Elderberry Jam Review

                                                      Rita's Gr-Gr-Mom's Elderberry Jam
                                                                     Here's the recipe.

It jelled to the perfect consistency with no added pectin.
You have to really watch it the last 10 minutes -- stir constantly.

I agree with Rita's Great Grandmother -- it is DELICIOUS!
Tastes "elderberry-y" with a hint of orange at the end -- different and good!

I must have used an apple that doesn't go "mushy" very easy.  I cooked down the
apples till most was smooth.  But, even after the extra 30 minutes of cooking, I still had some
apple chunks.  Don't get me wrong, it still tastes wonderful,  I would just dice the apples next time.
I love the whole elderberries in it -- just plain pretty to look at :-)

The recipe made 10 half pint jars.
(Christmas presents!!!!)

.....dr momi

Linked to:  Works-For-Me Wednesday
Linked to:  Living Well Wednesday's
Linked to:  Time Travel Thursday
Linked to:  Farm Photo Friday


Rita's Gr-Gr-Mom's Elderberry Jam


     I begged this recipe off my friend Rita.  We were talking elderberries, when she told me about her great grandmother hand writing her recipes -- elderberry jam being one of them.  I had the recipe with me when I attended the Master Food Preserver Class. "Is there anything wrong with canning this recipe?" I asked my teacher, Barbara Ingham, the head food scientist for the state of Wisconsin.  "This should be perfectly fine.  Do you know why? --- Because everything in it is an acid."

     So there you have it.  It's not a tested recipe.  But, it's got the o.k. from the very top.


Rita's Gr-Gr-Mom's Elderberry Jam

1 quart of elderberries
5 cups sugar
12 large cooking apples
3 medium size oranges
1 lemon

Cook apples until mushy.  Add elderberries, oranges, and lemon chopped fine.  Grate the rind of 1 orange and the lemon.  Mix all with the sugar and boil 30 minutes.  Delicious

     I love the "delicious" at the end. :-)  If you are canning it, you would fill the jars to 1/4 in. and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.  You'll notice there is no pectin in the recipe.  I'm sure that's where the apples and the orange and lemon peel help out, they are full of pectin.

     I'm making it today, I'll let you know how it turns out.  Thanks for sharing Rita!!

.....dr momi

Linked to:  Homestead Barn Hop


Sunday in Pictures

Nine of Nine grew up!
She is even bigger than a couple of her sisters.  She always looks like she is crying
with the markings at her eyes.  She doesn't limp at all. .....and she's the only
one (of her brothers and sisters) without a crest.  Her mom is on the left.

Last weekend we celebrated Remington's 1st Birthday.
This was close to the very first taste of any grain that
he ever ate.  Mom and Dad were waiting until
 he was one to introduce grains.......
He liked it :-)

....and today we were at Brayden's Birthday Party.
Yup, he was 3.

There were 17 kids under 5 there.
12 of them were in Brayden's new sandbox in this pic LOL.
It was a beautiful Wisconsin day.

The kids had a blast with the pinata......especially the boys :-)

It's missing an ear, a tail, and held together by duct tape, but Gracie still called
Grandpa's archery target "Bambi".  I don't think she will grow up to be a hunter :-)

.....dr momi


Black Ice Cream Vitamins

     ....that's what my grandkids call the elderberry syrup that is kept in the freezer.  It does look black! (deep purple)  When the kids are fighting a cold, the moms will go into the freezer, scoop out a spoonful of frozen elderberry, and give it to them.  My kids/kids-in-laws (the moms) swear by it.

     The elderberries are just starting here in northeastern Wisconsin.  In fact, the chickens got quite a few that were just not quite ripe.  When they are ripe, they come right off the stem when you gently squeeze, pull and twist the berries between your thumb and forefinger.  (Some people use a fork to strip them.)  It's tedious work, but so worth it.  I will be putting up enough elderberries for 3 gallons of elderberry wine, a new elderberry jam recipe I want to try, and, elderberry syrup for all the grandkids  for the winter.

Picked and ready to stem (de-stem? -- you know -- take the berries off the stem :-)

I try not to be a perfectionist.  There's plenty of berries that hang on to the stems.
These get recycled to the chickens.  A great treat for them.

4 quarts of elderberries.


     I will can some syrup in 1/2 pint jars -- just enough for one person for a couple of days during a cold.  A pint could easily be too much and I don't want any wasted after all the hard work.  But, this first batch will be for the freezer, just for the grandkids.  They can store it in their freezer :-)

For each quart of berries add 1 cup of water.
Bring it to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes.
Gently crush the berries with a potato masher.  Do it gently so that
the seeds don't crush too bad.  The seeds can upset some people's stomach.
Now simmer for 5 more minutes.

     Strain off the juice through a dish towel lined colander.  Let it sit for 20 minutes.  For each quart of berries you should end up with 2 cups of juice.  For each cup of juice add in 1 TBL. of lemon juice.  Now it's up to you how sweet you want it and what sweetener to use.  Don't use maple syrup if you are going to can itDon't use honey for children under 2.   Because this batch is "Black Ice Cream Vitamins"  and it is specifically for sick kids who may need to be enticed to eat it, I did use sugar.  3/4 cup to a cup of juice --  I know it sounds like a lot, but those berries are a bit tart.  They only will be eating 3 or 4 spoonfuls a day when sick.

16 half pints of Black Ice Cream Vitamins
ready for the freezer.  (I left a good 1 inch headspace)
Grandbabies should be covered for the winter.
      .....dr momi

Linked to:  Living Well Blog Hop
Linked to:  Preparedness Challenge


Need a Funny Caption

.....because we all need to laugh a little.

Last Week:

O.K. this is the last time I get the firewood.

Last week's caption coined by: Dicky Bird  over at

Dicky Bird's Nest

Billy lost his ball in the snow so I threw a piece of firewood.
Made no difference to him!

What's you caption for this week?

.....dr momi


How Do You Can Your Tomatoes.....This Is A Test :-)

Not the best tomatoes this year.....these are destined for tomorrows Pico de Gallo
     Today I spent the morning at our local Farmers Market answering canning questions at the Master Food Preserver table.  All I can say is....there's an awful lot of people canning "on the edge" out there.  Usually they are canning like their mother showed them, who learned from her mother.  A lot of science has been revealed since Grandma was canning, and therefore methods have changed.

     Here was the "best" (not!) answer to my question "How do you can your tomatoes?" today.

     "I heat the jars, and put hot tomatoes in them.  I put on a 2 piece lid.  It seals.  Then I put them on the shelf.  (...and then the qualifier came)  It's how I've always done them, and how my mom did them, and how my grandma did them....and none of us are dead yet!"

    May I just say..."your odds are getting closer after 3 generations :-)"  Hot tomatoes into hot jars, add the lids...but then they must be processed.  You can process tomatoes in the pressure canner or water bath canner.  However, if you use the water bath, you must add lemon juice, (1 TBL./pint or 2 TBL./Qt.) or citric acid ( 1/4 tsp./pint or 1/2 tsp./qt.) to make sure the tomatoes are acid enough.  New varieties of tomatoes are not as acid as they used to be, and the growing season conditions can make a big difference in the acidity that year.

     Never assume because the lid seals on a jar that the product is safe.  It's only safe if you have followed a tested recipe, and processed it with the right method for the correct amount of time.  If you've done it all right, the top food scientist for the state of Wisconsin says its OK to eat "fifty years from now".  You'll loose flavor, but you won't die from eating it. :-)



Welcome Brady!!

I'm a Grandma again!
Big brother Ryan's quote of the day:
"Do we get to keep him?"
 .....dr momi


Need A Funny Caption

.....because we all need to laugh a little.

Last week:

It's all fun until someone ends up in a cone!

Last weeks caption coined by: labbie1 over at:

The Adventures Of Garrett Squared
Thanks for playing labbie 1!  This was Future Leader Dog
Boone, who was career changed (didn't make it).  His tail got caught in the
 door and he had to have a couple of stitches.  (What a mess that was!)
He's more "mad" than he is hurting in the picture. :-)  It
wouldn't have gotten caught in the door if he wasn't playing around!
He is now someones great pet.  :-)

                                                         What's your caption for this week?

.....dr momi

linked to:  Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday


A Brinkley Story

     Brinkley (yes...named after the dog in "You Got Mail") is a Golden Retriever that I raised for Leader Dogs For The Blind.  Brinks was pretty lazy.  He didn't make it.  Toward the end of his 5 months of professional training they "career changed" him for inconsistent work.  If I were blind, I sure wouldn't want a dog that decided to work one day but the next day was pretty sure he was tired. :-)

Bailey and Brinkley
       He is now one of the most pampered pets ever.  He lives at a garden center and is their "mascot".  Pretty much he positions himself at the door in order to receive the most pets.  (On hot days he sprawls on the cement floor and you must step over him :-).  His owner is partially disabled and would not be able to raise a puppy very easily.  A dog about 18 months old, socialized and obedience trained was perfect for her.  About a year after she had Brinkley she told me this story.

     She was talking to a customer about flowers.  The customers' little boy, about 3 years old, was playing with Brinkley.  When their discussion ended, they couldn't find the little boy or Brinkley.  Panic ensued as they frantically looked all over for him.  Not finding him in the greenhouse, the search went outside.  There was a pond out back.  Brinkley liked to go swimming in it.  To this day they don't know if it was Brinkley that led the little boy to the pond, or if the little boy just wondered toward the pond, but, what they saw brought tears to every one's eyes.

     Brinkley had positioned himself between the little boy and the pond and would not let him go near it.  We know that Brinkley was using his Leader Dog training.  A Leader Dog will not let his blind master walk into danger.  All that training....no one would have guessed that in his career changed life he would be a hero!

Hero Brinkley....Good Dog Brinks!
 .....dr momi

Linked to: Homestead Revival Barn Hop


Pickles -- All Day!

     I didn't know that I planted white pickles.  I didn't even know there was such a thing.  How do I order seeds and not know they are white -- you got me.   I wasn't liking them.  

They just look so pale as dill pickles.

     Then I made bread & butter pickles with them.  I used the "British variation" of the  Traditional Bread and Butter Pickles in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. (pg. 303)   The white pickles in the brown pickling mixture was pretty!

 British Bread & Butter pickles.

       A patient of Rick's gave him some started cucumbers this spring.  I made some sweet pickle relish out of them.  3/4 of the way through chopping all the onions ( no mascara left!), peppers, and cucumbers; I remembered the "chopping tip" we learned at the Master Food Preserver class.  This was a tip for the dehydrating part. --- Put the veggie you need to chop in the blender (cut in big chunks) and fill the blender 3/4 full with water.  Now pulse it a couple of times.  Pour everything into a strainer, and let it drain a bit.  It's faster and quicker to clean up than the food processor.  You now have perfect size chopped veggies for the dehydrator. It sure would have worked for my relish too!

I canned the sweet pickle relish in small
jars.  The perfect size for egg salad etc.

29 jars of pickles.  One didn't seal.
Check out the tomatoes in the back -- tomorrows work.
.....dr momi

Linked to:   Home Haven Thursday


Sunday in Pictures

Future Leader Dog Butsch will be 8 months old on Wed.

The elderberries are still green -- it's going to be a bit yet.

Apple Jelly.......but will it beat Mary's apple jelly at the fair????

Flocks -- my last perennial to bloom for the summer. :-(

Pinky and Gordo are much bigger than they look in this picture.
One more month until they fulfill their destiny......

.....dr momi


Forgot The Zucchini

I'm thinking I waited too long :-)

The chickens will like it :-)
Farmchicks Farm Photo Friday

.....dr momi


Trixy Made It!

Billy and Trixy (3 months old)
   Future Leader Dog Trixy is now Leader Dog Trixy!  Yesterday she was given to her new owner.  I've seen video as to how this is done.  It's quite emotional.  The visually impaired have been at Leader Dogs for the Blind School in Rochester Michigan for 3 days before they get their dog.  In that time they have practiced holding the harness and giving their pretend dog (their instructor) commands.

      On dog issue day, the blind person is in their room and the instructor brings the dog to them.  For 3 days now the dog has not had much human contact at all.  Of course they are fed and let out, but at this point they are craving for someone to pet them.  The instructor will say, "you have a 65 # yellow lab named Trixy, call her name!"  Usually the tears start to flow as the person finally has their dog.

     No more kennel life for the dog.  She will now be with her new master constantly.  She stays in the room with him/her.  There are two doors in this "hotel" room.  One door opens to the hallway of the residence hall, and the other door opens to a fenced in area so the person can "park" (potty) the dog without worrying about loosing her.

     Together Trixy and her new master will have 3 more weeks of instruction, and the bond between them will become strong.  The blind person will learn to trust Trixy.....and Trixy will get all the pets she can handle.      ......I am a very proud mama :-)

Trixy, now a working dog.

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop


Pears -- Which One?

Hhmmmm....which one should I pull for my fair entry?

     It's a no-brainer.  The one on the left has "floating fruit".  The pears didn't get packed tight enough. 
Which is a hard thing to do with such a soft fruit.  The one on the right I do believe is a blue ribbon! 1/2 inch headspace and no floating fruit, lol!, we'll see what the judge says. 

     I canned 7 pints of organic pears and only 2 were fair worthy.  The others all had floating fruit.  As far as safety and quality, there is no difference in the two jars.  If you're not entering it in a contest, don't worry about a thing -- put it in your pantry.

     When canning pears, don't wait until they are really soft.  Just starting to ripen, maybe on the firmer side is best.  You do cook them for 5 - 6 minutes to get them hot before packing, and then you still have the processing time.  I followed the directions in the Ball canning book. 

     Peeling pears -- no fun.  Worth it -- absolutely!

.....dr momi


Need a Funny Caption

.....because we all need to laugh a little!

Last week's picture:


Last weeks caption coined by Candy C. over at
Lazy J Bar C Farm

Thanks for playing Candy!  This was my broodmare
reaching over the fence for apples.  Perfect caption :-)

What's your caption for this week?


Freezing Corn

     I don't know if I ever mentioned that my husband is a chiropractor too.  In his practice there are a lot of rural farmers.  When we have a "how do you do that?" question related to putting up food, he will run it by his patients to see how they do it.  This recipe for freezing corn came from one of his patients and has become our favorite way to do it.

Cut the kernels off of 28 cobs of sweet corn.

(Every year we say, "why 28?, why not 2 dozen, or 2 1/2 dozen?" 
We laugh......and then we pick 28 cobs for the batch.)

Add 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of half n' half.
(I figured it out -- it's about 3/4 TBL. of butter /serving.  So.......don't
put more butter on when you eat it later this winter :-)

Cover with tin foil and bake it for 1 hr. at 350 degrees.
(This has got to be one of the most boring pictures I've ever taken :-)

Let it cool.

Then I freeze it flat in freezer bags, 1 1/2 cups.
Just enough for a meal for Rick and I. (5 meals all together)
  When you want to eat it, just warm it up.  No cooking involved.
It always tastes like it was just picked.
.....dr momi


Sunday in Pictures

Tree frog #1 on the kitchen window.

...and tree frog #2 on the kitchen window.
Talk about suction cups! (and bugs!)

We had the first meal of corn on the cob tonight :-)

Zoe was glad that Daddy was home.
(He is in between guiding fishing trips.)

It was Logan's birthday.  If you need to get a gift for a 4 year old --- get a transformer :-)
The other boys are just drooling.

Gracie started a game of tag.  She was running around tagging everyone saying
"ur it!", "ur it!".  When Brayden was it, he ran around tagging everyone saying
"carrot!, "carrot!".  We had a good laugh over that one :-)
(In his defense, I don't think he ever played tag before .)

.....dr momi