Thursday, December 15, 2011

Using Fabric Scraps Makes Things Cute!

We love all kinds of crafts--including crafts of the food variety, like baking, cooking and preserving food! Jams, pickles, preserves, and sauces make great gifts. They are a functional handmade gift that captures a seasonal taste from the spring or summer and can show off the fruits of your garden!

I have a lot of peach jams and salsas I made this summer from height-of-the-season Colorado peaches. I can hardly wait to give these as gifts and I packaged them each with beautiful fabric from my scrap bin. A 6" x 6" square piece of fabric is all you need to make an adorable statement for your jam, jelly, or sauce. I tied the fabric on with some nettle yarn and little tags I printed up on kraft paper. Packaged food = done!

Amber and I also love to wild-craft herbs and food whenever we're out in nature. This summer when we went on separate camping/hiking trips to two different parts of Colorado, we were surprised that we both brought back wild-crafted rose hips! Rose hips are the vitamin-packed fruit of the rose plant. The mountains of Colorado have tons of wild roses growing, and late August is a great time to harvest these sweet little gems. Here is what we did with them - some delicious jelly! 

Wildcrafted Rose Hip Jelly Recipe

We gathered our rose hips in the mountains, but you can easily urban forage these abundant fruits. Stay away from any roses that might have pesticides on them, though! The larger the rose hips, the better for jelly, as they will have more of the fruity flesh.

  • 2 quarts rose hips
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 package or 1/4 cup of no-sugar pectin
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • cheesecloth
  • colander or strainer
  • canning jars with lids (enough for 4 - 5 cups of jelly)

  1. Cut off the dried flower bits and the stem from rose hips and wash them.
  2. Put rose hips in a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the fruits are easily mashed.
  3. This is a good time to sterilize your jars and lids.
  4. Once the rose hips are done mash them up really good. Let the mixture steep as it cools.
  5. Place a strainer over a large bowl. Line the strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth. This will keep the seeds out of your jelly, which is very important. The hairy seeds are irritating and would not be pleasant to eat. If any sneak into your jelly be sure to get them out.
  6. Now strain your precious rose hip nectar! Use the back of a spoon to press most of the juice out. Once your cheesecloth gets pretty full you can wrap the hip remnants up in it and squeeze the remaining juice out with your hands.
  7. You should have about 3 cups of juice. Add some water if you have less to make 3 cups.
  8. Set out your sterile jars and prepare a water bath for processing.
  9. Combine rose hip juice in a saucepan with pectin. Bring to a boil and add sugar. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Pour into the sterile jars. Seal and process in water bath for 5 minutes.

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