Making Raspberry Jam

Last year was the first year that we were able to harvest any of our raspberries. We were pleasantly surprised at how many we were able to gather. Many we ate right there on the spot. Wow, they were delicious right off the vine! So, of course we had to make raspberry jam too.

Fresh raspberries do not keep very long so once they started trickling in we froze what we did not eat right away. Once we had enough we planned to make raspberry jam, but things never seem to go as planned. So we just got around to making raspberry jam. Freezing is so convenient if your berries are coming in small batches or if you just do not have time to use them. We pulled the frozen raspberries out of the freezer and ran the bags under some cold water to thaw. They thaw rather quickly.
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Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals – Book Review

Although, for the last few years Jon and I have been working toward being more self-sufficient, prepared, and just living a simpler life, we are still far from experienced homesteaders. I must admit that we have spent hours picking, preparing, and canning our homegrown veggies to turn around and have frozen pizza for supper because we were too tired and didn’t have time for real food. Sadly, more than once we have taken note of this. Not only is it counterproductive, if we are not careful we could let such setbacks discourage us. So, when we had the opportunity to read and review Carol’s new eBook, “Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals”, we were ecstatic.

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Putting Up Food on the Homestead

The Importance of Preservation

I grew up learning the value of preserving food for the winter and hard times. Our family grew a big garden each year and canned or froze the extra for later. We visited pick your own farms or combed the fields for wild apple trees to harvest fruit to stock our pantry. I continue to put away produce for my own family now that I’m a wife and mother. I want to make sure there is plenty of food in our house in case a snowstorm closes the roads or price increases put the basic necessities out of our price range. Besides that, I get a real sense of satisfaction when I pull jars of my own home canned foods out of storage and make a meal entirely from foods I preserved!
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Making Blackberry Jam

We were pleasantly surprised this year by the size and amount of blackberries we picked from our 2 blackberry canes that we planted last year. I made a couple of blackberry cobblers with some of the harvest. We picked the rest as they came in a little at a time and put them in the freezer. We also picked a few wild blackberries from our rural property and froze them. The blackberries from our thornless canes are substantially larger than the wild blackberries, but we are thankful for them all. It is ok to pick a few of your berries a little early before they have completely ripened (with just a touch of red in them) if you intend to use them for jam. The tart red blackberries have more pectin and will aid in the jam setting up. Still the majority of our berries were fully ripe when picked. All total I believe we froze about 4 gallons of blackberries.
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Zucchini, Laserdiscs, and Meat On Sale!

The kids may riot soon if we force them to eat any more zucchini! To be quite honest Jon and I are getting a bit tired of it too and I love fried zucchini! It blows my mind how much produce can come from 8 plants. So, now we are going to take a little break from the eating of the fresh zucchini and just freeze it.



Which brings us to our next dilemma. Where to put all of this frozen bounty? We decided that we needed a pantry, but where?
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Now, that’s a zucchini! It was so big that we named it Gigantor!

Gigantor is so big intentionally. We were trying to let it grow enormous so that we could get some good size seeds out of it to use for next year. When I cut it, the seeds were noticeably bigger, but amazingly still nowhere near the size we had expected. They were quite a bit smaller than the seeds we had purchased and planted.  So, we just decided to slice ole Gigantor up and freeze him. He even got his name on the freezer bag!
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