It's that time of the year! Time to start collecting berries, plants, and other goodies so that we can store some food for the winter. Now, this is my first year doing any storing/canning/harvesting myself. I've always been interested in gardening and the homesteading lifestyle, but I haven't ever done anything about it. So, the move to Alaska seemed like the perfect time to start. I grew a garden (a pathetic one as it was still snowing in May), collected berries, and began making as much of my own stuff (shampoo, detergent, etc) that I could. Now, I hope to do a longer post about this lifestyle in the future but today's is going to focus on making... Fireweed Jelly!
Fireweed is a purple, flowering plant that grows in Alaska and many other places in the United States. It is an incredibly durable plant and typically will be the first plant to return to an area after a forest fire (namesake). If you are more interested in learning about the plant itself, you can check out this link.
I haven't made my own batch of jelly yet, but I am hoping to this weekend. However, I have been doing plenty of fireweed picking and snacking on the jelly that I have been gifted (my neighbors are the best). The awesome-ness of the batch that the neighbors gave me has inspired me to make TONS. We will never buy store-bought jelly again! (Well, maybe once in awhile :))
My students helped collect the plants for me too! They heard I was making jelly and decided to pick me a few giant bags to contribute to the collection. Their only condition was that I give their families each a jar. Obviously, I've taught them well :)
When I do finally make my own jelly I plan to use a combination of this recipe and this recipe. For my vegan friends, I am trying to find a good substitute for pectin, any suggestions? It seems impossible to find a fireweed jelly recipe without it, but here's to hoping!
Do you grow/harvest/can any of your own food?
What beauty or food products do you make yourself?