Tuesday, August 31, 2010
We have a lot of green beans in the garden. I mean A LOT. And I do can them but we try, of course, to eat as many fresh ones as possible since they don't get any healthier than that. My husband has now set a limit on how often we can have them (2 x per week) since if I had my way, we'd eat them every night! Gavin actually gave me this recipe (if you even want to call it that) and it is sooooooo good. I thought I'd share.
Here's what you'll need;
Some fresh green beans, cut to a desired length- how many depends on how much you'll eat
Lots of garlic, chopped- when I make ours I use about 5 good sized cloves but more is always better!
Olive oil- maybe 1/8 of a cup or so
Sea Salt (optional)
A skillet or a wok
Heat the oil in the skillet but remember that you can't get it too hot- olive oil doesn't tolerate high temps very well.
Once the oil is hot, throw in the garlic and cut green beans and start stirring. This is similar to stir frying so you don't want the green beans to sit for a long time in one place, otherwise they tend to get kinda soggy. Stir fry for 5-10 minutes depending on how cooked you want your beans.
Sprinkle with salt, if desired, and serve warm....... and be ready to get a second helping and a third and a fourth because they are so yummy!
Monday, August 30, 2010
New wax beans starting to push through
One of my most favorite parts of the garden...Sunflowers! Just getting ready to bloom.
Mason eating dirt while waiting for me to finish taking pictures. Good thing it's organic dirt. Gavin working on clearing the back part of the property. There is much more to clear but he got a start on it yesterday. He spent about a half hour with the Bobcat pulling out trees and leveling the brush. We were talking afterwards about how much time that would have taken without heavy equipment. I do not envy the folks that had to clear their land by hand so long ago. We're not sure what we're going to do with this space that we'll have cleared but our first thought is to get our miniature Jersey. While we would love to move to more property ASAP the reality is that we still have a ways to go before we are financially ready to do so. But, we really want our own source of milk too. It's going to take a while to clear, especially with our rainy season right around the corner, but we'll work on it slowly. And lastly, chickens. I think I'm addicted to chickens. Does anyone else feel like that? I love having them. I could get more and more and more and more but I told Gavin that I'd limit our flock to 10 while we live here.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I also canned up some "Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce." This is a little twist on conventional sauce because instead of using tomatoes, it uses peaches (which I also have about 40 lbs of!)
Here's the recipe:
Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce
6 cups finely chopped pitted and peeled peaches
1 cup finely chopped seeded red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt
In a large saucepan combine every everything and bring to a boil. Reduce and stir frequently until it is the thickness of commercial BBQ sauce. About 25 minutes.
In boiling bath canner process for 15 minutes for 1/2 pint jars or 20 for pint jars.
(I took about half of my sauce and put it through the blender to create a smoother, less chunky sauce- but that is up to you on how you'd like the consistency.)
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Come on, most people can't eat 300lbs of tomatoes fresh anyway. I get mine from a farmer that drives over from the heat area (just about 30 minutes away) and attends our farmers market.
Pour your puree into warm jars, place your lid and band and water bath for 45 minutes. It's that simple!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random integers, generated with replacement:
Timestamp: 2010-08-22 6:53:59
That means that : Tumbleweeds and Twisters is our winner! Congratulations, I hope you love this book!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
1. We got our two pigs.
2. Wyatt's appointment at the Orthopedic surgeon (that's 1.5hrs away) got changed to Tuesday (yesterday) and the surgeon is pretty certain that he's going to need surgery to repair his meniscus.
3. We have family in town until tomorrow morning and then more coming on Sunday.
4. Mason was sick for 3 days with a fever.
And the list goes on.....
The family though that is coming this Sunday are my parents! They'll be here for a week and guess what my plans are? Canning all week long! I am really excited about it. So I'll be blogging about it next week sharing all the different things I can each day. For now though I'll share a couple great pictures I've taken recently.
Mason is up and running. Well, not really running but crawling and scaling everything else! And today he is finally feeling better!Drying parsley.....with hangers, in the laundry room. With lack of room in our home, one has to get creative!
Here are the piggies, Pork Chop and Bacon. We didn't really name them that; actually they don't have names. It's probably best not to name animals you're going to eat.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I've tried to keep that in the forefront of my mind this week and remember....
While it takes a while to water the garden, I need to be thankful that I don't have to water my garden like this:
Praise God that He is so gracious and giving! Praise God for the abundant blessings that He has bestowed upon our family! May I be mindful today and in the future that He provides all that I need and that I need not covet anything. May I be content in the things He has provided because really, I have it oh so good.
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought."
Matthew 5:4-6 The Message
Friday, August 13, 2010
First, here is Layton's calendar. For about 3 weeks before he kept asking, "When is the fair coming???" We resolved that 5x/day question with a "countdown calendar." Each day he got to put a sticker on the calendar. He could then count the days remaining until fair. When it was full of stickers- we were off!
This is Wyatt's Lego entry in the fair.
Both the boys won first place in their division but Layton was the only one who would pose for me in front of his!
Mmmmmmmm, cotton candy.
My good friend's two daughters both showed their pigs in the fair this year.
Wyatt and Layton on the big slide.
Layton driving his truck.
Timber lasted for all of 15 seconds once this ride started. The kind gentleman that was supervising stopped the ride so she could get off. She looks thrilled, doesn't she?
Mason was an angel the whole time, hanging out in the Ergo on my back.
I entered a couple of baked goods this year and took home 2 second place ribbons and 1 third. I keep all of my fair ribbons in a drawer. It's fun to go back and look at all of them, what they were for and when they were from.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Many vegetables are able to be raw packed (since they are usually processed in a pressure canner) but most fruits require a hot pack. Why is this?
"Many fresh foods contain from 10-30 percent air. How long canned foods retain high quality depends on how much air is removed from food before the jars are sealed."
When you fail to hot pack your fruits you can end up with quite a bit of space in the bottom of your sealed jar as your fruit floats up at the top. Sometimes even as much as half the jar ends up being space instead of fruit!
To hot pack fruit, simmer it in boiling water for 2-5 minutes. With fruits such as peaches you can use that same water to create the syrup you add to the jars before processing. Pack your peaches well. You don't have the squish them all down into a peachy pulp but make sure you're utilizing as much jar space as possible. An added bonus, hot packed foods also retain better color and flavor over time.
Secondly, head space. "Head space" refers to the space above the food in a jar and below the lid. A general rule for head space is:
1/4" for jams and jellies
1/2" for fruits and tomatoes, processed in a HWB
1" for low acid foods, processed in a pressure canner
Head space is essential in jars to allow for the expansion of foods during processing and for forming the vacuum in cooled jars.
Foods canned in a pressure canner need more head space because as the temperature gets higher the air expands more.
I hope that some of this is helpful to those just starting to can or those that always wondered why their peaches always floated to the top. ;)
Don't forget to enter my canning book giveaway here!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Acid foods have a pH of 4.6 or lower. They include fruits, pickles, jams, marmalades and fruit butters. They can be processed in a hot water bath canner.
Here's a brief list to give you an idea of what's appropriate for either method:
Hot Water Bath Canning
To ensure a good quality canned product you'll want to pick produce at the peak of it's quality and can them within 6-12 hours of picking. Peaches, apricots, plums, pears, and nectarines can be ripened for a day or two between harvest and canning. Foods from your own garden or local farmer's market (that are usually picked the day before or morning of) will provide the best quality for canning.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
1. Simply leave a comment telling me what your favorite food to can is (or one that you'd like to experiment with.)
2. For 1 additional entry, blog about the giveaway and leave an additional comment letting me know that you did.
3. For 1 additional entry, facebook or tweet about it and leave an additional comment letting me know that you did.
Contest is open to everyone until 7pm on August 21st. Winner will be drawn by Random.org on the 22nd.
Friday, August 6, 2010
When processing low acidic foods you're going to want to use a pressure canner. The high temperature of a pressure canner destroys bacteria spores that can grow in low acid foods. Pressure canners also need a rack at the bottom, just like HWB canners. You can use both types of canners on your home stove top. Pressure canners can also be used outside on a propane cooker. I usually can all of my food inside with the exception of tuna. Fish stinks and the process of canning tuna will stink up your home, so I opt for canning outside in that case.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
There are several brands of canning jars to choose from and they can be found in a number of places. For new ones, check out your local hardware store, grocery store, Wal-Mart or any other home supply type store. You can get used ones too (usually at an awesome price) from places like garage sales, thrift stores, or even your neighbors garage! One of our neighbors gave me over 3 dozen pint jars a few years ago that she wasn't using anymore.
If you're buying new jars then you probably don't need to worry about their condition but if you're buying, or inheriting, used ones then you'll want to make sure you look over every jar well. Look for nicks in the rim, small cracks in the glass or any other sign of weakness. It's so disappointing to get your fruits or vegetables packed, into the canner and then lose a jar or two due to breakage or failure to seal. It's also a good idea to look over the jars you have had in storage from last season.
Lids and bands can be purchased separately if needed. Lids are a one time use product but bands can be reused year after year. I have a cabinet in my kitchen that holds a bunch of bands that I reuse. That way, each canning season my only expense is new lids.
The Tattler company makes reusable canning lids that are constructed from BPA free plastic. Amy over at Homestead Revival is hosting a giveaway for some right now. I have never tried these but I have heard good things about them.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Here's a handy trap that works well at catching the little bugs.
1 mason jar. I use a 1/2 gallon one but a quart size would work too.
1 rubber band
Tear a piece of plastic large enough to cover the mouth of your jar. Place old fruit inside (a banana peel, cantaloupe seeds, apple cote, etc.) Place plastic over mouth of jar and pull tight. Place rubber band around seal of jar to hold plastic on. Cut small holes ( I just use a knife) into tight plastic.
Fruit flies will be able to get in but not out!Viola! Your own fruit fly trap! I keep ours on the kitchen counter and have to replace the fruit about one a week.