Easy Blackberry Syrup

Making your own syrup for pancakes, waffles, french toast or icecream is really easy! Here’s my recipe for Blackberry Syrup. I use juice that’s left over from making jelly and it’s super easy, just 2 (or 3) ingredients and about 10 minutes of your time.

Equal parts Blackberry Juice and Sugar – in my case, I had 3 cups of juice, so I used 3 cups of sugar

a Tablespoon or so of pectin (this is entirely optional. If you omit the pectin you get a nice thin syrup about the consistency of real maple syrup. Adding a little bit of pectin just makes your syrup a little thicker. I like mine thin, but with a little body so I add about 1 Tbs of pectin)

Bring all that to a boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Skim off the foam (adding about 1 tsp butter to the pot at the beginning will virtually eliminate foaming), pour into jars and let cool.

Using 3 cups juice and 3 cups sugar yielded about 5 1/2 cups syrup.

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Filed under DIY, In the Kitchen, Using Wild Things

Blackberry Jelly

I love this time of year and I love blackberry hunting – gathering berries to make cobbler and jelly and wine.  So, be like me, and go out into the woods or take a drive through the country and pick a bunch of blackberries!

Wild blackberries – washed and picked over

Today I am making some jelly!

Fill your waterbath canner or very large pot with enough water to cover your jars by about 2 inches. Put in your clean, empty jars and bring to a boil. This takes quite a while and your canner will usually be boiling and your jars sterilized by the time you’re finished making the jelly. Put the rings and lids into a bowl or pot and pour boiling water over them.  Keep them hot till you need them – do not boil your lids, this will damage the seal.

Measure out about 4 cups of berries

Measure out about 4 cups berries

Put the berries in a large pot and crush – a potato masher works really well. Add 4.5 cups water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil gently for 20 minutes.

Cook the berries and water for 20 minutes. You’re making the juice that you will use to make the jelly.

Strain the juice into a large measuring cup. Press as much juice as possible from the pulp and seeds. You need 3.75 cups of juice. 4 cups of berries and 4.5 cups of water will give you exactly 3.75 cups of juice. I pour the juice through a fine sieve to make sure there are no seeds or pulp in the jelly.

Strain the pulp and press out as much juice as possible.

3.75 cups of juice

Measure out exactly 4.5 cups sugar

Have ready 1 box of pectin

Place juice and pectin in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat *stirring constantly*

Put the juice and pectin in a large pot

Add the sugar all at once, return to a boil and boil for 20 minutes, again *stirring constantly*

Adding 1/2 teaspoon of butter to the pot will virtually eliminate this foaming and will help prevent boiling over

Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Remove your jars quickly and carefully from the canner. Ladle in your jelly and fill jars to within 1/8 inch of the top. Work quickly so the jelly does not cool too much before you get it into the jars.

Ladle the jelly into the jars quickly, leaving 1/8 inch headspace

Wipe the rims and threads of your jars with a damp paper towel to ensure a good seal for your lid

Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel, even if they look clean, do not skip this step

Put on the lid

Put on the ring – do not tighten the rings too much or you will not get a proper seal

Put your filled jars into the canner and process for 20 minutes.

This recipe makes just over 6 half pints. The partial jar was not processed.

Make sure your canner is boiling when you put your jars in and maintain a constant, gentle rolling boil throughout the processing time

When the time is up, carefully remove your jars and put them in a draft free place on a towel. Do not touch, move, tilt or disturb them in any way for a full 24 hours.

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The recipe I use for pineapple upside down cake came from my grandmother and she could not remember where she had gotten it. It is made in a 9 inch cast iron skillet and only has a few ingredients. I’ve made it for years and it’s always a favorite. Today, I share it with you!

To start, preheat your oven to 350*.

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a 9" cast iron skillet over medium heat

Add 1 packed cup of brown sugar

Once the brown sugar has melted, spread it out evenly in the pan and turn off the heat.

Sprinkle pineapple tidbits all over the brown sugar. You can use rings if you prefer, but I like my pineapple upside down cakes to be really pineappley.

In a small bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Beat 3 egg yolks until they are thick and lemon colored. Using a stand mixer is easiest, but it's totally doable with a hand mixer.

With the mixer running add 1 packed cup brown sugar.

Add the flour mixture

Then add 5 Tablespoons of pineapple juice

Scrape your batter into another bowl, wash your bowl and your whisk in hot soapy water, rinse in hot water and then in cold water and dry thoroughly. If you are using a hand mixer, wash your beaters the same way and get a medium size bowl and make sure it is very clean.

Beat 3 egg whites till stiff

Keep beating

There we go

Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter

Fold gently, the egg whites keep your cake light

Be thorough and make sure all the egg white is completely incorporated

Pour the batter onto the brown sugar and pineapple in the pan

smooth out the batter, make sure it's even

Bake for 45 minutes

When it's done, take it out and let it cool for 30 minutes.

After cooling for 30 minutes, put your serving plate upside down on top of the pan

And flip it over. Just let it sit there like that for a minute or two. Slowly lift up your pan, and...

Voila!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

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Garden Update

Went to pick some more broccoli for dinner and checked on the cauliflower while I was down there. It’s not big enough to pick yet but it’s coming along nicely 🙂

Homegrown Organic Cauliflower 🙂

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Homemade Soap

I made soap last night and today I got to reveal the results. If you are interested in making your own soap I highly recommend Anne L. Watson. Her books aren’t just a bunch a recipes but a scientific approach to soap making that helps you to understand the why and the how of soapmaking so you can create your own recipes and make truly unique soap.

A step by step or video tutorial will be coming in a few weeks. For now, here is a picture of how my soap turned out. I used a small piece to wash my hands and this soap has a wonderful creamy lather, a light clean scent and left my hands feeling soft and moisturized.

home made soap - color and fragrance free, made with organic unfiltered shea butter, organic coconut oil and organic olive oil

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Garden Update – Broccoli

Went out the garden to check on things and the broccoli was ready (yay). I planted 8 plants and all of them had heads on them. I only harvested 2 today, just enough for dinner. A neat thing about broccoli is that after you harvest the main head, the plants grow side shoots that also make heads! So broccoli is a plant that keeps on giving 🙂

The broccoli I chose to grow produces smallish heads - about 4" across. This one was just under that and perfectly formed.

This is the second head I harvested, about the same size as the other one.

These are baby broccoli side shoots that were starting to grow on the first stalk I harvested.

Broccoli is one of my most favorite vegetables and though it is a little hard to grow in the summer, it is totally worth every effort you put into it. I planted these plants at the end of summer and have had no pest problems at all. We don’t use pesticide or herbicide or chemical fertilizers. The plants are all tall and strong and the heads are beautifully formed.

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CornishX Update

Doing a video update today 🙂

 

Enjoy!!

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