Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Honeysuckle Jelly

       Ever since I watched the episode of Winnie the Pooh where Christopher Robin gives Pooh honeysuckle to make him feel better about being stuck in Rabbits hole. And because Pooh, loving honey, does try to eat the gift of flowers and Christopher Robin tells him that they are not for eating, I thought they were not for eating... But alas, the dear show had a moment and you actually can eat honeysuckle..or at least you can suckle out its juices...but that takes too long and I found that people have made jelly with it why not try to make honeysuckle jelly myself?

      I mean, it truly does smell lovely so it must taste good?  I looked in my ball book of canning, and they didn't have a recipe... I guess it wasn't traditional enough for and so I continued searching until I found a basic guideline recipe, and actually its quite simple...

     So you are going to start with a honeysuckle infusion..To do this boil water (2 Cups for every 2 Cups of flowers) and then after removing the water from heat add the flowers and allow them to steep in the water for 45 minutes minimum...

    You could probably leave them overnight in the refrigerator too... and when your "tea" or infusion is completely aromatically done, strain out the flowers with a cheesecloth or a thin potato cloth... Then you are going to take the infusion and add 1/8 Cup of lemon juice, 2 Cups of sugar, and 1 1/2 oz of liquid pectin (or you could use powdered pectin instead) This is for the 2 cups of flowers... Bring this mixture to a hard boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly so it won't boil over... Pour into a sterilized jar* and there you go :) Nice yummy honeysuckle jelly :)

*2 cups of honeysuckle flowers make one pint jar, so if you have more flowers then make more :) you won't regret it :) In fact, I didn't so I went back and looked for more and now have eight beautiful jars of honeysuckle jelly and they are water-bath canned :) 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Homemade laundry soap :)

So, I know this has nothing to do with cooking...but several people have asked for the recipe, and it does involve a pan and the I figured I would blog about it...

I know some people may shy away from the idea, but it is relatively simple and it goes a long way... It only takes me 20-25 minutes to make 2 Gallons. You will however need 1-2 sturdy rubbermaid Gallon jugs that have a good snap lid.

A kind friend of mine gave me this recipe, so I give no credit to myself... but it goes to M. Lee :)

Your cast of characters are the following :)
-Fels-Naptha Laundry soap bar You can usually find this at your local grocers in the laundry isle, but you wont find this in wal-mart.
*Note- you can use alternative soap such as ivory, as long as it is not a high- lotion soap it will work fine.
-Borax  You can find that almost anywhere.
-Arm & Hammer WASHING SODA  Make sure it is not baking soda...that could be bad...
-A Grater, or you can use a knife...but that takes longer in my opinion...
-Water :)

Divide the soap bar into 6 pieces... Or if you are going to make 2 gallons at a time like me, just cut it in three pieces.

You are going to grate, (or if you have the patience, chop) 1/6 or 1/3 of the bar depending on how much you want to make.

You just want the pieces to be pretty tiny....

See what I mean?

The reason you are doing this is because you are going to be melting this soap in hot boiling water.

If you have big chunks of soap to melt it takes
FOREVER... no joke....

But this way it will melt in a matter of minutes.

In a medium- large pan you will want to put 4-6 cups of water. Bring your water to a boil.

Add the soap and let it melt, keep stirring to make sure its not sticking at the bottom of your pan

You want to melt the soap until ALL clumps are gone...very smooth is key :)

Okay, you still with me?
Now we are going to measure out our borax and our washing soda...

If you are only making 1 gallon the measurements are as follows:
1/2 cup of borax & 1/2 cup of washing soda.
If you are making 2 gallons, simply double it.

Make sure you turn your heat down slightly before you add this, it will boil over if you dont... and it does this quickly... so make sure you've turned it down... Melt completely :) No clumps!

Now you need to prepare your containers...

Place them in your sink, so that if while pouring your mixture you spill it, it doesn't go anywhere... :)

If you have a funnel now would be a great time to make use of it :)

Evenly divide the soap concentrate into the two containers, or if you're only making one gallon just pour it all in...

* Please be careful not to burn yourself :)

Now you simply add water all the way to the top :)

It's kinda like a coke how it foams up and you have to wait to fill again... But you want to fill it to the top, you worked for that $0.69 gallon!

Let it cool before you mess with it...
You really only have to use about 1/4 a cup per load :)

Oh, and if you want extra scent (you don't need it really) you can buy some for like $2 at a craft store...its in the soap isle and its for soap making...

And there you have it! Your beautiful finished product :)
Let this sit for 24 hours before you use it...
Oh, and don't freak out when you see it and it looks like its been freakishly replaced with some other has only separated. It's supposed to do that... :)

Every time you use your soap, just give it a good shake.  Make sure the lid is snapped shut, I have found that if it isn't, it will go all over your wall when you shake it ... ;)

You can do it :)