Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Taste of Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Jam

How to Make Raspberry Jam in 30 MinutesMid-July, raspberry time. The canes are loaded, it’s been a good year for raspberries. Picking gallons at a time barely makes a noticeable dent in amount of berries to be picked. It’s time to make raspberry jam.
Raspberries to mash







You’ll need:

  • Two quarts of fresh raspberries
  • 1/3 cup, rounded, bulk pectin
  • 5 to 6 cups of sugar

Lightly mash raspberries, one cup at a time. You’ll have five cups of mashed berries when you finish.

Stir in pectin.

Move mixture to an eight quart pan and heat to a simmer over medium heat. When simmering, stir in sugar. Bring to a boil that can’t be stirred down and continue to boil for 60 seconds, stirring constantly.

Ladle into hot, sterile jars. Wipe the rim clean with a damp cloth. Place sterile lids and rings, leaving a 1/8″ air space, and hot water bath as recommended.

If you’d like to make jelly you can use one of our juicers to speed the process.

Omega VERT Juicer

Omega VERT Juicer

If you’d like to do this by hand, freeze the berries, let them thaw, and strain the seeds out. Frozen berries are much easier to juice than fresh.

There are so many things to do this time of year that being able to freeze the berries and make jelly later is a great convenience.

After thawing the berries you can heat them to around 100*. Don’t cook, just heat. Remove the juice you can pour out easily, then hang the remaining berries in cheese cloth to drip into a pan. When the dripping slows to an unproductive rate, give the cheese cloth a gentle squeeze to get the last of the juice.

Lightly mashed raspberries

Lightly mashed raspberries

Raspberry Jam. Imagine a warm biscuit and jam this winter.

Raspberry Jam. Imagine a warm biscuit and jam this winter.

Raspberry Jelly Recipe

This recipe is different than the jam recipe in a major way. This recipe doesn’t use pectin. You might need to make it a few times to get it just right. If it’s too thin you can use it as pancake syrup, on ice cream or in smoothies. It won’t be what you were aiming for but it won’t go to waste.

4 cups raspberry juice
1 1/2 pounds sugar

Mix together. Heat to a gentle boil. Skim off any foam that settles at the top. Continue to boil for 20 to 30 minutes. When your spoon is lightly coated the jelly is ready to be jarred. Ladle into hot, sterile jars, leaving a 1/8″ head space. Wipe the rim clean, place lids and rings on, tightening the rings to “finger tight.” You want it tight enough to keep water out but loose enough to let air escape during the hot water bath.

raspberry bowls

Sheller and Pitter and Shredder – Oh My!

These three items are featured in this week’s newsletter. Sheller and Pitter and Shredder – Oh my! Have we got what you need for mass food production!

Mr. Pea Sheller

Mr. Pea Sheller will shell your peas and beans. It’s fast, safe to use and built to last.

Cherry Stoner, Jr

Cherry Stoner, Jr makes quick work of stoning cherries by nearly effortlessly removing the stones from up to five cherries at a time. There’s no need to be careful to load the cherries just right, the Cherry Stoner, Jr can handle it.

Deluxe Cabbage Shredder

The Deluxe Cabbage Shredder is great for church suppers, sports clubs, restaurants and diners and other folks who make large batches of coleslaw, kimchi or sauerkraut. Cooperatives and groups of friends might get together to buy the Deluxe Cabbage Shredder to share.

Coleslaw Recipe

The sauce for coleslaw is key to making the best slaw possible. This recipe is easy to remember when you’re in the middle of cooking for a big dinner.

1 part vinegar
2 parts sugar
4 parts mayonnaise

Every cup of mayo gets a half cup of sugar and a quarter-cup of vinegar. That’s it. Mix it up, pour it over shredded cabbage and carrots and you’re done.

One cup of mayo will coat one to two pounds of cabbage depending on how creamy you like  your slaw.

Vermicomposting with Worm Factory

Vermicomposting with Worm Factory

Peelings, cores, pea pods, junk mail, leaves – composting worms thrive on your scraps. Vermicomposting with Worm Factory is simple, takes up little space and is odor free. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans send 34 million tons of food waste to  landfills every year. More food is put into our water system and that then has to be cleaned out when food is put down the garbage disposal. That’s a lot of wasted food and a lot of unnecessary waste placed in our landfills and water. We can cut down drastically on what we waste with a little thought, and compost what’s left. “Waste” becomes compost with minimal effort on our part and becomes useful. Your plants with thank you with higher production when you incorporate worm castings into your garden and potting soil. Worm castings tea is a terrific fertilizer and can be used as a foliar spray. Your houseplants will thrive, too. I’ve found a few worms in my houseplants’ pots a year after re-potting. They contribute to keeping the potting soil healthy.

Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida)

Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida)

We’ve been using the Worm Factory 360 for six months. With three full trays of compost so far and a fourth near completion, we’re very happy with this system. It was easy to set up and takes only a couple of minutes a day to tend the worms. You shouldn’t feed your worms dairy, meat and citrus, and we recommend avoiding grass. Grass mats together, heats up quickly, and causes the worms to try to escape, or die.

Each Worm Factory comes with an instructional DVD, bedding and a scraper. The Quick Tips on the lid tells you what you can and can’t feed to your works, and how to manage the bin. It took about an hour to get it set up and add red wigglers (Eisenia fetida), the species of worms most often used for vermicomposting.

Leachate, the liquid produced by the worms and food, collects in the bottom tray. It is drawn off through the spigot to be used as fertilizer.

We have four Worm Factory setups on sale. You have a choice of three or four trays and three colors. You’ll want to choose the unit you need according to the amount of food you have to feed the worms. Red wigglers will adjust their reproduction up and down according to the amount of available food. If you have an excess of worms they can be used for fishing, fed to poultry and shared with friends. Even my goldfish get a few worms now and then. The Worm Factory 360 holds up to 12,000 worms. It’s perfect for a large family, people who cook from scratch (lots of peels, carrot tops and other whole food scraps).

Red wigglers migrate between trays.

Red wigglers migrate between trays.

If you’re leaving on vacation you give your worms a little extra food and forget about them. They’ll survive two weeks after their food supply disappears. They’re just that simple.

The worms shown in this photo are migrating between trays. They’ve almost finished off the food in the bottom. A few return to the bottom tray but most have moved to the top. You can see worms in various sizes. They’re reproducing well.

Worm Factory with 3 Trays


We offer four Worm Factory setups and they’re currently on sale. Shipping is free to the lower 48 states. For other areas, give Jerri a call and she’ll get the shipping costs for you. (928) 583-0254. Or, fill out the contact form with your shipping address and number of Work Factories you’ll order and we’ll get back to you.

The Worm Factory is made in USA and has a 10 year warranty on parts and manufacturing.


You can choose between:





The Homestead To Do List

The Homestead To Do List

It’s overwhelming sometimes, isn’t? Seems like the Homestead To Do list grows as fast as the weeds, is as hard to whittle down as it is to muck stalls in spring, and that it has a mind of its own. Leave it sitting on the table unsupervised and someone’s apt to add to it while you’re not looking.

These tips might help you keep the list from taking over every waking moment.

Separate your lists. One list for the homestead work, one for household work, one for kids. But keep control of how many lists you have. Combine what goes together naturally.

Homestead tasks include the garden, putting food up, firewood, livestock, poultry and similar tasks. Household tasks include laundry, dishes, floors, dusting, painting and decorating.

Homesteading To Do List

Control your lists, don’t let your lists control you.

A daily list is a big help to me. I end my day but writing tomorrow’s To Do list on a 3″ x 5″ spiral bound notebook that fits in my back pocket. I have tiny pens that fit in my pocket, too. A fresh list, in the order I should work, keeps me focused. I don’t have to clutter my mind trying to remember what else I need to do, and that helps me concentrate on the task at hand. Anything I didn’t accomplish today goes to tomorrow’s list if it still really needs to be done.

Here’s one for your to do list. Subscribe to Homesteader’s Supply newsletter.

The pen is a big time saver. Write down your additions. Again, if you’re not working to remember everything you’re better able to concentrate.

Be Seasonal. If you’re not going to get to certain tasks until winter don’t clutter your list with them now. I makes your list look and feel longer than it is. Make a note on a master list and forget about it for now.

Accept that your lists will probably never be empty. That’s a hard one. It’s a relief to cross items off the list. It must be a great feeling to not have a To Do list. I’m not familiar with that feeling. Lists evolve. They grow, shrink, change, get crumpled up and thrown away.

Set Time Limits. Set time limits. Be realistic, but aim to get the job done in a certain amount of time. It takes me one hour to weed the beans if I hustle. Keep moving and work efficiently.

Weather. Pay attention to the weather. I can weed the beans today before it gets too hot but I can’t put them on tomorrow’s list because it’s going to rain hard all day.

Do a good job. Doing a good job today means some items won’t be back on your list too soon. It’s worth the extra time and effort now even when it feels like a big burden during an especially busy time of year.

Be Realistic. I had beautiful perennial gardens on my list year after year after year. Weed. Plant. Weed. Prune. Weed. I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t time to raise pigs and poultry, have a half-acre garden, put up all this food, cut, split and stack the firewood, and have beautiful perennial gardens.

Control your to do list, don’t let your to do list control you.

Garlic Scapes – You do what with them?

Mary asked about picking and prepping garlic scapes in our last blog. “I’m sure. I’d love a few pointers regarding picking (how low down do you pick them?) and prepping (the flower bud goes in the trash, correct?)”

How to Pick Garlic Scapes

Don’t pick this much of the plant. I picked this to get a better picture.

A scape is garlic’s flower stem. On this stem, the flower is still developing and is closed. The scape is young and pliable. You might be able to pull the scape from the plant but usually you’ll need to snap it off. Snap or pull it from just above the last frond. If you pick early enough the entire stem is soft. If the bottom is woody you’ll need to cut it off and use only the pliable portion.

Pick garlic scape here

Pick garlic scape here

If I’ve picked them early enough the flower bud is tiny and I use it in my pesto and pickled scapes. If they’re larger, like the one in this photo, I use one or two for looks. They are edible but a bit more fibrous. This jar went into the fridge to be eaten first because it doesn’t have a cover that seals.

Garlic Scape Pesto

10-20 garlic scapes, depending on size
1/3 cup nuts (walnut, pistachio, pine nut, almonds; may also use sunflower seeds)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil

Remove flower buds from scapes. Chop scapes into one to two inch pieces that won’t get pushed to the outer edge of the blender or food processor.

Process scapes and nuts or sunflower seeds until smooth, adding olive oil as you go. Stir in Parmesan cheese by hand.

Garlic scape pesto is excellent on Bruscetta, pasta, crackers and even as a spread in your sandwich. Want to spice up your spaghetti sauce? Add some pesto, either garlic scape or basil. If you have leftover basil and garlic scape pestoes you can mix them together. It doesn’t matter whether the nuts match, it will be tasty.

Pickled Garlic Scapes

Pickled garlic scapes! Delicious but not well known. Scapes are the flower stems of garlic. Whether you should leave them on the plant or cut them is up to the grower. We like to pickle them. If you love garlic you’ll most likely love scapes, too.  They are garlic’s bonus.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Pick scapes while they are young. I wait until they start to curl so that I have more scape to eat, and pick before the lower portion of the stem starts to get woody and tough. I put my canning jars in the dishwasher and go out to pick scapes. The jars will still be hot when I’m ready for them.

Coil the scapes to make putting them in jars easier. This works well for small mouth jars. Fill the jars to one-half inch from the top.

Pickled Garlic Scape Recipe

For four to five pints mix:

3 cups Apple Cider vinegar
3 cups water
4 tablespoons raw sugar
4 tablespoons salt

Mix well and bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for the boil add two to three teaspoons of pickling spice to each pint jar.

Garlic scapes and pickling spices

Garlic scapes and pickling spices

Pour boiling liquid over scapes, filling jar to one-half inch from the top. Wiggle the jars to remove all air bubbles. Apply lid and screw on ring until it’s finger tight. Finger tight means snug but not so tight that air can’t escape.

Pickled Garlic Scapes

Pickled Garlic Scapes

Boiling Water Bath

Place a rack in the canner and fill canner with hot water (around 180 degrees) high enough to cover the jars with one inch of water. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, cover the canner and reduce heat to bring the boil down to a light but steady boil for ten minutes. Remove jars from water and place them on a cooling rack out of the breeze. Listen for pops. Each pop indicates a jar has sealed. Re-process jars that don’t seal or place them in the refrigerator and eat them first.

Waiting approximately six weeks to open the first jar makes for the best pickled scapes but that’s not easy to do. I open the first one after a month. They’re not quite there yet but they’re definitely delicious enough to enjoy!