Tomato Juice

IMG_3554We finally have tomatoes! Because of the weather, we have not had a good supply of tomatoes until now. We have tomatoes pilling up on the counter! I didn’t have time to can the tomatoes so we decided to run the tomatoes through our new juicer. Take a look at this blog post to find out how to use the juicer.IMG_3553

Tomato juice is used for several things. Bottom line, tomato juice is extremely healthy! A lot of people just drink the juice straight from the jar. Another common use for tomato juice is a marinade for tough meats.  Such as: deer meat, and certain kinds of pork and beef cuts. Tomato juice is also  very well known as a “go to” in order of getting rid of bad odors. Such as: skunks and nasty frig smells. Tomato juice is one of those things that if you dont like it, you can use it for many other things.


What are some other uses you have for tomato juice.


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Frozen Fresh Peaches for Smoothies

IMG_3499The Calhoun County peaches are here!  Our family enjoys peaches as a sweet summer treat.  There are a few peach sellers at the Farmer’s Market, so it was quite easy to pick up a half of a bushel and bring them home to be used for smoothies, jelly and cobblers. Yum Yum.

Larry and I eat a fruit smoothie almost every morning.  Frozen peaches from the local grocery store are quite pricey.  Making your own frozen peaches for smoothies is easy and much tastier.

IMG_3503I washed and sliced 20 or so peaches.  I dipped each peach slice in lemon juice, to prevent browning, and placed them on a cookie sheet.  Freeze the peaches for 2 hours or until fairly hard.  Freezing them on the cookie sheet will keep them from compacting in a big frozen heap.  Place them in a gallon bag and stick in your freezer, ready for your next smoothie.

Strawberry Peach Smoothie

  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 Cup milk (we use coconut milk or almond milk)
  • 5-7 strawberries
  • 4-5 sliced peaches
  • 1 scoop of chia seeds

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!


Do you have any tasty smoothie recipies?

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Blackberry Jelly

IMG_3474Last week Olivia and I juiced several gallons of blackberries.  We were able to collect 4 and ½ quarts of juice.  Now we are ready to take the juice and use it to make yummy jelly.


Blackberry Jelly Recipe:

  • 3 ¾ Blackberry Juice
  • 4 ½ Cups of sugar
  • 1 box of dry pectin
  • ½ teaspoon of unsalted butter

Makes 7 half pints

First, combine the juice,pectin and butter in a large stock pot.  Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a rolling boil. When the boil can not be stirred away, mix in the sugar one cup at a time.

Jelly at a roaring boil

Jelly at a roaring boil

Return to a boil, stirring all the sugar in very well.  After the jelly has a boil that cannot be stirred down, boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and start filling half pint jars.  Move quickly, filling clean hot jars, leaving a one inch headspace.IMG_3466

Next, process jars for 5 minutes in a water bath canner on high.

Process Jelly in boiling water for 5 min.

Process Jelly in boiling water for 5 min.

Remove jars carefully.  Let the jars stand overnight.IMG_3489

Yummy. beautiful blackberry jelly!.  Gideon tried the jelly out on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and declared the jelly a success!!  Theo just prefers jelly bread and milk for a snack.

Making homemade jelly does take a few steps, but it is not a hard task at all.  It is also a great feeling, knowing my family is eating jelly made from berries grown right in the backyard!


Have  you ever made homemade jelly?



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Steam Juicing Blackberries

100% Organic blackberry juice

100% Organic blackberry juice

Have you ever used a steam juicer?  I never even heard of this handy kitchen tool until our friends told us how helpful the juicer can be during canning season.   The steam juicer is so easy to use and is a big time-saver when trying to preserve berry juice to make jelly.

Mom and I set aside an afternoon this week to juice our beautiful blackberries.  Our juicer cost around $80 and is stainless steel.  There are less expensive aluminum types also.  I bought the 4 quart juice size.  The juicer has 5 parts as shown below.




It is easy making juice with the steam juicer.  We fill the water kettle with 2 quarts of water and turn the stove on high to bring the water to boil.  Then we place the juice kettle on top.  Next, we pour our washed berries in the fruit basket and put the lid on.  The hose attaches to the juice kettle and has a pincher to let the juice stop or flow when needed.  Finally, we turn the heat to medium and let it boil until all the juice is extracted from the berries.  We keep an eye on the water kettle, making sure it does not run dry.



Blackberries after being steamed for a while

Blackberries after being steamed for a while


After a few hours, we have 4 quarts of rich dark blackberry juice.  At this point, we sterilize our jars and lids and heat the jars in the oven.  Be careful when you place the hose in the quart jar.  Be sure and use oven mitts or hot pads.  The jars are hot and the juice is hot.  Lift the pincher off the hose and let the juice flow until the proper head space is reached in the jar.  Put your lid and band on and wait for the wonderful popping noise of a sealed jar.  We intend to use our juice to make jelly, and since the jars are sealed and preserved, we are in no hurry to use our juice.

The berries are a medium pink when all the juice has been extracted.  We gave them to our chickens for a sweet treat!




Have you ever used a  steam juicer before?  We’d love to hear from you.

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Homemade Healthy Corn Dogs

IMG_3410Our kids love corn dogs.  I rarely buy them because the breading for the hot dogs is full of preservatives, dyes and oils I do not want the kids to consume.  Olivia is our creative cook, and she found a great recipe that we tweaked to work for our family.

Makes 10 Corn Dogs

  • 1-2 Cups yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ½ Cups milk
  • 1Tbsp vegetables oil
  • 1Tbsp honey
  • 1 10 count package of hot dogs
  • 10 wooden skewers or long cake pop sticks
  • 1- 1 1/2 bottles of canola oil for frying


Fill a medium or large pot with oil. Turn heat to medium and heat oil.IMG_3398


In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir together. Then add the beaten the egg, milk, oil and honey. Stir until combined. The batter should be a little thicker than pancake batter. If the batter is runny, gradually add cornmeal a little at a time till the batter reaches desired consistency.

Remove the hot dogs from the package and wipe them off with a paper towel to keep the batter from running off the hot dogs. Next, insert the skewers or long cake pop sticks in each hot dog.

Pour the batter into a tall drinking glass. Holding on to the skewer, dunk the hot dog into the batter until fully covered. Let the access batter drip off into the cup before frying. Immediately place the hot dog into the hot oil. BE CAREFUL THE OIL WILL POP! VERY HOT!!IMG_3403


Cook by constantly turning the hot dog around in the oil till it is a deep golden brown. (About 2-3 minutes) Dry on a paper towel then eat!!!! YUM YUM!IMG_3411

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Worms and Boys at the Farmer’s Market

IMG_3388This picture shows Gideon and Theo holding bags of worm castings.  The boys sell the castings at the Farmer’s Market with great gusto!  Gideon is the friendly salesman and tells all the customers about the advantages of using worm castings in your garden.  Theo is the inventory man.  He checks off goods sold.  They make a great team.


The night before the market, Dad and the boys collect the castings and bag them in gallon bags.  The boys are responsible to label the bags. The boys also help get our truck packed with the canopy, coolers and chairs.  It takes the whole family to make a successful market day.


The boys are learning all kinds of great skills that will prepare them for future business ventures.  After 3 months of going to the market, they are beginning to understand how hard it is to make a buck! There are over 50 vendors at our market and there is great temptation to spend their profit at other vendors, buying toys or goodies to eat. They have learned to be prepared and some organization skills by using inventory sheets for our different products.  Most of all, they have learned to rise EARLY, work hard, and enjoy the satisfaction of selling a needed product that enriches someone’s life.


The Farmer’s Market has been a great opportunity to teach our kids life skills while having fun.  Have you ever participated in a family business that helped teach your children valuable skills?

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