Making Grape Juice for Jelly

My friend, Reva, texted me saying she has “a butt load of grapes” that she picked and asked if I’d like them. ROFL! But of course!

I would say there was about 5 quarts of grapes, once I picked them off the stems. When I left this morning for work I had 2.5 quarts of juice and it was still draining…so I may have another pint.

Concord grapes ready to make juice.

Concord grapes ready to make juice.

Simmering grapes.

Simmering grapes.

Straining the juice from the pulp.

Straining the juice from the pulp.

Two quarts of juice (as of last night).  Had a pint this morning, and it's still draining when I left.

Two quarts of juice (as of last night). Had a pint this morning, and it’s still draining when I left.

Weekend Roundup ~ 22 September 2014

Depending on which ever way the wind blows, our days here in the Truckee Meadows either start off looking like this:

Morning smoke from the King Fire in Pollock Pines, CA.

Morning smoke from the King Fire in Pollock Pines, CA.

Or, yesterday’s sunrise pre-settling of smoke:

Canada geese flying by Sunday morning ~ 21 Sept 2014

Canada geese flying by Sunday morning ~ 21 Sept 2014

As of this morning, the King fire has burnt 87,592 acres and is only 18% contained. Come on Mom Nature! Bring them some rain already!

Friday I took 4 hours of annual leave and stopped off for some canning jars as I had mustard seeds soaking in some Sierra Nevada 2014 Beer Camp West Coast Double IPA.

I adapted a recipe I saw using Guinness Stout:

In a glass bowl add the following: 1 cup yellow mustard seed, .5 cup of brown mustard seed, 12 oz IPA or dark beer, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2-3 tsp of sea or kosher salt, 1 tsp coarse ground pepper, 1/4 tsp each of cloves, nutmeg and allspice. You can add turmeric for yellow coloring, but I didn’t use it. Let it sit on the counter, covered, for two days. I stirred it before going to work and then when I got home. Plop it all into a blender or food processor and grind away until you get it how you like it…I added a bit more beer to get it the thickness I liked. Pour into your canning jars and hot bath process for 10 minutes. Being at a higher altitude I processed mine for 20 minutes total.

Beer Mustard in the making.

Beer Mustard in the making.

10 4-oz jars of Sierra Nevada Beer Mustard.

10 4-oz jars of Sierra Nevada Beer Mustard.

I also stopped off at the Sparks Windy Moon Quilts shop to buy a yard of white on white fabric to start a wall hanging quilt. While there I bought the September’s Fat 8th to make a Building Blocks To The Moon in support of ovarian cancer research.

You donate $1 and then you receive a Fat 8th of focus fabric (September’s is a multi-colored Autumn leaf fabric). You then make a 12.5″ block using the fabric, a selected colored fabric by the store (brick red this time) and any fabrics from your stash. Turn in the block by noon of the last day of the month. Both stores are participating in the challenge…anyone who made a block will have their names entered into a drawing where one of us will end up with all the blocks.

I had saved a Mini Medallion tutorial and thought the center block of that would make a great block for that fabric.

My entry to Building Blocks To The Moon…September 2014.

My entry to Building Blocks To The Moon…September 2014.

After finishing up the challenge block, I got my Kate Spain’s Solstice layer cake out and Lori Holt’s tutorial for a Scrappy Cross Roads Block.

Then on Saturday morning, after shooshing my husband out the door for his half day of overtime, brewing a cup of chai latte, I settled in with my pretty winter Solstice fabric. I have four blocks all sewn together, now will put a border or two on it.



Winter Solstice Cross Roads

Winter Solstice Cross Roads

Sneak peak at an upcoming post ~

2014-08-03 12.32.56

Rambling Monday ~ 24 October 2011

Wow…it’s been a week since I posted anything.

Friday night, while my husband had boxing on, I prepped a lot of hexies so I can start making flowers again.

Spent Saturday up in Virginia City and then at Bowers Mansion. It was supposed to be cooler up in VC…but they lied. We wandered over to our favorite park up there to play a game of cribbage and frisbee. OH! That reminds me…if’n you’re ever in the need of a GREAT frisbee that just ‘feels’ right? Look no further than Del Sol! Just love that frisbee!

Then over to Bowers Mansion for a couple of games of horseshoes and to walk around.

(pictures taken from my Blackberry Torch…not my regular camera)

View looking down at Washoe Lake from the horseshoe pits.

View looking up while laying in the leaves.

View looking up to where the horseshoe pits are.

Virginia Creeper on the wooden fence around the old hot springs swimming pool.
After getting back from our outing I started washing the box of Macintosh apples I got from Apple Hill so I could make applesauce.

I used a recipe I found online at Simple Bites…posted by Aimee on 29 Sept 2010. I liked the idea of leaving the skin on while cooking the apples!


I added two cinnamon sticks, two vanilla beans and two cups of apple cider with my apples.

Here is some of the finished pint jars of applesauce ~ it’s very tasty! Thanks, Aimee!

Monday’s Rambles ~ 10 October 2011

Saturday we went up to Susanville, Ca to the Rails to Trails Festival ~ hand car races, chili cook-off, crafts.

Then drove to where my husband grew up, Litchfield…they have an awesome wildlife refuge up there and we thought we’d look for some date nails from the old railroad tracks too.

But this is what we found of the tracks that his dad used to ride ~

They pulled the tracks up! No more hunting for date nails…no more walking the tracks…why’d the pull the tracks?! Sell them for scrap? Big sigh.


Yesterday we were busy with yard work ~ we yanked out what was left of two bush/trees from the side of the house along the driveway.

The previous owners put down at least 6″ of rock in there! Got the wheelbarrow out and shoveled rock to the front and side of the house…would rather have bark/mulch, but the rocks are there and free.


Planted a Hypericum inodorum Mystical Red Star where three diseased dying elm trees where cut down…once the stumps are ground down I’ll plant more in that area.


Had to replant some iris and mums to make room for the October Glory Maple tree coming on Thursday! Soon we’ll have the prettiest tree on the street! 🙂


Also yesterday, I made 8 half-pint jars of Pepper Jelly using the jalapeño and serrano peppers my sister gave me from her garden.


Made up 12 soy candles for a craft fair coming up in November…still have another 8 or 12 to make, but ran out of jars (made lots of jelly this summer).

Blackberry picking in NW Nevada…

I finally have enough blackberry juice to make some jelly! YEA! I have 5 cups now. Soon I will be making some Wild Nevada Blackberry jelly!

Blackberry plants are nasty buggers! (((In my best Holy Grail voice))) They have NASTY, BIG, POINTY TEETH! My right arm and both legs are scratched up…berry berry badly.

I think there’s about a month of berry picking in my spot…there’s lots of green berries still.

Pears from the backyard

I finally got to use my Apple Longaberger basket for something it was sorta made for!

Collected pears last night…at least the ones on the lower branches. I need another ladder for the top ones.

Now I have to figure out what exactly I will make with them, here are a few ideas:

Spiced Pear Jam
Pear Butter
Pear Preserves
Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam
Ginger Pear Marmalade

I’m pretty sure I have enough to make two batches…I’m leaning towards the Spiced Pear Jam and the Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam.

Heavenly Fig Jam

…at least that is what the book is calling it. 🙂

It tastes good, just not sure if it’ll jell up as much as it should. I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to add the water that the dried figs soaked in into the puree. The directions weren’t that clear. I just pureed the figs without the water…then I started to second guess myself and threw in some extra orange juice. Big sigh.

Anyhoo…here’s what is in the jam (7 1/2 pints made up):

Dried Figs, 18 oz
water, 3-1/2 cups
orange juice, 1/3 cup
lemon juice, 1 TBSP
sugar, 3-1/2 cups
pectin, 1 box
orange liqueur, 1/3 cup

Blueberry Lemon Jam

I love blueberries…I LOVE LEMONS…and I sooooo like blending the two into a jam. I walked to the farmers market on California & Booth, that is held every Saturday during the summer & fall, and bought three baskets of fresh blueberries and two lemons.

Crush (I use a potato smasher) five (5) cups of blueberries (A raspberry hid in my bunch! The rascal!) and put them and the zest and juice of two large lemons into a large stock pot. Stir in a package of powdered fruit pectin and bring to boil over high heat (keep stirring). Add 5-1/2 cups of sugar all at once and bring to a rolling boil, stir constantly this time around. Boil for 1 minute after bringing the syrup to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Ladle into prepared hot jelly jars, leaving a 1/4″ head space, wipe rims with a damp paper towel to clean…then add lid and screw band on. Place jars in canner making sure you have 1″ over the top of your jars, bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes (plus any additional minutes per your altitude)…I have to boil for 20 minutes. Remove from heat…leave in canner for about 5 minutes…take out your jars to cool. Then wait for the delightful pinging of the lids! 🙂

This is great on good ole peanut butter sandwiches. On pancakes. Frenchtoast. Scones. You name it!

Blueberry Lemon Jam:

5 cups blueberries (smashed)
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 package powdered fruit pectin
5-1/2 cups sugar

Makes 6-7 half pints


I linked this recipe up with Sweets for a Saturday ~ go check out all the cool recipes!

Apple Pie Filling ~ Canning Once Again

I steamed up the kitchen and front sunroom again…this time I made up 7 quarts of apple pie filling.

Last weekend while at Shinneyboo Creek Cabins, I picked up a brown paper grocery bag full of apples from Ikeda’s for $2.99. On Saturday I peeled and sliced 1/2 of the bag to make up apple pie filling.

I used the recipe from Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving, page 170.

Apple Pie Filling

12 cups sliced peeled cored apples, treated to prevent browning (1/4 C. lemon juice & 4 C. cold water)
2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups ClearJel
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 2 tsp cinnamon)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (I used 1 tsp nutmeg)
1-1/4 cups cold water
2-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice (I used apple cider)
1/2 cup lemon juice

1. prepare canner, lids, jars per usual.
2. In large pot of boiling water, working with 6 cups at a time, blanch apple slices for 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon and keep warm in a covered bowl.
3. In large stainless steel pan, comine sugar, Clearjel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and apple juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice, returen to boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain apple slices and fold into hot mixture.
4. Laddle into hot jars, leaving 1 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim, place on lid and screw bands down.
5. Place in canner and process for 25 minutes from boil. Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes then remove jars and let cool.

Adjust for your altitude (25 minutes is for sea level)…I processed mine for 35 minutes.

It’s very tasty! I made a pie yesterday…just poured into an unbaked pie crust and baked at 400F for 10 minutes then 350F for 30, put on a cinnamon/butter/flour/sugar crumb topping, and baked for another 15 minutes.

Finding Different Canning Recipes for Cucumbers

I’ve cucumbers coming out of my ears…guess that is what happens when I put four plants into the ground!

This time, besides more Speedy Dill Pickles I found a couple of recipes that I wanted to try and sort of merged them into one, with a few additions of my own. And I came up with:



You can find the originals I worked with at: Self-reliance: Recession-proof Your Pantry, pg 87 – Aunt Merna’s Chunky Mustard Pickles and Canning & Preserving for Dummies, pg 104 – Pickled Veggies.

All veggies, sans the cauliflower, came from my garden…I’ll try to give you the precise amounts of each one, but sometimes I just had a “handful”, so bare with me.


2 quarts pickle cucumbers, cut into large chunks 1″-2″ skin left on
1 head cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
3 large carrots, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces then halved
3 Sweet Italian peppers, stemmed and cut into 2″ pieces seeds included
4 Jalapenos, stemmed and seeded cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 Bell peppers (I used red & yellow), stemmed, seeded and cut into large pieces
4 2″-3″ onions – peeled and cut into rings
6 Tomatillos – husked and quartered (that was all that I had ripe after making salsa)
Green beans – handful, I found a plant underneath the tomatillos!
6 yellow pickle peppers

Get your water bath canner ready and jars hot (I had ready 6 quart jars and a couple of pint jars as I wasn’t sure how much my recipe would make. )

Cut all the veggies and put in a large stainless steel pot, glass bowl, or crock. Sprinkle 1 cup kosher salt over veggies and then cover with 4 quarts of water or enough to cover veggies. Let soak for 6 hours or more. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Bring to boil 4 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar in large stainless steel pot.

Mix 1 cup of cleargel (or flour) with 2 cups of water, 1 TBS celery seed, 4 TBS of mustard powder, 2 TBS Tumeric and 1 TBS mustard seed. Blend well and then add to vinegar mixture. Let thicken then add veggies and bring to a rolling boil.

Ladle into your hot prepared jars and leave 1/4″ head space…wipe rims clean and put on lids and rings.

Process for 20 minutes after boiling starts. Higher elevations add 10 minutes. I’m in Northern Nevada so I processed for 30 minutes total. Hook canning rack over the pots rim and let sit for 5 minutes before pulling jars out for cooling.