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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rhubarb-Orange Marmalade


So this marmalade came into being because we have a LOT of rhubarb. Last year, at the beginning of spring, my husband and I split our plant into 8 smaller plants. We gave away 4 of them, and kept 4. Those divisions were fairly large and now I have 4 huge plants.

My rhubarb is green. It's a Victoria-type that's very sweet, very tender and tends to have thinner stalks that get very long. The bottoms are red, but the lengths are a celery green.

Those oranges are fairly large oranges.

There are a lot of recipes for orange-rhubarb marmalade on the internet. They call for various cooking methods and varying amounts of the ingredients. Sometimes they have nuts or spices in them. Our recipe is fairly simple, but it's really tasty. My daughter did the cooking. I did the harvesting and gave her the recipe.

Rhubarb-Orange Marmalade- makes 3 pints of marmalade

You will need:

7 cups of  rhubarb  (12-15 stalks)
2 large navel oranges
6 cups of sugar
2 cups of water

Wash your fruits. Anything that you grow yourself and you know what gets on it, you can decide how best to wash it. For oranges from the store, wash with a bit of soap and water. For store bought rhubarb, dunk it in 1:4 vinegar water mix, scrub lightly, then rinse.

Zest the oranges into a bowl using a paring knife, microplane or vegetable peeler. After that, cut the orange into quarters, and cut off the peel and pith. Then cut the quarters in smaller pieces and put them in the bowl.

Cut the rhubarb into half inch pieces. This might require cutting them in half length-wise then chopping them into smaller pieces.

Put the rhubarb, oranges, sugar and water into a heavy bottomed 5 quart pan and bring to a boil. Turn it down and let it simmer for about an hour stirring frequently. It will thicken. Check it by lifting the spoon, when it sheets off the spoon, it's ready.

While you're doing that, prepare your jars. We used a combination of 4 oz jars and those gorgeous Ball Canning Elite Jelly Jars that are in the photo.

Fill the jars leaving a 1/4 inch headroom, remove bubbles, wipe rims and process jars (hot water method) for 10 minutes.

This makes a lovely, tart and sweet marmalade that is delicious on pancakes according to my daughter who is eating some just that way right this moment. Me? It's hard not eating it just by the spoonful, but I'm looking forward to trying it on chocolate ice cream.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Natural Plantain Anti-Itch Salve

Natural Plantain Salve Recipe

I used the MB2E from Magical Butter to make this salve really easily- but I'll include instructions for making it without using the machine too.

The Magical Butter machine is meant for making butters and oils using various botanicals. The way it works is just fantastic for salves made from wildcrafted ingredients.

Plantain- not the banana type fruit, is one of the most common weeds in the USA. It likes disturbed soil like driveways and stuff- or in my case, my deliberately weedy yard. The only thing that's been used on my yard in the 16 years I've lived here is a lawn mower.

It's fantastically soothing for itchy skin. I am not a medical professional or a scientist, this is my opinion and this works well for me.

So the first thing you'll need to do is find a fair amount of plantain.

plantain
Fortunately, I have a broad swathe of it in my yard.

Pick about 3 cups of healthy leaves.

Rinse them, put them in a salad spinner to dry, then spread them in a single layer in shallow pans to dry until quite crisp. 

When they are dry, it's time to collect your materials. 

You will need:
  • 1 packed cup dry plantain leaves
  • 4 cups pure olive oil- don't bother with extra virgin. I don't for salves!
  • 3/4 cup grated beeswax OR beeswax pellets
  • jars and tins for the finished salve
  • strainer of some sort (the MB2 comes with a straining bag) 
  • Pans, double boiler set up OR an MB2 
  • measuring cup with a spout
If you're using a pan- 
Combine the oil and crushed leaves in a pan.  Simmer over a very low heat for 4 hours. 
Strain out leaves. The oil should be green.
Set aside. Set up double boiler with at least a 6 cup capacity. Mix the infused oil and the beeswax and melt together, stirring often. Pour into tins and jars. I find it's easier to pour from a spouted glass measuring cup and have a 4 cup one. 

If you're using the MB2-
You'll put in all the ingredients. Crushing the leaves is not necessary.
Then set it at 130 degrees and for 2 hours.

The MB2 has a blender in it and it stirs and blends as it works. The botanical matter is shredded into a fine paste. It will beep when it's done.

Set up the included Purify Filter, and put on the LoveGlove to squeeze all the oil out. 
Then you'll pour it into tins and jars.

Label the tins and jars with the date and type of salve you've made. Keep in a cool dark place, but also keep one in your car for bug bites and quick first aid, and keep one in your medicine cabinet. 

Clean up is a cinch. The Purify Filter can be hand washed, the MB2 has a self-cleaning cycle. Just follow the included instructions.

No affiliate links. This is just something that makes me very happy and I thought you should know about it. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Another Swirly Mandala to print and color

swirl mandala to print and color- blank available

Yay! It's June!

I'm still working on the Bill of Rights coloring page for this month, but have been playing with swirls again. I hope you enjoy this mandala to color!

Click the images below for blank versions to print and color.

Small jpg version:
Swirl mandala to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats

Large transparent png version:
Swirl mandala to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats


Monday, May 29, 2017

Wedding Ring Quilt Boxes

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Printables

I've been going out walking with my husband every night and bringing my camera. Last night, I took this photo of chokecherry blossoms at the local park-
Alaskan chokecherry tree

I loved the colors in it- so used it as the palette for this simple double wedding ring patterned set of boxes. I hope you enjoy them.

Click images for a larger version. print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold, glue.

Wedding ring printable box 2x2x2
Wedding ring quilt printable box available in 2 sizes. #printables #papercraft

Wedding ring printable box 3x1x1 
Wedding ring quilt printable box available in 2 sizes. #printables #papercraft


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