All-Butter Pie Crust Recipe

Homemade Pie Crust Recipe for Two Crust Pie

I’m not sure whether or not the world needs another pie crust recipe, but to be honest, every time I post a picture of one of my pies, whether on Facebook, Instagram, or some homesteading group, at least one person asks for my recipe. Nine times out of ten my pies are made with all butter crusts, and so, here is my pie crust recipe made with all butter.

Jump to recipe. Skip the blah, blah, blah.

Why All Butter Pie Crust?

Fresh Homemade Butter

My reasons for making pie crust with all butter (as opposed to shortening or another fat) are simple.

I have a cow.

And so, I make a lot of butter and do what I can to maximize the use of her dairy.

But there are other great reasons for making an all-butter pie crust, too:

  • FLAVOR! It’s butter. Enough said.
  • Flakiness. Butter makes one of the flakiest crusts. it’s why French Croissants are nothing but layered, “laminated” sheets of butter and flour (well, just about).
  • It’s natural. Butter is a natural fat, as opposed to vegetable shortening, which is hydrogenated vegetable oil. Shortening is actually higher in trans fats and calories. Butter has a lower total fat count and contains good percentages of essential vitamins, too. These are mostly fat-soluble vitamins which need good natural fats in order to be absorbed in the body.

That said, no doubt what you really want is the recipe. So here it is. If you care to read on after the recipe, you’ll find a few more tidbits of information (including fat substitutions for this all-butter pie crust).

All-Butter Pie Crust

Makes one two-crust pie crust

Ready to Roll All-Butter Pie Crust Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C cold butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C cold milk* (more as needed)

Instructions:

  1. Measure the flour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt evenly over the top.
  2. Stir through to combine.
  3. Cut the butter into chunks and add to the flour and salt mixture.
  4. Cut in the butter until a coarse, even meal-like mixture is formed.
  5. Add cold milk, pouring evenly through the flour mixture.
  6. Press and fold with a rubber spatula or large spoon until the dough comes together. Add more milk in small amounts if needed. Do not overmix; stop when dough forms a ball.
  7. Split dough into two even balls. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in sealed container and refrigerate for one half to one hour (or overnight) before rolling.
  8. When working dough, whether mixing or rolling, work only as long as you need to. This will make your crust flakier, and help avoid toughness.

*May substitute cold ice water for cold milk if desired.

The Only (Kind of, Not Really) “Downside” to All-Butter Pie Crust

If there is a downside to an all-butter pie crust, it’s only that crusts made with only butter lose their shape a little more than crusts made with shortening or lard. It’s not an issue for the crust itself, it’s really just around the edges and the crimping where this tends to happen.

One way to minimize this and help keep the shape a little better is to return the prepared, crimped pie to the refrigerator or freezer for a half hour to an hour before baking. Then go directly from fridge to oven. That will stiffen the butter and allow it to cook before it melts (that’s the condensed version) and the crimping won’t be quite as lost. It’s truly aesthetic, though, and as you can see from the pictures it certainly does not mean you get a bad-looking pie!

Fat Substitutions for the All-Butter Pie Crust Recipe

I always think it’s a little funny when someone asks me if I have a recipe for a pie crust with just butter in it. Because there truly is no mystery here.

Any pie crust recipe can be made with butter. All you do is use an equal measure of butter in place of whatever fat is called for in the recipe you have (no matter if it’s lard or shortening). Everything else stays the same.

All-butter pie crust pies. Homemade butter pie crust.

One thing I do often do, though, is to cut the fat in the recipe and use half lard, half butter. This gives me another natural fat option (one I also tend to have around as we frequently raise pigs and render fresh lard for cooking and baking). A lard and butter crust will hold its shape better than an all-butter crust, and also lends a robust, savory flavor to the pies. It is an especially nice flavor for pot pies and meat pies. Lard is a lot healthier than we’ve been led to believe, too. It’s definitely worth your while to learn a little more about this not-so-unhealthy natural fat in its pure form.

A Real Homemade Pumpkin Pie Recipe That Works!

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch, Made from Real Pumpkins (Or Squash!)

Looking for a great scratch pumpkin pie recipe made from real, actual, whole pumpkins? Here’s one I’ve been tweaking off and on for years!

Sugar or pie pumpkins are generally one of the easiest things to grow on the homestead (assuming you have space to put up with the vines). Homegrown pumpkins, or even fresh-bought sugar pumpkins* from the store or farmers’ market, make the best pumpkin pies and pumpkin treats. As long as you have the recipes to use them!

What I like best about this recipe is that it does not require evaporated or condensed milk. That’s kind of hard to find in a pumpkin pie recipe. I have an aversion to adding processed and commercially canned products to my recipes if I can avoid it, because I want them as natural as can be, using as much of my homegrown and home-produced goodness as possible. Since I have a dairy cow, I want a real milk recipe. Actually, even when we have not had fresh cow’s milk of our own, I want real dairy instead of the processed canned stuff.

Homemade pumpkin pie made from real pumpkin

(*NOTE “field pumpkins” can also be used for baking homemade recipes from real pumpkins. You can also substitute any winter squash in equal measurements in place of the pumpkin. All the same instructions from roasting to baking apply, you just use squash instead.)

Converting Canned Pumpkin Recipes for Baking with Real Pumpkins

There’s no big trick to converting a recipe that calls for canned pumpkin into one made with fresh or homegrown pumpkin. Yes, you have to cook the pumpkin first—and for that, I’ll always recommend roasting (see below), as it makes a nice, firm, pumpkin puree similar in moisture and texture to the canned stuff (but better tasting…and many sources say that canned stuff is really a variety of squash, not pumpkin at all…maybe why we don’t notice much of a difference between “their” pumpkin and squash?).

>> To use fresh pumpkin in place of canned, use your homemade roasted pumpkin puree in equal parts. So, if the recipe calls for one cup of canned pumpkin, use one cup of homemade pumpkin puree.
>> If a recipe calls for one can of pumpkin puree (usually referring to a 15-ounce can), make life easy and use 2 cups of your homemade puree. The tiny difference only gives you a firmer, less-wet baked result. It totally works!

How Many Pumpkins to Roast for Pumpkin Puree

A typical small sugar pumpkin will yield about 1 ½ cups of finished pumpkin puree; a medium pumpkin yields more towards 2 ½ to 3 cups. Field pumpkins can be more variable because they tend to have more seeds and “guts” but you should get at least 3 cups of puree from the average field or carving pumpkin.

>> For one pie bake two small pumpkins
>> Will yield 2+ cups of puree = to 1 can of pumpkin

For one pumpkin pie I usually bake at least two pie pumpkins. When deciding how many pumpkins to roast for a pumpkin pie or other pumpkin recipe, it’s usually a good idea to bake more than your estimate. No worries—any leftover puree can always be frozen in a Tupperware™, deli container, or Ziploc™, freezer, or vacuum seal bag.

Roast the Pumpkins, Make Pumpkin Puree

To make your pumpkin pie from scratch, you’ll first have to roast the pumpkin and make it into a puree. Don’t be nervous, there’s nothing easier. I often roast the pumpkin ahead of time and freeze it, and/or I will roast and make more puree than I need when I am baking and then throw the extra in the freezer in a deli container or plastic bag.

To roast the pumpkins:

  • Cut pumpkins in half the long way (stem to blossom end—if you screw this up and cut it width-wise, it’s no big deal and it ruins nothing, this is just an easier way to cut it)
  • Scoop out all the loose seeds and strings. Reserve the seeds to roast them if you like. https://cookieandkate.com/roasted-pumpkin-seeds-recipe/
  • Cover the bottom of a baking sheet (with sides!) with water and place the pumpkin halves cut-side-down on the baking pan.
  • Roast at 375° for 45 minutes or until soft—you should be able to stick a fork through the skin and into the pumpkin meat.
Real pumpkin purée

Let roasted pumpkins cool for half an hour until easily handled, then make your puree:

  • Using a spoon, scoop the soft pumpkin into a medium or large mixing bowl (or into the bowl of a stand mixer).
  • Use a beater, blender, food processor, stand mixer, or immersion blender and beat the pumpkin until it reaches a smooth and even consistency.
  • Measure out 2 cups for the pumpkin pie recipe and freeze the remaining pumpkin puree for future use. Do NOT attempt to can the puree, as this is not considered safe in a home kitchen.

And without further ado, the recipe:

**Real Pumpkin Pie Recipe – Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

Ingredients:

  • 9- or 10-inch single pie crust, unbaked
  • 2 C homemade pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ C whole milk
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/8 C molasses
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 TBSP melted butter
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

*Substitutions: Depending on preference and what you have on hand, 2 cups homemade squash puree may be substituted for the pumpkin. You may substitute 1 cup brown sugar for the sugar and molasses. You may substitute 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Prepare pie crust. Use a single-crust, 9-inch or deep-dish pie crust (unbaked). (Note: recipe can make up to a 10-inch pie easily.)
  • Combine all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl or into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Using a whisk, handheld mixer, immersion blender, stand mixer, or food processor, beat the ingredients together until they are smooth and creamy.
  • Pour into prepared pie crust. Cover crimped edge with a guard or foil to prevent over-browning.
  • Place prepared pie on a baking sheet and carefully transfer to preheated oven.
  • Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350° and bake for 50 minutes more or until done. Pie is done when a knife inserted near the center of the pie comes out clean. (But if you loathe the thought of ruining that pumpkin pie top perfection, here’s some advice on how to test a pumpkin pie for doneness without the knife!) https://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/thanksgiving/how-to-tell-pumpkin-pie-done

**adapted from the One-Pie Pumpkin recipe

That’s it! Perfect Pumpkin Pie from Homemade Pumpkin Puree. This recipe is a keeper for all your holidays and pumpkin cravings to come! Enjoy!

Homestead Happenings — Thanksgiving On The Homestead

Homestead Thanksgiving prep

What goes on on the homestead in late November? Thanksgiving prep and celebration, of course!

This year was on the smaller side. Covid. As a pretty good-sized family, though, it’s never what one might call “small.”

Getting Ahead by Prepping Ahead

When you grow much, most, or all of what you eat, holidays like Thanksgiving can take a bit longer to prepare for than they might in a more conventional household. A lot of these foods have already seen some prep early on in the year during canning or preserving. Here on our homestead, I don’t pre-can things like pie fillings, and seldom are sauces (cranberry sauce, for instance) canned ahead.

I do grow pumpkins and squash and love to make homemade, completely from scratch pies with them (in fact, I’ve been years tweaking commercial recipes to get one “just right” for homegrown pumpkin pie—we will talk about that in another post). Pumpkins and winter squashes store so well that I don’t usually put the time and utilities into preserving them (it’s not really considered safe to can pumpkins and squash as a puree so if I do preserve them it’s in the freezer, which I find a little less preferable to freshly cooked or roasted–too watery).

The bottom line is that if it’s not coming out of a can or off a grocery store shelf, it’s going to take a little more time and effort to turn those homegrown goods into your holiday meal. The results, though, are oh, SO worth it!

Fresh Turkey for Thanksgiving

Some of our homesteading was sidelined a few years ago due to a catastrophic injury in the household. During that time we did not give up, but we did scale way back. I made pains to keep some semblance of backyard farming going in an effort to maintain a lifestyle that was recognizable to us, a lifestyle we’d always enjoyed, and also to maintain the mental health of the household. And so, we have not raised our own turkeys here on the homestead in at least three years.

We do, however, have excellent local farms for whom household members work part time, and so we were blessed with the gift of appreciation in the form of a farm-fresh turkey. This nearly 24-pounder was one of the first prepping projects when he went into the brine. And he was worth the extra time and effort.

As for the rest, the pictures can take over the talking. As always, though, comments and questions are quite welcome.

Hoping your Thanksgiving was a delicious and blessed as ours on our homestead, and that the remainder of the year and the upcoming holiday season is full of peace, joy, and tranquility!

How to Use Dehydrated Vegetables: Uses for Dried Tomatoes

Easy Ways to Use Preserved Dried Tomatoes

This is not the first year that I’ve dried vegetables to preserve them, but I certainly did more of it this year than any previous year. There are many benefits to dehydrating vegetables for preserving, and once you’re hooked you’ll wonder why you never did more of it before (I know I certainly do!).

Using Dried Tomatoes in Cooking

One of the reasons that people don’t do more dehydrating is a very simple one—we don’t know what to do with those vegetables once we’ve got them dried. It’s a question that I see and am asked quite often. And so, along with learning more about the actual drying process, I’m always looking for ways to use dried produce. After all, if we don’t use it, then what’s the point?

Using Dried and Dehydrated Tomatoes

It’s a lot to take on how to use all types of dried vegetables in one article. It makes more sense to break it down into individual vegetables (and fruits, too). Actually—and you’ve probably heard this before—tomatoes, the subject for today, are fruit. But we know we really all consider them vegetables.

Tomato, tomaaato, fruit or veggie—what can you do with dried tomatoes?

You might not think so, but dried tomatoes are one of the easiest dried vegetables (fruit) to use. Dehydrated tomatoes reconstitute easily, which is key in maximizing their use. The easier it is to bring your dried produce “back to life,” the easier you’ll find it is for you to use them. It also helps that you don’t actually need to reconstitute tomatoes in order to use them (but just in case, there are instructions for that below).

That said, here are some of my favorite ways to use dried, dehydrated, and sun-dried tomatoes. Regardless of what method you used to dehydrate them, these uses will work for all properly preserved dry tomatoes:

Tip: consider any dried or dehydrated tomatoes just as good as “sun-dried,” and use them interchangeably in recipes.

Dried tomatoes in olive oil recipe.

“Sun-dried” Tomatoes in Oil. Very simply, use whole slices or break up into any size pieces (I find about ¼ to ½ inch something easy to chew after-the-fact). Place the tomatoes in a jar and then cover with olive oil. Add any herbs or spices you like. I love adding fresh or dried garlic cloves and some salt. I’ll frequently add in pepper (white or red pepper flakes are delicious) and basil.

This oil should be refrigerated for safety’s sake, which may cause the oil to coagulate, but if you leave the jar out at room temperature for a while before serving, or warm it a little, it will come right back to its fluid state. Prepare this oil several hours to days before you want to use it to get the best flavor infusion and some softening of the dried tomatoes (in this constitution they do not get as soft as cooked tomatoes so expect them to be a little crisp and chewy).

From here, there are many ways that you can use this infused oil, and/or the tomatoes. You may strain the tomatoes and vegetables from the oil or keep them in suspension, or you can remove just the tomatoes and use them. Some favorite ways to use the oil and/or the tomatoes are: as a dipping oil, salad dressing, on pizza, in stir-fries, as a marinade or tossed into pan-fried, sautéed, or roasted chops and meats.

This oil makes an excellent alternative to full-on pasta sauces—light, delicious, not overpowering, easy on the stomach, still with good tomato flavor…almost like a fast and easy sun-dried tomato pesto. It is an especially good pairing for veal and chicken but will do well with a number of meats, and of course with other vegetables!

Rehydrated for sauce. Tomatoes rehydrate very easily (see below), so rehydrating them and then pureeing or using for any sauce recipe is simple. Rehydrate, puree, season, simmer. Simple!

Dried tomato powder. Place dried tomatoes in a blender or food processor and process until pulverized into a powder. You can make the powder ahead to have on hand for everyday cooking.

dried tomato powder from dehydrated tomatoes

Tomato powder works well as a thickener similar to tomato paste, as a seasoning for soups, stews, or roasted meats and vegetables, added to beef bone broth (really helps mellow the beef bones!), or added to vegetable juices.

In any soup, stew, or chili. Tomatoes rehydrate so easily that you don’t even need to rehydrate them before using them in these dishes. Just throw them in in a measure close to what the rehydrated to fresh equivalent would be (see below).

Rehydrated for salsa or Pico de Gallo. Rehydrate as per below, and use in place of fresh tomatoes in your favorite salsa recipe.In rice dishes. Easy. Add dried tomatoes in when boiling the rice, using a little extra water.

In omelets, casseroles, and other dishes. For these recipes, you can choose the form you think will work best—as a sun-dried type, in oil, rehydrated, or allowed to rehydrate in the cooking. Tomato is a great flavor for many of these types of dishes, and dried or dried and rehydrated tomatoes work excellently as well!

How to Rehydrate Dried Tomatoes for “Fresh” Tomato Recipes

To rehydrate dried tomatoes, place tomatoes in a bowl and add enough warm water to cover the dried tomatoes. Cover and let sit for one hour (or overnight in a refrigerator), and then use in cooking just as you would use canned or sliced/chopped tomatoes. If preferred, drain off excess water (though it can make a nice flavoring in soups and rice dishes, and if making sauce a little liquid to puree is not unwelcome).

The only real question left, then, is how do you know how much or how many dried tomatoes to use for the “fresh” yield you need? Here are some yields and equivalents to go by:


• 1 pound of fresh tomatoes will yield about 1 cup of dried tomatoes
• Use 1 cup dried tomatoes for every pound of fresh tomatoes a recipe calls for—rehydrate according to use
• 1 cup of rehydrated tomatoes equals 1 ½ cups

Recommended Reading for Drying Tomatoes, Using Dried Tomatoes, and Preserving Other Dried Foods

I strongly recommend this book for either drying fruits and vegetables or for resources and ways to use them after the fact. It is a very comprehensive guide, a “Bible” of sorts for preserving foods. It takes you all the way through from preserving to use, including a number of good recipes. Published by the reputable, reliable Storey Publishing house:

The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun — by Teresa Marrone

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Can’t Buy it? Bake it!

Easy Homemade Bread & Baking Resources

Not surprisingly, during this time of stocking up (and let’s be honest, flat-out panic buying), many of the items we take for granted are just not available on store shelves. Chief among them, bread…and bread is an important staple for many, most especially when the kids are all home and looking for lunches!

If you can bake your own bread, though, that dearth is less of an issue for you. And this looks like a good time to revive or to learn a new old trick or two, to better situate yourself to deal with not only this crisis, but future impacts that might come along.

Baking and Bread Recipes Designed for Modern Life & Times

easy standmixer bread, KitchenAid bread recipe

The goal of my site and my published works has always been to bring self-sustaining knowledge, tips, tricks, and skills, back to the masses; to modify recipes that make it possible for people to make more of their own, cleaner, better, tastier foods from scratch.

I acknowledge that this isn’t always easy when we are in the throes of our “normal” busy day to day lives. So, I’ve always tried to develop helpful posts and books with that in mind, and find the recipes and methods that fit a little more easily into daily life. I’ve had excellent feedback from a number of readers and users saying that they have found these resources to be exactly that—helpful, easier, less-intimidating, and more manageable for today’s busy home cooks.

Judging from the scarcity of flour and basic baking supplies in the stores, people are doing exactly that—becoming a little more self-sufficient, depending more on themselves, and getting lined up to at least be able to bake their own bread and foods for a bit. It’s an excellent skill for the everyday, but one thing we are also learning is that learning and honing a few of these skills now during our time of need is proving an excellent, in fact at times imperative, skill to have in your repertoire. Knowledge can never be lost, and is always worth having, now and in the future—these crazy days prove you never know when you might need to be a little more prepared toward self-sufficiency.

Bake-Your-Own Resources for Beginners to Experienced Bread Bakers

Following is a compiled list of my books and other resources that can help you fill the needs of your pantry while the shelves are bare (and maybe for a long time after!):

*All books are available through Amazon in both Paperback and for instant download via Kindle/Kindle Reader Apps.

Daily Homemade Bread easier, faster homemade bread

your stand mixer (think, KitchenAid® mixer breads). It uses instant/rapid rise yeast to speed and streamline the process.

No pan? No problem! Choose the French or Italian breads that only require a simple baking sheet!

no-knead bread recipes, bake no-knead bread

—so if your yeast supply is getting low, take a look at these recipes! No-Knead bread recipes are also excellent time savers, as the “hands-on” time is virtually nil (and the science of it is kind of fun, too). You’ll find bagels, rolls, and sweet treats, too.

mason jar baking mixes, prep baking mixes

The measuring and proportioning involved in making these mixes is a great project to do with kids—and one that extends learning in a practical way, too!

Even if you don’t want to take the time to make a lot of mixes ahead, the batches themselves make good, easy baking recipes with normal, minimal ingredients.

  • Sourdough Starter Recipe (Levain): Yeast is one of those somewhat scarce ingredients on the grocery stores lately—probably because they don’t stock as much as they used to, anyway, so it can sell out quick with just a few shoppers. Sourdough bread doesn’t need yeast, though. And you don’t need yeast to make a sourdough starter! This is a traditional, healthy bread (actually better tolerated by a lot of people because of the breakdown of the process), often used by frugal mothers and grandmothers and by rural-dwellers who didn’t rely on frequent trips to the corner store—they simply kept a starter culture going in the kitchen instead.

    And yes, you will find some easy sourdough bread recipes in the Quick-Time Homemade Bread book above!  (*Note: Though you do not need yeast to make a sourdough starter or to make sourdough bread, if you have a pinch to spare you can throw it in to make the process go a little faster.)

  • Beer Bread Recipe (plus make-your-own self-rising flour link): Beer bread is technically a quick-bread, but easier and unlike any other you’ve ever eaten.
easy beer bread recipe, no yeast necessary

It’s a quick bread a bit more like regular sandwich bread that is great to have with butter, as a dinner side, or with cheese, and it works well for sandwiches, too.

This recipe could be a real life-saver for those of you who are out of bread and out of time!




Math, Science, Life Skills, Learning…Baking Has a Lot of Educational & Life Value to Offer!

Let’s not forget—baking is actually a very valuable learning exercise that includes a lot of hands-on math and science, reading, and more. For many of you battling the boredom and looking for meaningful, useful ways to muddle through these awkward pseudo-homeschooling times, wrapping in some bread-making and baking activities is truly double-duty!

I hope you find these resources very useful. All are available via Amazon in paperback and for immediate download for Kindle and Kindle e-reader apps; just follow the above links.

Stay safe, take heart, and BE WELL!!




*This post contains affiliate links to helpful books and products, at no additional cost to the reader/purchaser. This will take you to secure login and purchasing via your personal Amazon account. NO personal information is shared with this website from Amazon. Links such as these help to support and maintain this website. Thank you for clicking through to purchase these products!

Make Elderberry Jelly from Dried Elderberries!

Elderberries may be hitting the mainstream now for their promising antiviral benefits, but the truth is that a lot of us homesteading and country types have had a relationship with elderberries for a very long time. Elderberries were always a part of our late-summer preserving in my mother’s and my grandmother’s kitchens.

Blessed with Abundance…Smells Like Childhood

elderberries on stem

If you grew up with elderberries, you’re sure to remember the rich smell of it processing. In my house it was always in the form of jelly. I recall it as a fruity yet rich, deep, earthy flavor, actually something of an acquired taste for me as a youngster, but which I grew to appreciate even more as an adult. We were blessed both on our property and my grandparents’ property next door with an abundant grove. Over the years, though, many of those bushes fell away, probably choked out by more dominant growth, and so, too, did my knowledge of elderberry as a prime food source.

I understand that a few bushes remain and I’ll have to go scouting for some cutting to root for planting elderberries here on the homestead (not that I don’t have native elderberries available near me, and in fact I have plenty of local cuttings, but there’s something about owning a piece of grandma’s elderberry bush that draws me).

Elderberry Knowledge Lost & Re-Found

At some point about five years ago I was reminded of elderberries once again. I think it came to me when we started making homemade wines with the fruits of our land and started looking at things other than grapes to make wine with. An older gentleman at the gym made mention to my husband, who made mention to me, and there was my head-smack moment. Elderberry is the PERFECT flavor for my husband! He’s not much of a sweets-eater, but elderberries are not sweet, and nor are most recipes that use elderberries. Earthy and balanced, he’d love elderberry anything, and I should have thought of it years before. In a wine, elderberry tends toward dark, heavier and dry, and not very sweet. exactly what he’d want. That gentleman sent him home with a bottle, and the rest, well, it’s homemade wine history.

Making Elderberry Jelly from Dried Elderberries

how to make elderberry jelly from dried elderberries

I did, however, manage to convince my husband to let me use a small portion of our first elderberry forages for a batch of jelly. And on this, too, he soon became hooked. Elderberry jelly recipes are pretty basic, and not too involved. The problem is often finding elderberries in season to make them…or being willing enough to spare from the wine for the jelly!

Recently, however, I chanced across a post from an herb and spice company, Frontier Co-Op, that I frequently order from online (usually through Amazon because it gets around their high wholesale minimums). I order from them primarily for ingredients for my homemade elderberry tea mixes. But Frontier had recently shared a post on How to Make Elderberry Jelly from Dried Elderberries. This is a brilliant, simple elderberry jam recipe made from dried elderberries, so you can make it at any time of the year.

One More way To Get Our Daily Dose of Elderberry

Especially in the winter months (but really all year long), we try to incorporate elderberry into our daily diet. We do it for the immune support, the antioxidants and antiviral benefits, the high vitamin and mineral and overall strong nutritional profile, but mostly, we use it for the taste of elderberry. It’s simply delicious! We enjoy elderberry in wine. We enjoy it mostly in tea–it’s not hard to make a tasty, relaxing cup of elderberry tea a part of your daily habit. But we enjoy elderberry in other ways, too; like that jelly and like syrup for yogurt and summertime spritzers.

In the end, I believe we can get far with small changes to our daily diet and a return to traditional, wholesome, nutritional foods like elderberries. The challenge for us in this modern crazy age is finding the ways to incorporate those good foods. Simple recipes like this elderberry jelly that are easy–and delicious!–to use every day make eating well and harnessing the power of healthful traditional foods that much easier. I hope you, like me, SHARE and ENJOY this handy elderberry jelly recipe!

New Release: Wine Making Made Easy

Here we go again, but a bit of a different path this time!

Once again, I’ve set off to share easier, more simplified, more doable ways to enjoy homemade goods and bring back some of that solid country homesteading knowledge. This time, it’s winemaking at home–easy country winemaking without all the modern chemistry and fuss.

ORDER Your Copy NOW! Paperback or Kindle

Wine Making Made Easy: How to Make Easy Homemade Wine from Grapes, Fruit, & More by Mary Ellen Ward

Winemaking is so complicated! …Or is it?

Home wine making used to be simple. And now it is again!

Our grandparents, and generations of grandparents before them, made excellent wines with minimal fuss, minimal equipment, and no added sulfites or additives. They made them not just from grapes but from all manner of available fruits, berries, honey, and other produce. They didn’t spend a lot of money. They didn’t overwhelm themselves with minuscule measurements and chemistry. They didn’t dwindle down the savings to buy pricey containers for fermenting or for storing. They made wine in tune with the rhythms of nature, with basic equipment.

They made Good. Simple. Cheap. Easy. Homemade Wine!

If you’ve always wanted to make wine but thought the process or investment was beyond you, this is the book for you. This is the book that takes winemaking back to its roots. The no-fuss, no-frills method of wine making that uses everyday equipment you can buy right downtown. This simplified and basic process uses no added preservatives, sulfites, or unrecognizable ingredients. Just good, clean, wine-making for good, clean, fun-making wine!

Amazon.com

Available Now in Paperback and Kindle Versions

Copies are now available at Amazon.com. This is the book for all of you who have thought about making fun, tasty wines at home, but were always a bit scared of the prospect. We’re taking it back to the basics here. We’re taking the fear out of it–and the EXPENSE, too! Order your copy today!

P.S. These are great books for holiday gift-giving!

P.P.S. This isn’t just a book for the summer growing season! Find out how to make wines in the off-season (when you have more time!?) with frozen fruits, honey, vintner’s juices, and more.

P.P.P.S. Enjoy, and Many Thanks!

Get your copy here: Paperback or Kindle.

Pickled Garlic Scapes…Now Isn’t That Genius!

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Just a quick post because this idea is not mine and in fact I’d never heard of this before, but it certainly bears repeating and sharing!!

What To Do With Garlic Scapes

pickled garlic scapesI love finding new (and preferably easy!) things to do with the produce of my garden. I especially love it when those things teach me how to use something I’m not entirely familiar with; and silly as it might sound, simple as they might be, garlic scapes are one thing I haven’t really found my stride with yet (that and kale, except for using it as a goose and poultry feed – they LOOOOVVVE it!). But this post might just change everything!

It’s a VERY simple recipe and instructional for pickling garlic scapes. I’ll leave it to the Homesteader Supply Blog to explain, but these sound like they might even rival dilly beans!! Now, to leave you all with a link and go harvest the last of those scapes.. Boy I wish I had planted more garlic (but don’t I always…?).

Check It Out!

You’ll find this lovely little post right here:

Homesteader’s Supply Pickled Garlic Scapes Instructions

And here’s a handy little bit about how to harvest and use garlic scapes:

How to Use Garlic Scapes

Using What You Have: Homemade Croutons

A large part of saving money and providing wholesome foods for your family on a budget depends on using what you have, and getting as much good use out of your foods as possible. The grocery bill in an average household is one of the highest monthly https://thehomemadehomestead.com/?p=29expenses–probably in direct competition with the mortgage in many homes, I’d venture to bet.

A lot of time and effort goes into producing the food we eat here on our little self sufficient homestead. That includes the baked goods and breads that are mainstays in the house. I make all of my own bread because it is cheaper and it is much better, and I can control what goes into it–and the preservatives that don’t!

That’s a story for a different day, but the point I am coming to is that for all the time, money, and effort that goes into our diet, I certainly don’t want to waste it! And the way to do that is to get as much use out of all of it as I can. It makes me feel better about cutting down the waste and diminishing my “footprint” upon the earth, but more practically, it saves us LOADS of money!

Extending the use of my “waste” bread (ends, random pieces, older slices and drying pieces) is one of the easiest and tastiest of my little kitchen hacks. And one of the most versatile and well-loved is home made croutons. Homemade croutons are so simple to make, it’s really silly not to. And I think you’ll find the results are OH so much better than what’s boxed up at the store. So here’s how to get the most of your bread odds and ends by making home made croutons.

Homemade Croutons

Very simply, all you have to do is this:

  1. Cut leftover bread into cubes of desired size – usually about an inch square for me. Undried or dried is fine; in fact you can do it from a perfectly good, fresh loaf, too.
  2. Spread bread cubes on a cookie sheet and toss with vegetable or olive oil (olive oil is best, but you can use what you have, too–melted butter works as well). Sprinkle with any desired flavorings, such as herb mixes, seasoning salts, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese….really, whatever you like.
  3. Toast in preheated 350 degree oven until crunchy (this will depend somewhat on whether you started with moist or dry cubes; check after 10 minutes and every 5 or 10 after that, but for moist bread expect more towards 20 or 30 minutes.

*Just a note: don’t be afraid to mix-and-match different bread flavors like whites and ryes or wheat or all of the above (or more!). It just adds dimension and flavor variety to your croutons.

That’s it! Just cool and eat. These delicious homemade croutons are excellent for salads, of course, but also in soups, snack mixes, as toppings to macaroni and cheese, casseroles, or even just as a crunchy snack on the go! Honestly if I don’t hide them from the kids, they seldom see a life long enough for any of these uses!

The best part about it is that home made croutons couldn’t get cheaper. You’re using what you have and getting more than your money’s worth. Do enjoy!