Wild Rose Jam

IMG_7989Well, it’s been ages since I’ve last written, but I promise you I did not put waste to that time. Life got in the way of my writing time, hell, personal time and the blog was one of the first things to suffer. But I hope to remedy that as I find some new pockets of time after having my second baby and our summer season finds more rain than I’ve ever seen in this country.

It’s a bit intimidating coming back to the page… where to start, what to say, how to catch you up on the last hundred years of my absence…so here’s a general run down: I went back to work, we got turkeys, I started a small-batch gourmet canning business and started selling at local markets on the side of my town gig, we built a greenhouse, we had more colts, we had more chickens, I shot a bear who ate said chickens, we made, grew, foraged and hunted a bunch of our own food, we butchered the turkeys, I got pregnant, I got my Permaculture Design Certificate from OSU, we went to Hawaii, our first baby grew into a full blown toddler, we got a LDG puppy, I had the other baby and now, here we are. Phew. Some other stuff happened too, but I’ll get to that later. Or not. Let’s be honest, I’m in no position to make any promises to you. For now, I want to share a recipe that recently bloomed on the farm.

IMG_7554I am a huge lover of wild foraging in the Peace River Valley and just recently the Wild Rose came into bloom. I’ve used the Wild Rose in many creations over the years, my favourite is its use in my skin salves and skin products as it’s a highly beneficial plant. But lately I’ve delved into the wonderful world of the wild flower culinary scene and I can’t get enough. Fireweed was my gateway “herb” and I haven’t looked back since. Oh to be an adult.

IMG_7157I started by making some Wild Rose Sugar which is a staple in my morning (and 2nd breakfast and elevenses and afternoon and evening) tea. Hey, I’m breastfeeding and running around behind a toddler and running a farm and a small business, I need a lot of tea. I’ve also used it when baking delicious deserts and dusting anything frosted in this wonderful stuff. But how could I take that to the next level? I NEED MORE WILD ROSE IN MY LIFE AND IN MY BELLY! I won’t calm down, you calm down.

And so it was born, the combination of a few different recipes, but ultimately my favourite – my Wild Rose Jam. I LOVE the combination of something wild but delicate and ladies and gents, this is IT. So far I’ve mostly eaten out of the jar and on homemade bread, but hope to slather my cookies, my cakes and my meats with it real soon.

For those of you lucky locals, this product is coming to a Farmer’s Market near you real soon! It’s been pH tested by a lab to ensure that it is safe to can in a water bath method.

Wild Rose Jam – Makes 10 – 125ml jars (ish)

4 cups of fresh wild rose petals, cleaned

4 cups of sugar

4 tbsp lemon juice

4 cups of water

1 pouch of liquid pectin

Take some time on a beautiful day to harvest wild rose petals. Sort through your bounty and separate the petals from any pollen, stems, leaves, bugs and dirt. Rinse rose petals in a salad spinner and spin dry. Add the lemon juice and 1 cup of sugar to rose petals in a bowl and massage until makes a paste. This will release the colour and perfume. Let sit while you combine the water with the remaining sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved and add rose petal paste. stir well and bring to boil. Revel in the intoxicating scent that fills your kitchen, dancing encouraged.

Boil for 20 minutes and add pectin. Hard boil for another 10 minutes. Test jam in freezer on frozen spoon for consistency. You don’t want to cook for too long or you will lose the delicate colour of the jam. Clean and sterilize your jars, rings and lids by either running them in the dishwasher right before you fill them or wash in hot soapy water with a good rinse. Pour jam into hot jars, wipe rims clean and place lids. Tighten rings until finger tight. Place in water bath for 10 mins.

This jam is slightly syrupy and won’t set up as a hard jam. Once placed in the fridge overnight though, the consistency is divine and spreads beautifully on some home made whole wheat bread.

As for me, we continue to be as busy as bees on the farm and I will do my very best to bring this blog back to life. Happy Summer folks! It’s a beautiful day.

Katy

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In the beginning…

We started on this homesteading journey the first day Husband and I met. Our conversation led to the ideas of owning critters, growing our own food and we talked and talked about living a more simple life and getting back to the land and to nature. Pretty hot first date, huh? These were things I always thought, but never really envisioned happening, at least not in my next five year plan. I am a goal setter, and each year, I write down my goals and always have a five year plan. I think it’s important to put things out into the universe, otherwise, how will the universe respond? It sounds kind of New Age but seriously, in 2009 before I met Husband, one of my goals was to “Own my own house with a BIG backyard”, written exactly as that. Here I am 5 years later with my own house and the biggest backyard I could have imagined. So think what you will.

On our wedding day, his parents gifted us 160 acres of raw land on the Peace River in British Columbia (YES!). It was, and still is, being farmed by a local farmer, but only in the fields and we were excited to dream up all of the possibilities. Of course, reality butted in and after many nights of list making, dreaming and talks with the bank, we realized what a huge undertaking this was going to be. Not only did we have zero utilities, we barely had a workable road in. We also had to deal with a mess of immigration to get me legal. So we decided to find Husband a job and send him first, in the spring, and then I would follow in the fall regardless of my immigration status. We’d just have to deal with it. Our entire relationship was built on long stints of time apart, so we knew it would be hard, but we could most definitely do it. Husband left Alaska in April of 2013 with a truck full of belongings and my first born dog, Wyatt. Honestly, I think it was harder to say goodbye to Wyatt. We had never been apart. But I sent them down the road and embarked on one of the most epic summers I have ever experienced in Alaska. Husband embarked on one of the hardest working summers he had ever experienced.

Working a full time job and preparing land for a home is no easy task. Good thing Husband is such a “doer”. He loves to be busy and loves to work hard. Did I luck out or what? Our modular home was put on order to build after we secured the construction loan. It is true when they tell you that everything will take longer and be more expensive than you think, but we worked on our patience and our communication skills, a lot… Some of the things we had to contract out, but we tried (with help from family and friends) to do most of it ourselves. Not only for the cost savings, but because we really wanted to learn through this process and be a part of our homestead journey.

Here’s our list of what we accomplished in our first summer, 2013:

  • Upgrade farm road and add ditches
  • Fence all 160 acres with barb wire fencing
  • Clear, add gravel & compact house pad site
  • Drive piles for house to sit on
  • Dig and install well
  • Dig septic tank and have installed
  • Install propane tank
  • Clear and mulch trees for power line
  • Receive house and hook up gas, water & sewer
  • Build stairs front/back & large deck
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Father-in-law & brother-in-law fencing our acreage

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Our beautiful fence line

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Driving piles

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Compacting in my skirt and work boots

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Learning new skills

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Our helper

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It’s not glamorous, but somebody has to do it

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Digging for the septic tank

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Wyatt loves machines… and his Dad

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The house has arrived!

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Putting it on the piles

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Deck work

            

So, after an exhausting couple of months, our house was delivered. We didn’t get power until October (remember, everything takes twice as long as they tell you) and moved in November 2013. Not too shabby of a start to this wild and grand adventure! Now the fun part begins… our homesteading goals for 2014.

~Katy