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Apple-Blackberry Jelly

Jun
3

Apple-Blackberry Jelly hot out of the canner first thing this morning.
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Don’t you just love the sound of popping jar lids as the seal hits?

I made a batch of blackberry jelly last week from blackberry juice I’d frozen after straining it for jelly–last summer, when I’d gone blackberry picking up on the ridge with my neighbors! I’d forgotten about it and stumbled across the big bag of summer juicy goodness when I was cleaning out one of my freezers. Oops. Time to use that juice. I had two cups of blackberry juice left over after I made the jelly and decided to combine it with apples, apple juice, and some big beautiful blackberries I picked up recently from the store–Apple-Blackberry Jelly!
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Don’t know how to can? See How to Can: Boiling Water Bath Method and learn how!

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How to make Apple-Blackberry Jelly:

2 cups blackberry juice
2 cups apple juice
2 cups apple, peeled, cored, diced
2 cups blackberries, whole
1 package powdered pectin
6 cups sugar

Combine juices, fruits, and powdered pectin in a large pot.
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Bring to a boil over high heat. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
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Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Ladle hot jelly into hot jars. Adjust lids and bands. Process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes. Makes 10 half-pints.
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This wouldn’t pass the Official Jelly Society standard for jelly because I included fruit in it, which I do often in flower jellies (petals) and in corn cob jelly (bit of corn), and the bits will float to the top. I think the bits are quite pretty suspended in the jelly, and provide a nice little bonus in the first few spoonfuls off the top of the jar.

I’ve been in a canning mood lately. Maybe it’s putting the garden in and watching it grow. I can’t wait! So I’m making jellies! And I’ll be picking more blackberries soon, summer’s coming, and this time I won’t forget to use my juice for a year. Probably!

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Farm Fresh Eggs

May
26

People who visit here often comment on the bright yolks in their breakfast eggs when I’m serving them up in the studio.
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Some yolks can be quite dark! There’s a marked difference between farm egg yolks and the yolks in eggs from the grocery store. Where does that color come from? What the hens eat, which is similar to the coloring in butter–farm-fresh cow butter is more yellow in the summer months when cows are grazing on fresh grass, whiter in the winter when they’re eating hay. This is also true of chickens and their eggs. And since most grocery store eggs come from chickens who aren’t free-ranging at all, the yolks are always a more pale color.

Farm fresh eggs aren’t necessarily more nutritious, by the way–other than from the simple fact that they’re fresh, and that the hens have a more natural diet.
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They definitely taste different, at least to me. Farm fresh eggs taste…. Fresh.
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And a little bit different in the same sense that farm-raised beef tastes different. There’s more taste, period. Farm fresh yolks are also thicker and richer.

Fresh eggs separate better, too, and they poach better. I’ve heard some people say they have issues with hard-boiling fresh eggs–see Perfect Deviled Eggs for tips on boiling farm fresh eggs.

And, while we’re on the subject of farm fresh eggs, I’ve run into a few people here and there who have farms and even some who have chickens, or have had chickens in the past, who won’t eat farm fresh eggs because they don’t think they’re safe. Eggs at the store come from farms, too, you know–you just don’t see the farm, and the chickens may be laying in confinement buildings. And store eggs are often six to eight weeks old before they even arrive at the store.

I’d rather have an egg fresh from my chickens’ fluffy bee-hinds any day! Though I realize not everyone can have chickens. If you can’t, go find a farmer’s market and get you some fresh eggs. Your omelet will thank you. And so will your cookies and your cakes and…. You get the idea! Eggs are such a basic component in so many recipes. And fresh eggs make everything taste better.
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This ode to the farm fresh egg brought to you by the letter C….for chicken!

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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