Black and Boysenberry Syrup and Jelly

This recipes uses the remains of juicing berries for syrup to create a wonderful fermented berry syrup that can be used to flavor kefir water, mineral water, or Italian sodas. It might also be good with a bit or Prosecco.

Day 1

  • Crush 10 pints of berries (I used 8 pints of wild blackberries and 2 pints of boysenberries) using a food processor.
  • Strain through a double layer of cheese cloth (I did this overnight as some of the berries were still a little frozen when I crushed them). Dont’ squeeze the bag as the juice will get cloudy.

Day 2-4

  • Reserve about 4 cups of juice for Blackberry Jelly (I have 8 cups so I made two batches, each with 6 T pectin and 4 C sugar.  Combine the juice and pectin and bring to a rolling boil.  Add the sugar, bring back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  I processed in a steam processor for 20 minutes for my half -pints.
  • Scrape the pulp into a bowl (this will stain) and add
    • 2 cups of water
    • 1 t baking yeast (dry active)
  • Stir a few times each day

Day 5

  • Strain again, this time it’s okay to press the bag and add
    • 3/4 c lemon juice
    • 4 c water
    • 4 c granulated sugar
  • Boil to reduce to about 7 cups
  • Transfer to clean, sterile jars of bottle and seal

Emergency Supplies List

* This information if from the American Public Health Administration – for more information click here

Emergency Supplies

√ Flashlight and batteries
√ Manual can opener
Battery-operated radio (and batteries) or hand-cranked radio
Matches in waterproof container
Utility knife
Paper and pencil
Cash, traveler’s checks and coins
Paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, paper towels
Garbage bags
Small, canister ABC-type fire extinguisher
Needles, thread ␣Plastic sheeting
Duct tape, scissors
Extra set of keys and IDs
Local maps
Small tent, compass and shovel
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper

  • When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, this can be used as a disinfectant. In an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use bleach with added cleaners or bleach that is scented.

Food and water

Three days worth of drinking water, with one gallon of water per person per day.
Three-day supply per person of non-perishable foods.
Three-day supply of Pet food

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Sheep/Goats
  • Chickens

First aid and emergency medical kit

First aid manual
Bandages, including gauze and bandage tape
Germicidal hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Antiseptic wipes
Non-latex gloves
Antibacterial ointment
Scissors (small, personal)
CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
Prescription medications (such as heart and blood pressure med- ications or asthma inhalers) and medical supplies, such as insulin and blood-pressure monitoring equipment, if applicable
Non-prescription medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea medicine, antacids and laxatives

Personal items

Extra prescription eyeglasses, if applicable
Denture and contact lens supplies, if applicable
Hearing aid batteries, if applicable
Diapers and infant supplies, if applicable
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
Additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

Birth, marriage and death certificates
Insurance policies and will
Contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
Passports, Social Security cards
Immunization records

Complete change of clothing for each person, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
If you live in a cold climate, add jacket or coat, hat, mittens and scarf.

Moist towelettes, feminine hygiene supplies, latex gloves and other items for personal sanitation

Bank account numbers, credit card account numbers and company contact information Prescription information
Inventory of valuable household goods
Veterinary records for pets, as well as pet photos

Making Vanilla Extract

My vanilla beans arrived today so I was able to start two bottles of vanilla extract.  One is a quart of Madagascar Vanilla and the other is a pint of Tahitian Vanilla.  The Tahitian beans came free with my order of Madagascar beans from the Vanilla Company. From what I’ve read, I think my extract will be ready to use in four months, just missing the holiday baking season (I have really bad timing).

The first bottle has ten Tahitian beans combined with 2 cups of vodka.  I sliced the beans down the center and then cut them into 1 inch pieces.  I tried scraping out the seeds and adding them separately but was losing too much vanilla on the counter.  Tahitian Vanilla Extract Day 1 8/25

The second bottle has Madagascar beans (1/4 pound) with 3.5 cups of vodka.

Madagascar Vanilla Day 1 8/25

I also decided to make a batch of vanilla sugar with some of the Madagascar beans.  I used three beans in two cups of sugar.  I just split the beans, cut them into 1/2″ sections and put them into a food processor bowl with the sugar for about 20 seconds.  Then I put it all through a sieve to get out the chunky bits.  I threw those bits into a separate jar with about 1/2 cup of vodka for some extract (nothing goes to waste if I can).

I’m going to add photos every week to see it progress.

Zucchini Bread

Modified from The Martha Stewart Cookbook, 1995


zucchini bread
  • 3 1/2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 4 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup kefir milk

In a separate bowl combine

  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 T ground cinnamon  
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg

Add 6 cups grated unpeeled zucchini with the dry ingredients to coat.  Add in the wet ingredients and mix to bend.

Bake for 60 minutes at 350°.

Homesteading Skills

August 24 – Another humid one today.  I’m staying in the house because I hate humidity.  Those of you on the east coast are saints when it come to humidity, I turn into a grouchy, horrible, nasty person.

So since I’m trapped inside I decided it would be a good day to spend in the kitchen.  After a quick run to the grocery (needed sugar and oranges) I made three loaves of zucchini bread.

I’ve also decided that each month for the next year, I’m going to teach my oldest son the skills I think he needs before heading off to college, those things I never thought about showing him.  Today is the beginning of “How to Cut up a Chicken and Make Stock” month.  We cut up three whole fryers from the grocery – they are on sale for $.79 per pound and each had a $1.00 off sticker on it.  I was able to pick up all three for $8.73.  We should be able to get three chicken dinners and a nice bit of stock from that.

I also started the Fig Wine and, after starring at the hydrometer for almost an hour, looking up hydrometer reading on line and finally calling Steinbart’s, determined that this hydrometer is not meant for wine making.  The readings only go up to 20 brix and I’m to start the fermentation at 22 brix. Ah ha!

In the afternoon I put up 8 jars of Fig and Orange Preserves.  They have ginger, and cloves, and cinnamon so it smells like Christmas.  I made this triple batch on the stove, but you can make it in the microwave as well.

My last project of the day was a loaf of sourdough from my own starter.  I’m still trying to perfect the recipe and process, but todays was an improvement.  My starter is frothy, not bubbly yet, but it smells right.  I put the cup of starter that I removed into the bread machine, added 1/2 cup of water, 3 cups of flour, 3 T sugar, 1.5 t salt and 1 t yeast and set it on the Dough Setting.  I took it out and proofed it in a linen lined basket and baked it on a pizza stone with a cloche on top.  I think the oven was a little cool (400°) as it seem to take too long to cook. I think I’ll try 425° tomorrow.

Joe decided to start a batch of Stout with Oatmeal this evening as the Almanac says it’s a good time to brew.  His Anchor Steam-like beer was ready last week and he tells me it’s good.

August 23 – We woke up to rain today and it was 87° by 4:00 so it was an unusually humid day here in Beavercreek.  I made a couple of batches of cookies before Joe and I headed out to Steinbart’s Home Brew Supply for some beer making and wine making ingredients. Joe wants to make another batch of beer and the Farmer’s Almanac says that the 24th and 25th of August are the best days.  I bought some things to make the figs I harvested yesterday into wine – I’ll dry some more later and also make some fig/orange preserves.

After Steinbart’s, we stopped at the Portland Urban Farm Store for a few chicks.  We bought three Buff Orpington’s and Two Austrlorps.  Next year we’ve decided to get some more Plymouth Barred Rock’s and the year after some Cuckoo Maran’s.

August 22 – We got our first zucchini today!  Finally, all of the others have been tiny, never growing beyond about 2 inches.  We also harvested 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes, 2 1/2 pounds of blueberries for the freezer and 5 pounds of figs.

We also picked up a few more zucchini, some cabbage, peppers and broccoli from a neighbor that was giving them away. Thanks, I sense zucchini bread in my future.

August 21 – Today I cleaned out the coat closet.  I was able to donate 3 coats, 3 hats and a Santa ornament that is just not all that special for our family – shhhh, don’t tell Santa.  I’m going to try to tackle a closet/cupboard/room each day this week so I feel better about going back to work.  I think I’ll also set up a morning check list so that I remember to do all of the little tasks that need doing each morning.

Food Storage on a Budget – Week 14

August 17

Purchase:  This week was went to Albertson’s with a few coupons for Peanut Butter (4), Spaghetti Sauce(4) and Salad Dressing(2).

  • The Peanut Butter was on sale for $1.99
  • The Spaghetti Sauce was on sale for $1.49
  • The Salad Dressing was on sale for $1.49
  • There was a store special taking off $.50 each if you bought 10 items from the list.
  • I had coupons taking $1.00 off two on both the Peanut Butter and the Spaghetti Sauce.
  • I had coupons taking $.50 off on both the Salad Dressing

I had to purchase 10 item, so my total this week went over budget by $6.40.