Country Traditions

December 9, 2010

For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:50 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:49 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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December 7, 2010

Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays

Filed under: herbs, Vinegar — dmacc502 @ 1:32 pm
Italian olive oil, both oil and an oil bottle ...
Image via Wikipedia

Pickles

Confetti Pickles

To make easy, all-purpose sweet and colorful pickles, drain the contents of the following, reserving the juices, which you can combine in one container: 1 small jar each of mixed sweet pickles, kumquats in syrup, red maraschino cherries, and sweet gherkins, and 1 can of pineapple chunks. Mix the solids thoroughly, and spoon into clean decorative jars. Add enough of the mixed juices to cover the contents of each jar, and seal. Although they can safely be left unrefrigerated for several hours or even overnight, attach a colorful label advising that these pickles be stored in the refrigerator.

Vinegar

Vinegar should be made in sterilized glass jars or bottles, with metallic or plastic screw-on lids, caps, or corks. To sterilize empty jars, boil in water for 10 minutes. Also, sterilize lids in a boiling water bath or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Vinegar should be labeled and dated, and stored in a cool, dark place for use within 2 months. Or, store it in the refrigerator and use within 6 to 8 months.

Raspberry Vinegar

In a glass container, combine 1/4 cup of crushed raspberries with 1 quart of white distilled vinegar. Let sit overnight at room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a decorative bottle, and add several perfect whole raspberries. (Packaged frozen raspberries work fine and usually have plenty of whole as well as crushed berries.) Add a colorful tag recommending it to be used alone or combined with olive oil as a salad dressing.

Fiery Pepper Vinegar

Lace brightly colored hot peppers into decorative bottles. (If you have some that are too large to fit, quarter them lengthwise or cut them into strips.) To each bottle, add a few black peppercorns, a peeled garlic clove, and a small slice of fresh ginger root. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Seal the bottles, and store for at least a week in a dark place.

 

via Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays.

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Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays

Filed under: herbs, Vinegar — dmacc502 @ 1:31 pm
Italian olive oil, both oil and an oil bottle ...
Image via Wikipedia

Pickles

Confetti Pickles

To make easy, all-purpose sweet and colorful pickles, drain the contents of the following, reserving the juices, which you can combine in one container: 1 small jar each of mixed sweet pickles, kumquats in syrup, red maraschino cherries, and sweet gherkins, and 1 can of pineapple chunks. Mix the solids thoroughly, and spoon into clean decorative jars. Add enough of the mixed juices to cover the contents of each jar, and seal. Although they can safely be left unrefrigerated for several hours or even overnight, attach a colorful label advising that these pickles be stored in the refrigerator.

Vinegar

Vinegar should be made in sterilized glass jars or bottles, with metallic or plastic screw-on lids, caps, or corks. To sterilize empty jars, boil in water for 10 minutes. Also, sterilize lids in a boiling water bath or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Vinegar should be labeled and dated, and stored in a cool, dark place for use within 2 months. Or, store it in the refrigerator and use within 6 to 8 months.

Raspberry Vinegar

In a glass container, combine 1/4 cup of crushed raspberries with 1 quart of white distilled vinegar. Let sit overnight at room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a decorative bottle, and add several perfect whole raspberries. (Packaged frozen raspberries work fine and usually have plenty of whole as well as crushed berries.) Add a colorful tag recommending it to be used alone or combined with olive oil as a salad dressing.

Fiery Pepper Vinegar

Lace brightly colored hot peppers into decorative bottles. (If you have some that are too large to fit, quarter them lengthwise or cut them into strips.) To each bottle, add a few black peppercorns, a peeled garlic clove, and a small slice of fresh ginger root. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Seal the bottles, and store for at least a week in a dark place.

 

via Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays.

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November 16, 2010

How to make soap | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

Filed under: decorating, farming, recipes, soap making, Vinegar, wisdom — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 8:19 am
Handmade soaps sold at Hyères, France

Image via Wikipedia

“Never put vinegar in your eyes and remember, the quickest way to kill someone is through the optic nerve straight to the brain,” Sharon Homans warns.

Whoa. I’m glad I’ve come on a soap-making course: I’ve always been interested in the idea of making soap, but nervous about handling the ingredients. But the dangers posed by household vinegar hadn’t even crossed my mind (soapmakers keep a bottle of vinegar handy to neutralise alkaline burns from the lye).

Some of my 25 fellow students have travelled to London from far-flung parts of the UK. The man on the door tells me people have flown in from Japan and Brazil before. The course is led by Melinda Coss, who is something of a grande dame in the soap world. She advises numerous cosmetics companies, and products devised by her are sold in Harrods as well as in the high street chain Lush.

via How to make soap | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

via How to make soap | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

November 2, 2010

Sauces, Salad Dressings: Herb Vinegar Recipe

Filed under: decorating, family, farming, gardening, herbs, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 1:13 pm
Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the simplest recipes for using herbs is this 19th-century hint for making flavored vinegar: Pour plain vinegar over herbs in a bottle and let it sit for a month in the sun. What could be easier?

See more about homemade vinegars in our “Great Gifts from the Kitchen” article.

1 cup fresh herbs (basil, tarragon or thyme, for example)

1 quart vinegar

Place herbs in a clean quart jar. Heat vinegar just to the boiling point and pour it over the herbs, filling the jar to the top. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for at least three weeks for the fullest flavor. Strain the vinegar into 2 pint bottles and add a fresh sprig of the herb. (Use decorative bottles if you’re planning to give these as gifts.)

You can use a single herb in plain white vinegar, or try a medley of herbs in other vinegars. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but feel free to experiment and invent your own blends:

–white vinegar with tarragon leaves, basil leaves, and peeled shallots

–sherry vinegar with fresh rosemary leaves, minced horseradish, or chopped dried chilies

red wine vinegar with sage, parsley, and shallots

via Sauces, Salad Dressings: Herb Vinegar Recipe.

via Sauces, Salad Dressings: Herb Vinegar Recipe.

October 18, 2010

Natural Remedies: Hair and Skin

Hair Style.

Image by Magdalene Sun via Flickr

Remedies

  • Use lemon juice as a rinse over freshly washed hair to induce natural highlights, especially if you’re a blond. It’s instant sunshine for your hair, in a fruit.
  • Beer has long been used—even by professionals—as a setting lotion and conditioner. Pour straight from the can or bottle, comb through and rinse.
  • Mayonnaise, straight from the jar, will make hair soft and shiny. The egg nourishes brittle hair with protein, while the vinegar gives it body and bounce.
  • Try this mixture to regain supple hair: Mix one teaspoon powdered brewers’ yeast with four ounces of apple cider vinegar to create an after wash rinse. Pour it over wet hair and let stand at least a minute before rinsing.

Problem: Oily hair and skin

Remedies

  • Add one teaspoon baking soda to two ounces of your shampoo. This works as an alkali to absorb excess oil.
  • Baking soda works the same way with skin, it will absorb oil and also neutralize excess acid in your skin. Make a paste with baking soda and water.
  • Try lemon juice as an astringent facial cleanser.

Problem: Dry skin

Remedies

  • For a homemade scrub, mix ground oats and honey. Rub all over your face—especially your nose. The abrasive will remove dry, scaly skin while the honey seeps in as a moisturizer. Rinse completely off and pat dry, and your skin will be glowing and baby soft. Only use this remedy once a week.
  • Plain honey is an excellent remedy for chapped lips. Leave on overnight—it makes for sweet dreams!
  • For superdry skin, use olive oil. Rub it in prior to a bath or shower. You may substitute peanut, sesame or sunflower oil.
  • A quart of milk in a hot bath is a luxury as well as a skin toner. It’s a trick nearly as old as time.

Problem: Puffy, tired-looking eyes

Remedy

  • Used teabags make excellent eye cosmetics. After dunked, drain it and place it over your closed eye (one for each) and hold it there for a few minutes. Redness, soreness, swelling and irritation will disappear like magic.

http://www.almanac.com/content/natural-remedies-hair-and-skin

October 12, 2010

How to make mustard at home | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

Filed under: herbs, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:32 am
Close-up picture of mustard seeds

Image via Wikipedia Mustard seeds

This is a sieve (also known as a strainer).

Image via Wikipedia

How to make mustard at home | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

via How to make mustard at home | Life and style | guardian.co.uk
For our ancestors, making mustard in the home was very much a labour of love, despite Hannah Woolley‘s simple-sounding instructions: “Dry well your seed, then beat it little by little at a time in a Mortar, and sift it, then put the powder in a Gally Pot [a small earthenware pot], and wet it with vinegar very well, then put in a whole Onion pilled but not cut, a little Pepper beaten, a little Salt, and a lump of Stone sugar” (The Queen-Like Closet, 1670). Even with a quern (a pair of stones, one convex, the other concave, between which mustard seed was easily crushed, the “flour” being pushed up the sides) rather than a mortar in the kitchen, this required patience, time and a strong wrist. The sifting especially was problematical – you really did have to grind the seed very fine to be able to sieve it satisfactorily.

The Mustard Book
by Rosamund Man and Robin Weir

Buy it from the Guardian bookshop
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That magic innovation, the food processor, would have been a prized possession: with this, making mustard is easy. What you cannot do is grind the dry seed in the food processor. There is insufficient friction – they bounce around and ultimately change the container from transparent to opaque (sadly, proven … ). So always soak the seed first, for at least 24-36 hours, checking from time to time to see if more liquid is needed to immerse the seed completely. Absorption capacity varies enormously depending on the age of the mustard seed – the longer it has been stored, the drier it will be. Never seal the jar when soaking mustard seed. It expands beyond belief and if sealed may well explode!

Vinegar is the age-old recommended liquid – and it will produce a milder mustard because the (dried) ground seeds release an enzyme (allyl senevol), some of which is dissipated in the soaking. If, however, further vinegar is used in the mixing, then the mustard can become quite pungent: again variation is enormous depending to a great extent on the vinegar used. Grape juice, ‘must’ (for the wine makers who wish to experiment with mustard) and water can also be used for the soaking, though water alone we found gives a rather bland flavour. It is more usual to add water as a ‘mixer’ to dilute a strong vinegar, despite John Evelyn’s recommendation for ‘water only, or the Broth of powder’d Beef ‘ to be added to the ‘stamp’d’ seed. However, he then also added ‘verjuice, Sugar, Claretwine and Juice of Limon’, thereby supplying flavour to this ‘excellent sauce to any sort of Flesh or Fish’.

Removing mustard husks. Photograph: Grub Street
Once the seed is well soaked, it will break up quickly in the food processor – always use the metal blade. It then only remains to remove the husks (in Dijon, these are fed to the pigs: in a Bordeaux mustard, some of the crushed hulls are left in the mustard). This is a simple, although fairly time-consuming, procedure – and, like tying one’s shoelaces, far easier to do than describe (see illustration, above). You will need a plastic spatula with a curved blade, and two conical sieves, both preferably metal; certainly, the final sieving must be through a metal sieve as the mesh has to be extremely fine and large nylon sieves are too coarse in texture.

Rotating the spatula with the tip in the palm of your hand, “wind” it round and round the sieve, the curved part of the blade forcing the mustard paste through the mesh, the husks remaining behind. The process is repeated using a second, finer sieve to obtain a completely husk-free mustard, though it may occasionally be necessary to dilute the paste a little if it is too thick to sieve easily. Resist the temptation to dilute it too much, though, or you’ll have a liquid on your hands. Home-made mustard does tend to be a little thinner than the commercially made product, since the centrifuges can remove all the husks with greater ease.

Your mustard is now ready for spicing. Here is where the fun begins, but do have some yoghurt at hand when tasting, also plain water biscuits and/or Cheddar cheese to give a bland background. Remember too Eliza Acton’s advice. She was talking of the making of forcemeats but it applies equally well to the making of mustards and is as relevant now as in 1845: “No particular herb or spice should be allowed to predominate powerfully in these compositions, but the whole of the seasonings should be taken in such quantity only as will produce an agreeable savour when they are blended together” (Modern Cookery for Private Families).

• This extract is taken from The Mustard Book by Rosamund Man and Robin Weir (Grub Steet, £16.99)

September 28, 2010

Home Remedies: Pets

Filed under: animals, home remedies, recipes, Vinegar, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:16 pm
Rolled oats

rolled oats

http://www.almanac.com/content/home-remedies-pets

Fleas

  • Shampoo your pet with flea shampoo and spray the animal between shampoos with flea spray.
  • Place a flea collar in the bag of your vacuum cleaner. Any fleas you sweep up will stay put in there.
  • If you don’t want to use a flea collar with insecticides, active ingredients such as eucalyptus, cedar, lemongrass, rosemary and marigold won’t exterminate, but will deter fleas.
  • Feed your pet a combination of brewer’s yeast and garlic once a day during flea season. The mixture will make your pet taste bad to fleas when they bite, while also conditioning your pet’s skin.
  • Placing an open jar or two of eucalyptus stems and leaves around the house can deter fleas. Place them in rooms where your pet spends the most time (especially those with carpets- fleas love to hide in them.)
  • Give your dog a flea bath with limonene shampoo, and flea-comb him down thoroughly while he’s in the water so the fleas drown.

Itchiness

  • Oatmeal Bath- Put uncooked oatmeal or rolled oats into a sock or nylon stocking and run a tubful of warm water over it. Soak your dog (cats will rarely let you do this) in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. Oatmeal based shampoos are also available at pet stores.
  • Aloe Vera- Break off a piece of the plant and apply the thick juice directly to the raw area.
  • Aggravated skin sores, also known as hot spots, can make your pet miserable. If you see a hot spot developing, clip about one-half to one inch around the sore to prevent hair and other dirt from further aggravating it. Clean the sore with hydrogen peroxide on gauze or a cotton ball, and after it dries spray the area with cortisone cream. Do this twice a day until the sore starts to dry out or a scab begins to form.

Cuts, Scrapes, Abrasions

  • Mix together 1-pint water, 1/2-teaspoon salt, and 1/2-teaspoon calendula tincture.
  • Soak an injured paw in the solution. If the wound is on the body put the solution in a quirt bottle or large syringe and gently apply it to the injured area.
  • Repeat the soaking or application every 4 to 6 hours for the first 24 hours.

Bites and Scratches

  • Rinse out the fresh wounds and punctures with large amounts of this solution: 1-pint water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon Echinacea/goldenseal tincture.
  • Hydrogen peroxide may also be used t clean wounds, but it can damage delicate tissues.
  • Cat wounds are notorious for forming abscesses. If the abscess is draining, clean it with withe Echinacea/goldenseal solution. Always wear latex gloves while handling an abscess.

Burrs in Fur

  • For dogs, comb the burrs in their fur with a metal comb immediately. If burrs are badly tangled rub vegetable oil on your fingers and work the lubrication slowly through the fur until you can pull the burrs out.
  • Cats typically will want to take care of their own grooming, but you can help by gently working through the mess with a wire brush. Most cats won’t let you cut the fur or lubricate it the way a dog will.

If a skunk sprays…

  • Bathe your dog in a mixture of 1-quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4-cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid soap. Work the solution into the fur (avoiding eyes) then rinse.
  • To rid the stench from your pet douse him with tomato juice, leaving it on for several minutes before rinsing it off. For a large dog, a single washing can require several cans of tomato juice. You may have to repeat the procedure, but the odor will eventually work itself out of your pet’s coat.

REMEMBER…sometimes simple solutions aren’t enough. If problems persist or worsen, or when in doubt, always check with your vet.

September 17, 2010

Don't Forget Vinegar

Filed under: curing meat, dehydrating, freezing food, herbs, home remedies, laundry, poison ivy, recipes, Vinegar — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 3:22 pm
Vinegar is commonly infused with spices or her...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Bring a solution of one-cup vinegar and four tablespoons baking soda to a oil in teapots and coffeepots to rid them of mineral deposits.
  • A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.
  • Clean the filter on your humidifier by removing it and soaking it in a pan of white vinegar until all the sediment is off.
  • Vinegar naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue, leaving baby clothes and diapers soft and fresh. Add a cup f vinegar to each load during the rinse cycle.
  • Saturate a cloth with vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda, and then use it to clean fiberglass tubs and showers. Rinse well and rub dry for a spotless shine.
  • To remove chewing gum, rub it with full-strength vinegar.
  • For a clean oven, combine vinegar and baking soda, then scrub.
  • Clean and deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring undiluted white vinegar into it. Let stand for five minutes, then flush. Spray stubborn stains with white vinegar, then scrub vigorously.
  • Clean windows with a cloth dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and ten parts warm water. This works for dirty TV screens, too!
  • For brunettes, rinsing hair with vinegar after a shampoo makes hair shinier. Use one-tablespoon vinegar to one-cup warm water.
  • Soak paint stains in hot vinegar to remove them.
  • To clean drip coffeemakers, fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly by brewing two cycles with water before using.
  • To remove bumper stickers from car chrome, paint on vinegar and let it soak in. Next, scrape off the stickers. Decals can be removed similarly.
  • Rid your refrigerator and freezer of bad odors by cleaning the insides with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping dry.
  • Apply full strength vinegar to mosquito or other insect bites to relieve the itching. (Caution: Do not do this if the affected area is raw.)
  • White vinegar takes salt and water stains off leather boots and shoes. Wipe over the stained area only, and then polish.
  • To remove smoke odors on clothes, hang them above a steaming bathtub filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
  • To prevent mildew, wipe down surfaces with vinegar.
  • Place a vinegar-soaked brown bag on sprains to ease pain and aid recovery.
  • Use a sponge dampened with vinegar to clean shower curtains.
  • To remove salt stains from winter boots, rub with a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup water.
  • To loosen a stuck jar lid, hold the jar upside down and pour warm vinegar around the neck at the joint between the glass and the top.
  • Rub cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects.
  • Clean windows with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water.
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