Last week, we posted a wonderful video of a hunt from start to finish, and how amazing it is to truly know where your food comes from. But meat isn’t the only thing our family likes to get from the land. Anytime we can find edible berries, we are more than happy to turn them into something good to eat!
Amy has posted on her blog about making Sandhill Plum Jelly, but this year, we decided to try something new in addition to our usual crop of jelly – Sandhill Plum Syrup.
Picking wild berries is a great family adventure! We are blessed to be able to pick these wild plums at a nearby shooting sports lodge. We gave the small children baskets to put their berries in, and kept a large cooler nearby for them to empty their baskets into.
The area we pick in doesn’t have a lot of thickets and grass, so we don’t have to worry about ticks or chiggers, but there are places we have picked before that require the children to be in long pants. Keep that in mind if you decide to take your children berry picking. (You can see in this post on Raising Arrows what the plum thickets look like. Be on the lookout for bushes with white flowers in the spring, and red berries in late July.)
The variety of plums that grow in the area are very sweet and very juicy, so the pulp we get from them yields a lot of juice to work with. We were able to make one batch of syrup and 2 batches of jelly from our haul that took less than an hour to pick!
We used this food mill to process the plums after they had simmered a while. It was our first time using this particular mill, and it worked VERY well!
It has a 3.5 qt bowl, so it manages to process MUCH more, MUCH quicker than the mill we used to use (which cratered during last year’s canning season).
To make this syrup, we took our sandhill plum jelly recipe and left out the pectin. Here’s the recipe:
- 6 cups of sandhill plum pulp/juice
- 8½ cups white sugar
- Measure 6 cups of sandhill plum pulp and juice into a large saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil, and add all the sugar at once, stirring constantly to incorporate the sugar.
- Bring to a boil again, turn heat down a bit, and let it boil for 4 minutes.
- Ladle into jars.
- You can water bath this syrup to finish the canning process or keep in the refrigerator for several months.
- Pour generous amounts on your waffles and pancakes and enjoy this wild treat!
There is something very satisfying about picking FREE fruit and making something edible from it. You enjoy it so much more!