Wild ramp pesto tortilla pizza

As you know if you’ve been following our blog or YouTube channel, I am a wild ramp fanatic! Nothing says Spring quite like seeing the tops pop out of the earth.

The first sign of Spring!

After a long winter of veggies only from the store, getting my hands in the dirt to forage my own food is one of the best feelings in the world. Smelling the dirt as it collects under my nails, feeling a grateful connectedness to our earth, and knowing I’ll soon be nourishing my body with the fresh harvest is energizing yet brings me calm and a sense of grounding.

To ensure sustainability for these over-harvested beauties, I almost exclusively take the leaves. Below is a favorite pesto recipe made from the leaves and a couple bulbs.

Harvest!

Ingredients

– two large handfuls wild ramps leaves (chopped, about 2.5 cups)

– 2 wild ramp bulbs

– 1 handful fresh basil leaves (chopped, about .5 cup)

– 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

– 4 T Parmesan cheese (for pesto, plus extra to sprinkle on pizza)

– 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

– 3 tortillas

– 3 cloves garlic

– 1/3 cup or more olive oil

Process

– preheat oven to 425 degrees F

– mince ramp bulbs and garlic

– roughly chop ramp and basil leaves

– combine ramp leaves, basil leaves, pine nuts, ramp bulbs, and garlic in food processor (pulse gently, don’t over-blend!) or crush together with mortar and pestle, until chunky

– add olive oil one tablespoon at a time and mix thoroughly (again, pulse very gently if using a food processor – you don’t want a smooth paste) until consistency is a wet, rough paste

– place tortilla in 8 inch cast iron pan (no oil in the pan – you want it crispy!)

– spread pesto evenly over tortilla

– pinch mozzarella into small bits and sprinkle over pesto

– sprinkle more Parmesan cheese over pizza (if desired)

– bake in oven 8 – 12 minutes, until cheese is slightly bubbling and tortilla edges are crispy

– try to pace yourself, enjoy, and appreciate this delicious gift from the earth rather than gobbling up in two bites (it will be hard!)

I hope you enjoy this tasty recipe as much as my husband and I do!

Make sure to check out our YouTube channel, Instagram, and Facebook to enjoy all our homesteading adventures!

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chocolate raspberry jam (seedless)

I admit it: I’m a chocoholic. I can’t help myself. It doesn’t matter when or where, I need chocolate. That includes breakfast, and my AM toast. I start most days with wild bumbleberry or wild raspberry, but there are times when my chocolate sweet tooth can’t be overpowered. Those times, I reach for my chocolate raspberry. It absolutely hits the spot – delicious raspberry jam with a slight overlay of dark chocolate. Mmmmm mmmmm good! It’s also stellar on ice cream!

Enjoy making this goodness yourself! Your house will smell amazing.

Preparing ingredients

– Using Squeezo, use smallest screen to juice raspberries berries and remove seeds to make 4.5 cups of wild raspberry juice/pulp

– Measure out 6 Tbsp pectin (I use Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin)

– Measure out 5 cups sugar

– Measure out .5 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder

– Mix sugar and cocoa

– If desired, to reduce boil over, set aside .5 tsp butter (optional)

Canning prep

– Prep hot water bath

– Sterilize jars

– Heat lids in hot water for sterilization and flexibility

– Lay out utensils (jar lifter, magnet to remove lids from hot water, funnel, etc.)

Cooking instructions

Heat juice over high heat, bringing to a rolling boil

– While heating, slowly stir in pectin

– While heating but after pectin, stir in butter if using

– Once at rolling boil, add entire measure of sugar and cocoa, and stir to dissolve

– Return to rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute

– Remove from heat

– Skim foam if needed

Canning process

– Place funnel on top of a sterilized jar

– Ladle jam into jar, leaving 1/4 inch headspace

– Wipe any jam from the top of the jar

– Using magnet, remove lid from hot water and place on jar

– Screw band onto jar until finger tight (do not over tighten)

– Place jars in waterbath for 10 minutes at a high boil (adjust for altitude if needed); ensure jars stay completely upright

– Remove jars from waterbath, keeping completely upright

– Place jars on counter or other surface untouched for at least 24 hours to ensure a seal and that jelly begins to set up properly

– Jars should seal within about half an hour but may take up to 24 hours; press top of lid after 24 hours and if it pops back up, the jar didn’t seal and should be placed in the fridge to be eaten soon

– If jam has properly set after 24 hours, carefully move jam to storage area; if still not set, wait up to a week for full set, them move to storage; if jam doesn’t set, eat over ice cream as a topping!

– Eat, share, and enjoy!

I hope you love my bumbleberry recipe; keep an eye on our blog to find more recipes; I’ll be posting one a week for a few weeks.

Don’t forget to check our all our adventures and homesteading fun by subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Instagram, and checking out all we have to offer (links below)!

https://linktr.ee/the.mn.homestead

bumbleberry jam recipe (seedless)

Wild raspberry jam is my favorite! Wait, I just had my morning toast with my wild blackberry – that is definitely my favorite! Oh! I just had some blueberry with my pancakes, that’s definitely it!

Hmmmm… with so many delicious jams to be had, how do you choose just one???

The answer, my friends, is that you don’t! Instead, you take your favorite 3 or 4 berries and make them into one splendid bumbleberry jam!

I’m very partial to wild berries; I enjoy the extra depth they provide but also love the hard work I put into harvesting them – tramping through the woods, seeking little patches, gathering the tiny berries that show much less result from a day’s picking but make me very happy!

My favorite wild berries are blackberries and raspberries. Though I don’t love blueberries on their own, they add a great tartness to my jam, so I typically use this trusted triumvirate for my bumbleberry. Thusly, the recipe below calls for those three but feel free to mix it up by adding some strawberries, increasing one of the berries while deceasing another proportionally, etc.! This recipe will make about 10 half pint (8 oz) jars.

Preparing ingredients

– Using berry press, juice wild blueberries to extract 1 cup juice, removing skins

– Using Squeezo, use smallest screen to juice berries and remove seeds to make 2.5 cups of wild blackberry juice/pulp, and 2.5 cups of wild raspberry juice/pulp

*total of 6 cups juice/pulp*

– Measure out 8 Tbsp pectin (I use Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin)

– Measure out 6 2/3 cups sugar

– If desired, to reduce boil over, set aside .5 tsp butter (optional)

Canning prep

– Prep hot water bath

– Sterilize jars

– Heat lids in hot water for sterilization and flexibility

– Lay out utensils (jar lifter, magnet to remove lids from hot water, funnel, etc.)

Cooking instructions

Heat juice over high heat, bringing to a rolling boil

– While heating, slowly stir in pectin

– While heating but after pectin, stir in butter if using

– Once at rolling boil, add entire measure of sugar and stir to dissolve

– Return to rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute

– Remove from heat

– Skim foam if needed

Canning process

– Place funnel on top of a sterilized jar

– Ladle jam into jar, leaving 1/4 inch headspace

– Wipe any jam from the top of the jar

– Using magnet, remove lid from hot water and place on jar

– Screw band onto jar until finger tight (do not over tighten)

– Place jars in waterbath for 10 minutes at a high boil (adjust for altitude if needed); ensure jars stay completely upright

– Remove jars from waterbath, keeping completely upright

– Place jars on counter or other surface untouched for at least 24 hours to ensure a seal and that jelly begins to set up properly

– Jars should seal within about half an hour but may take up to 24 hours; press top of lid after 24 hours and if it pops back up, the jar didn’t seal and should be placed in the fridge to be eaten soon

– If jam has properly set after 24 hours, carefully move jam to storage area; if still not set, wait up to a week for full set, them move to storage; if jam doesn’t set, eat over ice cream as a topping!

– Eat, share, and enjoy!

I hope you love my bumbleberry recipe; keep an eye on our blog to find more recipes; I’ll be posting one a week for a few weeks.

Don’t forget to check our all our adventures and homesteading fun by subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Instagram, and checking out all we have to offer (links below)!

https://linktr.ee/the.mn.homestead

canning time is finally here!

I am so happy to be getting into my canning groove! It appears that Minnesota is going to skip right from summer to winter, so what better time to be in the kitchen over a hot stove?

If you’re following us on YouTube (link below!) you’ll know that I started canning last week, and now I’m rearranging my schedule to get some more time in! With how long it takes to prep, can, and clean up, it’s not something I can do after work; we also spend our weekends at our homestead working, so no time there.

After some finagling, I’ve managed to find three slots of time to make these magical treats, and they’ve resulted in five jars of wild blackberry jelly (more to come!), 10 jars of wild raspberry jam, and 10 jars of apple sauce.

My wild berry jams have been classic recipes thus far – berries, pectin, and sugar. Pure bliss. My next batches will be twists – chocolate raspberry, vanilla blackberry, and bumbleberry (i usually go for the big four – raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry).

I’m eager to continue my canning season. I’ll post recipes over the next few weeks for you to try at home! Do you have favorite recipes? Please share them in the comments.

L-R: wild blackberry vanilla, wild raspberry, wild blackberry – chocolate wild raspberry on the stove as I write this!

And don’t forget to keep up with all the tastiness and adventures by subscribing to our YouTube channel (link below) and following us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3wWjfjOOzZVXC6YKUVwGA

maple syrup excitement

I love maple syrup on my breakfast sausage and bacon. Something about the salty and the sweet takes the meat from tasty to mouth-wateringly delicious! Oddly enough, I don’t enjoy it on my pancakes, waffles, or anything else. Call me strange, but it is what it is. My husband, on the other hand, douses all his breakfast food in it – meat, carbs, and all.

What this means is that I’m super pumped to make maple syrup for the first time next spring! With everything we’ve had going on for the last two years we just haven’t had the time. But with the end of cabin construction in sight (woo hoo!) we can make this work this year!

Growing up, my family had good friends that made maple syrup, and I loved to watch them work in the spring, getting the wood stove nice and hot, pouring big buckets of sap into huge pots, transferring the shrinking sap into smaller pots as it became syrup. I hoped that one day I’d be able to do that too.

This past weekend, I spent some time tagging our biggest maple trees. Some are so large I can’t come close to getting my arms around them! They’re definitely going to get two taps.

A behemoth of a tree!

Over the next few months, I’ll be reading up on the process, getting tips and tricks, and purchasing the materials. Check back here (and on our YouTube channel) to see how things go!

Even before we get to the syrup process, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel (link below) and follow us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead for all the rest of our fun!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3wWjfjOOzZVXC6YKUVwGA

bye bye, berry season

This past weekend, I picked my final wild berries of the year. For me, that is the true end of summer. This year, I’m going to harvest wild rose hips which will take my foraging into fall, but it’s still not the same as hours spent in the hot sun, berry juice staining my hands, my back protesting the constant bending, the thorns and barbs dragging across my skin, and the sounds of summer singing around me.

Berry stained hands!

The beginning of fall means that get to start the canning process, which is one of my very, very favorite things, but I still mourn the days spent deep in the woods, with nothing but nature around me.

This year was a crazy berry year – we had close to record cold temperatures this winter (30 below actual temp and 60 below windchill!!), a fair drought to start the spring, and then boatloads of rain for the following month or so. For some reason, that erratic weather led to some of the best berries I’ve ever seen!

Wild blackberries have been nonexistent since we bought the homestead two and a half years ago, and this year I plucked 4 1/2 gallons with ease with plenty to spare for the birds. Wild blueberries were slightly late but are still around, even as we head into September (far later than usual). And wild raspberries are so abundant you could never pluck them all.

Wild blackberries galore!

My haul for the year:

Wild blackberries: 4.5 gallons

Wild raspberries: 3 gallons

Wild blueberries: 3 gallons

Wild chokecherries (I know, not a berry): 4 gallons

I also picked 1 gallon each of cultivated raspberries and blueberries. I didn’t get a chance to pick strawberries but thankfully my family did (and are willing to share!).

Starting to plan the canning season is definitely helping me get over my summer grieving. I plan to make basic jellies and jams (just one berry) as well as bumbleberry (mixed berry), dark chocolate raspberry, and for the first time, bourbon vanilla blackberry. I’m also planning out a few other unusual recipes, but I’m not sure where I’ll land yet. If you have a recipe you love, I’d love to have you drop it in the comments!

Part of last year’s canning adventures

My plans also include wild blackberry brandy as well as wild raspberry and blackberry cordials. I’m also going to try to make fruit leather for the first time.

In addition to all of that, I’ll be making and canning apple sauce and apple butter, and as mentioned above I’ll be canning rose hip jelly. And, of course, crips and pies.

Whew! I have a busy time ahead of me! I have a few more vacation days available so I plan to take an extended weekend sometime in October to get through a lot of this.

Make sure you keep up with our blog as well as subscribing to our YouTube channel (link below) and following us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead for recipes, tips, tricks, and more deliciousness!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3wWjfjOOzZVXC6YKUVwGA

prepping for wild berry season

I am eagerly awaiting the beginning of July – our wild blueberries are peeking out and will be ready to pluck soon!

With that in mind, I’ve spent the last few days emptying out the berry freezer of the final harvest from last year. I need to make use of them to free up space!

I found that I only have blueberries and chokecherries left, so I’m making some more chokecherry wine and will be doing lots of blueberry baking!

My husband has a favorite bumbleberry crumble that I usually make with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, so I switched it up last night for dessert and made a blueberry only crumble. He’ll be jealous, but I’ll share the recipe with you!

Recipe:

3 cups berries

3 T sugar

Mix well

***

1 cup flour

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

.5 t cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

3/4 cup butter

Mix well

***

Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 5 – 10 minutes to crisp up.

Pour the berry mixture over the bottom and crumble the rest of the oat mixture on top. Bake 30-40 minutes until the berry juices are bubbling up.

Top with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!

My chokecherry wine is started as well. I’m ready for this year’s berries!

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead and subscribe to our channel on YouTube (link below) for more fun and delicious homesteading adventures!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3wWjfjOOzZVXC6YKUVwGA

Jam and jelly are my favorite Christmas gifts

My most favoritist favorite thing about summer (other than the Boundary Waters!!) is foraging for berries. I take Fridays off work for most of June and July, heading to the homestead on Thursday night so I can spent Friday in the woods.

We have wild blueberries, raspberries, and chokecherries galore as well as some wild strawberries, blackberries, and an assortment of others. This past summer, I loaded my Frost River rolldown satchel that I use as a foraging bag with over four gallons of chokecherries, six of raspberries, and over three of blueberries. I also spent some quality time at our local organic berry patch loading up on several pounds of strawberries.

What does all of that mean for late fall and early winter? Jam and jelly making!

I’ve spent the last several days jamming out (I’m so witty!) in the kitchen churning out pint after half-pint after teaser (4 oz) of jelly in preparation for Christmas.

A successful day!

My favorite treats to make this year were wild raspberry, wild blueberry, wild chokecherry, dark chocolate wild raspberry (heaven on earth!), and bumbleberry (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, and blackberry).

I’ll write a post sometime about the whole experience (including always using my great-great grandmother’s pot and my husband’s great-grandmother’s funnel) but the star of the day today is getting everything all buttoned up and under the tree!

Spoof guarding the treats (or preparing to knock over the tree)

Hope you’re all have a marvelous time preparing for the holidays and are looking forward to some wonderful times with family and friends.

Happy holidays and joy to you!

Make sure you follow me on Instagram @the_mn_homestead for more foraging, jelly-making, homesteading adventures!

Wild plums!

I’ve had one of my most exciting foraging finds! A few days ago as I was wandering the forest skimming the tree line in search of wild apples, I came across a treat I hadn’t expected – a thicket of wild plums! I knew they grow here in MN, but I’d never seen a sign of them. Exciting to say the least.

With my foraging bag over my shoulder, I plucked a few off the tree and popped them in my mouth one at a time. The fruit was sweet and the skins tangy. Having confirmed they’re delicious, I picked the ripest and into my bag they went. With a full bag in hand, I considered my day a success and went home to make a plan to put them up.

I love jams and jellies – there’s nothing better than homemade bread with homemade preserves to start your morning off right. For me, the only way to put these up was to make jam. Right now, I have a thick slice of cracked wheat bread slathered with butter and plum jam, and I’m happy as can be. If he’s good, I may even share some with my husband.

Wild Plum Jam Recipe

4 pounds whole wild plums

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 cups sugar

1 package fruit pectin (3 ounce)

Remove the pits but keep the skins. Chop the fruit (I found that using a serrated bread knife worked best for getting through the skins) and put into a stainless steel pot with the water over medium heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and bring the mixture to a rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Add pectin and boil for an additional minute, still stirring constantly. Set aside, off heat, for 1 minute.  Skim off any foam.

In the meantime, sterilize the jar, lids, and bands. Then, pour the jam into 8 ounce jars and leave a 1/8 inch headspace. Wipe the rimes and threads then put on the lids and bands. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Enjoy!