DIY…Brown Sugar!

Love these fall days!  Even though they’re getting shorter and shorter, there is a bit less to do outside and coming inside gives you more time for little day to day activities…like making homemade brown sugar…but I’ll get to that later!

Today’s farm chores included monthly hoof trimming and vitamin administration as well as pasture rotation of our ewe flock.  We are so blessed to still have plenty of grass around, and hope to have it all consumed before it is destroyed by a few heavy frosts – and we’ve had a couple of light frosts already, cold enough to leave a thin sheet of ice over the water troughs in the morning!

Garden chores consisted of picking the last green tomatoes.  They’ll be used to make green tomato raspberry jam to stash in the freezer for later this winter!  Also picked a bunch of snow peas – some of the vines took a bit of a hit from the frost, and even though there are still flowers on the vines, we’re not sure if there will be many pollinators around to keep the pea population plentiful (wow — say that 3 times fast!)

The bean plants seem to be finally spent as well.

We picked a bucket of tomatillos to freeze for salsa verde pork and chicken over the winter and pulled every last pepper off of the plants to freeze.  The plants really didn’t like the frost at all and so we needed to rescue what was left of the peppers.

The carrots and parsnips are still growing and thriving in the cool weather, and we hope to be picking them later in the fall.  We still have plenty of leeks in the ground to pick as needed as well.

The sweet potatoes we picked over a month ago are still curing in our jacuzzi, but we caved in and sampled some baked last night to see how the sweetening process was going…still need another couple of weeks to reach perfection!

Unbelievably our lettuce crop looks great, despite the frost!  So nice not to have to buy lettuce!

And today was “the day” to plant our garlic!  We managed to save a few heads from our 2012/2013 crop and planted about 30 or so of the biggest cloves.  We also planted about 75 of a different variety of hardneck garlic that we purchased locally.  Those should all be starting to sprout later this fall/early winter and at that time we’ll blanket them in compost them to get them through the harshest part of the winter.

Anyway – that all brings me to my inside task this evening that I thought I’d share with you because it is such an easy thing to do and gives you a cheaper, more pure product than you can normally find in the store – homemade brown sugar!

Have you looked at the ingredients in brown sugar?  I never had until my Australian husband – from sugar cane country – mentioned it to me.  There is caramel coloring added to it!  Yep – somehow they refine the natural color of raw sugar out of the sugar and then add it back in artificially!

Yep.

So we started buying natural brown sugar on Amazon – but for a family of 10, that gets a little expensive.  I finally came across a recipe for homemade brown sugar on Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen website and was satisfied.  If they’re going to refine sugar by taking out the molasses – why not just add it back in to make a more natural brown sugar?  It’s not perfect, but it seems like a good compromise!  I know, I know – it’s still white sugar – that nasty stuff that so many people are trying to eliminate entirely from their diets – but we adhere to the “everything in moderation” motto, and so we make and use brown sugar.

The girls made chocolate chip cookie dough today and depleted my supply.  Time to replenish!

Our ingredients…granulated white sugar and…molasses – sulphured or unsulphured – whatever’s your pleasure!

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FIrst I dump the sugar into the mixer…turn it on and then pour in molasses as it mixes…You’ll see it gradually become more uniform in color…

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Starting to look about right…

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Just a little more mixing…

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Starting to clump…almost there

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Yep!  Looks about right!

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And there you have it!  And as long as there’s sugar and molasses around, I never run out of brown sugar any more!

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