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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New beginnings and lots of changes

So, there is change in the air. The twins have started middle school this year. They have also started on the year round school schedule for the first time. Lots of changes for them and me. We have one trying out band and one trying out theater and lots of others electives. Should be a very interesting year to say the least.

Y’all know my pet peeve with carpool. Such a simple yet misunderstood concept. It really isn’t rocket science people. Follow directions! Don’t fall asleep in carpool! Pull up when you are supposed to! Your kids can walk further than 10 feet to the door! They will not melt in the rain! You can stop in other spots than just the front spot! Don’t drop your kids off at the street! Also, whatever you need to do is not more important than what everyone else has to do, stop putting others in danger because you can’t be patient. New school, new carpool, lots to get used to for the kids and for me. This diagram pretty much sums up carpool right now!! People going in all directions all at once.

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Just a reminder of some carpool etiquette:

  • Follow the established traffic pattern, getting out of line to pass people is not going to make things faster or easier for anyone.
  • Keep your kids in their seats until they are ready to get out of the car.
  • Get off your cell phone, it is not that important.
  • Pay attention!! (This should be a no brainer when kids are involved)
  • If for any reason you need to park your car, park it in a designated space, not the carpool line. (Again, this should be a no brainer)
  • Finally, be patient and be polite. Treat others how you want to be treated. Common courtesy people! 

Ok, enough of that for now. I am sure I will revisit the subject at some point this school year, pet peeve for sure.

Also, do you know how ear-piercing it is when someone is trying to learn how to play trumpet? Goodness gracious, Lord knows I love my son, but he may just have to practice outside for a while. As far as he is concerned, the louder the better. I keep reminding myself that it is only the first week and it will get better, Lord willing!

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I hope everyone enjoys what they have left of your Summer vacations and everyone has a safe and happy school year. It will be an adventure for sure!

 

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23