Rockin’ Salsa

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Rockin' Salsa

Ingredients :

1 red onion, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 banana peppers, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
3 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup brown sugar                                                                                                                                           1/4 cup white sugar
8 pint canning jars with lids and rings

Directions :

Combine red onion, white onion, yellow onion, tomatoes, banana peppers, green peppers, tomato paste, white vinegar, garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large pot. Simmer until thick, about 3 hours.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the salsa into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Refrigerate after opening.

 

Spirited Vanilla Pears

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Spirited Vanilla Pears

Canned Pears

Supplies:

Pint size canning jars

Rings and lids

Slotted spoon

Canning tongs (to handle hot jars)

Water bath canner

 

Directions:

Sterilize pint jars and rings and lids.  Keep warm.

After you peel and cut the pears lengthwise, treat them against browning with a solution of citric acid and cold water.  My favorite pear is either a Kieffer or a Bartlett.

Make a batch of light syrup.  Use 5 ½ cups water and 2 cups sugar.

Heat the pears through in the syrup, about 15 minutes.  To each jar, add ½ Tbsp. (tablespoon) Kahlua (my preference) or brandy and about a ½-inch piece vanilla bean.

Using a slotted spoon, add pears to sterilized jars.  Depending on the size of the pears, and how you cut them, you may get four or five pears in a pint jar. Fill the jars with syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Wipe the rims and seal the jars.

Boil (water bath canning) for 20 minutes.  After 24 hours, check seal by pressing the middle of the canning lid…if the center moves up and down, the seal is bad.  Put that jar in the refrigerator and enjoy.  They are delicious!

pear

Homesteading

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I love the simplicity of a homesteading life.  Simplicity doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard work; it is.  Simplicity is a frame of mind…that sense of peace, joy, and happiness that comes from doing what you love; what you are called to do.  And I am called to teach my children to love the Lord and to live a life that is centered on Him, rather than the world.

Homesteading includes not only making a self sufficient living off the land through growing your own food and raising animals, but it includes teaching those skills to our children (homeschooling), and our children’s children, so they can continue living that life.

There are many ways to monetize a homestead.  One of our favorites is to raise chickens.  Farm fresh eggs are a really big, growing market.  The eggs can be sold from home or at a farmers market.  We can sell chicks to other farmers and homesteaders.  We also use the chickens for meat.  (You can do the same thing with ducks.)

Chickens

We have raised  rabbits.  They can be sold as pets, or for 4H projects.  They can be processed, or sold, for the meat.  The pelts are sought after for coats, accessories, or even for crafts.  Angora rabbit fur can be plucked and spun into very valuable yarn.

IMG_0434

One of our favorite animals to raise is goats.  We have raised Nigerian Dwarfs, Nubians, and Boers.  The Nigerians are a small dairy goat, that gets about knee-high at their shoulders.  They give about a quart to a half gallon of sweet milk a day.  The Nubian is a larger animal, and gives a gallon, or more, milk a day.  The Boer is a meat goat, rather than dairy.  All three breeds can be butchered for the meat though.  They can be sold for the meat, milk, for breeding, or as pets.  But goats are a herd animal and you need at least two, to keep them out of trouble.  Not only is the milk great for drinking, you can use it to make cheese, cheese curd, butter, yogurt, cheese cake, and soap.

Nubian goats
Nubians Enjoying the Sun

Beekeeping is another great way to make money.  You can build beehives to sell, or to rent to other homesteaders, or farmers, to help with pollination.  You can process and sell the honey.  You can make and sell beeswax candles, or just sell the beeswax.

And then there is the garden.  We have had to make a few changes in our gardening.  Rather than the regular garden in the ground, we have changed to raised-bed gardens due to the fact that I am confined to a mobile chair.  My husband built wonderful raised beds that measure 3′ x 3′, and are at just the right height for me to sit in my chair and be able to work the soil and harvest the plants.  Not only do we have a wonderful variety of food on the table, but we can sell young plants and the produce at farmers’ market.

Raised Bed Garden

In order to monetize your homestead, it is important to “Brand” yourself.  You need nice packaging and labels for your products.  Your homestead needs a name.  You need to reach out to your community so they know who you are, and the quality of your products.  Our homestead is called the Rocking Bar M Farm.  Our logo is a bar and M over a rocker…

Rocking Bar M Logo