Swedish whitebeam berries are ripe about the end of September. Middle of September last fields of grain are harvested here. Now, if grain harvest wasn’t good, perhaps due to bad weather or fungus, people used the berries of Swedish whitebeam to supplement or sometime even substitute grain. The flesh has a mild, somewhat “boring” flavor, while the seeds, once ground, develop a pleasant marzipan type flavor, and are rich on fat.
Summertime for many of us means taking advantage of all the wonderful spoils and capturing that by using different methods of food preservation so that we have garden-fresh produce for many seasons to come. The videos below will show you how, along with a recipe for homemade fruit leather.
A commercial pectin recipe for this preserve calls for 4 cups of fruit to 7 cups sugar. I use about ¼ of that: at least twice as much fruit and half the sugar, so my jams and preserves taste of the fruit instead of sugar and have half or less calories. As well as the usual breakfast toast spread, try adding your own homemade preserves to plain yogurt.
You can easily make your own glace cherries for fruit cakes and your Christmas stollen. The cherries you do yourself will be a darker red instead of that false neon color and will be made with only cane sugar and very little or no GMOs. These will actually taste like sweet cherries, with no odd chemical aftertaste. You’ll also save money.
Making fruit jellies without a lot of added sugar is easy when you let chopped apples supply the pectin your fruit lacks. A simple test of jelly on a cold plate tells you when the jelly point is reached.
They go by many names, depending on the region: sow bugs, pill bugs, potato bugs, wood lice, and roly-poly bugs. There are actually many different genus of these pests and one of them is terrorizing my garden.
I used to think I needed a fancy juicer and special ingredients to make a smoothie. Not so. I pulled out my old blender that I hadn't used since my margarita days a decade ago. Then, I poked around in the fridge to see what kind of fruit was on hand. I clipped some lettuce from the garden, added water and cinnamon and — voila — a terrific smoothie, easier than pie.
We are still learning about our little peach tree. Last year, our first real crop delighted us but in no way prepared for an almost doubling of the crop this year. However, friends had given us peaches in the past, and I took the opportunity to learn how to make peach jam. That effort and the tree seems to have each paid off and our shelves are now loaded with a new inventory of peach jam. The recipe is simple and straightforward and a great starting point for that bumper crop you have this year.
This is the third blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers ideas for starting an edible landscape on your homestead including: soil improvement, cover crops, perennials, attracting beneficial insects, and home-based food production.
Strawberries are a core component of our annual diet, as they’re one of the easiest fruits to grow and preserve. Many guidelines for strawberry preservation call for extraordinary amounts of added sugar, which we’ve found quite unnecessary for the fresh, sweet, high-quality berries we grow. Here are the three main ways we handle our fresh berries.
Apricots are easy to work with, as they don’t need peeling and the pits are easily removed. This jam has a much lower percentage of sugar than the usual recipes. Learn to make homemade, French-style Apricot Preserves for use as a base for a sweet and hot glaze and in Apricot Bread Pudding.
Being a touring musician poses challenges for a healthy life. I’m always trying to figure out how to get vitamins and nutrients without having to carry a garden behind the tour bus. There are things you can do in almost every profession to live more sustainably and help the environment, and I share some of my go-to tips here.
My fruit and nut trees - peaches, pears, apples and almonds - are looking like they will be absolutely loaded with fruit this year! Thinning the fruit is the best way to get larger-sized fruits. There are also a number of other reasons for thinning fruit. The following are a few points to consider.
Probiotics and digestive enzymes are important to our health. Fruit kvass is a fermented drink that can be made quickly and cheaply to provide digestive health benefits. Celeste Longacre shows you how and includes a basic kvass recipe with blueberry, strawberry, and orange.
Bake some delicious rustic breads — Cranberry-Pecan, Apple, and White Chocolate Apricot — and stock the freezer for special breakfasts and “high tea.” All the fruits in these breads give the loaves a craggy surface that’s wonderfully crunchy. These all keep for months wrapped well in the freezer. If you get them out the night before, they’ll be ready to slice for breakfast, toasted or not.
Making your own glace citrus peels is easy. You can save the peel from lemons, oranges, grapefruit and pomelos as you eat them. Just toss the peel into a zipper bag and keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. I used Jacques Pepin’s method as guidance here.
The author tells how to dehydrate and use blueberries for delicious cooking and for snacks, such as in smoothies, muffins or even as flavoring for frostings. You can use an electric dehydrator or air-dry blueberries. Learn how fun and easy it is to do.
The American High Bush Cranberry is a neglected fruit that deserves more fans. Fruits are high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. The fruit is also high in natural pectin so it makes a great jelly. Fruits (drupes) are similar to Thanksgiving cranberries in color but with their own distinctive flavor. Whether you pick them from the wild or from your own planting, learn to tell the difference between the Native American High Bush Cranberry and the bitter European kind.
Once neglected, the elderberry shrub has made a comeback, welcomed by gardeners and cooks looking for multi-purpose plants that are useful for food, beautiful in the edible landscape, and have added health benefits.
Jostaberries are a cross between black currants and gooseberries, combing the best of both fruits to make a tasty berry and an even tastier jam. You can use a water bath canning method to preserve this productive perennial fruit.
Today, a significant number of gardeners and cooks are trying out unusual fruits, but information about growing, using, and preserving them is often hard to come by. This is especially true of gooseberries, which can be turned into delicious desserts and can easily be preserved. Because they are rich in natural pectin, they make superb jams, jellies, and marmalade without the addition of commercial pectin.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study on the nutritional value of vegetables and fruits. Check out the top "powerhouse" vegetables and fruits to add a few to your garden this year.
Gardeners don't have to live in a semi-tropical zone to grow organic lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Proper technique with potted plants can yield a bounty of delicately flavored, vitamin-rich citrus.
My favorite graft for these tree makeovers is known as a bark graft and the time to do it is just as leaves are beginning to poke out of recently dormant stems and the bark easily separates from the wood. Which is now, early May, here in New York’s Hudson Valley. Ideally, foot-long scions of one-year-old wood (last years growth) have been gathered a few weeks previous and have been kept dormant with refrigeration.
A neglected, overgrown, old apple tree does have charm, its gnarled, elbowed branches seemingly ready to reach out for a hug. The fruits, unfortunately, more often than not are too small, too pest-ridden, and too high in the tree. My fear of heights makes the last deficiency most important to me. Large, clean fruits are for nought if I can’t bring myself to climb a ladder or the branches for harvest.
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
Roses are easy to grow successfully if you follow a few guidelines: provide good air circulation around the canes and keep the plants clean and not too damp. Roses come in many forms, including bush or shrub, climbing, and miniature.
When autumn brings a glut of orchard fruits, capture the goodness as juice by cooking extraction or cold pressing. Juices can be used alone or mixed to produce sweet or hard ciders, wines, syrups, and more.
Drag them... pull them... tie them to a chair! Whatever you have to do to get your family to sit around a table and eat healthfully--do it! We are losing the simple act as gathering as a family a sharing a meal. Do you hear the dinner bell? Let's go!
Canning is a homesteader essential skill. Sometimes canning can simply be a way to create and spread love and kindness, rather than just putting by necessary foods. Try out this Peach Orange Marmalade recipe for a change of pace.
Go Greens - Super Fruits and Veggies supplies the natural antioxidant power of 6 servings of vibrantly colored organic fruits and vegetables in every handy “stick” pack. To Go Brands plans to continue to expand the Healthy To Go® product line.
Grow organic fruit trees and harvest bug-free, chemical-free fruit by covering your fruit with homemade bags made from row cover. Use row cover bags as an alternative to plastic bags. Row cover bags are more effective and have fewer issues than plastic bags.
Self-pollinating apple trees allow homeowners with little space to reap the benefits of this fresh, nutritious fruit. While typical apple breeds require planting at least two trees in the same space so they can pollinate each other, self-fertile trees can produce fruit without another tree around.
Cobbler is not the only solution to a bumper crop of berries. If you can boil water, you can turn the juice from big-flavor berries into tasty beverages that are naturally rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Make extra juice to freeze or can for year-round enjoyment.