Candied Ginger and Ginger Syrup

Recipe: How to make candied ginger and ginger syrupOne of my favorite fall treats is crystallized ginger. I always have to buy a container of it when I'm at Sprout's Farmers Market. It's the perfect mixture of sweet and spicy and I could eat it by the handfuls.

After my last ginger purchase I started thinking that it probably wouldn't be that hard to make my own candied ginger. Why not give it a try? The hardest part of the process was peeling the fresh ginger. Other than that it was fairly simple, though a bit time consuming. The result was absolutely delicious. I'll never get the store-bought variety again.

An added bonus to making your own candied ginger is one of the by-products of the recipe, ginger syrup. Don't toss this stuff. It is an amazing sweetener and could be used in hot tea, a smoothie, or whatever needs sweetening. Then again, it would also make the perfect topping for a piece of toast or even some pancakes. Mmm!

Here's the printable version of my Candied Ginger Recipe so you can give it a try!

Ingredients


1 lb of peeled fresh ginger
5 cups water
1 lb sugar (That’s about 2 ¼ c if you don’t have a kitchen scale)
¼ c Natural Cane Turbinado Sugar for coating

Directions


Cut the ginger into 1/8-inch thick slices. (I used a a food processor because it's quick and easy but you could also use a mandolin.)

Place the sliced ginger and water into a 3 quart pot on the stove. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes until ginger is tender.

Drain the ginger, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.

Return the ginger and reserved liquid to the pan then add the sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce
heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat. Drain the ginger slices and reserve the syrup as a yummy sweetener or topping. Just store it in an airtight container.

Spread the ginger slices out across a wire cooling rack set over a baking pan or dish. Sprinkle
the slices with Natural Cane Turbinado Sugar. Allow slices to cool then turn them over and
sprinkle the other side with sugar. Let the slices dry for a few hours.

Store ginger slices in an air tight container. Enjoy!


Recipe: how to make candied ginger and ginger syrup




Wine Bottle Bird Feeder

DIY Tutorial: How to make a bird feeder out of an empty wine bottle by The Chilly DogI have done a number of wine bottle projects in the past, including my recent humming bird feeders. There are so many interesting ways to give a standard size, glass wine bottle new life. Until now I haven't had any ideas of what could be made with a large wine bottle. So, there are four large, clear bottles that have been lingering, unused, in my collection.

I was inspired when Jennifer, one of my very crafty friends, showed me a picture of a bird feeder made from a wine bottle. We were both excited about the concept. We chatted about how cute it was, but we  saw some issues with the functionality of the design. I kept thinking about the bird feeder idea and finally came up with my own design that is fairly inexpensive and doesn't require any glass cutting.

Materials


  • large wine bottle
  • 6 inch square glass plate ( I found mine at the grocery store for less than $2)
  • 24-30 inches of 12 gauge galvanized utility wire
  • silicon adhesive
  • dry erase marker
  • ruler
  • drill with 1/8 inch glass and tile bit and a 1/2 inch glass bit
  • pliers
  • wire cutter
  • safety glasses

Directions


Start by washing and removing the label from your wine bottle.

Bottle-Bird-Feeder (4) Use a ruler and dry erase marker to locate and mark the center of the plate and the center of the bottle bottom.
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (5) Use the 1/8 inch glass and tile bit to drill a hole at the center of the plate and the center of the bottle bottom. (Make sure you are wearing your safety glasses. You don't want to get any glass particles or fragments in your peepers!)
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (6) Use a dry erase marker to draw two half inch circles, one on each side of the bottle, about an inch up from the bottom. Make sure they are not on or near the seams of the bottle.
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (7) Use the 1/2 inch glass bit to drill where you marked. Again, make sure to wear your safety glasses.
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (8) Turn the bottle upside down and apply 4 dots of silicon adhesive along the edges of the bottom of the bottle.
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (9) Turn the plate upside down and position it over the bottle. Set the plate onto the bottle making sure that the holes you drilled are aligned. I used a toothpick to help me check the positioning.
Let the glue dry completely.
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (10) Use a pliers to bend a loop, about the size of a quarter, in one end of the wire. Bend the remaining length of wire up at a 90 degree angle. (It kind of looks like the tool you dip Easter eggs with when you dye them.)
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (11) Run the length of wire so it goes through the plate, then the bottle and out the top of the bottle. The loop that you made will be under the plate.
Bottle-Bird-Feeder (12) Finally, bend a loop in the top of the wire so you can hang your feeder.

All you need to do now is fill your feeder and hang it outside.

My first attempt at filling this feeder turned out to be a disaster. The neck of the bottle is pretty narrow and I spilled bird food all over the place. You can avoid my mistake by making a simple paper funnel so the seeds go into the bottle without all the mess. Much easier and cleaner.

If you are wondering whether the birds will like this type of feeder... They look happy to me.






Fun Find Friday - For the Birds

'Its A Hoot' by GemstoneDragonflies

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Owl collage Original Collage Mixed Media 8x18inches  Autumn Owl - valburgesscollage
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colored enamel bird necklace ,contemporary, hand made sterling silver - DaysbyDILEKAKAR
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Owl Toy - hand knit plushie stuffed animal in brown, blue, and yellow - StitchesandHearts
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Filling a Wine Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

How to fill a wine bottle hummingbird feeder so it doesn't leak by The Chilly DogBefore I made my first wine bottle hummingbird feeder, I searched high and low for a cork and hummingbird feeder tube that would work for this kind of project. I must admit that it was a little frustrating, though. I couldn't find anything at our local pet stores or the store that specializes in wild birds and bird feeders.

So, as no surprise, I ended up on Amazon where I discovered some basic Hummingbird Feeder Tubes For Making Your Own Feeders (Pkg of 12). (Single feeder tubes are also available on Amazon, Songbird Essentials SE619 Stopper Hummingbird Feeder Tube, but since I was planning on using this as a class project, I bought the multi-pack.) They looked like they might be just what I needed for the project. Then I read the reviews... People either loved these feeder tubes or hated them. I just couldn't understand how the tubes could work so well for some people and leak so terribly for others. I decided that they would still be worth a try.

I'll admit right now that my first couple attempts at using the feeder tubes did not end well. The first time I filled my feeder it dripped all over the place. The second time I had the opposite problem and the nectar was pulled up the tube and into the bottle so the birds couldn't reach it at all. And once, I didn't push the cork in tight enough so it fell out, leaving a sticky puddle all over the ground. But, after a bit of experimentation I found that these feeder tubes actually work pretty well if you fill the bottle correctly and remember a few tips:

  • Fill your feeder when it's cool outside and the nectar, bottle and air temperature are all about the same.
  • Fill the bottle completely (all the way to the tippy top) and wait until there are NO AIR BUBBLES in the nectar before you insert the feeder tube.
  • Twist and push the feeder tube cork into the bottle to create a tight seal.
  • Hang your feeder in a shady spot.
  • Don't leave your feeder outside on super windy days.

You can watch my video tutorial for how to fill your wine bottle hummingbird feeder.



I'll walk you through the basic steps.

Set your hummingbird feeder on a flat surface. I like to fill mine near the sink so I can easily clean up any little spills.








Pour the nectar into your bottle so it is about halfway up the neck. Using a funnel makes the process easier, but it is not necessary.








You will notice that there are bubbles rising up through the nectar as well as on the surface of the nectar. Gently tap the bottle on the counter to force the air bubbles up.







Once there are no bubbles on the surface of the nectar and no more bubbles rising up, carefully fill the bottle all the way to the top.








Again, wait until there are no bubbles in the nectar.









Set the feeder tube into the neck of the bottle. To create a nice seal between the cork and the glass, twist the cork while you push it into the opening.







Notice that the nectar is being forced into the feeding tube.









Continue twisting and pushing the cork into the bottle until it is secure and a few drops of nectar have been forced out of the tip of the tube.

Take your feeder outside, turn the bottle upside down and hang your feeder for the hummingbirds to enjoy.






Wine Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

Some people collect stamps or coins. Others collect figurines. I collect glass bottles. My ever changing collection resides on the bottom shelf of the storage system in our garage. It started a few years ago when I needed some bottles to make a border for my flower garden. I finished the garden, but couldn't stop collecting the bottles. I have large bottles, small bottles, liquor, soda and condiment bottles, round and square bottles, blue, green and clear bottles. You name it. And as more people learn about my crazy collection, the more people start saving different types of bottles for me.

What, you may ask, do I do with all these bottles? Well, I love to incorporate them into craft projects because the possibilities are virtually endless. One project I have wanted to try for quite awhile is wine bottle hummingbird feeders. It took a couple attempts to get the right combination of materials, but I think the result is simple and beautiful. (Not to mention that the hummingbirds go absolutely crazy over them.)

Materials



(Variation - If you want a smaller feeder you can use a beer or soda bottle and two to three feet of 8 gauge copper wire.)

Directions


Before you begin clean the bottle and remove the label from your bottle.

Tutorial: How to make a wine bottle hummingbird feeder by The Chilly Dog You will be constructing a cage around the bottle by bending the copper wire with a pair of pliers. A bit of muscle is required because the wire is pretty heavy duty.

I wrapped the tip of my pliers with a few layers of electrical tape cover the tiny grooves on the pliers so they don't mar the surface of the copper wire. You don't have to do this, but your project will be prettier if the copper is nice and shiny.
Tutorial: How to make a wine bottle hummingbird feeder by The Chilly Dog Let's start bending the wire. Make sure to give yourself plenty of room to work. Five feet of wire can be a bit unruly and you don't want to poke anyone or scratch any surfaces in your house.

Create a loop that is bigger than the neck of the bottle, but smaller than the body. Loop the copper around 1 1/2 to 2 times.
Slide the loop over the neck of the bottle
Bend the wire so it is at a perpendicular to the first loop and parallel to the body of the bottle.
Twist the wire in a tight coil around the body of the bottle until about 6 inches of wire remain.
Next you will be making a hook so that you can hang your feeder. Bend a loop about an inch in diameter in the end of the wire, leaving an opening so you can hook this when you hang your feeder outside.
Bend the loop back as shown into a backwards "S" shape
Stretch out the coils and bend the "S" hook over the top of the bottle so it is secured inside the wire.

Fill your feeder with nectar, insert the feeder tube and it's ready to use. There is a bit of a trick to filling the feeder properly so it doesn't leak. I'll share my tips in my next post or you can check out my video about filling your hummingbird feeder on You Tube.

If you want you can add some bling by using glass paint to apply flowers or other decorations on the outside of the bottle before you fill it. This is the clear glass bottle feeder that hangs in our front yard. The hummingbirds love it and I enjoy watching them.