Monday, June 28, 2021

Sometimes Strength is Soft ~ Snippets

Sometimes strength is soft.

It is that gentle clasping of the hand when all you want to do is cry. It is the warm encouraging smile when all you want to do is fall apart. It is the delicate actions of love when all you feel is hurt.

A God-inspired homemaker is a tender force of strength for her family.


“She girds herself with strength...”
~ Proverbs 31:17

“Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.”
~ Proverbs 31:25



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Painting of "Peonies and Silver" by the talented Daniel F. Gerhartz)

Thursday, June 17, 2021

DIY~ How to Make & Can Fruit Syrups & Jelly {From Discarded Peels & Pieces} Using Just Sugar & Scraps!

"And those mysterious fruit trees trained along the southern wall. Peaches? Nectarines? Victorian plums? They would have to wait and see. Oh, the bottlings, and the dryings and the storings!" 
~ Mary Norton, The Borrowers

If you are anything like myself and are trying to stretch the fruit in your household (and add to the pantry frugally) then you will love this nifty and thrifty canning recipe (shared from our Ebook here). You see, our fruit trees are a year from being productive and so we are forced to buy fruit. Here is a way to get every pennies' worth! Simply save up all your washed peelings, unspoiled pieces and meaty pits from your preserving projects, pie creations, turnovers, etc., and you can make a delicious fruit syrup or jelly from them! This will work for peaches, nectarines, pears and plums, to name a few (perhaps even apricots!). The only other ingredients you will need is sugar and water.

Method #1 (Slow Cooker)

The beauty of this little side-project using the slow cooker is that it can be dealt with the next day after your "main project" (the one in which you created the fruit scraps in the first place) is completed. Simply toss all the leftover fruit scraps as you go (peels are perfect and even the unbroken meaty pits -- but avoiding any moldy pieces) into your crockpot and then place it in your fridge until bedtime (if you don't have a slow cooker * and want to try another method, keep reading). 

Now, add enough water to just cover the scraps and turn the crock pot on low. Let this slowly simmer overnight (about 6 - 8 hours) while you sleep and dream of sweet syrups and jelly for your pantry.

Method #2 (Stove Top)

Alternatively, if you do not want to do the crock pot method, you can also cover the peels and cast off pieces with water and slowly cook in a covered saucepan until the produce is soft and releases its juices. (Note: Begin following the remaining recipe at the straining point shared below).

Turn off the crock pot when you wake up and strain the contents once it cools down a bit (a few hours is fine as I waited until my morning routine was finished before I continued this).

To strain the juice, we lined a stock pot with a large paint strainer and dumped the cooled contents inside. You can use whatever system works for you such as a fine cheesecloth or jelly bag.

Then we gathered it up like a jelly bag and let it hang over the pot in order to drain the excess liquid. Press any remaining juice through and make sure to measure the final volume of fruit water.

Next, place your measured juice in a large enough pot and bring it to a raging boil. Now that it is boiling aggressively, add your sugar.

You will need half the amount of sugar as there is liquid for this recipe. For instance, our liquid measured out at 10 cups so I added 5 cups of sugar.

Boil this mixture rapidly until it reaches a thicker consistency. This will take some time and is a good moment to get all your canning gear in order. It is not necessary to stir the syrup continuously, just once in a while to make sure nothing is burning at the bottom (which it shouldn't).

Here is an approximate guideline to get the desired results:

For fruit syrup ~ 

Boil until approximately a third of the mixture evaporates and is to desired thickness (or until thermometer reaches about 218 degrees Fahrenheit for a nice, thick, pancake syrup consistency).

For fruit jelly ~ 

Boil until approximately half of the mixture evaporates (or until thermometer reaches setting point at 220 degrees Fahrenheit).

When you reach the desired consistency, ladle the hot fruit liquid into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims, adjust the canning lids and process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. For more detailed step by step canning directions, visit here.

Alternatively, you can also store your finished products in the refrigerator and consume them within a few months.

Isn't this lovely? You get all this for your pantry with just a bit of sugar and scraps. I could cry :) Obviously, the syrup would be amazing over pancakes, waffles, yogurt, ice cream and oatmeal. The jelly version would be excellent for spreading over toast, scones, biscuits and freshly baked muffins. This would even work for our fruit and grain cereal bar recipe!

Shelf Life: Approx. 1 year

Are you ready to save your scrap pieces and peelings from fruit to create additional products for your pantry, medicine cabinet, bathroom shelves, kitchen table and more? It truly is a marvelous thing! You will find at least 100 more recipes (with matching labels) on how to use up your fruit scraps in our e-book here! Happy homemaking!

All the fine print: This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). This recipe was inspired and adapted from the Clemson Cooperative Extension Office.