Friday, August 24, 2012


I have always had fun making jelly or jam. If you strain the juice out of the fruit, that is a jelly - it is usually clear. If you keep the fruit in the final product, that would be a jam.
Some of the traditional ones I have made are Wild Blackberry and what I call Three-Berry (which is a combination of whatever berries I have on hand). This could include any berry such as blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry... etc

Here are some of my unusual favorites: 

My daughter Bethany and I made Red Grapefruit Jelly one spring when we were visiting my mother in Florida. A friend had a grapefruit tree that had an abundance of fruit. She brought over a box full, and knowing we couldn't eat it all, we made jelly:


31/2 C. fresh squeezed red grapefruit juice
1/4 C. lemon juice
7 C. granulated sugar
2 (3 oz.) pouches liquid pectin
Red food coloring (optional)

Combine juices and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly skim off any foam. Stir in liquid pectin. Add 6 to 8 drops of red food coloring. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and cover with lids and rings. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to seal. Makes 6 jars.

Mountain Dew and Pink Grapefruit

My son loved to drink Mt. Dew, so for Christmas one year, I made him Mountain Dew Jelly. It is delicious:


3 1/4 C. Mountain Dew
2 T. lemon juice
4 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 pkg. Sure Jell pectin

Pour the Mountain Dew and lemon juice into a 6- to 8-quart pot. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Let it cool slightly, then follow the Sure Jell directions. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

NOTE: You can use more Mountain Dew and reduce it to 3 1/4 cups for a more concentrated flavor.


12 dried red corncobs*
3 pt. water
1 pkg. powdered pectin
3 C. granulated sugar
1 T. lemon juice

* Red corncobs come from what is termed "field corn" that is raised to feed animals. However, you can use corncobs from the sweet corn you have just had for dinner!
Rinse cobs well. Break in half. Boil gently 30 minutes and strain the juice through a wet cloth. Measure to get 3 cups. If necessary, add water.
Add the pectin and bring to a full rolling boil.
Add sugar and heat to dissolve.
Bring to a boil again, boil for at least a full minute or until it starts to jell - another minute or so. Skim; pour into sterile glasses or jars and seal.

The corncob jelly takes it's color from the cobs that you use. I have always just used the cobs from dinner and the jelly is a pale yellow. It has a wonderful flavor that is good on toast, biscuits and popovers.

Hints for Successful Jam & Jelly Making

Make only one batch at a time. Doubling the recipe does not make the jelly jell (I have had many mistakes by trying this) 
It is now recommended that all jelly be processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
To prevent growth of molds and loss of flavor and color, pour hot product into hot canning (mason) jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace for jams, butters, conserves, marmalade and preserves, and 1/8-inch for jellies. The small amount of air trapped between the lid and the product will be heat treated during the water bath processing.
Wipe jar rims, adjust lids (place hot flats on jar and screw band/ring on tightly).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Buying grass-fed beef in bulk

If you are wondering how to buy meat in bulk from a local farmer, here is a good way to break it down for 1/2 a  beef for a family of 5 

56 1# packages of ground beef
7 packages of stew meat
5 packages of soup bones
5 chuck roasts
1 rump roast
2 cross rib roast
4 packages of short ribs
 1 tri-tip 
8 sirloin tips
7 packages of cube steaks
2 fillet
7 top sirloins
16 rib steaks
14 T bones

Here's another way:

83 pounds divided as follows:
 ~21 packages of ground beef totaling 47 pounds, 14.3 ounces of meat 
~5 roasts totaling 12 pounds, 4.1 ounces of meat
~15 packages of steak totaling 18 pounds, 14.8 ounces of meat
~2 miscellaneous cuts totaling 3 pounds, 15.3 ounces of meat

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rainbow Cake in a Jar

Find the recipe at: