Category Archives: Food Storage

A Weekend of Canning

outside temp. at 10am I should have started earlier in the morning.

I had put this project off for over a week now, it’s been so hot I couldn’t bring myself to start the stove. But if I didn’t do it over the weekend it would have to wait until next weekend and by then the green beans will be ready and I would be so far behind…

 

 

This spring I planted a 4 x 6 foot area of Bulls Blood beets. 17.25 pounds I pulled and canned. I never took the proper time to thin them right so some were huge and others very small. I’ll get the area cleaned out and reseed with more beets for a fall harvest.

I like Bulls Blood pretty well for canning because they seem to hold their color a bit better than some of the others I have tried. Detroit is my choice if I’m going to pickle them, that’s what the next batch will be for.

I ended up with 14 pints of beets.

 

 

 

Next up was a project I have been wanting to try for a couple of years now but the radishes never cooperated. Late in June I planed French Breakfast Radish under the tomato and pepper plants with the hope there would be plenty to make relish with, I think I succeeded with that goal. I have another pile of these radishes just as big. These and Belle are my favorite for flavor and looks.  My goal was to make radish relish. I pulled all of them and set out to make the relish.

 

 

 

 

 

The recipe I have calls for onions and no one here at the house likes onions so I replaced them with carrots. Daisy and I have tried a new to us variety called Dragon.  Dragon is a pretty carrot, being purple on the outside and orange inside. It should make a pretty salad or relishes. I only pulled enough to make what I thought would be 2 cups of shredded. So there are more to can and eat fresh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are very pretty and grew well in the new raised bed we set up last year just for carrots. It is extra deep so the carrots would grow long and straight. This week it is also time to put in another batch of yellow wax beans, peas, broccoli. Of course more radishes, I would like to make another couple of baches for the holiday season. I have several of the Ball Elite jars saved for this gift giving project. With this heat I’ll have to put up the row covers and use some burlap to cover the seeds. This will help in keeping the soil cooler and moist so the seeds don’t dry out.

I don’t have a summer sink set up yet, I’m still looking for an old cast iron one that I can use. Until then I use the hose and the table just outside the garden. This saves on the amount of dirt coming into the kitchen and going down our drains.

 

 

So what did you do this weekend? How is your garden growing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Monday

It’s a wonderful hot and sunny summer day around here. It’s in the mid 90’s, with wispy clouds and blue skies!

I have spent a good amount of time today talking to people for work, a few friends and customers have called or emailed and I think the theme for the day is IT’S HOT!…

I say to this well, it’s SUMMER it’s supposed to be hot~ 🙂 Don’t crab about it because before I know it in 3 short months the wind and snow will be blowing again.

I had a “now why didn’t I think about that sooner” moment a few days back…

starting lettuce in hanging basket

A few weeks ago I was planting lettuce (that didn’t come up) and had a handful of seeds left and tossed them in these empty hanging baskets. When they were large enough I transplanted them to the main garden. It worked like a charm. I have never had much luck sowing lettuce directly into the garden they came up spotty at best, with lots of wasted space.

The extras I fed to the chickens for a treat. I reseeded them with lettuce seeds again.

fresh strawberries

Daisy and I went to the strawberry farm and picked the late strawberries. We had fresh strawberry shortcakes with whipped cream and the rest I made Jam with.

 

 

We picked blueberries too. These all went into the freezer.   It was hot and very muggy so we gave up after we picked about 4 pounds. Blueberry season is just starting so we have time to go back again.

 

Hope your day went well!

Karyn

Storing your dried herbs in canning jars and Free Lid Labels

Fresh organic herbs are one of the happiest things I can do for myself and my family. From choosing what varieties to grow, growing them, harvesting them, drying them and storing them. It’s an adventure I look forward to every year.

They can turn that same of baked noodle recipe that is a staple from our pantry menu into many exciting dinners… how with the use of herb of course! Say we want a spicy Mexican dinner, herbs and spices can do that and next week we want more of a traditional home cooked turkey I can do that too with my dried herbs. Same recipe to use our pantry ingredients but its the flavor that changes.

The storage of them is the key to keeping them fresh I think. While I have had some jars of herb for many years the fresh flavor does lessen over time and that doesn’t mean they aren’t any good, you just use a bit more for the flavor you want. I read all the time that after a year you should toss them out, hog wash! As long as they are still dry and haven’t been infested with insects, mold or other nastiest they are still very usable.

I store my herbs mostly in my antique blue bail top Ball Mason jars, remember the ones with the bail wire and the rubber rings? Yep, those are the ones. I like them because while they don’t block much light they do block some and every little bit helps. I happen to be in love with them and while they can’t be used for canning much any more they have a lot of life left in them. I also use old cookie tins, remember when you could actually get cookies in a tin and not a plastic bag? Check the yard sales, thrift shops and even ask your friends to save tins for you. They are perfect for storage of dry goods.

I store my bulk herbs are inside a dark wooden cupboard down in the cellar where its cool and the humidity is always just right thanks to the de-humidifier in the summer and the humidifier in the winter. I have smaller containers in the kitchen where I can get to them for cooking daily.

Herbs to have the longest shelf live possible need to be kept dry, well sealed and stored in a cool dark area. The cupboard above the stove is not the place!

As I’m sure you know I have been selling fresh dried herbs over at our Farm Store at Etsy. Recently I have had quite a few questions about storage for the herbs. My answer is how I store them, then the next question is where can I get the labels for the lids! 

 I had a few minutes of free time and have been wanting to make a few new canning jar lid labels. Here are the newest ones and you can find more free lid labels for both the regular mouth and wide mouth jars.  These fit between the screw band and the flat lid.  To save these or any of the others, simply right click on the image and choose save as to save it to your computer. You can print them at 100% scale one at a time or use a photo editing program to place many on the same sheet of paper and then print. Enjoy!

IF you are using them for sealed jars. These labels go on AFTER you have processed your jars, allowed them to cool, wiped them down and they are ready for storage in the pantry.  I thought I would mention this as one lady asked me how I kept the paper labels from disintegrating in the canner….woops!

For jars not canned and being used for storage simply lay the flat lid on the jar, add the label and screw down the band. Everything from nuts, chocolate chips, flour, spices and herbs can be stored well with out canning them. IF you are trying to store food such as fresh veggies, sauces, soups, meats they MUST BE CANNED following an approved recipe.

As Promised it’s Raining!

I don’t often get very excited about rain when I have yard work to do. But this rain is different, we need it very badly. We have had no snow cover all winter to speak of and so far this spring very little if any rain. The garden beds are bone dry dust at this point.  The chickens are loving them to dust bathe in. Glad I can make them happy. Outside fires have been banned for several weeks and wild brush fires have been reported. We don’t often have brush fires in these parts.

I’m not worried about our water supply, we have an artesian well that pumps out more than 60 gallons a minute. We also have a hand dug well that is currently full to the top.  But I do worry about other’s wells, I would hate to see them have to buy tankers of water to put in their wells. Water troubles are almost unheard of in these parts of the woods.

Anyway I traded that rake in and stayed away from that attack rose bush and took out my shiny bright red Kitchen Aid mixer and put it to good use today. Daisy and I baked 2 loaves of pound cake.  Pound cake has been on my mind the past couple of weeks with the abundance of fresh eggs I have, 14 or so a day now. My old stand by recipe has shown up missing so I went looking on line for another recipe. To my surprise my friend Mitchel has recently posted his recipe for pound cake and it is WONDERFUL, a breeze to make and did I mention yummy with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. If you need the recipe to use up a few (8 eggs!) eggs this is a perfect one to try, you will not be disappointed with it. We ate one with dinner and the other was put in the freezer. I will do this again soon to stock up on baked breads in the freezer. They will be handy later in the summer when it’s too hot to turn on the oven and fresh strawberries are ready to pick in the garden.

I also put up another batch of Red Beet Pickled Eggs for snacking on this week. Over the weekend I will can up a batch of regular pickled eggs for the pantry. They are yummy in potato salad, tuna salad and for a side dish. I know – I know…many will tell you canning pickled eggs at home is unsafe and there is no approved method to do this if you don’t keep them refrigerated. I do it, have always done it and will continue to can pickled eggs.

And I had another treat today, Dick took me shopping for a new skirt and blouse. We have several Lodge functions soon and he wanted me to have something new to wear. You all know how well I like clothes shopping…not….but I found a nice organic cotton skirt and blouse that will do nicely.

We also stopped at the new feed store and I picked out 10 pounds of Yukon Gold seed potatoes. Being able to pick out your own is something new for me, usually the only way to get seed potatoes is to order them on line or purchase them from a local farmer. Well these are local and it was good to pick out just the ones I want. I always feel cheated when seed potatoes arrive in the mail and they are huge with only a single eye on them. Happens more often than not. I picked the smaller ones with several eyes that can be cut into chunks and still leave a good amount of potato with it. I feel it was a good, no a VERY good deal at 69 cents a pound. On line a single pound is $10 plus shipping. Think I will go back tomorrow for another variety, I didn’t want to push my luck with Dick, he hates standing around while I look and make up my mind what I am getting. We had already worked our way through 3 clothing stores, and he didn’t say a word about it or the feed store. He is sweet.

This will also give me the chance to look over the fencing supplies there. I would like a few cattle panels for the garden.

The attach Rogusa Rose last summer

Lastly I finished up a new batch of laundry soap and finished up the laundry for the week. So how did you weekend go? Hope it was a good one.

 

 

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