The Best Homemade Limoncello You’ve Ever Had!


limoncello11

Limoncello is an Italian liqueur, traditionally served after meals, or sometimes as a welcome drink. It’s typically served chilled at the very least, and occasionally it may be so cold that it borders on Slurpee consistency (though it has to be a lower-proof version or an extremely cold freezer to make that happen).

Generally speaking, there are only three ingredients in limoncello: sugar, spirit, and lemon. Occasionally you might find one that adds a dash of rosemary or another herb to the mix, and, if that’s your thing, we won’t judge. It’s generally clear with maybe a little cloudiness, and yes, it’s super easy to make, you just need a little patience. We typically start this process in early spring so that we will have delicious and well rested Limoncello available for those warm summer months.

This is my tried and true homemade limoncello recipe. Our family loves it as a chilled treat for hot summer days plus a beautiful bottle of Limoncello make a wonderful gift for any occasion! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Zest of 6 or 7 large lemons*
  • 1 litre or quart of pure grain alcohol or vodka**
  • 5 cups (1250 ml) water
  • 3 cups (700 gr) sugar

*Homegrown lemons are free from pesticides and wax. If using store bought lemons use hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax; pat the lemons dry.

** Use 100-proof vodka or pure grain alcohol, which has less flavor than a lower proof one and will be smoother. Also the high alcohol level will ensure that the limoncello will not turn to ice in the freezer.

Step 1:  Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush. Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. NOTE: Use only the outer part of the rind. The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your limoncello.

Step 2: In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar), add the vodka; add the lemon zest as it is zested. Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (60) days in a cool dark place. The longer it rests, the better the taste will be. I do the full 60 days! As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest. There is no need to stir – all you have to do is wait.

limoncello4

Step 3: In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; cook until thickened, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limoncello mixture. Add to the Limoncello mixture from Step 2. Allow to rest for another 10 days. Again the longer it sits the better it is! For step two we like to have it rest for 30 days or more!

Step 4: After the rest period, strain and bottle: discarding the lemon zest. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve. Keep an eye out for cool corked bottles, I used an old Courvoisier bottle as seen below.

limoncello31

Kitchen Notes:                                                                                                 Whenever I start a batch of limoncello, I always make a batch of lemon bars around the same time. Take the zested lemons and juice them. Strain well and bottle the juice to be used in future recipe like delicious lemon bars. Limon juice can be kept bottled in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

STAY TUNED FOR MY FROM SCRATCH CLASSIC LEMON BARS

The limoncello itself will keep for one to two years. Store it in bottles with a cap or cork in your refrigerator or freezer. For an additional touch, serve in a chilled shot glass.

limoncello2

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we do! If you tried this recipe, tell us what you thought in the comments below. Ciao!

signature

Top 10 Homesteading & Preparedness Books


With Homesteading, self-sufficiency & survival preparedness on the rise; it’s no wonder that so many great books have been published on these subjects. Here is a list of my personal top 10 favorite books to ensure your homesteading library is well rounded and complete.

country

Country Wisdom & Know – From the Editors of Storey Books

This book is in my opinion the bible of Homesteading. It boosts a whooping 8,167 useful skills and step by step instruction on various topics including animal husbandry including slaughtering, home brewing, basic construction, maximizing your garden harvest, food preservation methods,  building root cellars, basket weaving, making toiletries, and even home remedies. I think my favorite part of this book is that all the skills and crafts provided are shown in multiple how to diagrams and picture illustrations. If the apocalypse happened and my house was on fire, this would be the one homesteading book I would go in to retrieve. Trust me, you will want this one on your bookshelf!

l9781932470925

The Kitchen Table Book – From the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing

This book has blown me away. No where else have I found a more accurate and  complete collection of home remedies and kitchen cures for just about every heath and household problem. Packed full of recipes and remedies from helping depression to boosting brain power this book has it all!  Not only does it feature individual fruits and vegetables including their healing properties; it also features a database of healing herbs and medicinal cures.  Each section has several processing recipes for each food mentioned. Healthy fruit smoothie anyone?Super fabulous bonus: Dabbled throughout the book are interesting tips and tricks to common household issues like how to clean a fireplace the right way.

eggs

Made At Home Eggs & Poultry – Dick & James Strawbridge

This is an excellent introduction to raising chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys for eggs and for eating. From hatching to slaughter to craving and cooking this book offers it all from start to finish. With insights and wisdom, this resource is riddled with lots of delicious recipes to inspire the cook in all of us. With vibrant full color pictures and step by step instructions, this is a beautiful addition to any homesteaders library.

vet

Veterinary Guide for Animal Owners – C.E. Spaulding D.V.M and Jackie Clay

This book is a comprehensive easy to use reference guide that provides everything you need to know about caring for and treating pets and barn yard animals. It covers in depth information on sexing, breeding and disease prevention and treatment. This book has helped me take over tasks that normally require a vet appointment. With this book you can become proficient in administrating medications, assisting animal delivery and much more. A glossary in the back, helps with learning unfamiliar medical terms and procedures.

idiots

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading – Sundari Elizabeth Kraft

Despite my disliking for the title, this book was one of my first and has grown to be a personal favorite. It is well written and full of useful information on small scale homesteading. Subjects include how to sell your excess harvest, raising animals for food, beekeeping, utilizing aquaponic techniques, small batch food preserving, soap making, homemade cleaners and my favorite topic: urban foraging. Each chapter includes several bonus tips and tricks to increase your success.

extreme

Extreme Survival – Akkermans, Cook, Mattos, & Morrison

Self-sufficiency in the wild, making tools, self protection and much more – this book covers it all! From how to survive a car accident to assessing dangerous environments, you can learn everything you need to know about survival. Living off the land is one of the key components of homesteading. Living off grid requires skills and knowledge of the environment including possible threats. This book covers topics such as foraging, bushcraft techniques, street smarts, and how to make escape and rescue plans. I highly recommend this book to anyone considering rural homesteading or off grid living. Plus it’s a beautiful large coffee table book that features color pictures and life saving insights.

smallbatch

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving  – Elle Topp & Margaret Howard

I can honestly say that this book should be in every homesteaders library! This is by far my favorite cook book. Working on a mini farm, small batch recipes and the knowledge with this book are priceless. There’s tons of delicious recipes from butters to jellies to marinades and oils. This book is an easy reference to process and preserve your fruits throughout the year. It’s saved me countless hours in the kitchen!

soapmaking

Soapmaking For Fun & Profit By Maria Given Nerius

This book is hands down awesome! It’s got amazing recipes with easy to understand instructions and is packed with information on soap making! I picked this book up at a garage sale for a quarter and it’s money well spent! This book will not only help you understand the concepts behind soap making but will allow you to create beautiful and wonderfully smelling gifts for family and friends. You can even make a profit as it teaches the business aspects of soap making. I found this book to be especially helpful by creating lovely soaps that I could barter or trade with friends for their homemade items. This book started my interest in soap making which has since expanded into homemade toiletries and household cleaners.

medical

Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook – Skyhorse Publishing*

Anyone interested in surviving an apocalypse needs this book in their library! This is hands down the most extensive and complete collection of medical information that’s easy to read for the average Joe. This covers everything from medical triage, birthing babies, treating diseases, wrapping wounds and so much more! It’s packed with pictures and step by step instruction to handle the most common elements and beyond. There’s also several handy reference sections for easy look up. I have read this randomly section by section and I’ve learned so much about medical care. In a situation where no doctor or medical professionals are available this book is a potential game changer.

*Disclosure – I’m not a medical professional and this should not be considered medical advice. It’s best to consult a medical professional before trying any medical care from this book. This post is purely for entertainment purposes only.

This concludes my list of some of my near and dear all time favorite homesteading and preparedness books. I hope you found this list complete and informative. As my collection grows, I will be posting an updated version every few years!

If you have any must have books that I need to add to my collection, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear which ones are your personal favorites! Enjoy!!!

Introduction of Our Fruit Trees: Part One


10868188_349173251921456_2812160595037622904_n

We LOVE fruit trees here on our little homestead! We have lots of fruits and lots of information to gave so for this reason I decided to break this post into two parts. Part 1 will be an introduction to our well established, in ground top producing trees. Part 2 will cover our potted, younger fruit trees we have on the property.

When my husband first moved here there were many trees already in ground, established and produce yearly if not year round. These include a walnut tree, a dwarf lemon tree, two apricot trees, 3 plum trees, a cherry plum tree, a peach tree and two tangerine trees.

The walnut tree (pictured above) is great! It produces a massive amount of walnuts every year! Unfortunately, we haven’t tried to harvest it yet but will when it’s in season again.

Our established dwarf lemon tree produces silver dollar sized lemons. Lots of them! It would take forever to make lemonade but they are great for add a little flavor to a dish or I enjoy using them in my own homemade household cleaners.

11401576_426831847488929_73655117818243653_n

We have two apricot trees, one big and one little. The big one is the heavy weight champion on our property! It comes in at a whopping 75+ pounds of apricots every season!!! The smaller one produces probably around 15 pounds. It’s because of this tree alone, that I’ve mastered making and canning apricot jam! We are still working off 2014’s fruit season even though I make it yearly.  I tend to give away lots of fresh fruit and canned jams as gifts to our friends and family. That’s one of the blessings of this lifestyle. You can be extremely generous with your goods. If you’re interested in my canning adventures, click here.

jam1

Next we have 3 plum trees and a cherry plum! The largest plum tree is our biggest producer. It produces a heavy load of 45+ pounds of sweet, wonderful plums. We don’t can these because for some reason that get eaten way too quickly and are often a family favorite.

plum

The cherry plum is a special treat too! The cherry plum has a sweet, full taste of plums only slightly smaller with a cherry pit. These are the best to eat right off the tree!

11057880_417826225056158_3400428134026353317_n

Rain rinsed ripe and ready to pick cherry plums! So delicious!

Our peach tree is another wonderful blessing. While it doesn’t produce much, what it does produce is amazing! We only get a few pounds per season but every season we consistently get more every year. Go. Peach. Go!

Next we have two awesome tangerine trees. We don’t know much about what type of tangerine they are. They both produce silver dollar sized fruit. One tree’s fruit has no seeds and tastes great. The other tree’s fruit has seeds and tastes even better than the seedless. Both produce fruit literally year round. Here’s a picture of each of the two trees!

DSC02113

lemons

Well, now you’ve got the skinny on our established and producing fruit trees! I hope you enjoyed hearing all about them. Stay tuned for our part two covering all our new additions as well as our top secret best place ever to buy fruit trees on the cheap!

signature

Best Homemade Shower Cleaner – $.10 Per Bottle!


cleaner

One of the ways I save money is by not buying cleaning products and homemaking them instead. It’s not only less expensive, but often it’s better for your family and the environment to avoid harsh chemicals. Best of all, this recipe only has 2 ingredients: vinegar and Dawn dish detergent.

In a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, microwave 4 cups of vinegar for 30 seconds. Let cool and pour it into a clean, empty spray bottle. You’ll need a bigger spray bottle than the one pictured or cut the recipe in half for smaller bottles. Next pour 1 cup of Blue Dawn Dish Soap. Shake the bottle to mix ingredients and spray generously on your shower, tub or bathroom surfaces. This mixture will be thick and will stick to the surfaces. Let it sit for as long as you can stand it.

Just as a heads up; DO NOT forget to wash it off good. As a soap base cleaner it’s incredibly slippery even after a good wash down. Secondly, it smells like vinegar, lots and lots of vinegar.  If you have a bathroom fan, you may want use it!

For long-term or heavy dirt stains, it may need some scrubbing. I have had a lot of success with spraying down, waiting 20 minutes, doing a quick scrub down with a green scouring pad, water and a quick rinse. I repeat the process if it calls for it and it did when I started using it. Now that I have used it regularly, the grime doesn’t build up enough to require scrubbing. 🙂

You can use the mixture until it’s gone, there is no need to make a batch each time you clean as it stores nicely. Just reshake before using.

This is one of the cheapest cleaners available! My secrets to keeping the cost down is use a recycled bottle instead of purchasing one. Also contact the companies of these products and ask for coupons. I waited until the products were on sale and had a coupon for both making it a very, very affordable option at a whooping .10 cents per bottle! Wow!

Have you ever tried it? Did it work? Try it and let me know how it worked for you!!! Comment below!

signature

Simple Fresh Squeeze Orange Juice Recipe


oj2

Fresh squeezed orange juice is a delightful morning treat! The nutritional benefits are incredible and you’ll love the boost of energy that accompanies each glass. Oranges are in abundance right now. Check out our simple juice recipe to make your own!

Need free fruit? Check out our article on urban foraging.

Warning: Wear gloves when peeling oranges! Especially if doing a large quantity! I learned first hand that orange oil/juice burns the skin and changes the ph of your skin to uncomfortable levels. If your skin starts burning or stinging, wash well with soap and water. Rinse as needed. Ice can relieve the pain.

  1. Roll the oranges with your palm to soften them.
  2. Peel the oranges, juice whole or  in large chunks.
  3. Add oranges to blender or juicer. Cut in half if juicing by hand.
  4. Run the blender/juicer. 12 large oranges gives approx. 24 oz of juice.
  5. Let sit for a few minutes to settle, chill & serve chilled!
  6. Add sugar if needed.

Fresh orange juice will separate in your pitcher. Shake or stir before serving. If stored in the refrigerator, freshly squeezed orange juice can last between 2 and 3 days. To keep fresh orange juice for a longer period of time, one has to freeze it.

oj

Have more than you can use? Oranges going bad? Juice it and pour extra juice into jars. They make excellent gifts for friends, family or neighbors! They will love you for it! Enjoy!

signature