Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pantry Challenge #19 ... 2014

If you’ve been following along with my 100 Items Challenge this month … I . DID . IT!  Go take a peek HERE!

My to-do list from last time:
Continue to preserve peaches.  Job Completed!  I added 180 more peach puree cubes to my freezer!  That’s all of our peaches from our trees for this year.
Dehydrate potatoes.   I finally got started dehydrating them!  Thus far I have added 2  pints of cubed, dehydrated potatoes to my pantry.
Can maple syrup.  I . GOT . IT . DONE!!!!  Can you believe it?????  How lonnnnnnnng has this been on my to-do list …. too long!  Sometimes it takes a little longer than we would like to get a job done, but if we preserve, we will get it done!
Order hawthorn berries to make hawthorn tincture.  There are several herbs I need to order so maybe this will actually get done this week!  I got this DONE too! 
Make turmeric capsulesDidn’t get done!
Make vitamin capsules  Didn’t get done! 

In Addition ….
We found slab bacon in 10 lb boxes on sale for $19.99 at Save-A-Lot.  This made it $1.99/lb.  The bacon was sliced nicely and wasn’t chopped up into ends and pieces.  We were thrilled and purchased 2 boxes.  We brought it home and divided it up into equal parts and froze it.  I added eight 2.5 lb size packages to the freezer part of my pantry.
I also found extra virgin olive oil on sale for $5.49 per 34 fl oz bottles.  We purchased 2 and added them to our pantry.
Someone gave us a GINORMOUS zucchini …  it was over a foot long … I shredded it up, packaged it into 1 cup baggies then vacuum sealed 8 packages of 2 cups each and added them to the freezer part of my pantry.  We'll use these when making squash patties or in baked goods.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:
Continue dehydrating potatoes
Make turmeric capsules

Make vitamin capsules

That’s what I’ve done, how about you?  What have you added to your pantry since we last talked?

A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 


This post linked to:  The Homestead Barn Hop

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dehydrating Potatoes!

We finally got our potatoes dug and now it's time to get started preserving them.  We don't have a basement or root cellar and the heat and humidity are so bad here that they will rot if you just let them sit.  What to do???  In the past years we've canned them and dehydrated them.  I've read of others making potato flakes and turning them into powder.  Still others cut them into French fry pieces and freeze them.  How do you preserve your potato crop?

I've been asked several times about dehydrating potatoes so that's what I'm going to share with you today ...

 First, I peel the potatoes and slice them in approximately 1/4 thickness. 

As I slice them I immediately put them in water to keep them from turning brown.
 Then onto the food chopper they go one at a time to be chopped.
 The chopper container is filling up!
Next, I put them in a pan on the stove and bring them to a boil for 3 minutes.
 Drain them ...

Run cold water over them ...
Then load them onto the dehydrator and dehydrate them at 115 until they are dehydrated.

I don't like to dehydrate things at a high temperature as I feel it destroys some of the nutritional value.
The end result ....  This half pint jar of dehydrated potatoes is about 8 potatoes.  I've got lots more potatoes to do and as I fill up each pint jar I'll vacuum seal it.  You can also oven-can these if you don't have a vacuum sealer.

We'll use our dehydrated potatoes in soups this winter.  You can also use them in stews, casseroles, etc.

If you'd rather dehydrate potato slices just use a food processor or some other method to slice the potatoes thin and follow the same instructions.  Dehydrated sliced potatoes make good scalloped potatoes.

A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Canning Maple Syrup

Several years ago we started buying pure maple syrup from a Mennonite family that tapped their own trees.  We would buy it in pints and would purchase enough to last for a year.  One year we went to make our yearly purchase and they were out of pints and only had it in gallons.  The lady of the house told me I could can it and proceeded to tell me how.  When I got home I consulted my canning books and searched online for further instructions.  I combined the instructions I got from the Mennonite lady with what I found in my research ... and here's how I can maple syrup ...
Empty the maple syrup into a pot.  Heat the syrup slowly until it reaches 180 degrees. Stir occasionally.  Do not let it boil or stick to the pan.
I attached a candy thermometer on the side of the pot so I could watch the temperature.
While the syrup is heating I wash and sterilize the jars by boiling them for 10 minutes in a pan of water.

I also heat the lids and prepare the rings.
 When the syrup reaches 180 degrees I fill each jar with the hot syrup, put a hot lid on each and screw on the ring.

The jars are hot, the syrup is hot and the lids are hot so be careful when filling and capping the jars.

The jars will seal as they cool.  No further processing is needed.

As I type this I am listening to the ping of the jars as they seal.

This maple syrup will last for years.  I am currently using some that has been on my pantry shelf for 3 years and it is still good.

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

A Working Pantry

This post linked to:  Thrifty Thursday; From the Farm Blog Hop; The Homestead Barn Hop

Looking Back @ Last Week ... #5

Last week was filled with doctor appointments and lots of busyness, here’s what I did in and around those doctor visits and busyness ...

To see what I added to my pantry go HERE.
While peeling and pureeing peaches one afternoon I listened to this free podcast by Wardee at GNOWFGLINS on Traditional Food and Preparedness.   

I watched this short video by Wardee at GNOWFGLINS on how to get kefir milk thick.  While I am pretty pleased with how my kefir milk does I watched it anyway to see if I could pick up any information I didn’t know and … I did!

I unpacked a few more boxes and put their contents away from where we had to box everything up and move it out to get our floors finished.

My husband cut a nice big bouquet of sunflowers from the field next to our house and brought them in.  (He has been given permission to do this.)  They made a beautiful arrangement for our dining room table.  I love free things like this that helps make a house a home.
Getting Healthier in 2014
I walked on the treadmill 30 minutes each day for 6 consecutive days! 

My husband and I bought each other Fitbits for our anniversary and they have been a real motivator to keep us moving and get those steps in.

Read what happened in our garden HERE

Pantry Tips
I added a new pantry tip HERE

Bible Study
I started writing out the book of Proverbs into a notebook.  I needed something simple and easy to do that didn’t require a lot of research on my part and this fit the bill perfectly.  It’s been nice to just think on each verse as I write them out.

I printed off a Bible study titled Like Mother, Like Daughter from this site. 

I finished chalking the ‘Judges’ for the children’s Bible class I teach.

I finished the doll quilt top that is part of a Christmas present for my granddaughter.

I started another batch of cider fire last week and made garlic salve.
That was my week in a nutshell!

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

A Working Pantry


Making Peach Cubes for the Freezer

 If you've been reading my pantry challenges for the last few weeks you will know that I have been making peach cubes for my freezer from the peaches on our peach trees.
I picked another bowl half full today and I thought I would share with you how I make peach cubes.
I peel and slice the peaches removing the pit.  As I go along I drop the peach pieces in my Magic Bullet blender/smoothie maker/what-ever-you-want to call it container.
I give it a quick whiz ... approximately 30 seconds ... I told you it was quick!

Then pour the puree into an ice cube where it is immediately put into the freezer.

Approximately 24 hours later, I remove the cubes from the trays and put them in freezer bags and put them back in the freezer. 

I've been keeping this rotation going for several days now and have several bags of peach cubes in my freezer.
What do I use the peach cubes for?  Right now I'm enjoying them in a kefir smoothie every morning.  My husband mentioned that they would be good to make peach tea with ... how would you use these peach cubes?
Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

This post linked to:  Thrifty Thursday; Friday's Unfolded; From the Farm Blog Hop

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pantry Challenge #18 ... 2014

Before we get started with our pantry challenge, I want to invite you to go take a peek at my 100 items challenge that’s going on this month!  Do you set goals that help keep your pantry well-stocked?

Here’s the latest pantry challenge …

My to-do list from last time:

Continue to preserve peaches.  Done! I added 192 more peach puree cubes to the freezer part of my pantry.  These make the most delicious smoothies!

Dehydrate potatoes.  We went to the garden to dig a few potatoes and got up close and personal with a snake.  Thankfully, we did not get bit but it really shook me up … I was done!  We’re going back to dig again but first the bush hog will be run over the potato patch and then the tractor will be used to dig them.  No more shovel digging for us!!! 

Re-Can Black OlivesDone!  I added 16 pints of black olives to my pantry.

Can maple syrup … Didn’t get done!

Order hawthorn berries to make hawthorn tincture  Didn’t get done!

In Addition ….

I made another bath of cider fire.  I use a lot of this stuff depending on the season and never want to run out!

I made a jar of garlic salve … recipe from the book “Be Your Own Doctor’ by Rachel Weaver.  (It’s on page 94 if you have the book.)  My plan is to rub a little on the bottom of my feet at night then put on socks and sleep in them.   Reportedly, this will help with my allergies.  I sure hope so!

I made another gallon of kefir milk.  I have a kefir smoothie every day.  Kefir is full of probiotics and is so good for your digestive system.

I got stung by a wasp and immediately ran inside to grab my jar of plantain tincture.  I soaked a piece of paper towel with the tincture and laid it on the sting.  Within a few seconds the hurting had stopped as had the swelling.  I re-soaked the piece of paper towel two more times and then covered it all with a large bandage.   Plantain tincture is a staple in my medicinal pantry.  It’s good for bug bites, stings, etc and it’s super easy to make.  All it takes is plantain, vinegar and time!

Here’s my to-do list for this week:

Continue to preserve peaches.  I’m almost done with this job!

Dehydrate potatoes.  We’re going to try digging them again.  If I can get them out of the ground and home, I’ll get them dehydrated!

Can maple syrup.  Yep, it’s still on my list!

Order hawthorn berries to make hawthorn tincture.  There are several herbs I need to order so maybe this will actually get done this week!

Make turmeric capsules

Make vitamin capsules

That’s what I’ve done, how about you?  What have you added to your pantry since we last talked?

A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

This post was featured on From the Farm Blog Hop over at The Homesteading Hippy!


This post linked to:  Clever Chicks Blog Hop; Homestead Barn Hop

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Re-Canning Black Olives

One frugal way that I keep my pantry well-stocked is to buy items in #10 cans ... but wait, there's no way we could eat all that a #10 holds before it goes bad, so I re-can it. 

Re-canning is the simple act of buying canned foods in large containers (at a cheaper price) and re-canning it in meal size portions.  Lots of things can be re-canned:  barbeque sauce, hominy, black olives, spaghetti sauce, etc.  In deciding how long to process what you are re-canning you would need to treat the item as if it were being canned fresh and use the time your canning book says.

Here's how I re-can black olives ...

I purchased this #10 can (actually I bought 2 cans) of black olives several weeks ago for around $4 - 5 each. (Have you priced what a small jar of black olives cost?)  I brought them home and set them aside because things got really hectic really fast at our house and I just didn't have time to re-can them immediately.  Yesterday I started re-canning them ...

Sterilize pint  jars (can use half-pints)

Heat lids
Open can of olives, pour into large pot and heat them, do not boil
Fill jars to just below shoulder of jar with black olives
Fill each jar with liquid from black olives (if there's not enough liquid add water) to within 1 inch of top of jar.
Clean rim of  each jar
Add lid and ring
Pressure can pints for 60 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (it would be the same canning time for half-pints)
I got 9 pints out of one can plus used some for pizzas.
Have you tried re-canning?  If so, what?

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page.  

This post linked to:  From the Farm; Blissful and Domestic Feature Friday Blog Hop; Thrifty Thursday; Clever Chicks Blog Hop; Homestead Barn Hop; Simple Saturday Blog Hop