Great Depression Recipes: Blackberry Cordial


Back in before my homesteading days, back in the day dreaming phase, I used to reread Anne of Green Gables. Just the book and I relaxed on a blanket, down by the creek in the shade of some ancient tree or another.

Also a fan of the Wonder Works movie, I remember being mortified by the raspberry cordial incident with Anne’s kindred spirit Dianna Barry. Anne not being familiar with raspberry cordial, accidentally serves Dianna Currant Wine or some such beverage. Dianna gets magnificently drunk and Anne is blamed.

All I can remember thinking is, “that would happen to me”

Anyway, on with our recipe. Try this recipe for blackberry cordial. Then enjoy experiencing the Anne of Green Gables series as an adult. No better way to spend a summer day.
Blackberry Cordial

Ingredients:

1 Quart of blackberry juice ( Crush however many blackberries you need to yield one quart of juice.

1 pound of sugar

1 teaspoon of ground cloves

2 teaspoons nutmeg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons allspice

1 pint of brandy

Procedure:

1. Crush enough blackberries to yield one quart (4 cups of juice)

2. Combine the berry juice with the sugar in a non reactive ( non aluminum ) saucepan.

3. Tie the spices in a cheesecloth and add the bag to the pan.

4. Bring to a gentle boil and keep gentle boil for 15 minutes.

5. Skim and cover the mixture until it cools.

6. After it is completely cooled, add the brandy.

7. Bottle and seal.

My notes claim it will keep for years. However, there is no mention of waterbath or processing time. So if you have ever made this or know anyone who has, please let us know.

Does it even need to be processed?

Will just cranking the lid on the mason jar be enough?

Please let me know so I can add the details.

Great Depression Recipes: Raspberry Vinegar


So, you wanted to make raspberry vinegarete and had a cow when you saw the price on the raspberry vinegar?  No problem.  Try making your own.

Some people flavor a glass of water with a Tablespoon or two of this flavored vinegar.  Allegedly, there is some healthy benefit, but I’ll be darned if I can remember what the heck it is.

Raspberry Vinegar

4 quarts raspberries

2 quarts cider vinegar

a whole bunch of sugar

Procedure:

1. Crush the berries.

2. Divide the mashed berries in half.  Freeze one half and use the other half now.

I think ice cube trays might be the way to go here.

3. Pour the cider vinegar over the mashed berries.  Cover and let stand for 2 days.

4. After the 2 days, strain the berries out and pour the remaining juicy vinegar over the other half of the berries.

I wouldn’t worry about thawing them since they will thaw as they soak anyway.

5. Let stand for another 2 days.

6. After the second 2 days, strain and measure you vinegary juicy liquid.

7. For every pint ( AKA 16 ounces or about a pound) of vinegar juice liquid add 1 cup of sugar.

8. Boil for about 5 minutes in a non aluminum ( non reactive ) pot.

9.  Skim any yuckies — that’s the technical term, you know.

10. Can and seal.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a time listed.  But do to the acidity, I would think a 20 minute water bath would be thoroughly sufficient.

More ideas for abundant berries:

How to Raw Pack Fruit With Simple Syrup

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial — the simple any berry recipe

Great Depression Recipes: Berry Fool — kind of an any berry pie


This nifty recipes was discovered in that mysterious old recipe box I purchase at a church sale.  The paper seemes to be pulled from a book or perhaps a pamphlet.  Maybe an advertising cookbook… who knows?

Berry Fool:

2 cups pitted cherries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries

1/2 cup butter

1 + 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

Fill a “Jewel”  pie plate ( maybe the advertiser? ) — okay any old pie pan with whatever kind of pie crust you like …with your berries of choice.

Beat together the butter and sugar.

Beat in the eggs.

Spread the butter, sugar and egg mixture over the berries.  Bake in a 450 degrees oven for 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

Oh, and I think I would serve it with a dollop of ice cream, just be sure tosave a slice for me.

Other option for an abundance of berries:

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial –an any berry Jam

How to Raw Pack Fruit With Simple Syrup

Blubarb Jam — Simply delicious Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

Great Depression Recipes: Blueberry Muffins


It’s blueberry season and you got a little over zealous at the local U-pick.  Yeah, it happens to the best of us.

Try this delicious recipes from the USDA 80 years ago.

or click here for an older article about reduced fat  blueberry muffins with reduced sugar option

Blueberry Muffins:

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder  ( AKA: 1 Tablespoon +1 teaspoon)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons of melted butter or vegetable oil or whatever kind of fat

1 cup of blueberries or huckleberries, washed, stemmed and dried.

Procedure:

1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. In another bowl combine all the wet ingredients.

Bluberries or huckleberries count as a wet ingredient.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

4. Mix until just blended.

Over blending muffin batter can really make for a tough muffin or blueberry hockey puck.

Julia Child once said that all muffin batter should be folded 20 times.  No more.  No less.

What that means is:

Scape your spatula all the way around the bowl. At the end of each stoke you “fold the outer bater into the middle.  Use one hand to move the spatula one way as you rotate the bowl in the opposite direction.  Once you get the knack of it, this will just become habbit.

5. Pour the batter into well greased muffin tins.

Never fill the muffin cup more than 2/3 full or you’ll turn your oven into one giant blueberry mess.

6. Bake in a medium fast oven ( about 400 degrees Fahrenheit ) for about 30 minutes.

The muffins are done when you can insert a toothpick and it pulls out of the muffin clean, not gooey.

You might also try canning your abundance:

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial for any berry jam

Blubarb Jam — simply delicious Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

How to Raw Pack Fruit With Simple Syrup

Great Depression Recipes: Orange Honey Sauce For Ice Cream


Well hi there,

I bet you thought I was swallowed by my weeds.   Almost.

Nothing says summer like ice cream social, but who can afford to buy those toppings.  Try making your  own.  I bet you’ll be glad you did.

Here’s another Great Depression recipe courtesy of the USDA from way back when…

Orange Honey Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup honey

1/4 cup of finely chopped orange peel

1/2 cup orange juice ( orange juice concentrate mixed to directions is the most affordable option)

1/8 t. salt

Procedure:

Combine ingredients.

Place bowl over a pot of hot water.  (The most energy efficient and frugal method would be to boil  about 3 cups or so of water in the microwave and place the ingredients bowl above the hot water.

Don’t cook it. Just allow the ingredients to sit over the hot water for about 30 minutes to combine and mellow.  Oh, I might give it a little stir now and then just to help it along, but maybe not.  Your choice, dear reader.

After the sauce cools a little, serce it over any flavor ice cream you like.

Save a scoop for me and see you next time.

Note about the oranges: In this day and age of spraying the heck out of everything or waxing fruits,  take a good look at the orange peel to be sure there is nothing on it.  Or perhaps try an organic orange.  Of course, the term certified organic can really drive the price up.  Many farmers practice organic methods but can not be labeled as such due to the lengthy and costly certification process.  So just open your eyes and look at the fruit.  A little vegetable brush scrub never hurts either.

When And How to Harvest Potatoes


Well, hello there.  I’m so glad you joined me today.  I could use a hand.  Grab a garden apron, a 5 gallon bucket and a garden fork.  We are gonna dig some taters.

Those lovely little white flowers on the potato plants signal that it is time to dig for “new” potatoes.  Little sweet baby potatoes that are such so much better than anything you will find in the grocery store.

“New” potatoes are a luxury.  If you are gardening for survival, I recommend leaving them in the ground to grow to their full size.  Full size potatoes can be dug anytime after the entire plant dies and looks terribly sad and brown.   Letting them grow means higher yield overall.

However, I can never resist at least digging a dinner’s worth of “new” ones.

So whether you are digging them young or waiting for maturity, here’s how you do it.

Using a garden fork, gently poke a large circle around the potato plant.  With each poke give a little upward lift to the soil.  After the soil is loosened, put the garden fork in a deeply as you can and turn over the entire plant.

If you have a little helper at your side, have him root through the soil for any potatoes left below.  If not, you’ll have to poke about yourself.  It’s funny.  No matter how well I harvest, I always find a renegade potato the following spring as I rotate crops.

There is no rush to harvest them.  Take your time.  Dig some for dinner.  Dig now, dig later.  They are not fussy.  Just be sure to get them all before the ground freezes so hard that you can’t get them out or else you’ll be enjoying a tougher tater after spring thaw.

If you are container gardening, simply shove over your container and lets them spill out.

Another time we will discuss storage issues like canning and root cellaring.

Happy digging!

An Epistle to Jen BossyPants from the Neighborhood


July 1, 2009

Dear Ms. BossyPants,

It has come to the attention of the neighborhood  that you are with-holding your mother’s Blueberry Buckle recipe.

While we respect ( sort of ) your right to horde your recipe as a state secret, we must insist that you deliver aforementioned recipe before the end of blueberry season.

The neighborhood has chosen to take the following course should you choose to with-hold that delicious recipe.

1. We will personally bring all the aphids from our gardens up to your 3rd story bug free porch garden.

2. We will put a thriple batch of very stiff bread dough into your antique KitchenAid and turn it on high.

3. We will purchase all of the bulletin boards along the highway and plaster them with your portrait — that you so love taken –for the whole of traffic to enjoy

4.  We will force you to eat rhubarb crunch with the big stringy chunks you love so well.

Should none of these actions inspire the sharing of that Blueberry Buckle recipe, we will be forced to pray on your phobias.

A. Mammoth Sunflowers

B. Squeaky Cottonballs

C. The noise the coyotes make when they take something down.

Please reply as soon as possible.

Sincerly drooling for blueberry buckle,

The Neighborhood

Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 11:29 am  Comments (3)  

Blubarb Jam –Easy Beginner Rhubarb Blueberry Jam


I used to wonder who these people were that managed to have rhubarb at the same time as blueberries. Well, it turns out that if you don’t consume the whole rhubarb patch as Rhubarb Crunch, there will be enough for Blubarb Jam.

Okay, so it took a couple of years of plant dividing to get enough rhubarb, but –oh– I think it was well worth it.

Blubarb Jam

Ingredients:

3 cups rhubarb, finely chopped

3 cups blueberries

6 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

Procedure:

1. Chop you rhubarb very finely with a super sharp knife to eliminate that horrid, stringy rhubarb texture.

This is a good idea to keep the non rhubarb fans quiet. Generally, if guests aren’t yanking the equivalent of bitter celery strings out of their jam, they will find it delicious. It’s all about the texture with rhubarb.

2. Mash the bluberries, then measure out your 3 cups.

This is an excellent activity for a little kid. Tarp the floor. Smock the kid. Hand him a potato masher, a pie plate of blueberries and set him loose. There is no wrong way to mash them. If some of the blueberries stay whole, that’s okay too, because it adds texture to the finished product.

3. Dump all the ingredients, except the sugar in a large pot.

Make sure to use a non-reactive ( non-aluminum) pot about three times the volume of the jam. Big Pot.

4. Start by adding 4 cups of sugar.

As you heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring all the while….

When the sugar is dissolved, use a clean teaspoon to test the sweetness. I keep a huge stack of clean teaspoons by the pot, taste and pitch in the sink for cleaning so that I don’t contaminate my jam.

Be careful. The mixture can be extremely hot!

Now, is it too tart?

Add more sugar a little at a time, stirring, dissolving and clean spoon tasting as you go.

Keep track of how much sugar you add, because this is the recipe for your family and you will want to be able to reproduce the jam again without all the silly tastings.

Your next batch you will just dump the whole amount of adjusted sugar in right at the start.

5. Bring to a boil.

Be careful it doesn’t boil over. Again, big pot!

6. Reduce the heat to keep the mixture at a gentle boil.

Occasionally, pull your mixing spoon through just to be certain you ar not burning the bottom.

7. Test for sheeting.

As the mixture thickens, lift some out of the pot and let it drizzle back in. You are watching for those drips to thicken and pull toward one another.

8. Remove from heat and skim the foam.

9. Pour into sterilized canning jars and process for 20 minutes.

For more info. on the final steps or beginning canning check out these articles:

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial

How To Make Jam — The Canning Supplies

How To Make Jam — The Easy Canning Process

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam — without added pectin

How to Raw Pack Fruit With Simple Syrup

or poke around in the cooking basics category to your right

or try the search bar.

Happy Jamming.

More blueberry recipes are on their way. Feel free to e-mail me your favorite blueberry recipe, so we can share it here.

Please let us know how your blubarb jam comes out. Questions, concerns or horrible, but delicious mishaps are always welcome.


Rain, Rain Go Away


(Neighbor Nancy splats her soggy self into her chair for a sound pout.)

In the last month we have received 4,867,947 inches of rain. And not a nice, steady rain. Oh no! Cloud bursts full of lightning and hail and winds that blow the chickens across the yard.

Okay, so the chicken part is a little bit funny.

But I have had it! I am sick of being damp or sliding precariously in the mud down the slope of the garden or huddling just inside the door with my oscillating hoe, waiting for the lightning to stop.

While the oats have been pushed over by huge volumes of water, the weeds stand straight and tall, mocking me from their inappropriate homes. I saw a flattened row of corn next a happy, sturdy Japanese knot weed. Bastard.

Sorry, that just slipped out.

My strawberries aren’t a harvest they are puffy, sloppy, tasteless mush as are those of the good local U-pick.

A lovely sap producing maple was blown over — on top of — the back nursery of baby fruit trees. The popcorn rotted in the ground.

Somewhere there has to be a light — a positive side.

Well, the broccoli is thriving as are all the woody berry plants like blueberries, raspberries and currants.

I haven’t turned on the hose in over a month.

With all the accompanying fog, it is as lovely as living in Brigadoon. I can only see my parents’ barn every now and then.

With the sun at my back and a cloud burst coming in, the rainbows are fantasticly intense.

Thanks to a diversity of plantings, something will always live, thrive, grow.

And while I build my ark, in case we float away, I know that some crop or another will produce enough to help us through the harsh winter that waits at the end of this wet, hot, rather moldy summer.

How is the weather in your neck of the woods?

Oo! Break in the rain — I gotta spread some fertilizer and hoe more weeds. See you later.

(Neighbor Nancy flies out the door, letting the screen slam shut behind her. Immediately we see her slide on her bottom in a big puddle. Let’s turn our attention elsewhere as she curses and fumbles to get up. Not very dainty and ladylike, is she?!)

How To Make Strawberry Lemonade — Summer Entertaining


Thanks for dropping by. Grab an old apron from the linen closet and join me in the kitchen. Today we will be making and canning a big batch of my favorite summer party beverage.

This nifty Great Depression recipe came from that mysterious old recipe box I found at a church bazarre.

This sweet lemonade is great for summer entertaining because it mixes so delightfully with lemon-lime soda, iced tea — or any other thing you can dream up to make a party punch.

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

( or Strawberry Lemonade for the sugar tooth )

Ingredients:

4 quarts of strawberries

4 cups (1 quart) of lemon juice (fresh or from a jar like “ReaLemon”)

3 quarts water

5 cups granulated sugar ( or try some brown sugar for an interesting twist )

Procedure:

1. Hull and pureé the strawberries.

2. Mix all the ingredients together in a stock pot.

3. Heat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do not boil. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved to remove the gritty texture. This is a quick, short step, if I remember correctly. Although I could be wrong and I won’t know for sure until the strawberries are ripe…

Anyway,

4. Remove from heat. Stir and Skim off any foam.

5. Laddle into 5-7 quart jars or 10 -14 pint jars

Oh, you get the picture.

6. Place in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Be sure there is at least an inch of water above the canning jars.

Altitude adjustment: Add 1 minute more in the water bath for each 1000 feet you are above sea level.

7. After you remove the jars to cool, listen for that wonderful popping sound of your jars sealing.

Now, you have a lovely strawberry lemonade concentrate for any time of year.

Serve chilled. Due to the richness of this recipe, I suggest you cut the lemonade with water or perhaps a lemon-lime soda

For example:

1 quart of Strawberry Lemonade concentrate + 1 quart of water

or

1 quart of Strawberry Lemonade concentrate + 1 quart of lemon-lime soda

or

1 quart of concentrate + you favorite sun tea.

Other beginner canning tutorials:

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial

How To Make Jam — The Canning Supplies

How To Make Jam — The Easy Canning Process

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam — without added pectin

How to Raw Pack Fruit With Simple Syrup

What is your favorite summer-time beverage recipe?

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