Category: Cooking & Preservation (page 1 of 4)

A Root Cellar Is More Than Just Vegetable Storage

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Most people don’t use root cellars anymore.  Even in my area where people live a simpler life and grow large gardens full of food, root cellars aren’t as utilized as one might think.

On a national scale, however, root cellars are coming back en vogue.

With the growing popularity of modern homesteading, people desire more and more to grow their own food.  Unfortunately, many are unable to grow year-round, and must find a way to preserve their homegrown goodness if they want to enjoy it during colder months.

People often begin by freezing more of their own foods.  When freezer space becomes an issue, they start dehydrating produce.

Getting more serious, they learn to water bath fruits and tomatoes, and then move on to pressure canning.

There is, however, a much quicker and easier way to preserve many foods.

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How To Make Sure You Actually Eat What You Grow This Year

If you have not started seeds for your garden yet this year, you are thinking about it.  The thrill starts when you open that seed catalog and start dreaming.

Then they come in the mail and you stare at your calendar until the day you can start putting them in the soil and giving them water.  You spend your hours trying not to check on them as often as possible until they finally germinate.

The day eventually comes when you can take them outside—and finally—plant them into the ground.  These are your babies.  Pride swells as you watch them grow.  Then one day, they are ready.

If you are like 99% of the vegetable growing population, you have planted too much of something at least once in your journey.  Maybe you even plant too much of one thing (or several) on a yearly basis.  (You would not be alone my Friend.)

We may grow different fruits and vegetables in our gardens, but the one thing we have in common is that we all have to figure out how best to utilize our loot or else watch it rot.  Here are some tips to make sure you are making the most of your haul this year.

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Serviceberry Syrup: AKA Saskatoon Berry Syrup

*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.*

 

We spend exactly one full day in July making a foraging trip in hopes of bringing home at least 5 gallons of serviceberries every year.  We’ll eat as many fresh that week as we can.  They don’t stay good long, so we have to preserve them as quickly as possible.

We do this by making serviceberry raisins, serviceberry fruit leathers, and freezing them.  If time permits, we make serviceberry juice and can it up as well.

Sometime during the winter, when I’m trying to empty my freezer, I’ll pull them out and get to canning other things like pie filling, jams, and today, serviceberry syrup.

This gives me more freezer space, and fills those pantry shelves that have been emptying out over our cold winter.

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Canning Homemade Cranberry Sauce By Water Bath

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

 

I love cranberry sauce.  I love being able to make homemade cranberry sauce even more.  Canning my own cranberry sauce?  Heaven.

I’m not worried about all the extra ingredients, or if I’ll be able to find it at the stores on one of my two shopping trips to town each year.  I don’t have to worry about finding just the right brand, or going to another store if I can’t find what I want.

If I want it spiced?  Then I can make it just exactly how I like it.  I’m hoping to share with you how super easy and quick it is to make up the day you want it for dinner, but for today I’m sharing how I just canned up the last of this year’s loot.  I like to make 4 pints a year.  This recipe will make just that (plus a little bowl for consuming right away).

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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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What You Actually Need To Get Started Canning

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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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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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13 Ways To Use Frozen Cantaloupe (Plus Recipes)

*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, I showed you how I freeze cantaloupe for long-term storage. While much of it was thawed in bowls and eaten with breakfast or lunch, we did enjoy it some other ways.

If you’re wondering what you too can do with cantaloupe after you’ve frozen it, then you’re in the right place.  Here are 13 ideas to try with your frozen cantaloupe to get you started.  (If you’re unsure how to go about preparing them, I’ve also included links to help you out.)

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10 Things A Homestead Kitchen Needs To Be Self Sufficient

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If for some reason the grid went down tomorrow and stayed down for an extended period of time, would your kitchen meet the needs of your new self-sufficient life?  Perhaps your kitchen would keep functioning just the same way it always has.  Maybe you’d get by, but it’d be a bit uncomfortable.  Or possibly, your kitchen wouldn’t be much use at all.

If you’re looking to increase your self-sufficiency, or decrease your footprint (or both), then your kitchen may need some of the following items.

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Making And Canning Homemade Pink Grapefruit Marmalade

*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.*

 

One thing I love about winter is when citrus season comes around.  Once a year all citrus goes on sale for a low, low price, and that’s when we get ours.  There’s a flurry of preserving zests, fruits, curds, and marmalades.  This week, I’m making grapefruit marmalade, and I’m sharing with you just how I do it.

An especially good thing about making grapefruit marmalade is that it uses nearly the entire grapefruit–peel and all.  Of course grapefruit is naturally sour, so it does take quite a bit of sugar, but it’s not your everyday jam, so it only gets used for special times anyway.

Moving on.  Let’s make some marmalade, shall we?

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