Tag: Preservation (page 1 of 5)

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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Serviceberry Syrup: AKA Saskatoon Berry Syrup

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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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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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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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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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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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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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