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.

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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: 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!

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.


Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam — without added pectin


Good morning. I’m glad you could join me. Grab an old apron from the linen closet and join me to make delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.

If you are new to jam making, you might want to skim the Jam tutorials first. The links are at the bottom.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Ingredients:

3 cups Strawberries, hulled and mashed

3 cups rhubarb, finely diced

5 cups of sugar

Procedure:

1. Mash berries and dices rhubarb.

Mash the strawberries to extract all their lovely flavor. Using a very sharp knife, cut up the rhubarb into tiny pieces.

2. Mix strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar in a large pot.

It may seem silly , but a large pasta pot is best to avoid a big boiled over mess.

3. Cook to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.

4. At rolling boil, reduce temperature to keep the mixture boiling– just not too furiously.

Cook forever, maybe 30 or 40 minutes, while you only scrape the sides and checking that the bottom is not sticking.

5. Check for sheeting

When the jam pulls together in a thick gloppy drip, remove from heat.

6. Skim any foam.

7. Put in sterilized canning jars.

8. Process for 20 minutes.

Don’t forget to add 1 additional minute of water bath time for every 1000 ft. you are above sea level.

Other tutorials in the easy canning series:

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial

How To Make Jam — The Canning Supplies

How To Make Jam — The Easy Canning Process

How to Raw Pack Fruit With Simple Syrup

Strawberry Lemonade

Blubarb Jam — Blueberry Rhubarb Jam without added pectin

If you are a jam maker stopping in for a visit, how does your recipe differ? We are always open to hints, and recommendations.

How To Raw ( Uncooked) Pack Fruit In Simple Syrup — Another Tutorial


If you want to preserve fruits, without sacrificing the fresh fruit flavor. Raw packing with simple sugar syrup is the way to go.

The most common or the favorites to pack this way seem to be plums, pears, and peaches. Later in the season I will discuss these, but this evening we will discuss the littler fruit coming into season.

Following all the rules about sterilizing and processing (click here for that,) you seal in that fresh flavor with out loosing the fruits’ lovely texture.

Here’s what to do.

1. Fill the canning jar just up to the neck with the rinsed and drained fruit.

2. Fill the canning jar just up to the neck with a simple syrup (recipe follows)

3. Cover.

4. Process.

Blueberries, Cranberries, Currants, Gooseberries, Elderberries (presumably mulberries, Jen) — in pints 15 minutes; in quarts 20 minutes

Altitude adjustments — don’t forget to add 1 minutes to the processing time for every 1000 ft above sea level that you are.

What about the syrup?

Well, there are 3 basic kinds, light, medium and heavy syrup.

The syrup recipe you use depends on the sweetness of the fruit. Jen and her super sweet mulberries will probably want a light syrup, while cranberries might call for a richer, more sugary syrup.

Note: feel free to substitute honey for half the sugar in any of the following, if your a honey fan, that is.

Yield: 5 cups (each quart of fruit may take somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 to 2 cups of syrup.

Light Syrup (Simple Syrup)

2 cups sugar ( or 1 cup sugar + 1 cup honey, for example )

4 cups water

Medium Syrup

2 & 3/4 cup sugar ( gee, I wish I knew how to do the little fraction do-hickey on this computer)

3 & 1/2 cups water

Heavy Syrup

3 & 1/2 cups sugar

3 cups water

Procedure:

1. Mix the sugar and water in a pan and let it soak for about 10 minutes without heat.

2. Over low heat, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.

3. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Just briefly to get rid of the gritty texture.

4. Lower the heat and keep warm until you are ready to use it.

Other in the beginning canning series:

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

Strawberry Lemonade

How To Make Jam — The Easy Canning Process


I’m ever so happy to see you today. Grab a cup of coffee and join me in the kitchen for our beginner canning tutorial.

Okay, so you’ve tried your little test batch, adjusted the sugar and are ready to can like crazy. Just wait ’til you open one of your long term storage jars on some blustrous winter morning. All the tastes of Summer. Yum!

Here were the first steps, in case you missed them:

How To Make Jam — A Beginner Tutorial

How To Make Jam — The Canning Supplies

Here we go:

1. Wash everything.

Every pot, spoon, tong, tool, jar, dome lid and band. Plus, every surface you might possibly use.

2. Place mostly dried jars, on their sides, in a slow oven ( 200 degrees Fahrenheit ) for one hour to sterilize a load of jar at once.

3. Meanwhile place all the tools, dome lids and bands in a pot of water no cooler than 180 degrees Farenheit for no less than 15 minutes.

3a. Set stock pot of water for water bath on high so it comes to a boil just before, your jars go into it. Yeah, this can take a while.

4. Make the jam of your choice.

5. After you skim any foam from the surface, pour the wicked hot jam into jars, using a canning funnel to keep things clean. This is called hot packing.

6. Using the magnetic lid lifter, place a dome lid on each hot jar.

7. Using the magnetic lid lifter to remove the bands from the scalding water, place them over each band.

8. Dip your hands in a giant bowl of ice water for a moment and screw on each band. Use a jar wrench to tighten, if you have one.

Note: If you have delicate hands, you may need to thrust your hands back into the icewater between each jar you tighten.

9. Place the jars into the boiling water bath.

Note: there should either be a canning rack or a bunch of band lids on the bottom of the water bath to prevent the jars from directly touching the bottom of the pot. Also, there should be at least 1 inch of water above the tops of the jars.

10. Process for 15 minutes.

Yup, that just means leave the jars in the boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Altitude adjustment: For every 1000 ft. you are above sea level, add 1 minute.

So for example: I live at 1050 ft. so I process my jam for 16 minutes. High Mountain Muse probably processes hers for a year and a half way up there on her mountain top.

11. Using the jar lifters, take the jars out of the water and set them to cool on whatever clean flat surface is left.

12. As the jars cool listen for that delightful popping sound of each jar sealing. You can tell it is sealed when you run your finger over the dome lid and it has sucked down. Man, that is a satisfying sound!

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a rainbow of sparkly jams all set to nourish your family until next canning season.

Now, who’s baking the biscuits?

Neighborly Advice Vol. 5: Neighboorhood Gone Wild With Free Food


A. Onion Grass  B. Mint  C. Violets  D. Dandelion

A. Onion Grass B. Mint C. Violets D. Dandelion

With beginner articles on Mason Bees; Mushrooms; Crystallized Edible Flowers and Fruits; Dandelion Bread, Soup, Salad, Casserole and Wine; Violet Jelly; Sugared Violets; Stuffed Wild Grape Leaves; Outdoorsy Kid Activities, you could say we’ve gone a little wild this week. Join your neighbors for a new adventure!

Congratulations to Jen Neff, the only one to get all 4 correct in the You’re Eating WHAT From Your Lawn Quiz.

After we harvest some wild goodies, let’s head into the kitchen to make a feast from our foraged finds.  Don’t be afraid.  Open your palate to something new.  We’re all adults here.  If we are brave enough to step out of our comfort zone, then we open ourselves to a whole new world of learning, adventure and … well, free gourmet food.

In The Kitchen/ Into The Wild

Surfer Sam inspired the creative juices for this weeks edition with the following comprehensive article.

Everything Mushrooms — varieties, recipes, etc.

Langdon Cook’s new book, Fat of the Land: Adventures of A 21st Century Forager sounds like my kind of adventure. From his blog we have…

Dandy Muffins and Bread

Here are more dandelion recipes from all over…

Dandelion Fritters

Dandelion Pesto

Dandelion Soup or Dandelion Salad w/ Eggs or Italian Dandelion Casserole or Dandelion Wine

And just look at all the fun we can have with violets.

Violet Jelly

Sugared Violets

Crystallized Edible Flowers and Fruits

I am particularly eager to try the two recipes that follow as I have never tried either.

Stuffed Wild Grape Leaves

Simple Delicious Fiddlehead Fern Recipe

Waiting to be mounted to get morning sun, afternoon shade, one of my semi-homemade mason bee homes.  Attracting more pollinators means more garden goodies!

Waiting to be mounted to get morning sun, afternoon shade, one of my semi-homemade mason bee homes. Attracting more pollinators means more garden goodies!

In The Backyard Barnyard

How to Build a Mason ( Orchard ) Bee House

Beneficial Bugs: Mason Bees

Attracting Pollinators

Mason Bees

Shaw, age 6, explains how to make candied violets.

Shaw, age 6, explains how to make candied violets.

Up In The Tree House

Make Your Own Printable Birthday Cards

Candied Violets — So Easy A Child Could Do It

Sorry for the quickie edition

In case you missed the past editions, here are the links:

Neighborly Advice Vol 1pizza dough, making jam, using a pressure cooker, learning to knit, rescuing lost stitches, adding goats to your backyard

Neighborly Advice Vol 2 — kool-aid dye, spinning wool, kids’ activities, natural egg dyes, keeping chickens, line drying clothes, making applesauce, finding your sanity, pickling eggs, frugal groceries, growing peas, tomatoes and even worms

Neighborly Advice Vol 3 — grocery budgets, foraging free food, starting a garden, seed tape, hemming pants, chickens, turkeys, fruit trees, goat cheese, fermentation, kid’s activities and my favorite book sale

Neighborly Advice Vol 4 — making marshmallows, starting a garden, planting potatoes, herbs and onions, charming row markers, slow-roasted tomatoes, foraging free food, kids’ activity to-do list, 100 ways to cook eggs, tabletop gardening, and even starting an aquarium