Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas, the Local Foods Way!
This year's local foods Christmas gift.

Each year Chris and I make food baskets for our family and friends and like to tie in our love of local foods.  Part of the fun is brainstorming ideas for our basket, and this year, we decided to share homemade mulberry syrup and pancake mix made with organic locally grown wheat.  Every year isn't successful, like the year we made homemade pasta and due to lack of proper drying time, the jar was filled with mold by the time it reached Chris's grandmother.  (Yes, you need to start early for some of these projects, which we don't always do!)  Yikes!  Well, at least we had a festive colored package, even if it wasn't supposed to be green!

I wanted to share the process we went through, okay, Chris went through, to make part of the gifts this year.  The mulberry syrup was an extra special project that expanded my food knowledge.  Here's the process...

Of course, every good local gift begins with the harvest.  Here are a couple pictures of the May mulberry harvest we enjoyed over the summer.  Yes, Clara helped :)

and she enjoys feeding others as much as Chris and I do.

Chris began the syrup process by thawing, boiling and mashing the mulberries.
Once they were adequately boiled, he cut up an old (but clean) shirt and tied them up to drain all the sweet goodness out of them, and to remove the skins and seeds.
We put what we didn't use in the compost bucket, which made me a little sad because I like to use EVERYTHING if we can.  What could we have used this for?  Fruit leather?  I figured the flavor was mainly gone, so I didn't put up too much of an argument to save this compost.  Chris said it's hard because there are so many seeds.  And really, as compost, what is seen in this picture will become tomorrow's nutritious garden soil and our yummy tomato.
Before packaging, Chris reduced the mulberry juice, added sugar, corn syrup, salt
and a couple drops of lime juice.
When I finally got to taste the syrup, I was ecstatic over the flavor of the syrup.  As I described it to Chris, I said the flavor was really "quick" or "short."  That maple syrup has a much longer, milder flavor but this syrup, this was powerful and wonderful.  He confirmed that people in the foodie industry do use the terms "long" and "short" to describe flavors, which was new to me but made complete sense after tasting this mulberry syrup.
Now, for the pancakes, the less interesting (in my opinion)  process included milling the flour.
Once he milled the local flour, Chris added a few necessary ingredients like salt, baking soda and cream of tarter (our own aluminum free baking powder mix), etc.  Then it was time to package.
We hope everyone who received a little part of Kansas this year enjoyed it.  I know I sure do (thankfully, we've got some syrup left over!)
From our lil' family to you, hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


  1. How delicious! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Paula!

    1. Thanks Russell, it IS delicious! Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday with your family too.

  2. Great idea! Cute bags, too. Are you aware of the steam juicer from Lehman's? Life is so much easier when juicing any fruits or vegetables. Our chickens devour all the leftover pulp. After juicing, we can the liquid which allows us to wait until life slows down (winter) to do anything with it. Here's a link to this product -

    Thanks for sharing!
    Paula Sims
    Morning Harvest farm

  3. Thanks for sharing the syrup with us! We're really enjoying it!

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