Jul 22

Blueberry Currant Jam

Blueberry Currant Jam // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

Red currants.

I saw them at the farmers’ market, all bright red and glistening (it was raining) and I knew I had to have them.

Total impulse purchase.

When I bought the things, I had no idea what I would do with them… other than that they were reputed to be a super food, and that my grandmother used to make jelly out of them.

I don’t really like making jelly. It’s harder than making jam… and I don’t have a jelly bag. Yes, I know. It would be a really easy thing to remedy… and I could use cheesecloth and one of my zillion colanders anyway. But still…

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So I sort of stuck them in the fridge to await inspiration.

However, while I was at the Public Market buying blueberries–or to be more specific, forcing the Pixie to buy blueberries from the vendor’s, equally reluctant, Pixie-sized daughter (that sort of thing is good for them, right?)–I saw a display of blueberry-currant jam.

I almost bought it–just to see what it tasted like. And then I realized that I had currants still in the refrigerator, and now blueberries… and that I like making jam.

So I did.

blueberries and currants for jam // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of WIldflowers

Blueberry-Currant Jam

Needed:

1 pint red currant berries

1 pint blueberries

Pomona’s Pectin and calcium water (don’t worry, the calcium and excellent directions come with the Pectin.You can also watch this video for added instructions, or if you need a refresher course in canning.)

Bottled lemon juice

Raw, local honey

A water bath canner, or a large pot with a lid and this small batch canning contraption, which is what I used. You could also use something like this, or anything, really to keep the jars off the bottom of your pot.

Canning utensils

Jelly jars, with lids and rings. This recipe makes a little over 5 of the tiny jelly jars.

blueberries, currants, and jam via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of WildflowersMethod:

Wash and remove stems from 1 pint red currant berries. Place them in a small pan (like this) with 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to mash berries. Strain through a wire mesh colander (like this) catching the juice in a small bowl or measuring cup (like this). Since this is jam, not jelly, it is okay if some bits of pulp escape into the juice–so long as the seeds stay out! You should have approximately 1 cup of juice. Set aside.

Wash and remove any stems from 1 pint blueberries. Place them in a small pan (like this) with 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to mash berries. (You may need to use a potato masher (like this), or be very vigorous in your stirring to break up the berries. Blueberry seeds are tiny, so there is no need to strain them, plus we want to include the berries. You should have approximately 1 1/2 cups of juice and pulp.

Place the juice and pulp mixture into a medium-sized pan, add 2 1/2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice and 2 1/2 teaspoons of calcium water. Bring to a boil, stirring often.

Meanwhile, add 1 1/4 teaspoons of Pomona’s Pectin to 1/3 cup of honey. Stir to dissolve.

When the fruit mixture is boiling, slowly add the honey-pectin mixture, stirring constantly. Stir briskly for about 2 minutes to ensure that the honey and pectin are completely incorporated.

Return to a boil. Then remove from heat, spoon the jam into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space, and process for 10 minutes (be sure to remember to adjust for your altitude!) in a water bath canner.

Blueberry Currant Jam via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

 This jam is excellent on buttered toast, of course, and also delicious on semi-soft cheese, such as Havarti.

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Blueberry Currant Jam by Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon.com affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site, and also dog food. We appreciate your support! **

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Jul 20

Real Ice Cream

Real Ice Cream without any added flavor. Delicious! via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

 

*** Note this post is also part of Real Food Birthday Party (plus Ice Cream Recipe). It has been slightly updated, and given a page of its own for simplicity’s sake.***

When my husband and I were in Scotland, we discovered something wonderful: ice cream. Plain and simple ice cream. It didn’t have an ingredients list a mile long (containing, to be frank, some pretty scary stuff from high fructose corn syrup to antifreeze); it didn’t even have any flavoring. It was just plain and simple and delicious.

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This is my basic recipe (adapted from the one in Nourishing Traditions) to mimic the wonderful confection we had in Scotland, and the base of every ice cream recipe I have made so far. It uses only wholesome, real food ingredients… and is pretty darn close to a health food. No? Okay… but there is nothing in here that you need to feel guilty about when you indulge in a nice bowl of ice cream on a semi-regular basis! ;)

Real Ice Cream

3 egg yolks from pastured hens

1/2 cup pure maple syrup OR 1/3 cup raw, local honey

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (like this)

1 teaspoon gelatin (like this) — technically the gelatin is optional, but I have taken inspiration from the Homestead Lady, and always use it in my ice cream recipes — it keeps the ice cream from freezing rock-solid!

3 cups of the best heavy cream you can find (ideally from grass-fed cows; and not ultrapasteurized) — you can, if you like, substitute up to one cup of the cream with a cup of whole milk… but it won’t be nearly as delicious, or as creamy

Beat the egg yolks, then blend in the rest of the ingredients. I don’t know if it makes a difference, but never use an electric mixer–only a whisk–to mix my ice cream.

Chill for a few hours, until ready to make the ice cream. (You’ll need to give it a quick stir, as the honey, especially, tends to settle.) Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the instructions. This is the ice cream maker we have, and I love it!

This recipe makes about a quart of the creamiest ice cream… with only the barest hint of maple or honey flavor.

For some of my other homemade ice cream recipes, be sure to check out:

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Apple Rhubarb Sauce with Vanilla Ice Cream

Mint Chip Ice Cream with Fresh Mint

If you liked this post, please share it!

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**Note: This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon.com affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site, and also dog food. We appreciate your support! **

If you liked this post, you might also like:

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Jul 18

From the Farm Blog Hop… Gardening for Pollinators

From the Farm Blog Hop

 

Happy Friday and thank you for joining us! :)

.Note: The link-up is at the very bottom of the page!

For my featured post this week, I chose Gardening for Pollinators: 8 Tips from One Acre Farm.

From the Farm Blog Hop Featured Post -- Gardening for Pollinators by One Acre Farm

photo credit: One Acre Farm

I love my little pollinators and I work very hard to protect them, and give them what they need to survive and thrive. My tiny yard–what with two active kids and a dog–doesn’t have a lot of space for growing food, but there is always room to squeeze in food for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators! This post has some wonderful tips (and some gorgeous pictures, besides!) and I encourage you all to check it out! :)

Now, let’s get on with the party, shall we??? This week’s favorites:

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Congratulations! Please feel free to grab our button and display it proudly on your blog!

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Keep scrolling to enter this week’s party!

From The Farm Blog Hop

1. Link up to three of your best gardening or homesteading tips, farm-themed posts, recipes, homemaking and simple/frugal living tips, decorating ideas, DIY projects, craft ideas, thrifty makeovers or repurposed items, healthy and sustainable living tips, and giveaways.
2. Link back to my blog (using the rel=”nofollow” tag), or put the link party button anywhere on your
blog or post to share the love.
3. Make sure to check out some of the other links before leaving.

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From The Farm Blog Hop

We can’t wait to see what you share with us!

Note: Linking up to this party will automatically sign you up for an invite to next week’s party via email. To unsubscribe, please reply to any email you receive and you will be removed. Linking up also allows us permission to publish one of your photos on our blogs, Facebook, and/or Pinterest pages.

Warmly,Your From the Farm Blog Hop Co-Hosts:
The Homesteading Hippy | Sunny Simple Life | The Mind to Homestead

Spring Mountain Living | Timber Creek Farm |
Happy Days Farm | Better Hens and Gardens | Lil’ Suburban Homestead
|The Homestead Lady | Urban Overalls |

Once Upon A Time in A Bed of Wildflowers |Oh Sweet Mercy

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Jul 17

Bean Shadows

Thousand Word Thursday // Bean Shadows // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers bean2

 

 

Thousand Word Thursday // Bean Shadows // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. These are mine.

Join me each week for Thousand Word Thursday. See other posts here.

Jul 16

My Week on Wednesday… July 16

Join me each week for My Week on Wednesday! Come see what I have been up to, some of blogs I have visited, and the new things I have learned.

 

Hello and welcome to another My Week on Wednesday where I take a few moments to share what I’ve been doing over the week. I share some of the blogs I’ve visited, and some of the things that I have learned.affiliate links

I might be feeling a little overwhelmed this week. I’m pretty much behind in everything. My post didn’t get written, it seems like I am swimming in dirty laundry, and my husband has done way more than his fair share of the cooking.

And as I was sitting here, feeling sorry for myself, and wondering if I was ever going to get a chance to just sit down with a glass of wine and an episode of Downton Abbey (’cause watching a whole movie would be too much to even hope for), the Pixie came in, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and walked out again.

And I thought about the stuff that I have done this week. And it turns out that I had a pretty awesome week, and I did a lot of great stuff.

We went to the beach.

via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

And our dog got filthy. (No worries — that was just sand, not sand and a dead fish!)

via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

 We built forts with blankets inside when it was raining, and outside when it wasn’t. We started reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids… which is as funny today as it was in the ’80′s.

We celebrated my in-laws’ 55th wedding anniversary.

And I reached 700 likes on my Facebook page. (It’s more now!)

We went swimming.

via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of WildflowersAnd dried a ton of cherries. (Have I mentioned how much I love my dehydrator? I’ll say it again: I LOVE my dehydrator.) Plus the Boy was very helpful — I love that he’s old enough to use a knife without me worrying that we’ll be taking a trip to the doctor’s office before the project is over.

drying cherries via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

And chased sticks. Endlessly.

via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

And listened to the clarinet. A lot. And took the Boy to his lesson, where he was complimented all over the place by his instructor, and then given a mountain of new stuff to work on, which the Boy immediately went home to practice.

I am starting to really love that clarinet! :)

 

clarinet via Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

 What else?

I found a great recipe for sunscreen — a non-toxic, homemade, coconut oil recipe. This is an extremely important thing to know how to do, especially because there are so many toxic chemicals in most sunscreens. And you’ve heard that even the FDA says you shouldn’t be using the spray-on ones, right? (Like I totally needed the FDA to say that stuff was bad for me. Geesh. But at least they said it.)

Speaking of the sunshine, and protecting yourself from burns, there are other great ways to protect yourself from sunburn — learn three ways to prevent sunburn naturally… plus how to make a sunburn relief spray. (This would have been awesome for my poor husband who got a little… um… pink… over the weekend!)

Read about Essential Oils from Mommypotamus and The Nature of Herbalism from the Herbal Academy of New England… because herbs and essential oils are great tools to have at our disposal for keeping ourselves healthy.

And:

Now for the Quote of the Week. Approximately daily, I post quotes on my Facebook Page. The quote with the most likes, shares, and comments will become the Quote of the Week.

Quote of the Week // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

 

Thank you for joining me for My Week on WednesdaysTell me, what did you do this week? I’d love to hear!

Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to come visit me on Facebook and follow me on Pintrest! And don’t forget to join me tomorrow for Thousand Words Thursday! And, on Friday, link up with the From the Farm Blog Hop!

So, what did you do this week? Please tell me; I love to hear!

If you liked this post, please share it! :)

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon.com affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site, and also dog food. We appreciate your support! **

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