Country Traditions

October 21, 2012

Root Simple: Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers

Filed under: family, wisdom — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 6:06 am

Root Simple: Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers.Why would you want to build a fireless cooker?

  • To save time at the stove
  • To have food ready when you get up, or come home from work
  • To save energy, because you’re a do-gooder.
  • To save energy, because energy is expensive/unreliable where you live.
  • To learn this technology well so you’ll know how to use it in case of emergencies. (A fireless cooker combined with something that can boil water, like a camp stove or a rocket stove, would be a great combo for any emergency, long or short.)

via Root Simple: Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers.

February 27, 2012

Firewood Buying and Storing Tips | ThriftyFun

Filed under: family, farming, trees — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 4:54 am

Firewood Buying and Storing Tips | ThriftyFun

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via Firewood Buying and Storing Tips | ThriftyFun.

It’s always best to shop for firewood before you need it. Sometimes you can find great deals in the spring and summer, before people are thinking about cool weather and warming their home. Good places to find postings of wood for sale are: Your local newspaper’s classified ads. Grocery store, church or post office bulletin boards. Signs posted around the neighborhood.

 

May 8, 2011

Make Your Own Butter: Organic Gardening

Filed under: Churning butter, family, herbs, recipes — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 8:08 am

Homemade, fresh organic butter can be made in minutes—10, to be exact. All that’s needed is organic cream and an electric mixer.

“It is so simple, but so exquisite,” says Monique Jamet Hooker, professional chef and author in DeSoto, Wisconsin. She grew up on a farm in Brittany, France, and as a child took turns with her sisters working the butter churn. But she’s given up the old-fashioned method in favor of the electric mixer.

via Make Your Own Butter: Organic Gardening.

March 25, 2011

How to Grow Radishes : Organic Gardening

Filed under: family, gardening — dmacc502 @ 7:58 am

 

 

Colorful and crisp, radishes are a popular addition to salads and vegetable trays. Radishes mature very quickly—some in as little as 3 weeks. They’re a useful marker crop when sown lightly along rows of slow germinators such as carrots and parsnips.

via How to Grow Radishes : Organic Gardening.

February 20, 2011

Organic Gardening: What To Store In A Root Cellar

Filed under: family, gardening — dmacc502 @ 3:40 pm

 

 

Vegetable Ideal Storage Temperature (°F) Relative Humidity (percentage) Average Storage Life

Beets 32 95 1-3 months

Cabbage 32 90-95 3-4 months

Carrots 32 90-95 4-6 months

Celery 32 90-95 2-3 months

Garlic 32 65-70 6-7 months

Horseradish 30-32 90-95 10-12 months

Jerusalem artichoke 31-32 90-95 2-5 months

Onions 32 65-70 5-8 months

Parsnips 32 90-95 2-6 months

Potatoes 38-40 90 5-8 months

Pumpkins 50-55 70-75 2-3 months

Rutabaga 32 90-95 2-4 months

Sweet potato 55-60 85-90 4-6 months

Turnips 32 90-95 4-5 months

Winter squash 50-55 70-75 3-6 months

via Organic Gardening: What To Store In A Root Cellar.

February 6, 2011

Gardens: Old wives’ tales | Life and style | The Guardian

Filed under: composting, family, farming, gardening, wisdom — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 11:26 am

 

 

Crocks in pots improve drainage

The theory Water drains more quickly through coarse materials, so�a layer of gravel�or pot fragments in the bottom of containers lets excess water drain freely.

The evidence Research by soil scientists shows that water doesn’t flow freely from fine-textured materials into coarser ones. Water moves into coarser materials, such as gravel or crocks, only once the soil above is saturated, so a sudden change from a fine to a coarse texture causes water to collect in the�soil above, rather than drain away. This can be bad news for roots. Pot feet help to improve drainage and prevent waterlogging, especially in containers sitting on a�hard, flat surface.

The verdict False: a drainage layer in�the bottom of pots reduces the volume of soil available to plant roots. Don’t add gravel or crocks, but ensure pots�have drainage holes.

Watering in the middle of the day scorches leaves

The theory Water droplets act as�mini magnifying glasses, which�focus the sun’s rays and scorch leaves.

The evidence For the first time last�year, researchers investigated the effect of water droplets and sunlight on leaves. Scientists in Budapest studied various types of�leaves and found no evidence of sunburn caused by water and light. Watering in the middle of the day should, however, be avoided, because it’s wasteful. More water will evaporate compared with the amount lost when watering at a�cooler time of day. And not only that: watering in the heat of the day also raises humidity levels around plants, creating conditions loved by�fungal diseases such as�powdery�mildew and�grey�mould.

The verdict False:�watering in�bright�sunlight does not cause sunburn, but it�does waste water�and can create�problems with�fungal diseases.

Urine speeds up composting

The theory Human and animal urine is�a source of nitrogen, which�speeds up decomposition by�boosting the activity of composting organisms.

via Gardens: Old wives’ tales | Life and style | The Guardian.

January 26, 2011

Video: How to butcher a whole lamb | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

Filed under: animals, family, recipes — dmacc502 @ 11:06 am
Carniceria
Image via Wikipedia

http://gu.com/p/29nt6

via Video: How to butcher a whole lamb | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

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January 16, 2011

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores

Filed under: canning, family, gardening, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:23 am
Balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar
Image via Wikipedia

Back in November, at�the height of apple season, I decided to try making vinegar as a way to use up all the apple cores and peels that were left over from making dried apples. I thought I’d wait to see how the vinegar turned out before sharing the recipe. It finally appears to be as close to vinegar as it’s going to get, so here’s the story.

The recipe I used was from an old cookbook my mother picked up at a garage sale years and years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve just got some photocopied recipes from it now, so I’m not sure what the title of the original book was. I think it was probably the White House Cookbook, circa the 1890s. We had a copy of that one along with a few others from the same era, and I spent many an hour as a little girl happily reading through recipes for horehound cough drops and walnut catsup, instructions for cleaning lace, and five-course breakfast menus. What a different world – but still one I could somehow imagine myself in. Occasionally, my mother and I would try out a recipe or two. We even found our favorite Christmas cake recipe – a dense mace-scented white cake studded with hazelnuts and raisins – in one of the old books (they really knew how to bake back then).

via Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores.

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January 15, 2011

Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Filed under: canning, family, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:25 pm
Today I made marmalade......mmm!

Image via Wikipedia

The first step is to peel the fruit. We’ve made lemon, lemon-orange, and orange marmalade, but you can use pretty much any citrus fruit.

We looked around a bit and settled on this recipe primarily because of its simplicity. It scales well. For a large batch, just keep peeling and cutting fruit until the pot is full or your hands were tired. You can also scale down–grab a couple of oranges from the cafeteria and you’ll make a lot of friends in your dorm kitchen.

The peels need to be cut into little slivers for the appropriate texture in the marmalade. If you stack up the pieces, you can cut a bunch at once.
Marmalade 06

Many recipes recommend removing the white pith because it is bitter. Other recipes recommend removing the pith and reserving it, cooking it along with the fruit in a cheesecloth bundle and removing it at the end, presumably to allow extraction of the pectin. Many jam and jelly recipes call for pectin to be added, but it isn’t needed for marmalade because of the amount of pectin already present in the skin and pith of the citrus fruit.

Some recipes call for a blanching or soaking stage. The primary purpose of blanching is to remove the bitterness from the pith and peel. We like bitter marmalade, so we left in most of the pith and didn’t soak or blanch the peels or fruit. That also keeps the recipe simple– just slice up the fruit and throw it in the pot with the peel pieces.
Marmalade 08

The fruit and peel are cooked in water until they’re good and soft. It takes a while (about an hour), but once you’ve got a nice simmer going, you can ignore it pretty well.
Marmalade 12

The sugar goes in. Lots of sugar. The original recipe calls for 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar (with ten lemons). The 4 cups of water barely covered the raw fruit (in a saucepan with roughly equal depth and diameter). For scaling the recipe up or down, you can use that as a rough guide: pour in water a cup at a time until the fruit is almost covered, then once everything’s soft add as much sugar as you did water.
Marmalade 15

Stir in the sugar, and bring it up to a boil, stirring regularly.
Marmalade 28

The original recipe says to cook it until it’s 220 degrees fahrenheit. If you’re one of the few with a well-calibrated thermometer, congratulations. For the rest of us, put a spoonful of the proto-marmalade on a cool plate. If it’s still runny after cooling for a minute, keep simmering a little longer. It should show signs of jelling after cooking for 45 minutes to an hour.
Marmalade 19

That’s it. You’ve made marmalade!
Marmalade 20

But now you’re wondering what to do with it. We recommend spreading it on a freshly toasted english muffin. Or maybe a crumpet.

You can put the rest of it in a bowl, let it cool, then keep it in the fridge and use it. Or you can can it. Canning is not as scary as it sounds. You pour the warm marmalade into warm jars, wipe the rims clean, put a clean lid and rim on them and boil the jars covered with water for 15 minutes.

There are lots of kinds of canning setups but the simplest is a pot with a spacer to keep the jars off the bottom. While you can get dedicated canning kettles with jar racks inexpensively, you don’t really need any special equipment. Rules of thumb: your pot needs to be deeper than your jars so you can cover them with water, and the jars shouldn’t rest on the bottom of the pot, so as to avoid thermal stress. You can put a small wire cooling rack, a vegetable steamer, or an array of skewers tied together in the pot to keep the jars off the bottom.
Marmalade 21

After boiling the jars, you can ladle out some of the water and lift your jars out with an oven mitt. However, a set of jar lifting tongs doesn’t cost much and makes that step easier. A wide mouthed funnel is nice since it keeps stuff of the rims of the jars, but is also not necessary, especially if you get wide mouthed jars.

The folks who make Ball jars have some nice overviews of canning techniques.
Marmalade 30

You may recognize our technique as one common in mathematics. We have reduced a difficult problem (what to do with 75 pounds of citrus) into a problem whose solution is well known: what to do with many jars of marmalade.

 

via Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph

Filed under: canning, family, recipes — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:22 pm
Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...
Image via Wikipedia

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph.You can either use whole fruit (simmering before shredding), which gives a darker, less bright-tasting preserve, or you can shred the peel before cooking, which gives a lighter, fresher preserve. As Nick cuts the rind from a kilo of blood oranges, he tells me that it must be cooked until absolutely soft before the sugar is added. Not doing this properly will result in hard bits of rind (it doesn’t soften further once the sugar is added) and a poor set (the pectin you need for a good set is extracted during this stage).

Other key points are to use granulated sugar – caster just sinks to the bottom of the pan – and to warm it in a low oven first (this helps it dissolve). Once the marmalade is made let it sit for 12 minutes before potting as the peel will distribute better. All the other technical stuff you need to know is in Nick’s recipes opposite. Start by making one type then go with your imagination. I fancy lime with a slosh of rum, and blood orange with rosemary. Anyone for shredding?

 

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