Just another day… And a Jelly Recipe!
Jarred dehydrated fruit and herbs for my collection.
The air is cool today… The sun is bright and high in the sky. The gardens beckon…. So I am blogging from the back patio. I just hung my first spring laundry outside. I am excited. This means spring has sprung. Next weekend, I will spend my days prepping and planting the gardens. But for now, Just hang drying laundry.
Hanging the first spring laundry in what will be the herb garden…. Right beside where the wisteria grows.
Next week, I will spend some time filling these raised beds with fragrant and edible kitchen herbs. And all future laundry won’t just smell of grass and clean country air, but also like an herb garden, with hints of the adjacent wisteria flowers growing up and over the purgala…. So I sit here typing, breathing in the smell of the lemon balm, and a small number of herbs that are perenial…. Hanging laundry.
Spring On The Back Patio.
I look up to see 3 hawks flying about…. The smell of the air is clean, and even the sunshine from above is deeply appreciated after a long New England winter full of endless rain and mud… This is a nice spot to write. Or to just hang out with a cup of ice water, or tea, and just sit and think… Today, I think I will tell homesteading to go to hell and take a much needed break. I mean did you see all the jars I have canned this week?! I been rather busy…. And now, I am tired. So today is mine to recover.
Wild Violet Jelly
But before I go enjoy some earned personal time for a few hours…. I thought I would share a canning recipe.
First pick 3 cups of wild violets. They grow all over the place should be easy to find some. Tedious though it is, take some time to remove the petals putting them in a separate bowl from the “violet hips.” Then, wash the petals, strain them, and put them in a clean quart jar. Make water for tea. Enough to fill the quart jar containing your washed violet petals. Pour boiling tea water into the jar with them. You may want to hold the jar under hot water in the sink for a couple minutes before dumping in boiling tea water. Allow it to sit over night.
Farm violets, for Wild Violet Jelly. Removing the flower petals.
Once it has sat over night it should be a blue green color, strain tea into a pot for the stove. Take care to get as much water as possible and as little flower pulp as possible in the pot. Next up, juice 1 lemon and add it to the pot of strained green/blue violet tea…. And watch! It turns from a blue green tea to a very bright purple!
Violet Tea Turning Green/Blue
Then this happens when you strain the tea into the pot, and add the juice of 1 whole lemon!
Now add 5 table spoons of dry pectin and finally 1 teaspoon of dry pectin. Mix it, then put it on the stove. Bring it to boil still mixing a bit. Once it boils, turn the heat down very low and gradually add 3 and a half cups of sugar mixing them in. Once it seems fairly mixed in, turn the heat back up and bring to a boil again. Mix it as it gradually begins to boil and keep mixing and allow it to boil for about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Turn off heat.
By now, you should have you jars clean, and sterilized (heated) along with your jar lids and rims. And remember, you can NOT re seal a lid if it has already been sealed even 1 time before. You can use it for other things sure. But not for long term food storage and not for canning. Using it again could result in a poor seal which could result in botulism. It is critically important to the health and well being of anyone planning to eat canned food that you do it right check your seals, and make sure whatever you do canningwise meets up with best practices.
Take out your jars from the water bath canner set to preheat. Then using a canning funnel, and the pot, dump the jelly, into the jar leaving a quarter inch head space. Twist on prepared ring after placing on prepared lid. Repeat till all the jars are full. Put them back in the water bath canner. Set canner to jelly setting 1….. And allow nature to take it’s course. Then use the tongs to remove the jars when the cycle is complete. Set the jars on a towel on the counter and don’t touch for 24 hours. At that time, check your seals by pushing down in the center of the lid. If you don’t get that tin popping business you typically get from an unsealed jar, congrats, your jars are sealed. Allow to jelly for 2 weeks at least before trying to use your Wild Violet Jelly.
Wild Violet Jelly
Then set it along side the rest of your jarred and canned collection somewhere dry and likely not particularly warm…. A bunch of my stuff as shown at the beginning of this post is just all over my counters at the moment. I may do some clean up later….. But for now…. I am going to read a book on the patio listening to really relaxing music with a cup of tea under a blanket, under the big sun breathing in air fresher than any I have had since my childhood. I hope your day is just as full of joy and the glory of the sun by a forest just beginning to awaken…..
Thank you for joining me on the adventure of life as a New England Homesteader
It’s fun, but what a lot of work.
Well, I am off to chill.
All my love
Amanda of Wildflower Farm
Tags: ag, agriculture, agro, airbnb, B&B, back to nature, bed and breakfast house, canning, farm, farm blog, farm wife, farm wife blog, farmer, farming, farming 5 acres, farming in new england, farmstead, food, food preservation, home maker blog, homestead, homestead blog, homestead farm, homestead wife, homestead wife blog, homesteader, homesteading, house wife, housewife, housewife blog, inn, innkeeper, Innkeeper's blog, innkeeper's recipes, jelly, jelly recipe, lifestyle, MA, new england homesteading, old fashioned, old fashioned house wife, old fashioned housewife, old fashioned housewife blog, old fashioned living, recipe, simple living, sustainable farming, sustainable homesteading, travel, water bath canning, when your great grandmother was young, wild violet jelly, wild violet jelly recipe, wildflower farm, Wildflower Farm blog, Wildflower Farm's Wild Violet Jelly recipe
Wildflower Farm, is a small New England homestead, B&B and AirBnB, in the Baystate. We came out here 7 years ago, when we returned from the better part of 10 years as peripatetic aristotelian nomads, for my husband's post docs. Upon our return, we had a plan. We had a lovely home. Everything was so clear. Then, I got sick. Things I used to eat all the time during our travels elsewhere in the world and even here before I left almost 10 years earlier made me ill. It took a couple trips to the ER and a trip to specialist... It became clear, something had changed in the way food is processed in this country since last I lived here. Some off label things was inevitably going to be my demise.
My husband and I looked around to see the clear path we were on, had exploded in front of us. We decided we had to create a new path for ourselves. We put children on hold. We found a small piece of land with a house we loved in a rural suburb in a right to farm area. I began researching how to do it ourselves. Grow it ourselves, make it ourselves, survive on our own as much as possible. We bought the property, and began plotting a new course. One that didn't involve off label chemicals. Closer to nature, with a lot more DIY, gardens, and animals for the products they provide. We created a life we loved though it hasn't always been easy and has of course come with compromise with each other, and even with ourselves.
Our family thought we had lost our minds. What were we doing leaving the city? We had no idea how hard this would be. They thought we would be back in 6 months. That was over 7 years ago, now. We have been making it work. They were not wrong, it isn't easy. But has anything worth doing ever been easy? And for us, avoiding as much store bought food as possible was simply necessary so I could live given how sick I was getting.
Then Covid hit.... We were lucky to have this place. It has allowed us a lot less need for public use territories which has kept us a lot safer and spared us much of the risk others face daily. This place, has given us a privilege through this of great meaning to us. To be of use in a difficult time. We have been able to help friends family and even strangers in need when things couldn't be found on store shelves. Or money was tight due to not working, rent being due and a child at home, or some other draining situation. We are so very grateful to have been able to not be helpless like so much of society through this miserable time. Our families, got used to it some time ago, us being out here. They made peace with it the day there was no bread and they had to ask me for some. Or when fresh vegies were rotten due to supply chain issues but they could find plenty in my garden.
Wildflower Farm, was a place I dreamed of. One of those sweet pastoral dreams a city dweller grows up knowing will never come true, that became unavoidable when I became ill. I never expected to get to do this. I never thought I had what it takes to make this work. I have learned pacing myself is important, compromise is critical, hard work never ends, burn out is real so breaks are just a necessary evil.
We are not fully self sufficient, but we work hard in that direction as we create a new path through life for ourselves, always reaching to do even more ourselves and to get closer to the ideal we envision. We are however far more self sufficient than many in this world. 7 years in, we continue to learn and grow in this homesteading lifestyle. We welcome comments and advice and ideas and questions.
We welcome visitors from all over to our home with strict covid policies in place. We spend our time learning to live all over again in a more environmental and sustainable way though even there we are far from perfect always learning and growing doing better as we know better.
This little homestead farm is a magical place named for the New England wildflowers that grow all around. A place where a physicist, watches the night sky on clear nights with the aide of mirror and glass, and a woman, works endlessly in the gardens, the kitchen, and a variety of projects to create and to keep a very unique life style running and functioning. Wildflower Farm, has become so much more than simply a piece of land we can grow a few vegetables on. The longer I spend here, the more alive the land seems, the more I learn about it's function and the more meaning it has. My place in the universe and the next steps on our new path become ever more clear.
We welcome you on this journey with us.