Friday, September 23, 2016

Wild Foods, Why We Wild Harvest and Our Beauty Berry Jelly Recipe

  I cannot wait to get outside in late summer and fall months to gather all the things God has laid at our feet to use. We often wild harvest, not because we have to but because we want to! At least I do anyway. As well as growing a garden, our wild harvesting is another way to help feed the family healthy food for little to nothing. It's also a great way to get exercise and teach my children about the wild world around them. And it's so much fun to be outside with my little people, talking about the different ways God blesses our path. We discuss how sweating is good for our bodies, how the vitamin D we get from sunshine will be used in our bodies for calcium and which wild foods are ready next and where to find them. One reason the current generations know nothing about self sufficiency is because no one is teaching them. Ok parents, have you kept your kids from ever having to get dirty and then want them to go on a wilderness trip, just to hear them cry about how hot and sticky they are? How about bugs, dirt and worms? Yes, now is the time for a wake up call if you are not introducing them to the outside world and all it has to offer your family. Getting your bodies acclimated to the weather, being acquainted with the surroundings and knowing what foods are available are a need you may wish you have paid attention to if times get harder. I try to keep it pretty simple when teaching my kids but we are all sweating, learning and working together and that's the fun of it. Not to mention how much free food we are able to put up when others are forced to pay for it through grocery store lines. You can learn how also, and now is a great time to get started. Check out our YouTube channel for more ideas. Simply click the image labeled Our YouTube Channel, to the left of the screen when you finish reading here. It will take you straight to more free ideas on how to find herbs and plants in the wild and has some of my personal tried and true gardening tips.
  Have you seen this plant near you? If so, you also have access to free food!
  Harvesting foods from our garden and from the wild definitely makes a huge dent in our large grocery bill, but these are skills that take persistence to cultivate. Our house is full of folks (think Eight is Enough) but we certainly don't lack for anything, especially food. Wild harvesting is a wonderful way we spend time together and put back for winter. You too might want to start thinking very seriously about what (if anything) you have available to wild harvest if or when hard times hit you. Not all foods come in at the same time, do you know when each thing is ready? It's a real skill and takes years to learn. Somethings cannot be eaten mature, while others can. You need to be aware of these things BEFORE a hard situation hits you. Costs for foods rise no matter what. Start now so you can help your family save money. I've been wild harvesting seriously for about 12 years and I'm still learning more each time. When you aren't tied to a system that requires money changing hands, it is total food freedom. Not only is wild harvested food free of any pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, it's totally free except your time and a little work. I cannot think of a better way to spend my time with my children, than teaching them in a hands on way of an awesome Creator and how He provides for them. When your food is free given by God why would you turn your nose up to be dependent on others (like stores) for what you already have ?!?!  I for one, cannot express the joy I have seeing my children and I learn to harvest from the wild while at the same time we get to also enjoy putting up the fruits of our labor - literally.

Our find for this week is Beauty Berries. It is a beautiful purple fruit that grows in shady areas and forests across the country and is a bush of tall stalks. Berries are found in clumps on each stalk at every leaf section. Stalks reach 4 to 6ft tall. Often mistaken for a poisonous food, it is not. It's highly nutritious and makes a great jelly. It doesn't have a lot of flavor, but the essential oils I add in the recipe give it just enough tang to enhance it, kill any grassy flavor and make it into a really yummy jelly.

Here is the recipe:
 Beauty Berry Jelly
10 cups berries covered with 10 cups water, ( you can do more if you would like but use equal parts)bring all to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Mash with a potato masher as it boils and after boiling to infuse water with berry juices. Let sit for about 20min. Strain off busted berries and this will render about 6 cups of juice. Use 3cups of this juice per batch of jelly. You can double the jelly recipe but do not enlarge any more than that or it will not set up.

For each batch of Beauty Berry Jelly, pour 3 cups juice into stock pot and add the following ingredients.
2 Cups Organic Sugar
One box of Low Sugar Pectin Sure-Gel (Pink Box)

2 Drops Bergamot Essential Oil
3 Drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil
*The citrus essential oils will cut grassy taste commonly associated with wild berries and their products. Use in any wild berry recipe to get out the grassy taste.
I am a dumper and dump all above ingredients into stock pot. Bring all to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, it takes a while to get to this point. Once it is at this hard boil, then set a timer for 3 minutes. If you double recipe, you need to boil hard for 4 minutes. Once time is up, pour into your cleaned jars. Cap off with clean lids and turn jars upside down on counter for 10 to 15 minutes.
 Turn to upright position after about 15 minutes and viola. Wild beauty berry jelly is some of the prettiest jelly you have ever seen. It is magenta in color and absolutely stunning.
I hope if you make some, you will let me know how it turned out. Happy hunting for your wild foods! I hope you found this helpful. Melisa

1 comment:

  1. Also beauty berry leaves when crushed is a great insect repellent. I rub them on my skin when berry picking to keep chigger, ticks, and mosquitoes off of me.