Coffee, Chaos and Christ

The misadventures of a Mother and business owner.


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Elderberry Jelly

I grew up in West Virginia on a dirt road that had a creek that ran next to it. Every year elderberry bushes would line the road between the creek and the road. I always got excited when the flowers started blooming because I knew that the berries were right around the corner. We would grab bunches of them to eat as we walked down the road.

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They used to grow wild everywhere. They are so good for you and I really enjoy the taste of them. When I bought my house about 5 years ago we planted a baby elderberry bush and it has since grown huge and provides a lot of berries. For the past two years I have had enough to actually make jelly. It is a lot of work but it turns out really good. This year I put the twins to work plucking berries and smashing them.

 

They much prefer the smashing part over the plucking part, it is a lot more fun. I use a vintage cone canning sieve and wood pestle. But you can use what works for you. You have to empty out the sieve a couple of times during the process because it gets full of skins and seeds and it makes it harder to smash them. I ended up feeding them to the chickens. They really liked the special treat.

 

Once all the berries are smashed I run the juice through a screen colander to get out any seeds that made it through the sieve. The juice is nice and clean and looks awesome. It is a lot of work to get that juice but it is very satisfying. And just think, you can get out your frustrations while smashing berries.

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I use the SURE-JELL recipe for my jelly and it has always worked well for me.

Prep Time: 45 min.            Total Time: 45 min.                 Servings: About 5 half pint jars

 

3 cups prepared juice (buy about 6 qt. or 3 lb.
fully ripe elderberries)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
4-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl

  • Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer.
    Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm
    water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan o
    the heat.
  • Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before
    filling.
  • Remove and discard large stems from elderberries. Crush fruit
    thoroughly; place in saucepan. Cook on medium heat until
    juice starts to flow, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low,
    cover and simmer 15 min., stirring occasionally. Place 3 layers
    of damp cheesecloth or jelly bag in large bowl. Pour prepared
    fruit into cheesecloth. Tie cheesecloth closed; hang and let drip
    into bowl until dripping stops. Press gently. Measure exactly 3
    cups prepared juice into 6- or 8-qt. sauce pot. (If necessary, add
    up to 1/2 cup water for exact measure.) Stir in lemon juice.
    Stir pectin into juice in sauce pot. Add butter to reduce foaming.
    Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop
    bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in
    sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring
    constantly. Remove from heat. Skim o
    any foam with metal
    spoon.
  • Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch
    of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids.
    Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner.
    Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches.
    Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle
    boil. Process 5 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to
    cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing
    middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not
    sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. If you have any questions please let me know, I am happy to help. I would love for you to share your experience if you try it.

Isaiah 17:11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain.

 

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Basil Jelly

I tried an amazing new jelly recipe this year.
I always grow basil in the Summer because we love caprese salad. I just love the smell and taste of it. So I thought to myself, I wonder if there is such a thing as basil jelly. We all know how much I like making jams and jellies! So I did some searching online and I found a recipe by Taste of Home and tried it. It turned out wonderfully and it is now a favorite of mine. It is so unexpected and it turned out so pretty. I can’t wait to make more! 
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I have the recipe below or you can find it here  https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/basil-jelly/   
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Process: 15 min.YIELD: 6 half-pints.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 package (1-3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
  • 3 drops green food coloring, optional
  • 5 cups sugar

Directions

  • 1. In a large saucepan, bring water and basil to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Strain and discard basil. Return 3-2/3 cups liquid to the pan. Stir in pectin and, if desired, food coloring. Return to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in sugar. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam.
  • 2. Ladle hot liquid into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. head space. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
  • 3. Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 15 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have! Please let me know if you try it, would love to hear your comments.

Genesis 1:30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.


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So much going on, so very little time.

I am sure that many of us experience this. We as a society have become busier and busier. Always rushing from one place to another. We try our best to slow down and enjoy life more but it just doesn’t seem possible.

Kids have school, and sports, and friends….That list can go on and on. I have one graduating this year, so that means graduation and college prep. That in itself is never ending. You have work and home. Yard work and pets. Etc, etc.

I know I am preaching to the choir. Everyone I know goes through the same thing. Rush, rush, rush. I have been working on trying to slow things down some. As most of you know we have chickens, about 50 of them at the moment. We have rabbits and dogs and a cat. We even have a parrot. You have to make yourself slow down so you can care for them the way they need to be cared for. Go back to the earth a little bit. I do a lot of gardening and canning and I love every sweaty back breaking moment of it. It is the best kind of therapy for me. I am sure most of you think I am nuts, but it’s true. You should try it.

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We are busy prepping for getting the garden out as soon as weather permits. We are also working on the fence and getting ready to build a new rabbit hutch. We have been breeding our rabbits a little bit. They are just so very cute. You just can’t get over how cute they really are. So magical watching them grow. And of course the kids just love every minute of it.

More soon, there is a lot going on around the “farm” and the family.


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My adventures in honeysuckle jelly

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Who knew you could take ordinary honeysuckle flowers and make such an amazing jelly? Over the weekend I did just that. I found an amazing recipe online at Lehman’s Country Life, http://countrylife.lehmans.com/2011/06/14/honeysuckle-jelly/. The most time consuming part is picking all the flowers we needed. After you get them all picked and all the green tips removed it moves along fairly quick.

Honeysuckle Flowers

Honeysuckle flowers before the green tips were removed.

 

It smells heavenly when you are steeping the flowers. I must say that it did do a number on our allergies, the flowers were covered with pollen. But it was well worth it, the jelly turned out amazing. It brings back so many wonderful memories of childhood. Picking the flowers and sucking the “honey” out of the flowers. We always looked forward to them blooming every year.

Honeysuckle Infused Water

Honeysuckle Infused Water

 

Honeysuckle Jelly
Yields 7 half-pints
4 cups honeysuckle flowers
4 cups boiling water
1/4 c. lemon juice
4 cups sugar
1 package liquid pectin

First you need to make an infusion to draw the flavor out of the flowers. It’s very simple. Prepare the flowers by removing the tiny green tip at the base of the petals.

Next, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, turn the heat off, then add the honeysuckle flowers you’ve gathered and allow them to steep for about 45 min., stirring occasionally.

Strain the flowers from the liquid. You need two cups of the infusion for this recipe.

In the same saucepan, stir together 2 cups flower infusion, the lemon juice, and the sugar; bring to a hard boil that won’t stir down. Add the pectin and boil for 2 min; reduce heat if necessary to avoid boiling over.
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, and screw on lids. Allow to cool for 24 hours, then test the lids to make sure the jars are properly sealed.

I ended up adding mint leaf’s to one batch that I made and it was a nice variation. You may want to try it if you like mint. I will note that the recipe says you will yield 7 half pints but in all my batches I only yielded 4. I will be making more of this for sure, it is a new family favorite!

Honeysuckle jars