Perfectly YUMMY Sugar-Free English Egg Custard!

Perfectly YUMMY Sugar-Free English Egg Custard!

Traditional English egg custard is super simple to make, but gives you an AMAZING dessert to make with all those eggs your flock lays. With this recipe, we’ve turned tradition a bit on its side with our sugar-free English egg custard – and it’s just as tasty!

We’ve replaced sugar with sucralose (you can also use regular sugar or monkfruit) – a carb free option that’s just as sweet as sugar (don’t worry – we have resources where you can buy sucralose below).

Our hens have been laying a TON of eggs, and let’s face it – there’s only so many quiches and scrambled eggs you can make before getting a bit bored. And who doesn’t love dessert?

sugar free english egg custard

I love egg custard because the combination of nutmeg and whole cream makes it taste much more decadent than other desserts, and this combination makes it SEEM like a complicated recipe. It’s a way to pamper yourself with a bit of luxury without all the hassle of effort. It’s also great to take to any summer BBQ potlucks because kids love it too!

If you’ve been looking for the perfect summer recipe to use up all your eggs, then here’s how to make Sugar Free English Egg Custard!

Ingredients

Makes 3 servings

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sucralose (buy here)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Vanilla bean pod
  • Nutmeg to taste

Directions

  • Heat milk, cream, and the vanilla beans together in a pot until just starting to boil. Do not overheat and allow to scorch.
  • In a second bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sucralose.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • When the cream mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and combine with the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Add the cream mixture slowly so the eggs do not cook.
  • Once combined, run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps of egg.
  • Pour mixture into ramekins, and top with nutmeg to taste. Place into the oven, and cook until set, typically 30 minutes.
  • Once set, remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Notes: While this is a sugar-free recipe, you can replace the sucralose with sugar if you want. You can also substitute sugar with honey with my conversion chart here.

Sugar-Free English Egg Custard

  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sucralose
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Vanilla bean pod
  • Nutmeg to taste
  1. Heat milk, cream, and the vanilla beans together in a pot until just starting to boil. Do not overheat and allow to scorch.
  2. In a second bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sucralose.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. When the cream mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and combine with the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Add the cream mixture slowly so the eggs do not cook.
  5. Once combined, run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps of egg.
  6. Pour mixture into ramekins, and top with nutmeg to taste. Place into the oven, and cook until set, typically 30 minutes.
  7. Once set, remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.
  8. Notes: While this is a sugar-free recipe, you can replace the sucralose with sugar. You can also use honey with my conversion chart here.
How To Store Garlic Long Term

How To Store Garlic Long Term

Did you plant cloves of spicy-smelling garlic and now you’re wondering how to store garlic long term?

 

Garlic is a wonderful addition to any garden, and it’s a wonderful sense of satisfaction harvest it – especially after you cure it and realize you won’t be needing to buy garlic from the grocery store anymore!

 

The first year we planted garlic, we weren’t sure when to harvest it – it can be different for every zone and even ever microclimate.

 

So we waited months – and came up with a GREAT harvest.

 

But then came the next step – how to store garlic long term without ruining it or losing it to bugs, dust, and other pests like mice.

 

Should you remove the papery skins? What about bulbs that seem ok except for 1 or 2 spots? Could we store those, or did we need to use them right away? What happens if they’re rained on while curing them straight from the garden?

 

You might have these same questions.

 

Luckily, a lot of our worries were unfounded – we were able to cure and store garlic long term with very few issues (and it took us quite a while to work through all that garlic!)

 

If you want to store garlic long term, it’s fairly straight forward as long as you follow some simple rules.

 

how to store garlic long term #garlic

 

Selecting Garlic For Long Term Storage

After you pull up all your garlic, you’ll want to let them cure for an hour or two in the sun – be sure to do this on a sunny day. This initial cure helps them dry, prepares them, and is how to store garlic from the garden without ruining your hard-earned harvest.

 

Next, you’ll want to examine the bulbs – take note of their condition. If any garlic bulbs have damage or seem soft, use them right away. They’re not good candidates to store long term.

 

Once you’ve selected your garlic, you will want to cure them for an additional 2 weeks in a relatively cool environment – no warmer than 65 degrees. Higher temperatures can trigger mold or prompt your garlic to sprout.

 

Humidity is another consideration when trying to store garlic long term – too high and it might cause your garlic to mold or rot, and too high will cause garlic cloves to shrivel and become useless.

 

You will notice a lot of the dirt will fall away – this is a good thing. You can also brush the garlic very gently, although I’ve noticed this can damage them. If there’s excessive amounts of dirt, then you can try gently brushing it off, but if there’s just a little dirt, chances are it will fall off on its own.

 

Don’t remove any of the papery skins – this will also damage the garlic, making it unsuitable to store long term.

 

After the 2 weeks are up, you can then transfer them to mesh bags like these or braid them if they’re a soft-neck variety (hard necked garlic can’t be braided easily – keep these in a mesh bag).

 

Air circulation is very important, which is why braiding or mesh bags are ideal garlic storage containers – they allow you to store a lot of garlic in a small space without reducing the garlic’s change to “breathe.”

 

As you store your garlic, don’t let the temperature rise – this WILL prompt your garlic to sprout since it’s no longer chilled (it thinks winter is over and it needs to grow!)

 

how to store garlic long term #garlic

 

Drying to Store Garlic Long Term

If braiding or storing in mesh bags isn’t your thing or you’re lacking the space, then you can dry your garlic. This process is simple and great because it produces a shelf-stable product that won’t sprout.

 

Start by slicing peeled garlic into thin strips and then dehydrate them either in a commercial food dehydrator or by placing them on a cookie sheet and drying them in your oven at around 120 degrees for a few hours. Leave the door slightly open to allow for air circulation.

 

Once dry, store garlic long term in an airtight container and use as needed.

 

Preserve Garlic In Honey

This hack has the added benefit of being great for colds. So if you have some spare cloves or just want to try something different, then preserve and store garlic long term in honey.

 

Honey has antimicrobial properties and stored correctly, it’s nearly impossible for bacteria to grow.

 

To preserve garlic in honey, peel the cloves, then drop them into a mason jar filled with honey. As long as the cloves remain submerged, they will keep for a long time.

 

Pull them as needed, or drink the honey in tea whenever you’re sick – as the garlic stores, it will steep it’s immune boosting properties into the honey. Yum!

Overwintering Honeybees: 5 Things You Need To Know!

Overwintering Honeybees: 5 Things You Need To Know!

I’m no bee expert, and I’m certainly not an expert in overwintering honey bees.

 

But bees are a growing interest of mine – and having a bee-keeping mentor is really, really important to having success with our honey making friends

 

So, I invited my friend Jessica from the Faithful Farm Wife to educate us about overwintering honey bees!

 

Take it away, Jessica!

 

5 Things You Need to Know About Overwintering Honeybees

There are 5 crucial things that you need to know before overwintering honeybees.

 

Honeybees are unique and special insects. They provide food for themselves and for us, they are necessary for most plant growth, and an entire colony can survive a winter together whereas other insects, like wasps, all die except the queen.

 

In order for the colony to survive in the winter, they have to be prepared. If the colony is in one of your hives, then it is up to you to make sure that they are ready for the cold season.

 

There are 5 crucial things that you need to know before overwintering honeybees.

 

1. How to Feed Honeybees

It isn’t necessary to feed bees in the spring, summer, and fall if there are plenty of flowers, trees, etc in bloom for them to collect pollen & nectar from.

 

However, it is a good idea to start feeding in the fall to help the bees make more honey without expending too much extra energy. Feeding should continue as needed throughout the winter. There are several different ways that you can feed your bees:

  • Sugar Water– This would need to be fed before winter because the bees won’t accept liquid food when it is cold. Let them have it while the weather is still warm so they can stock up on their honey stores.
  • Pollen Patties
  • Sugar Cakes
  • Grease Patties– This food source doubles as mite control!

 

Keeping bees healthy in winter is crucial for sustainable beekeeping. Find out what you need to know about overwintering honeybees in your apiary!

2. How Much Honey to Leave in the Hive

The amount of honey needed throughout the winter is something that varies from region to region. Consider where you live, the length of winter, and the extreme low temperatures when you are extracting honey.

 

Keep records of how much honey you extract each season to determine which hives are the most efficient.

Keeping bees healthy in winter is crucial for sustainable beekeeping. Find out what you need to know about overwintering honeybees in your apiary!

 

Good rule of thumb:

  • Warmer states (southern U.S) ~ 40 lbs
  • Colder states (northern U.S) ~80 lbs
  • Happy Medium states ~ 60 lbs.

3. How to Ensure Your Hive is Strong Before Cold Weather Hits

You should be checking your hives periodically throughout the spring, summer, and fall months for parasites and any other issues that might wipe out or weaken a colony. You should also check that the bees are filling the brood box and that the honeycombs are filling properly.

Keeping bees healthy in winter is crucial for sustainable beekeeping. Find out what you need to know about overwintering honeybees in your apiary!

 

What to check for:

  • Hive Beetles
  • Varroa & Tracheal Mites
  • Wax Moth
  • Overcrowding
  • Sufficient Honey Production
  • Slowed Brood Production

4. How to Weatherproof Your Hives

  • Coat the outside of the hive with Tung Oil to repel water…This is not necessary if the hive is painted.
  • Add entrance reducers to reduce the amount of cold air that can enter the hive.
  • Install a Mouse Guard. Bees are busy trying to stay warm in the winter so they can’t guard the entrance well. A mouse guard can do this job for them.
  • Close screened bottom boards or switch to solid bottom boards.
  • Add a Quilt Box to minimize moisture in the hive.
  • If you are in a very cold climate, you might want to wrap your hive in tar paper or a wool wrap.

5. How to Determine Whether or Not a Hive Box Needs to be Opened

The inside of the hive should be about 90 degrees F. The bees do a good job of maintaining this temperature by vibrating their wings rapidly to create heat.

 

When you open the hive, you break the propolis seal that the bees created to keep the cold air out and they have to expend extra energy to warm the hive back up.

  • Do not open the hive when the temperature is 55 degrees or below if there is no obvious issue.
  • If the bees are starving or you notice dead bees, open the hive to diagnose, feed, and/or treat them, but do this quickly.

You can find more resources to help you overwinter your bees here!

10+ Ways to Preserve Your Harvest Without Canning!

10+ Ways to Preserve Your Harvest Without Canning!

On our farm, we preserve a lot of food without canning – and often, it’s easier, faster, and better to leave the canning jars on the shelf.

 

Particularly if you’re not familiar with pressure canning, or if you’re unsure about starting, you might be wondering how you can preserve meat, fruit, or dairy.

 

(You might have heard about some ways to can things like dairy – but we debunk those myths in this article).

 

In this article, I’m going to show you some ancient ways our ancestors used to preserve fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and eggs – and you can use these same tactics in your own home!

How to preserve food without canning

 

Preserving Fruit

Preserving fruit without canning includes the obvious choices of fermenting and drying, but had you thought of preserving fresh fruit in honey or sugar? 

 

Apples

To preserve the flavor of apples, people would wrap the fruit in paper, straw, or cloth soaked with grease such as oil or fat. Apples were then stacked in a wooden crate and placed in cool area such as a root cellar.

 

A favorite of colonial Americans was cider molasses, which is boiled from fresh apple cider, and used to flavor desserts or breakfasts. You can learn to make it here.

 

The leftover peels from making cider were then fermented to make apple cider vinegar – nothing went to waste!

 

You CAN preserve food without canning - here's 10+ ways to do it!

 

Berries

Like apples, berries were preserved by fermenting them into wine or vinegars. During winter, wine could keep for months – even years, and was safer to drink than water.

 

Berries were dried and used in desserts and main courses, either by reconstituting them in water or used as dried fruit, or eaten plain like we do nowadays.

 

Fruit could also be preserved in honey by dropping the fruit into a jar filled with honey. Since honey is naturally antiseptic, the fruit wouldn’t rot, and would even impart their flavor on honey.  

 

The fruit would then be pulled from the honey as needed and used in desserts or flavored mead would be made from the honey.

 

 

Preserving Vegetables & Legumes

Vegetables traditionally have been preserved by fermenting, drying, keeping in a cool place by packing them with wet leaves or sand, or keeping them in the ground before hard frosts hit.

 

Onions

Onions were pulled from the ground when the stalks browned, and were ripened by laying them on their sides to dry. To store them, the green stalks were intact and braided to store onions easily-circulating air.

 

 

Cabbage

Cabbage was dried and often used in soups and stews, but the most traditional way to preserve cabbage was by fermenting it in crocks like this one. Nowadays, you can also use kits that make it easy like this one. To learn how to ferment veggies, click here.

 

 

Beans

Beans were dried on the bush or vines and then strung up to continue drying and to store them. Families then strung them in their homes where they would be in easy reach. The dried beans then were soaked overnight to soften before being cooked and eaten.

 

 

Corn

To preserve it, corn kernels were dried then soaked and added to stews and soups or ground into meal, but more interestingly, our ancestors also dried corn into hominy, which was then turned into grits.

 

To harvest hominy, after corn on the cob was eaten, the remaining kernels and bits were cut from the cob and dried. To make grits, the dried hominy was soaked in water until soft.

 

You CAN preserve food without canning - here's 10+ ways to do it!

Salted vegetables

Fresh vegetables were also sometimes preserved in dry salt (as opposed to brine) in a crock, although this depended on your access to salt (during medieval times, only the very wealthy had access to a lot of salt).

 

Nowadays, we have easy access to salt, so you can preserve your veggies in a salt concentration between 20 to 25 percent of the weight of your harvest (so 20 to 25 pounds salt per 100 pounds of food).

 

While this definitely prevents microbial growth, it also makes your vegetables very salty – if you preserve your harvest this way, be sure to soak the food in water before eating and adjust your recipe to make up for the extra salt in your vegetables.

 

To save their taste buds and make salt (which could be very expensive) last longer, people would instead preserve food in brine. The traditional ratio of salt to water to make a brine is 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water.

 

But the strength of this ratio depends on which salt you use – kosher is not equal to table salt in this case, and our ancestors didn’t have iodized salt to confuse the ratio.

 

It’s better to go with a strict weight – 10 ounces of salt per gallon of water.

 

Preserving Meat

 

Salt pork

Salting pork and other meats is an old fashioned method that’s not used today – and that’s a shame, because it works well to preserve AND season meat.

 

Using sugar, salt, and spices, pork could be submerged in the mixture and kept in a cool area for months – keeping the family fed while other sources of nutrition were scarce.

 

Cold Smoke

Cold smoking meat is a way of curing and preserving that we still use today – we’ve smoked many a slab of beef on our farm, and it’s delicious.

 

We’ve found that smoked meats take a lot longer to turn rancid or grow mold – but you need to COLD smoke (under 150 degrees, preferably around 100).

 

This is much easier achieved during the cool days of winter – which is why meat is traditionally harvested during fall and early winter.

 

Meat also should be first submerged in brine to help preserve it, help get moisture out of the cuts, and inhibit bacterial growth.

 

You can smoke meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, pretty much anything you can think of.

 

Using Fat to Store Meat

This process is called a confit, and has been used since ancient times to preserve fatty cuts of meat. When salted meat was cooked slowly in a large pot and at a low temperature for a long time, the meat would eventually give out the fat.

 

The meat/fat mixture was allowed to cool in a crock – the fat would rise to the top, creating a barrier between the meat and the outside world. Stored in a cool area, the food could be preserved for months during the winter.

 

Dry Salting Meat

Like vegetables, meat can be preserved simply by surrounding it in salt. Our ancestors would slice meat into strips, then stack them between layers of salt, like lasagna.

 

The crock or barrel was then kept in a cool area, and meat removed as the family needed it. The salt kept moisture, bacteria, and bugs away.  

 

Preserving Dairy

Dairy was (and is) most commonly preserved by fermenting into cheeses or yogurt. Yogurt would be consumed fairly quickly, while cheeses could be wrapped or preserved in wax, and kept in a cool area.

 

When making cheese, salt is added to the curds to reduce moisture and then the curds pressed. After waxing, cheese could be stored for years.

 

Soft cheeses such as feta could be stored and preserved in oil for months – as long as the cheese was submerged, bacterial growth is slowed down.

 

Preserving Eggs

Eggs would be preserved by waterglassing or by putting fats or mineral oils on the eggshells. In this article, we show you how to preserve eggs!

Amish Black Drawing Salve Homemade Recipe

Amish Black Drawing Salve Homemade Recipe

Have you ever been weeding or working with wood, and come inside with pricklies under your skin? Then you’ll want to grab a jar of my favorite Amish Black Drawing Salve!

 

Amish Black Drawing Salve is a traditional recipe that’s found a resurgence in our modern times – and it’s pretty easy to make yourself.

 

Even better, the ingredients in the Amish Black Drawing Salve recipe below have myriad uses around the house – so investing in them is a good idea for an all-natural homestead.

 

I’ve found Amish Black Drawing Salve particularly helpful after weeding the garden, when you might have brushed up against some prickly plants (the hyssop on this recipe is GREAT for that).

 

 

You can also use it if you’ve been working with wood and suddenly find yourself with a splinter.

 

Traditionally, Amish Black Drawing Salve is made with pine resin, and if you can get your hands on it, you can add it to this recipe – you’ll have to play with it a bit.

 

To replace the pine resin, I add pine essential oil – it accomplishes the same thing, and is easy to store with multitude other uses around the house (cleaners, for example).

 

I also added hyssop, which is great for supporting healthy skin. In fact, it’s my go-to when I want to improve the appearance of my skin. Similarly, carrot seed is great for supporting healthy skin.

 

The lavender in this Amish Black Drawing Salve adds it’s soothing properties while giving the salve a scent most people will appreciate (rather than something off-smelling, which some home remedies have).

 

Children, especially, are sensitive to smells, and might not want you to use it on them if your Amish Black Drawing Salve smells funky.

 

There’s a lot of different ingredients listed, but if you collect all the items before you make the salve (I’ve listed where you can get them for easy shopping), the actual steps are very simple.

 

Trust me, this looks a lot more complicated than it is.

 

Amish black drawing salve is a centuries-old traditional recipe. Here;'s how to make it in your own kitchen!

 

Amish Black Drawing Salve Ingredients

(I’ve done a lot of research, and this is the brand of essential oils I recommend)

How to Make Amish Black Drawing Salve

Add the oil, shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and honey to a mason jar. Make a double boiler by heating water in a pot, then placing the mason jar in the water. You want to melt the oil, shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and honey so they combine.

 

Using the beeswax as a guide,when the mixture is almost totally melted, stir constantly for 2 minutes to ensure the honey is evenly distributed.

 

Don’t skip this step because you’ll find the honey might clump up in one portion of the finished salve, and it’ll be a sticky mess.

 

Once the ingredients are combined in the mason jar, remove from heat and add the activated charcoal powder, white kaolin clay, and essential oils.

 

Stir constantly until all the Amish Black Drawing Salve ingredients are thoroughly combined and then allow the mixture to cool undisturbed until solid. This step might take a couple hours.

 

Once cool, you can store it on a shelf and use as needed. To use, apply to the area of concern and wrap the area. Remove and reapply daily until desired result is achieved.

 

This recipe makes ¼ pint of Amish Black Drawing Salve – I store mine in a ½ pint jar. You can also store it in smaller containers.