Mango-Chipotle Preserves

Welcome again to Buddberry Farms! I wanted to share with you this fabulous recipe for a Mango-Chipotle Preserve. A while back, I had a hankering to make a new jam product. I like to combine ingredients that are complimentary to each other but not run of the mill combinations that you find in every grocery store. I knew I wanted to use mango and something spicy. I consulted with my daughter, who actually suggested this combination. I had previously made a pepper- apple jelly and I liked the sweet-hot combination.

Before I was sure I wanted to use chipotle peppers, I went in search on Pinterest for some possible ideas. There I actually found this recipe for the same Preserve I thought I had made up, with the help of my daughter of course.

This Chipotle Mango Preserves recipe was an entry that Audrey Humaciu at thatrecipe.com had made as part of a crazy ingredient challenge that she was involved with. Audrey is a food blogger and so I tried “my” recipe based on hers. The trick to this recipe seems to be the equal parts mango chunks and sugar that sit overnight together. I used a large zipper bag in the refrigerator.  I believe there’s a chemical reaction that stimulates the natural pectin.

Here’s how I made my batch:

  • 5 cups chopped, peeled mango chunks
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 chipotle chilis, rinsed of their adobo sauce & chopped

Combine the mango and sugar in a large zipper bag and swish together to mix thoroughly. Leave overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, strain the juice-syrup mixture into a large pot and boil the syrup, with the lemon juice, for about 20 minutes. Add the mango chunks and boil for another 20 minutes. Gently stir in the chopped chipotle chilis.

Chipotle-mango
Mango-Chipotle Preserves

Now I canned mine and it made 6-8 oz jars, which I processed in a water bath for 20 minutes.

This Preserve is fabulous, sweet, spicy, but not too hot, and smoky warm; especially tasty over meats, or in a quesadilla….mmm…mmm…mmmm…now I’m getting hungry!

Preparing for A Gardening Break

Welcome back to Buddberry Farms. Since last sharing about my first soap, a garden soap, I decided to put it to some use and get some gardening in. This weekend I am cleaning up my garden bed and working on enriching the soil with some lasagna gardening.  If you haven’t heard of lasagna gardening, maybe you know it as sheet mulching. Im going to rip everything out and work on the soil, then, after a few weeks, i’ll plant my fall garden. In my actual bed, all I’ve got going are some peppers and eggplant and some dud tomatoes that never grew more fruit, or even bloomed again for that matter, after nipping some blight in the bud and pruning extensively.

I still have my potatoes growing in tubs, and some perennial fruits in other locations but my regular vegetable bed was a huge disappointment this year. This is the first time I’ve gardened in years and the first time with this soil type. Here in Florida it’s very sandy and it’s a fine, white, sugar sand. I hail from Southern California and gardened extensively in my twenties. I grew just about everything there and didn’t amend in the slightest. Every now and then, I’d cover with some cow manure and that was about it.  Everything here is a struggle for me.

Barebed
Bare bed

 

So…everything goes! I’m ripping it all out! I’m going to attempt that lasagna gardening I keep reading about. I’ll start with some biochar leftover from my last burn of branch clippings.

Lasagna
Lasagna bed

 

Next, I’ve got some old newspaper I’m going to lie down, then cover that with grass clippings. I’ll mix in the coffee grounds and egg shells I’ve been saving up, as well as some other food waste and let it all compost in place.

Then I’ll pour over all that, the stinky poopy smelling sludge that I tried to compost, but really just managed to putrify!

CompostFail
Compost fail

(Can you say nasty?) That is one smell you do not want to get on you! What a compost fail. I use it as a compost tea but it never broke down properly. It was always too wet, not enough air circulation or enough green or brown waste; almost all food waste. 

 

Lastly, I’ll layer on some good, rich, well composted leaf and pine needle mulch. Now, this is the thickest layer I’ve got going, and that’s OK. It’s got good stuff inside, lots of micro organisms.

Prepared
Prepared bed
HotCompost
Hot composting

I put a tarp over it and I’ll let it hot compost for about 3 weeks. After that, I’ll add some worm castings, organic fertilizer, cow manure and mix in some epsom salts and get ready to plant again for the fall! the best part is, I finally got rid of the last of the stinky failed compost. So what have you got going on in your beds for the end of summer?

Sandy

Continue reading Preparing for A Gardening Break

My first soap

 

Welcome back to Buddberry Farms! A little while back, I got the homemade soap bug. If you’ve seen all those beautiful soaps on Pinterest, then you probably know what I’m talking about. I did a little research and decided that the cold process method was for me…a little less specific, a little more forgiving. I tell you, I went a little hog wild and jumped in with abandon. I bought some high quality oils, in small quantities, including some pure unrefined Shea and cocoa butters from my local natural health market. At almost $20 per pound for cocoa butter, boy, was that an expensive batch of soap! I quickly understood why those fancy homemade soaps are so darn expensive! This was a gardening soap with coffee grounds as an exfoliant. I did two layers, with cocoa added to the bottom layer for a rich, dark brown. Now I’m planning on eventually selling some of my soaps at local farmers markets, and I’m thinking to myself, “I’m never gonna get my money back on this recipe.  I’ve got $4 into each bar!” Well, I’ll tell you, I’ll take my chances, because it turned out fabulous! And the scent….omg, heavenly…earthy, vibrant and warm with tea tree oil, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and sandalwood essential oils. 

I am so hooked! Since this first batch, I’ve made a Lemon-Poppy Seed soap, Magnolia & Shea Butter, a Pure Castille soap, and most recently, a Coconut-Lime soap inspired by a trip my girlfriend & I made to Key West recently. I would highly recommend you give it a shot! There are plenty of great tutorials out there. I don’t think I’m qualified yet to offer one of those, but who knows? Maybe sooner than I think I’ll be ready! I’m soaking up like a sponge, everything I can on the subject!

Another thought on the subject, I know the high quality, pure ingredients gone into them, what I’m putting on my body is as important to me as what I put into my body. Pure essential oils, high quality oils and butters, no cheap palm oil here! I hope I’ve inspired some of you to try your hand at soap-making. Until we meet again…

Sandy

Welcome to Buddberry Farms

Welcome to Buddberry Farms. This is the name of our little 10 acre homestead in Central Florida. We bought the place last fall after renting for about 3 1/2 years. Most of the property is pasture for our 8 cows and not really a farm at all. Not a farm in the conventional sense at least. I barely have one little planting bed about 8×8 and a couple of bins of potatoes, idaho and sweet. However, we also have a small strawberry patch, a patch of cantaloupe growing among my sunflowers, and a myriad of containers. Work your way around the front of the house and you’ll find 7 blueberry bushes, 3 papaya shrubs and a couple of guava shrubs. These are the beginning of my edible front yard landscaping. Toss in a couple of fruit trees and there’s more growing than one might think! That’s not even including all the wild blackberries growing all over the property.

While I don’t have a particularly green thumb, I do have some big hopes and dreams for the place. I aspire to add a fruit and nut orchard up in the front pasture where I can fence off a section while still having access to the water spigot. Before that however, we have to add another row of fencing around to  protect the trees from the cows and horses. Everything takes more time and money than is readily available, so it’s slow going! We’re going to need hundreds of dollars in fencing supplies, the trees themselves, the removal of a few too many shade trees in the way, and of course there’s soil prep and companion plants to purchase or grow first.

That’s my goal for this fall, when it will be cool enough to plant young trees again. But first, I have a smaller goal to have my chicken coop built by the end of summer! That’s fast approaching, and I still have yet to actually start. That too is much more involved than one may think at first. I have to add a gate to the existing fence line, separate a section of pasture and add fruit tree nets overhead to protect the girls while they free-range, and I haven’t even got to the coop part! I’m tired just thinking about  it. No one promised me it would be easy though and I do have the energy and drive!

This is a ton of work and we’re just starting out and learning as we go. We grow organically and try and use permaculture principles along the way. We’re trying to have the farm help support itself so we can become more and more self-sufficient. We have a small store of items we sell at farmer’s markets… signs, soaps, gifts and some edibles, such as my latest creation, Chocolate-Blackberry Preserves.

I hope you’ll join us and stay tuned for more to come in the near future.

Sandy