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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How to Pressure Can Green Beans

Our green beans are coming in nicely this year and not a moment too soon! We had to breakdown and buy a few cans of store bought green beans not too long ago. What a shame. But happily we have already canned our second batch of contender green beans this season. Contender green beans are string-less. That makes life a whole lot easier, but we also will have some half-runners coming in later. They have strings, but they are just such a tasty bean they are worth the effort. If you are harvesting your own seeds from your beans don’t plant contender and other varieties with strings at the same time or they will cross pollinate. There’s no telling what you’ll end up with the next year!

Snapped Contender Green Beans
Snapped Contender Green Beans

So, how about a little canning tutorial?

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How to Pressure Can Crowder and Blackeyed Peas

A crowder pea is any variety of cowpea bearing pods with closely spaced (crowded) seed (peas). Last year, we grew Top-Pick Crowder Peas and saved some seeds and planted them this year.

We love crowder peas. They are our favorite, but we also planted blackeyed peas as well. Both are in the cowpea family. This method below will work for any variety of crowder pea, blackeyed pea, purple hull peas, etc.

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How To Make Chicken Broth

What super-food can you make for pennies, maybe even for free? Chicken broth is healthy, very simple to make, and supports your immune system. And did I say it’s inexpensive?

Whenever I make chicken for dinner – at least once a week – I remove the bones and put them in zippered freezer bags. The bags go right into the freezer.

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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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