Author: The Farmer's Wife (page 2 of 22)

How To Freeze Blackberries So They Don’t Stick Together

I generally only get one morning to pick blackberries each year—two if I have a ton of time on my hands.  This means we eat fresh berries every day for about a week.  Since blackberries don’t stay fresh for long, I have to preserve the rest as fast as I can.  For me, this means I freeze blackberries until I can pull them back out either for canning jams and sauces, or baking with them.

One of the most frustrating things I hear others complain about when it comes to freezing blackberries is that they are a solid mass of berry once they get pulled back out of the freezer.

Good news:  Not only do I know how to freeze them so they come out of the freezer as individual berries, but I’m also going to share that with you.  Don’t worry, it’s easy.

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Growing Self Sufficiency: Start Your Journey Of Self Sufficiency

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

Self sufficiency is a growing trend right now–and for good reason.  Once you get a taste of providing for yourself, you realize it’s one of the most rewarding adventures you could pursue.  From having a few potted plants or a beehive on your balcony, to having full-out acreage with larger animals, there is a level of self sufficiency we can all achieve when we’re willing to put in the time and sweat.

Knowing where and how to start is often what keeps us from taking that first step.  Once we map out our direction and choose a starting point, this new plan becomes our driving force.

If you are looking for that driving force, or just want a little bit more information before you further your journey, then this is one resource you’re going to find incredibly helpful.

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Homemade Pink Grapefruit Curd For Home Preservation

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

Pink grapefruit curd for the freezer. These dutch babies look so good--and I think these would make good macaroons too.

One thing we can’t grow this far north in our short cold season is citrus.  I love citrus.  And although grapefruit isn’t my favorite, I don’t pass up a good slice of grapefruit pie.

Since we don’t really have the time to eat pie right now, I just made up a bunch of curd to freeze for future pies, tarts, and maybe as cookie filling in the future.

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Building A Root Cellar: A Homesteader’s Bank Account

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

A couple years ago we knew we would have to build a new root cellar.  Not only was the current one letting the mice in, but we actually worried it would soon collapse in on itself.

We began drafting plans for the new root cellar, making a supply list, and pricing those items.  We knew we’d save on costs by building it ourselves, and we really liked that idea anyway–we’d get exactly what we wanted.

I’m not going to lie to you–it’s not as easy as you might think.  You’ve got to consider the water level, the frost line, drainage, and air flow, among other things.  It’s not quite as simple as it may first appear.

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Tips And Tricks For Small Farmers To Sell Their Produce

As farmers, we have a little bit of experience selling crops (just a tad).

We grow crops on a large scale (see Meet The Farmers).  However, I wanted to make good, organic produce available to locals who can’t grow their own food and the tourists that come through.  So we decided to set aside one acre to grow produce on a small scale.

My next move was to approach a grocery store.  There is one tiny Mom & Pop store nearby that I thought might possibly want to sell produce, but it was risky.

The owner was very kind.  I gave him enough free corn to feed his family dinner, and then he agreed to try our produce.

At first, I made posters and had those interested in corn make an order.  I contacted him every Monday morning and got the order.  We spent Monday preparing the order, and then into the root cellar it went for the night.  Tuesday morning we made our delivery.

As the corn did well, he asked me for a sample of beans.  I gave him three pounds, and before I knew it, I was taking orders for corn and beans Monday mornings.

Now, most Monday mornings I call, and he tells me, “Bring me all of everything you have.”  He’s never turned any of our produce down.

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How We Dehydrate Raspberries And Use Them Later

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

I was very fortunate this year to get two raspberry foraging trips.  I say fortunate because I really wasn’t planning either one.  With all the raspberries we scored, I knew I’d want to do more than just make up raspberry jam.  I made some raspberry sauce for treats, and I also had enough to dehydrate raspberries for later use.

When fall settles down into winter, I’ll start making granolas for winter breakfasts and one of our favorites is vanilla-raspberry.  There are also enough for snacks to take with us on our winter adventures.  And if any are left in the spring?  Well they make a good snack soaked in milk, or cooked into morning oatmeal.

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How To Get Rid Of Gophers: Lethal And Non-Lethal Methods

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

Get rid of gophers in gardens and fields. Lists both lethal and non-lethal techniques.

Gophers are a pest known to many gardeners, and hated by most.  They live in all areas of North America except for the far north and east.

With their front claws and front teeth, gophers dig tunnels 6-12 inches below ground that can be up to 800 feet long.  These tunnels are concentrated in open fields, lawns, and the gardens we love.

While a mole will dig tunnels and eat mainly grubs and worms, gophers go right for our good stuff—our coveted produce and flowers.  They aren’t overly picky, and will eat buds, grass, nuts, roots, and vegetables.  Carrots, lettuce, and radishes are a favorite, although any vegetable that is juicy will do.  I have a particular problem keeping them away from my young pepper plants.

In our area, with it’s short growing season, gophers have one main breeding season, and that’s usually in June.  One minute we’ve got a few tunnels, and we’re planting our garden.  The next minute, we’re overrun with gophers.  I’ve learned over the years that if I can employ a variety of means to get rid of them in June, the rest of my season isn’t so bad.

If you live in a warmer climate, however, you could see 3-4 breeding cycles a year in your area.  How do you get rid of gophers?  It’s not easy to do, and it’s a task I have to tackle every single year.

Here are some ways you can try to rid yourself of these rodents from killing them to trying to convince them to leave on their own, and some other things you’ll need to think about as you consider your options.

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What You Actually Need To Get Started Canning

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

If you’ve always wanted to get started canning–either pressure canning or water bath canning–then perhaps you’ve been hesitant because you’re not sure what you actually need.  I can completely understand that.

Jumping into this means of food preservation isn’t cheap when you’re first starting out.  The last thing you want to do is spend a pretty-penny on some equipment just to find out it’s not enough.  Even worse is paying for a large canning “set” only to find out you don’t even need all the things in it.

Let me help you out.  If you want to begin this year and you’re not quite sure what is needed to start off with, then read-on my friend.  I let you know just what’s needed, and share with you what I use.

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Getting Started Pressure Canning & Water Bath Canning

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*

 

You’ve been hearing about it all year.  You’ve even seen pictures of the beautifully filled jars in the pantries of others.  If you have homestead-y friends, then perhaps you’ve been the blessed recipient of such lovely glass jars filled with homemade foods at some point.

But when you think of actually canning foods yourself, doubt, fear, or hesitation creep in.  Your intentions are good:

  • You will learn this year.
  • You will make your own healthy foods to feed your family through the winter.
  • Your shelves will be beautifully adorned with various colors of filled mason jars this year.

Then the season comes…and goes.  What happened?  Will you ever learn?

Yes, you will.

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ReCAP Fermentation Starter Kit Review

* I was provided the following reCAP Fermentation Starter Kit from Mason Jars Company in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.*

 

Fermenting foods is a health trend that’s coming back in style right now.  Much like pressure canning, it’s a skill our fore-bearers used extensively to prepare and serve foods.  This skill fell by the wayside for awhile as tin cans and convenience foods came en vogue.

Currently, there’s a push to return to our roots, and fermentation is an excellent skill to bring us closer to our heritage.  Luckily for us, we’ve got it much easier than our ancestors did.  The equipment we have available today makes it easier to attain the same results with less inconvenience.

Traditionally, vegetables have been fermented (mostly for preservation reasons) by the process of lacto-fermentation.  Vegetables are submerged in a brine and kept in a cool, dark place.  In this manner, naturally present bacteria (usually lactobaccillus,  or bifidus strains) or yeast begin breaking down sugars and starches, giving off gasses.  This results in the need for “burping” the jars, or special equipment to allow the gasses to escape.

I was blessed with the reCAP Fermentation Kit from Mason Jars Company to use and review early in the spring and I’m very excited to share it with you today.  If you’ve ever been curious about this process, or the kit, then I hope to answer your questions here.

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