preserving the Harvest- Blackberry Jam and Syrup

Today my job was preserving the 10 quarts of blackberries that we harvested/picked/gleaned in my last post.

I am making several yummies with our blackberries but I will cover the two I am making today.

Canning food is a science.  One that I have not learned enough about.  I do not own a pressure canner or even a water canner, instead I just use a huge stock pot which I already use for other things (like cooking for my gigantic family).  I wash and sterilize my jars and new lids and then put the filled jar into the boiling water pot for 10 minutes after I am done so they seal.  I know I probably am doing everything wrong but at the rate that we eat our food, it is not around long enough to go bad anyway.  OK onto the good stuff.

Blackberry Syrup-  This we use for everything from flavoring milk kefir and yogurt to ice cream topping and pancakes.

6 cups of berries
6 cups of water
4 cups organic cane sugar

This is not really a recipe (well I guess it is)  I just kind of throw it together but these are the measurements that I used.

Put ingredients in a pot, stir until all the sugar has dissolved and then with a potato masher, mash the berries in the pot.  Let it boil down to the consistency you want it to be.  If you want it sweeter or thicker you could increase the sugar by up to 2 more cups.

Pour through a metal sieve (do not throw away mashed pulp)  pour the syrup into your hot sterilized jars,  put your lids and bands on tight and put back into the pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Make sure the jars are covered by at least 1-2 inches of water.  I have a tool which pulls the jars in and out of the water and another which is a wand with a magnetic end to get the lids out of the pot without burning yourself.  I bought them from Ball and if you want to do any amount of canning at least treat yourself to these 2 items.

Next with some of the blackberries I made a jam which needs no pectin to thicken.

8 cups of blackberries
8 cups of sugar
2 tsp of lemon juice

Mash your berries in a bowl.  Put them into the pot and pour your sugar on top.  Add the lemon and mix.  Bring to a boil for a few minutes and then let it cook on medium heat for another 15-20 minutes.  Again pour into your sterilized jars and can as in last recipe.

Lastly,  take the mashed pulp you had left over from the blackberry syrup and put it away covered in the fridge until tomorrow when we are going to make fruit roll ups from it.  You didn’t think that lovely yummy sweetened berry mush was going to my chickens did you?

Comments { 2 }

Save the Humans- Day One- Water Kefir

Lets start with what is it!  Water Kefir is a fermented drink which is packed full of good bacteria.  These good bacteria get rid of the bad bacteria which are right now living in your gut (aren’t you glad you tuned it).  These bad guys are there because of a few many things like taking antibiotics, having excess sugar in your diet and eating processed foods. If you have heard the phrase “probiotic”lately,  this is one of the most potent of those.

It is similar to a fizzy soda but it is so good for you.  You can flavor it in many ways once you learn how to make it.  They are little alive crystals which multiply and if taken care of will provide you with a lifetime of water kefir. This drink is made with sugar and water but the sugar is all eaten up by the kefir grains or crystals.  It is know by a few names, tibicos, SKG,sugar water kefir and a few others.  This culture has been around for hundreds of years.

And once again,  the good things in life are free,  you cannot buy kefir grains in a store.  You can only get these from someone else who makes kefir in their home like me.

Here are my two recipes:

1 cup water kefir grains
6-7 cups of good water (not chlorinated)
1/2 cup organic sugar, turbinado sugar, rapadura or even plain white sugar
1 tsp organic black strap molasses
1/8 tsp aluminum free baking soda (not baking powder)
piece of boiled egg shell membrane removed (optional)
optional- add a slice of lemon, a tiny slice of ginger, a few raisins or other organic unsulfered
 dried fruit

You will need a glass container (no metal or plastic)
a plastic strainer to strain out kefir grains

Put your water in the container and add your sugar followed by the molasses

next add the baking soda

Put your lid on but not too tight,  you want gases to be able to escape, otherwise your jar could burst.  Put it into a cupboard and in 24 to 48 hours (depending on how fizzy you like it and how much of the sugar you want in it), your water kefir is ready.  The longer the ferment the less sugar there will be in the final product.  You can also do a second ferment to get lots of fizzy and make soda.  You take your finished water kefir, bottle it and let it ferment at room temp for another day or two.

When it is time, strain your grains out into a glass container, put the kefir grains back into your fermenting jar and cover with some new sugar water mixture and repeat.  Drink your water kefir.

My second recipe is much simpler but my grains only grow half as much with this recipe:

1 cup water kefir grains
6-7 cups of good water (not chlorinated)
1/2 cup organic sugar, turbinado sugar, rapadura or even plain white sugar
1/8 tsp aluminum free baking soda (not baking powder)
piece of boiled egg shell membrane removed

And once you start making this drink you will populate your gut with some wonderful, life chaging stuff and your little kefir friends will reproduce and you may have to have a give away of your own.  Since all my jars are taken up with other things I had to steal some of Poppa’s beer glasses to keep all my extra grains.

Here is a picture of my extra grains just from the last 3 days,  they are sleeping in the fridge until I can find them a home to go to.

Want in?  Leave me a comment including your email address and make sure you are a follower and on earth day I will be picking a follower to receive their choice of grains or scoby.

Comments { 17 }