berry preserves

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Food Preservation: Making Raspberry Fruit Leather

I miss the flavors of summer berries already. Around August this year, me and the Hubs picked a couple pounds of local raspberries. I turned them into fruit leather (berries + raw honey + flax seed >>> blitz into a paste) with aid of the dehydrator, no special preservatives added. It’s been at least 4 months since I made the leathers; their soft sweetness and tangy berries are still holding up fantastically. They make such a happy reminder of the greener seasons.

How much land do you really need to be self sufficient?

With a world food crisis, drought and civil unrest over escalating food prices, around the world, we all have concerns about food security and the ability to feed our own families.  An info-graphic is circulating the internet that tells us that we need a full 2 acres to be self sufficient in food on a omnivore diet, implying less land if one is vegan.  The problem with a graphic like this is that it discourages experimentation, and assumes a one-size-fits all family eating style.  It uses yield estimates taken from mono-cultural commercial agriculture and imposes them on the homestead.  This discourages people who want to attempt to be self sufficient and live a more sustainable life.  2 acres is a substantial investment in a highly productive agricultural belt or near an urban area. And this info-graphic assumes highly productive land — expensive land.

So is 2 acres a reasonable estimate?  That depends where you live and what you mean by “self-sufficiency”.  When Canada was being divided up in homesteading grids — it was assumed that on the Prairies an average family would need a section of land (over 1,000 acres) to be self-sufficient.  In those days, self-sufficient meant to survive to the next year, without grocery stores to fall back on.  In Ontario and B.C. the amount of land necessary to feed and cloth a family was considered a ¼ section — 160 acres.  That area provided water, food, energy, and a livelihood.  Along the St. Laurence and in the Maritimes the amount of land needed was less — due to the proximity of fishing and water.  The closer one is to fresh water, whether a stream or through rainfall, the less land that is necessary to sustain  a family.

Those in the North or at higher elevations need more land to be self-sufficient.  Its hard to grow food — other than livestock and hay — in a growing season that’s shortened by intermittent summer frost.  But it can be done.  Land in these areas is cheaper, too.  You will need 5 to 15 acres to be productive in a Northern area and you will have more land dedicated to raising livestock and hay and less land dedicated to vegetables and fruit.

How much land do you need?

So what’s a reasonable estimate for how much land you really need to sustain your family?

Skip the 2,000 square foot house.  Its unnecessary.  A smaller footprint that builds upward  is a better use of space, and is easier to heat and clean.  Solar panels?  Possibly if you are far enough south and have a good exposure.   Wind? Micro-hydro?  Methane?  Wood?  All are possibilities to explore for energy efficiency.  Each property has to be assessed individually.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution — except the grid.  Cut the house footprint in half.

Livestock?  Skip the pigs — they produce only meat and take up valuable space.  Skip the corn unless you live in the South, where your summer has the heat value to ripen corn easily.  The livestock doesn’t need it and its low on food value — 2 goats and 5 chickens can live on garden surplus, grass and weeds.  5 chickens will feed a family 2 dozen eggs a week in the peak laying season.  They don’t need their own dedicated space.  Put them in a movable chicken tractor and let them till the garden, eating bugs and weeds.  Move them every morning during the growing season and it will improve your soil quality, too.

Goats can be housed in a shed near the house, a lean to onto the house or even the back of the garage.  They only need a small bedding area and can be taken for walks in the hedgerows of your neighbourhood to feed on browse.  They can be given a loafing area or be tethered in different spots around the yard to help keep down weeds.  Protect them from stray dogs and predators and they will give you 8 to 10 years of the highest quality raw milk for drinking, cheese, yogourt and ice-cream.  They can be fed with garden waste.  Or share your field peas and produce with them, in exchange for their milk.  Their manure will increase the fertility of the garden space.  2 full size dairy goats will give your family a gallon of milk a day and 3 kids for 90 lbs. of meat every fall. Live in an urban area? Invest in Nigerian Dwarf goats and half the production rates, as well as the food inputs.

Instead of corn in cooler regions, grow potatoes.  They offer more calories and can be grown in more climates and take up less space.  You can follow a crop of potatoes with kale for a longer harvest season, even in a colder climate.

Don’t forget the orchard

Fruit and nut trees are a must. Nut trees take a while to mature but the increase in protein is beneficial to you, and your livestock — plant them if you have the space.  Dwarf fruit trees will grow on a 6 foot centre and can be trellised along a fence to increase yields per space. If space is at a premium, do consider trellising them — planting 6 feet apart in a one foot wide row.  One dwarf tree will yield 75 lbs. of fruit, once it is mature.  10 trees trellised along a fence with a Southern exposure, blossom sooner in spring and have an extended growing season, and will give you enough fruit for a family for jamming, canning and preserving.

Berries and small fruits take up little space and can offer high vitamins and antioxidants to your diet.  If wild roses and wild strawberries grow in your area than other berries will as well.

Sunflowers are an annual crop that provide an increase in protein for your diet, and can grow on the borders of the garden, taking up very little space.

Raised beds for vegetables

Vegetables, grown in raised beds or containers, give high yields and can be rotated for 3 season gardening — greens from spinach to lettuce to kale can rotate through the growing season to keep your plate full for daily salads and vegetables.  We grow all the greens we need in about 20 square feet this way.  Other vegetables, like cabbage, beans, carrots and beets, need a full growing season but can be inter-cropped with flowers and herbs to feed bees, and provide medicinal plants for the family first aid kit.  With raised bed gardening you could cut down the vegetable area square footage by ½ to 2/3rds   Add a greenhouse and train vines to grow up instead of out and you can increase the growing season and the yields in the available space.

Community is essential

This chart fails to take into account the sharing that inevitably happens between gardeners — zucchinis, squash, lettuces and other prolific growers provide a bountiful harvest that many families can share, at the peak of the growing season.

Rabbits?  Chickens? Ducks?

Put in some rabbit hutches – Each rabbit needs 2 feet by 3 ft. space.  You can give them a grass run and build rabbit condos that offer them a wonderful, natural lifestyle.   3 female french angora rabbits and 1 male will provide your family with a meal of rabbit meat once a week and enough angora to keep your family in mittens and hats for the winter.  They will eat your garden surplus, and grass hay.  In Europe, during WWII, families with back yard rabbits would make hay by harvesting the grass from vacant lots and roadsides all summer.  And they make affectionate pets, too.  Are we eating our pets? No, as a farmer you make pets out of the breeding animals and give the best possible life and respect to the young that end up on your plate.

You don’t need meat every day, but you do need high quality protein every day and this kind of gardening will give you that.

Consider planting field peas for increased protein.  Field peas increase the fertility of the soil and the crop is ready to harvest in August when the ground can be cleared and a second crop can be planted of either peas or a winter vegetables.  The straw from peas is relished by goats and rabbits.

Aquaponics

Consider the addition of an aquaponics greenhouse in the vegetable growing area.  This will yield fish fertilizer, vegetables, and fish for a well rounded diet for you and your garden — along with year round vegetables.  Add a methane digester and you can supply some of your own energy needs as well.  If you can grow meat and vegetables year round, you reduce your dependence on a freezer, which lowers your electrical needs.

My estimate is that in a highly productive area with adequate rainfall, the average family could raise all their food needs on 1 acre of land.  Many did just this during WWII with just a large city lot, by walking their goats and moving their chickens around the vegetable garden.  The key to making this work is to eat what you can grow in your climate — using heritage seeds that are adapted to your growing conditions. With more land — 5 acres — you can move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture and begin to make some money from your productivity.

If you have more land, grow more food and expand your self sufficiency. But if you only have a balcony in a city apartment, grow where you are planted.  And start in a small way to be more sufficient now.  On the Joybilee Farm Facebook Page, I post periodic links to urban agricultural projects to inspire your urban efforts for self sufficiency.

One of my favorite resources for urban farm is the Urban Farm Guys. Their videos are practical step-by-step guidelines to help you harvest more food from a small amount of land. –joybileefarm.com

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Concept art of the Weird Woods creatures by the Disney Legend himself, Rolly Crump. These were the sketches Rolly designed for Knott’s Bear-y Tales and then they were built in 1975. Art Courtesy Rolly Crump

2013 Tank Garage Winery “All or Nothing” Red

It’s Super Bowl LI, people! All or nothing! Macerated black cherries, blueberries, boysenberries, cassis, Bonne Maman  mixed berry preserves, vanilla extract, and a hint of coconut crème on the nose. Fresher on the palate with loads of blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and a dusting of cinnamon. Well-balanced so you don’t feel the alcohol. Just put your paws up ‘cause you were born this way, baby!

4/5 bones

$$$

Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Carignan

14.7% abv

Napa, California, USA

flickr

Strawberry Rubies in the making! by Sarah R
Via Flickr:
So sweet and delicious, with a kiss of orange zest for interest. 3 days to make but WORTH IT.

Rolly Crump posing with his Bear-y Family of Knott’s Bear-y Tales! This was taken just a short while before the ride was opened at Knott’s Berry Farm back in July 1975. The characters Crump is posing with from the ride are: (Top to bottom) Razz, Elder, Flapper, Boysen, and Girlsen Bear-y. Photo Courtesy Knott’s Preserved and Rolly Crump

calpurniuspiso  asked:

I'm absolutely hooked up with Aria/Tevos, so of course, I ask something with them. Nothing particular in fact. I don't know if you will write something like that in the future, but I would love to read something about Aria, Tevos and Tevos' family (a meal?). Maybe when Tevos introduces Aria to her family.

The Family’s Fate

[Aria/Tevos, Dianth]

Rating: SFW
Word Count: 3,959 words

Summary: Tevos decides that it’s time her family met her daughter… and Aria as well. Naturally, the event is a calculated one. After the War, the N’Vani-N’Yiria bloodline has been plagued by signs of imminent decline if its heirs continue to renounce tradition, and Omega is poised on the brink of another golden age and only needs a few more nudges in the right direction to realize that goal. What might have seemed like an outrageous alliance several years ago has suddenly become too tempting to immediately dismiss. How strange it is, they think, that someone as small as Dianth could be at the crux of all this maneuvering. 

Keep reading

Wanda Fox as drawn by Rolly Crump! Wanda is a tea leaf reader that can see into the future. She happens to be a collector of silly spirits that reside in tea cups that appears from inside her tent. In the Fair, she lifts a hat that reveals different items appearing from a table - a magic trick of sorts. Sketch Courtesy Rolly Crump and Source By Knott’s Preserved

2013 Ben Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz-Grenache

FREEEEDOM!!! This wine is named after the maiden name of the winemaker’s wife but it’s a pretty big, bold, bada$$ wine for $20 so I’m going to associate it with Braveheart as well, given the Scottish thistles on the label. Rich, sweet blackberries, black cherries, dried cherries, dark chocolate, green olives, cinnamon, and leather on the nose. Both savory and fruity on the palate - plums, blackberries, and cherries with olives, pastrami rind, clove, sweetspice. Almost like the fruit that’s left and slightly dried on the top of a jar of mixed berry preserves. The alcohol feels like sweetness on the palate. Pretty fierce stuff!

5/5 bones

$$

Shiraz, Grenache

15% abv

Barossa Valley, AUSTRALIA

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OMNOMBERRY PIE

The Omnomberry (Rubus yummycosis) is a short perennial shrub characterized by its valuable magenta berries. It is native to the lands of Orr, which until recently were submersed under the sea. These bulbous plants prefer to grow in dark, concealed corners near to Cathedrals of dead Human Gods. The berries grow on the elevated stalks of the plant, which resembles a large version of the berry itself. 

To harvest these highly valuable berries, one must firstly obtain an orichalcum harvesting sickle, and secondly cleave through the ravenous waves of undead infesting Malchor’s Leap and the Cursed shore, where the berries are most commonly observes.

As a crop their nodes have a 5 hour respawn period. These small fruit have a minimal yield, one berry per node. Currently they fetch a price of 2 silver, 97 copper.Gathering boosts have been known to increase output by double. 

Omnomberries have wide culinary versatility, from bread to dye to Gift(s) of Nature, and are cherished for their status improvements. 

Shocking. That’s probably why they’re almost 3 silver a pop. I always wondered why fruit that grows so close to massive death and rot is so good for your magic find. Maybe it sucks nutrients out of Zhaitan’s undead minions…gross. This pie gives you a 66% chance of stealing health on a critical hit. So that’s where the undead power comes in….

Alright kiddies time to make a pie- but bear in mind since these things are hilariously fictional I had to bend the rules of fruit pie a bit. The Omnomberries seemed most similar to Black Currants to me. But considering I live in the “Mid” part of the “Midwest”, I can’t get them here, fresh or frozen. Only preserves. Recipe is under the cut.

-MJ & K

Keep reading

2013 LangeTwins Estate Grown Zinfandel

This is some lovely value Zin to keep you warm. Dark fruit, mixed berry preserves, fruit leather, and cinnamon on the nose. Macerated dark berries, mixed berry preserves, and a whiff of bacony fat on the palate. Pretty good acidity and gentle tannins. Prunes on the finish with a lovely tartness. A very nice Zin for the price. 

4/5 bones

$

Zinfandel

15.5% abv

Lodi, California, USA

2012 Domaine Grande Bellane Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas

Loving this organic baby Côtes du Rhône - especially at this price! Blackberry preserves, macerated red fruit, and a touch of twig on the nose. Bursting with plums and berry preserves, cinnamon, pepper, and bramble on the palate with zingy acidity. 

4/5 bones

$

Syrah, Grenache

13.5% abv

Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas, FRANCE

2012 Pecchenino Siri d'Jermu Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore DOCG

A little DOGE-liani Superiore, amirite? Fresh black and red berries, sweet preserves, and a hint of licorice on the nose. Very ripe, small blackberries and cherries o the palate with a hint of fruit roll-up. Fun, simple, and nice. 

4/5 bones

$$

Dolcetto

14% abv

Dolcetto di Dogliani (Piedmont), ITALY

Cult Cab

This is a fun non-vintage Napa Cab from my friends at Cult Wines! Juicy, jammy, and slightly syrupy blackberries, cassis, and raspberries. Molasses and dark brown sugar on the nose as well. Very fruit forward and ripe on the palate - mixed berry preserves with molasses and brown baking spices. Acidity is higher than expected to keep the wine in check. Finish trails off initially then comes back with some alcohol warmth. 

3/5 bones

$$

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah

14.2% abv

Napa, California, USA

2013 Venus “La Universal” Dido Tinto

Feeling fierce like the first queen of Carthage. Dusty Grenache notes of peppery strawberries, cherries, and red berry preserves on the nose with barnyard, tobacco, cinnamon, cracked black pepper, and twigs. High acidity on the palate from bright red cherries and strawberries. Tobacco, clove, and dark spices mid-palate and on the finish. Present tannins on the finish. 

4/5 bones

$$

Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Syrah

14.5% abv

Montsant, SPAIN

2008 Flowers DZ Vineyard Pinot Noir

Flowers in my face, flowers in my wine (name)! Sweet fruit on the nose - strawberry preserves, mixed berry jam - cinnamon, sweet BBQ sauce, and fresh blackberries. Loads of sweet blackberries, raspberries, and sweet baking spices on the palate. Quite the full-bodied Pinot from California!

3/5 bones

$$$

Pinot Noir

14.1% abv

Sonoma Coast, California, USA