Country Traditions

January 19, 2011

Black Pudding From Scratch (English) Recipe

Filed under: animals, farming, recipes — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 12:24 pm
Braised Pork Rillons, Black Pudding - Auction ...

Image by avlxyz via Flickr

� 1�1/4 �qt Fresh pig’s blood �

� 8�7/8 �oz Bread cut into cubes �

� 1�1/4 �qt Skim milk

� 1 �lb Cooked barley �

� 1 �lb Fresh beef suet

� 8 �oz Fine oatmeal �

� 1 �ts Salt �

� 2 �ts Ground black pepper

� 2 �ts Dried and crumbled mint �

Instructions

� 1. Put the bread cubes to soak in the milk in a warm oven. Do not heat the milk beyond blood temperature! Have the blood ready in a large bowl, and pour the warm milk and bread into it. Stir in the cooked barley. Grate the beef suet into the mixture and stir it up with the oatmeal. Season with the salt, pepper and mint.

� 2. Have ready 2 or three large roasting pans. Divide the mixture between them – they should not be more than 3/4 full. Bake in a moderate oven — 350 F – for about an hour or until the pudding is well cooked through. This makes a beautifully light pudding which will keep well in a cold larder.

� 3. Cut into squared and fry till heated through and the outside is crisp, in bacon fat or butter. Delicious for breakfast, or for supper with fried apples and mashed potato.

via Black Pudding From Scratch (English) Recipe.

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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November 9, 2010

Composting 101 | Real Simple

Filed under: composting, family, farming, gardening, rain water, weather — Tags: , , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 7:03 pm
better compost

Image by normanack via Flickr

Composting 101 | Real Simple.

via Composting 101 | Real Simple.

It’s not just for people in the sticks anymore: Composting is great for all gardeners because it improves soil, which in turn prevents plant diseases. And it can even reduce harmful greenhouse gases. “Organics that break down in a landfill produce methane gas, which is about 120 times more harmful than carbon dioxide,” says Cary Oshins, assistant director for programs at the United States Composting Council, in Ronkonkoma, New York. So why not help the planet and your yard by piling it on?

How to Get Started

Choose a container that’s made of wood (or some other sturdy material) and no smaller than three by three feet. Place it in your yard in a shady spot with good drainage. Start adding waste in a ratio of three “browns” to one “green.” Browns are carbon-rich materials and include wood chips, straw, branches, and leaves. Greens provide nitrogen and include grass clippings and kitchen scraps, like eggshells and carrot tops. When you’re adding new material, Oshins suggests, dig a hole in the pile and stir the new stuff in so it gets coated with the old mixture.

November 1, 2010

In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

Filed under: family, farming, gardening, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:32 am
American-style apple cider, left; Apple juice,...

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In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

via In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.Choose your apples. I like a fairly tart juice. Here I’m using almost all Bramleys. That’s fine at the end of October, when the sugars have built up. But pure Bramley juice made in mid-September would be too sour, and you’d need to blend them with dessert apples. Unless you have a sweet tooth, you’ll probably want at least a few cookers in the mix, or a perhaps a handful of the less acidic cider apple varieties. Experiment with different varieties and proportions until you find the blend that suits you best. Wash them.

Cut them up. You’ll need to do this only if you’re using a drill-bit scratter (or pulper) like mine or a kitchen juicer. If you’re lucky enough to have a hand-cranked scratter you can feed them in whole. But in any case, cut out all rotten or wormy flesh: if this goes into the press, it will make the juice taste musty. Recent bruising won’t hurt, however: in fact it tends to make the juice sweeter. You don’t need to remove the cores.

Here I’m using the cheap scratter I don’t like very much. It’s a drill bit, threaded through a tough plastic lid, with which you cover a bucket containing the chopped apples. The first time I used it, it wasn’t properly secured and the bit went straight through the side of the bucket. To prevent that from happening, you need someone else to put their foot on the other side of the lid (in this photo it’s just my foot, so you can see it more clearly. But don’t do this alone). If you’ve got a variable-speed drill, turn it down (to about 3/10). Once the lid is on securely, pull the trigger and raise and lower the drill for around 20 seconds

September 30, 2010

Seasonal Crafts: Apple Heads

Filed under: animals, dehydrating, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 5:19 pm
Geronimo, 1887, prominent leader of the Chiric...

Indian crafts

The Native American art of making apple heads is both easy and fun. Follow these instructions for acreative fall craft.

  • Choose a big apple and start by peeling it.
  • Then, with a sharp knife, form the nose, make eye sockets, and cut a line for the mouth.
  • Carve around the mouth to accentuate the cheeks, and make some lines around the eyes and on the forehead.
  • Soak the head in lemon juice for about 1/2 hour (so it doesn’t turn brown) before hanging it to dry.
  • When the head is almost dry, add peppercorn or bean eyes. Use your imagination to make some hair and a body to go with the head.
  • http://www.almanac.com/content/seasonal-crafts-apple-heads

How to make perfect shortbread

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 11:24 am
Baking powder

Image by Mel B. via Flickr

ShortbreadView larger pictureShortbread: from top, Sue Lawrence, Delia, Leiths, Ballymaloe unrolled and rolled, Marcus Wareing. Click the image for a closer look. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

I’ve always wished I had a Scottish granny. Nothing against the two ladies to whom I owe my taste for slabs of Thornton’s toffee and cream sherry, but if they ever baked a round of shortbread, it never made it on to the tea table while I was visiting. I won’t deny that Tunnock’s tea cakes – another great Scottish snack – have their merits, but despite not having a tartan bone in my body, I nurse a particular passion for shortbread as wild and romantic as anything in the work of Sir Walter Scott.

Sandy as the Western Isles, and rich as an RBS board member, shortbread is without doubt the finest biscuit Britain has ever produced. (Although, strictly speaking, thanks to the efforts of the Scottish Association of Master Bakers, it’s not a common biscuit at all, but a “speciality item of flour confectionery” – for tax purposes, at least. Even baked goods are canny with their pennies north of the border, it seems.)

All you really need to know about shortbread is in the name: according to Laura Mason and Catherine Brown’s methodically researched encyclopedia The Taste of Britain, “short” has been used to describe a “friable, brittle, crumbling texture” since medieval times. The first recipes called for “barm” (the yeasty foam formed by fermentation) along with butter and a “Peck of Flour”, which sounds more like a modern shortcake, but by the 19th century the leavening agents had returned to their duties in brewing, and the shortbread had taken its current form – a sweet, crumbly biscuit.

According to one Mistress Meg Dods (aka Christian Isobel Johnstone) writing in 1826 as she prepared a box to send south for Christmas, the buttery biscuit is a treat reserved for special occasions. You don’t get shortbread in a box of Family Circle (the hopefully named “rich shortie” is no substitute), or nestling amongst the pink wafers at the blood donation centre – its natural habitat is Sunday china, and Christmas Eve. Even the tartan pouches of Walkers beloved of refreshment trolleys have a certain posh thrill about them, particularly when dunked in railway tea. But, assuming you don’t travel enough to get your fix, what’s the best way to make shortbread at home?

The basic

According to the Orcadian folklorist and food writer F Marian McNeill, who published The Scots Kitchen in 1929, classic shortbread contains just three ingredients, flour (“dried and sieved”), butter (“squeezed free of all water“) and sugar (“fine caster”). It all, she says, depends on the quality of this trio, ‘careful blending … and careful firing’.

Reading on, however, her shortbread turns out to contain rice flour (of which more later), forcing me to fall back on the patron saint of inept cooks, Delia Smith, for my first recipe. In her Complete Cookery Course, she beats 110g butter until creamy, stirs in 50g caster sugar, and then sifts in 175g plain flour. The dough is rolled out to a 3mm thickness, cut into biscuits, and baked at 150C for half an hour. The results remind me of the description of shortbread in the Oxford Companion to Food as essentially “a thick layer of rich, sweetened shortcrust pastry“: crumbly and sweet, this would make an excellent accompaniment to some fruit and cream, but isn’t rich or buttery enough to satisfy on its own.

Enter the rice

Improbably exotic as it may sound in this context, ground rice (available from the Asian or baking sections of large supermarkets, depending on the relative propensity of the local population to make phirni or shortbread – fine semolina also works if you can’t find it) has long been the secret of many a cook’s deliciously sandy shortbread. The recipe in the Leiths Baking Bible suggests a ratio of 55g ground rice to 115g plain flour, stirred into 115g softened butter and 55g caster sugar. The dough is then shaped and baked for 20 minutes at 170C – and it’s absolutely delicious. There’s a definite crunch when I bite into a piece, and the rice has made the crumb fabulously friable. This could be a contender – although I’d reduce the ratio of rice slightly, or it’s more grit than biscuit.

Cornflour

Scottish food expert Sue Lawrence knows her shortbread – and she uses cornflour, rather than ground rice, to give a “nice melt in the mouth texture” – 50g to 200g plain flour, along with 175g slightly-salted butter and 85g caster sugar. (Shortbread, she says, benefits from a wee bit of salt, and I have to agree – a generous pinch also works wonders.) It’s patted out and cooked in a gentle 150C oven for 35 to 40 minutes, to give a rich, feather soft shortbread that does indeed dissolve on the tongue. The flavour is good, but personally, I prefer a bit of Scottish sand in my petticoat tails.

Baking powder

I find only one recipe using any sort of leavening agent, as used at Ballymaloe Cookery School – the news of the change in recipe must have been lost somewhere over the Irish Sea. A good pinch of baking powder is sifted into 275g butter and 110g caster sugar, along with 350g plain flour and 75g ground rice, and baked in a 150C oven for an hour. There’s a satisfying ‘snap’ as I break a biscuit in half, but I find the texture rather dry and crunchy – I can imagine these with ice cream, but they’re a bit too austere for a cup of tea.

Rich shortbread

Ayreshire shortbreadAyreshire shortbread. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

This leads me to seek out a richer recipe for so-called Ayrshire shortbread, which, not content with the butter and sugar content of the traditional biscuit, demands cream and egg as well. I try one taken from a 1936 manual of Household Management, which uses 2 tbsp cream and 1 egg yolk stirred into 225g plain flour, 100g rice flour, 100g caster sugar, and 100g butter. The dough is moister than an all-butter version, and the shortbread has a rather scone-like texture – in fact, fluffy wouldn’t be too strong a word for these deviants. Too soft by half – proper Sassenach biscuits in fact.

Chilled out …

Sue Lawrence, and Leiths, both call for softened butter. Delia and Good Housekeeping ask for it at room temperature. Chef Marcus Wareing, however, in his book How to Make the Perfect … specifies the butter for his mother-in-law Doreen’s shortbread must be chilled, and then grated into the dry ingredients. This is a technique I’ve come across before in pastry making – keeping the mixture cool means it’s easier to work with.

However, according to Bon Appetit magazine, using cold butter also helps to give a flaky, rather than a crumbly finished product, as “the relatively large particles … leave air pockets when they melt during baking“. Flaky is not a word writ large in my shortbread dreams, but I give the recipe a try anyway, chilling the dough for an hour in the fridge before baking as well in obedience to Doreen. The texture of her shortbread does seem different – looser, somehow, and when I break one in half, I spot a few tiny cavities in the crumb.

As Leiths also recommend chilling the dough before baking, although only for 15 minutes, I make another batch of their recipe with soft butter, stick it straight in the oven without passing the fridge, and end up with thinner, crunchier biscuits – presumably because the mixture spreads as the fat melts. I conclude that refrigerating the dough is a good idea, but chilling your butter probably isn’t.

Roll on, roll off

In the course of my baking, I’ve noticed that many recipes instruct the baker to pat her biscuits into shape, rather than rolling them. This puzzles me, until I read F Marian McNeill’s explanation: too much pressure on the dough has a “tendency to toughen it”. Sue Lawrence agrees that if you have cool hands, you should use them – if not, she says, a light rolling pin will be fine.

To put this to the test, when making the Ballymaloe biscuits, I roll out half the dough firmly, and pat the other half into shape by hand. Oddly enough, the rolled biscuits, which start off flatter, seem to have risen slightly more than their patted counterparts, but they’re also a little less crumbly. It’s a fine point, but for the perfect shortbread, you should probably go as easy on the dough as possible.

Shortbread has so few ingredients that you can’t get away with cutting corners; good quality butter and sugar are essential, and plenty of them. Rice flour gives it that special sandy texture that sets it apart from the common biscuit, and a pinch of salt helps to balance that rich, delicious sweetness. Treat the dough gently, chill it, and cook it gently, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar – and wash down with a pint of Irn Bru.

Perfect shortbread

Perfect shortbreadFelicity’s perfect shortbread. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Makes about 12 portions

115g butter, at room temperature
55g caster sugar (I like to use golden for flavour)
Good pinch of salt
130g plain flour
40g ground rice
Demerara sugar, to finish

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Put the butter into a large mixing bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon until soft. Beat in the sugar and salt.

2. Sift over the flour and ground rice and mix to a smooth dough; if it doesn’t come together, add a little more butter.

3. Line a 15cm cake or tart tin with baking parchment, and pat, or lightly roll, the dough into a shape slightly smaller than the tin. Alternatively pat out to 1cm thickness and cut into biscuits and put on a lined baking tray. Put in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes until firm.

4. Bake for around an hour (about half that for biscuits) until cooked through, but not browned. Take out of the oven and cut into fingers, slices or squares.

5. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle with demerara sugar and transfer to a wire rack. Once cold, this should last for a good few days in an airtight container (or the coolest oven in an Aga, according to Darina Allen of Ballymaloe).

Could shortbread be the greatest British biscuit of all time – and if so, what’s your favourite recipe? Is Walkers shortbread the best on the market, or does anyone share my sneaking fondness for Prince Charles’ elegant shortbread thins, despite his Welsh loyalties? And are added flavourings ever acceptable north of the border?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/sep/30/how-to-make-perfect-shortbread

September 26, 2010

CHICKEN COOPS

Filed under: animals, chickens — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 9:52 am

Another view of my coop above – I lucked out in finding a few stacks of new shingles to use! I also saved extra space inside the coop by building the nest boxes on the outside – you can see the row of nest boxes in the picture, jutting out on the right side (which is actually the back of the coop). There are 8 total boxes for them to choose from.


CHICKEN NEST BOXES
The suggested size for chicken nest boxes is 15″ wide, 15″ high and 11 1/8″ (see picture for example). This can vary to a certain extent. My nest boxes are about 2″ smaller than this and work just fine. You can fill your boxes with straw or place some type of padding down on the bottom so the eggs won’t crack when they lay. I noticed that they tend to kick and scratch a lot of straw out of the boxes so I stapled a piece of padding onto the bottom.

I started off with 8 chickens and made a nest box for each chicken. It turns out they all used the same 2 nest boxes for laying eggs! I’ve even seen 3 chickens in the same nest box at the same time – therefore, you don’t need to make too many boxes. They tend to gravitate toward the same box. If you have a big flock – you’ll need to make more. In some of the links I’ve provided, there are some excellent pictures of nest boxes, diagrams, and “how-to” instructions for building nest boxes. A view of a couple of my nest boxes is pictured above.

CHICKEN ROOSTS
A 2″ by 4″ or 2″ by 2″ board works nicely as a roost. You can also use a tree branch measuring between 3″ to 6.” I used a 2 x 4 and rounded off the edges with a circular saw, and these are working like a champ. This step is not necessary, but I’ve found that they are able to grip onto the roost better when it’s slightly rounded. A view of my roost and walkway leading to the roost is pictured above.

I made sure to place the roosts where the droppings are not in my way when I enter the coop so I don’t have to clean it off my shoes after being inside. Depending on the type of coop you build, you may also want to consider positioning the roosts where you can easily clean up the droppings.

Chickens seem to like roosting higher in the coop at night, so I positioned mine about 4 feet off the ground. I then constructed a walkway leading up to the roost since we clipped their wings (more on this in a bit). It’s basically an 8″ wide board which angles up from the floor to the roost with some make shift “steps” nailed on and spaced every 6″ or so – something they can use to “grip” onto as they walk up.

Back to wing clipping, just briefly – we clipped the outer part of the wings – on one side only. Don’t worry – this does not involve pain for the chickens in any way, and it prevents them from taking flight. When the wings are clipped, it’s done toward the outer part of the wing where there is no blood supply. We didn’t clip their wings at first because we thought it would hurt them. They kept flying over the fence, however, and and we lost one to a neighborhood dog. Thus, the wing clipping, and consequent ramp from the floor to the roost inside the coop. There is a great illustration on wing clipping at http://www.backyardchickens.com.

CHICKEN FEEDER
The farm stores all carry a nice selection of chicken feeders and water containers but they can be rather expensive. I made a 5 gallon feeder and waterer using two 5 gallon buckets I got for free at our local grocery store – usually the bakery or deli section – and two 20 inch plastic planter bases. The plastic planter bases cost around $5.00 – I purchased mine from a garage sale. Of course, any local retailer such as Walmart, Target, or your local hardware store or nursery would carry them as well. The 5 gallon feeder I’m currently using is pictured above – after filling it with feed, it will last about 3 weeks for 13 chickens.

How it’s done: To make the Chicken feeder – drill several holes about 1 1/2″ in diameter around the bottom of the bucket. Make sure the bottom edge of the holes are no higher up than 1/2″ from the very bottom of the bucket. Next – place the bucket in the bottom of the plant base so the top of the bucket is still up. Don’t throw away the lid – you’ll still need it. Make sure the bucket is centered as best as possible in the plant bottom and then screw it in place using 3 or 4 screws until it is secure. That’s it! just pour in the feed and put the lid on and you’ve got 5 gallons worth of feed. I’m guessing this would be roughly 20 lbs of feed since it holds just under half of a 50lb bag of chicken feed in my feeder. I place my feeder on top of 2 concrete blocks – chickens are sloppy eaters and this helps prevent feed spillage. I’ve seen other people hang their feeders a few inches off the ground with rope. The suggested distance off the ground is about the height of the chickens back.

CHICKEN WATER CONTAINER
For the waterer, it’s the same method except you only need to drill one or two small holes (1/4″ or so) near the base of the bucket – and drill them around 1″ up from bottom of the bucket. You can vary the height or distance from the bottom of the bucket a little, but make sure the hole does not lie above the rim of the planter base – If you do, all the water will overflow out of the trough.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUILDING A CHICKEN COOP
Dimensions: Each chicken requires 3 to 4 square feet of space – this will need to be taken into account when designing your coop so you don’t make it too small. I would suggest making it a little bigger than you need since, if you’re like me, you’ll want to purchase more chickens each year.

Climate: Build your coop to suit the climate of your area. If you live in a warm climate, you will need to make sure there is plenty of ventilation to keep your chickens cool. In cold climates, it’s important to keep out the draft and to make sure it’s warm enough so that the drinking water doesn’t freeze. An insulated coop will ensure the coop isn’t drafty either. But you’ll still want good ventilation, however, to ensure that fresh air can move in and out of the coop – minimizing the likelihood of your chickens getting sick.

Elevated Coop: An optional part of the design is elevating your coop. Having it elevated can help with the flooding rains and keep it cooler in the summer heat. It also gives the chickens a shady place to go during the day. I elevated my coop and noticed I’ve never had any rodents in it either – I’m not sure it’s a way to fool proof your coop from rodents or predators, but it probably helps to some degree.

Location: If you live in the city, check your city regulations. Sometimes, they require you to be at least 5 ft from the property line. Also, try to make a coop that won’t be offensive to your neighbors. It doesn’t have to be as pretty as the home you live in, but not too unsightly so as to reduce property values. Keeping on top of the smell is also key, since you don’t want to damage relationships with your neighbors.

It’s beneficial for the chickens to have adequate sunlight as well – for staying warmer in cold climates and for maximum egg production. Putting a window on the south side would allow for the light to enter the coop all day.

Deep Litter Method
You’ll also have to consider if you’re going to clean out the droppings on a regular basis or if you want to use the “deep litter” method, which is less maintenance. This is important to consider for designing the floor of your coop. Some people prefer to use a chicken wire floor so the droppings fall into a container under the coop for easier cleaning, less odor in the coop, and a way to regularly stay on top of the cleaning.

With the deep litter method, you essentially have around 4-8 inches of wood pellets, wood (pine) shavings, or other bedding on the floor of the coop. Every few days you’ll want to use a rake or shovel to stir the droppings on the top into the bedding underneath. The chickens do this on their own, but you’ll want to rake it in a bit deeper and more evenly across the whole floor.

The bedding/droppings will begin to decompose underneath. As this happens, the amount or level of bedding starts to shrink down. As this happens, you’ll simply add another inch (or more) of bedding so you’ll always have about 4-8 inches. By using this method, the odor is minimal. You really only need to clean the entire coop out once or twice a year.

I use the deep litter method and highly recommend it – it saves me a lot of time, and I can use that rich compost for our garden once it’s done! I buy 40 lb bags of wood pellets for my coop – most large retailers i.e. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes will carry some. It may be that they only stock up on wood pellets during the winter so it may help to call the store in advance. Another great place to get pellets is at farm stores, and they usually carry them all year long. However, the price may be a bit higher.

I start off pouring a few bags on the floor until I get about 5 inches of pellets, spread evenly across the floor. I occasionally (once a week) rake the droppings on top, into the pellets underneath. Then I periodically add another bag of pellets – about every 3 monts on average.

I usually know when it’s time to add another bag of bedding – when the coop starts to smell a little and just raking the droppings into the bedding underneath is not working to eliminate this odor anymore. After a year, I simply clean it all out and start the process over again. You can find more information on this process at http://www.backyardchickens.com which, by the way, is an excellent overall resource for all things related to chicken care.

Predator Control
If you live in an area near dogs, coyotes, racoons, skunks, mountain lions, fisher cats, red tailed hawks, or bears (the most common predators), you’ll want to make sure to make your coop is predator proof. For an outpen made of chicken wire or bird netting, you should embed the material 8″-12″ below the ground around the perimeter of the pen to prevent the would-be predator from digging in.

If your coop is fenced in with woven wire farm fencing (or any other type of farm fencing), it is a good idea to place either a strand of electric wire or barbed wire around the perimeter a few inches off the ground on the outside of the fence. Again, this will deter predators from entering.

http://www.freechickencoopplans.com/

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.

Uses for Salt & Baking Soda

Filed under: curing meat, dehydrating, farming, freezing food, home remedies, poison ivy, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:18 pm
Sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogencarbonate, ...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Rub salt on fruit stains while still wet, then put them in the wash.
  • For mildew spots, rub in salt and some buttermilk, and then let dry in the sun.
  • If you spill wine or fruit juice on your tablecloth, pour salt on the spot immediately to absorb the stain.
  • Apply a paste of salt and olive oil to ugly heat rings on your table. Let sit for about an hour and then wipe off with a soft cloth.
  • To improve your iron, sprinkle salt on a piece of paper and run the sticky iron over it a few times while the iron is hot.
  • To restore some of the color to faded fabric, soak it in a strong solution of salt and water.
  • Mix a tablespoon of salt into the water of a vase of cut flowers to keep them fresh longer.
  • A mixture of salt and vinegar will clean brass.
  • Salt on the fingers when cleaning meat or fish will prevent your hands from slipping.
  • To kill unwanted weeds growing in your driveway or between bricks and stones, pour boiling salt water over them.
  • For perspiration stains, add enough water to salt to make a paste, then rub into the cloth. Wait for an hour, and then launder as usual.
  • Cover spilled eggs with salt, then wipe clean with a paper towel.
  • To freshen smelly sneakers (or any canvas shoe) sprinkle their insides with salt. Wait 24 hours for the salt to absorb the odor, and then shake them out.
  • Pour salt directly onto a grease spill and come back to it later.
  • A new broom will last longer if you soak the bristles in hot salt water before using it for the first time.
  • Stainless steel can be cleaned by rubbing it with a gritty paste of two tablespoons of salt mixed with lemon juice. Rinse well and pat dry with a soft cloth.
  • Rub two to three tablespoons of salt onto the stains inside your glass vases, and then scrub clean with a damp bristle brush.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon salt to one cup water) to relieve a sore throat.
  • Sprinkle salt on carpets to dry out muddy footprints before vacuuming.
  • When silk flowers get dusty, put them in a paper bag with several tablespoons of salt and shake gently for two minutes to clean them.
  • Refresh household sponges by soaking them in cold salt water for ten minutes.
  • BAKING SODA
  • Add baking soda to your bath water to relieve sunburned or itchy skin.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to a burn or an insect bite for relief.
  • Clean your refrigerator with a solution of one-teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.
  • To remove perspiration stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub paste into the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then launder as usual.
  • If you crave sweets, rinse your mouth with one-teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Don’t swallow the mixture; spit it out. Your craving should disappear instantly.
  • Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallizing.
  • To remove pesticides, dirt, and wax from fresh fruits and vegetables, wash them in a large bowl of cool water to which you’ve added two to three tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.
  • Gasoline and oil odors can be removed by putting clothes in a trash bag with baking soda for a few days before washing them.
  • Lay down barrier of baking soda under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows to keep carpenter ants, silverfish, and roaches from invading. Roaches eat the baking soda, dehydrate, and die.
  • A light baking soda paste on a damp cloth will remove bugs and tar from cars without damaging the paint. Let paste sit for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.
  • To remove stains from your coffee and tea cups, wipe them with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda paste.
  • Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. They’ll slip on more easily too!
  • Sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt the ice. Unlike rock salt, kitty litter, or sand, it won’t damage outdoor or indoor surfaces or shoes.
  • Boil two inches of water in a pan with a burned bottom, turn off the heat, then add half a cup of baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning it will be easy to clean.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda on the bottom of your toaster oven to eliminate the burned smell from drippings and crumbs.
  • A paste of baking soda removes red sauce stains from plastic.

Uses for Lemons

Filed under: farming, fish, freezing food, home remedies, laundry, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:12 pm
Two lemons, one whole and one sliced in half

Image via Wikipedia

Home uses for lemons.

  • For a sore throat or bad breath, gargle with some lemon juice.
  • Clean discolored utensils with a cloth dipped in lemon juice. Rinse with warm water.
  • Toss used lemons into your garbage disposal to help keep it clean and smelling fresh.
  • Use one part lemon juice and two parts salt to scour chinaware to its original luster.
  • A few drops of lemon juice in outdoor house-paint will keep insects away while you are painting and until the paint dries.
  • Remove scratches on furniture by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and salad oil and rubbing it on the scratches with a soft cloth.
  • To make furniture polish, mix one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil.
  • To clean the surface of white marble or ivory (such as piano keys), rub with a half a lemon, or make a lemon juice and salt paste. Wipe with a clean, wet cloth.
  • To renew hardened paintbrushes, dip into boiling lemon juice. Lower the heat and leave the brush for 15 minutes, then wash it in soapy water.
  • To remove dried paint from glass, apply hot lemon juice with a soft cloth. Leave until nearly dry, and then wipe off.
  • Rub kitchen and bathroom faucets with lemon peel. Wash and dry with a soft cloth to shine and remove spots.
  • Fresh lemon juice in rinse water removes soap film from interiors of ovens and refrigerators.
  • Create your own air freshener: Slice some lemons, cover with water, and let simmer in a pot for about an hour. (This will also clean your aluminum pots!)
  • Fish or onion odor on your hands can be removed by rubbing them with fresh lemons.
  • To get odors out of wooden rolling pins, bowls, or cutting boards, rub with a piece of lemon. Don’t rinse: The wood will absorb the lemon juice.
  • Save lemon and orange rinds to deter squirrels and cats from digging in the garden. Store rinds in the freezer during the winter, and then bury them just under the surface of the garden periodically throughout the spring and summer.
  • After a shampoo, rinse your hair with lemon juice to make it shine. Mix the strained juice of a lemon in an eight-ounce glass of warm water.
  • Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of salt to make a rust-removing scrub.
  • Before you start to vacuum, put a few drops of lemon juice in the dust bag. It will make the house smell fresh.
  • Get grimy white cotton socks white again by boiling them in water with a slice of lemon.
  • Clean copper pots by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing the cut side with alt until the salt sticks. Rub the lemon onto the metal, rinse with hot water, and polish dry.
  • Suck on a lemon to settle an upset stomach.
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